Alvord Desert


There are no roads. The directions we had said travel to Fields Oregon, the last town near the entrance and then go north on a dirt road until you see the black mailbox on your right. Turn right at the mailbox on another dirt road and go to the dead end. This is where you will access the desert. A road-less expanse of pure desolation.

About 20 miles north of Fields, Oregon looking for the black mailbox
We found the mailbox and made the turn. Approaching the desert.
Is that water? Nope, it’s the desert.

It is a wild place that could turn into a flood or a sandstorm at any moment. It reminded me of the Playa in the Black Rock desert famous for the annual gathering Burning Man. I knew a number of artists from Portland that would come out here and have their own small burning man types of events. When we visited, there was no one there.

Made it. Time to find a place to camp.

We drove out onto the desert and made sure to establish a few points of reference so we would find our way back. After about an hour convinced that we were thoroughly alone we chose a spot and set up camp.

Our camp site for the night. Is it necessary to mention this is free camping?

That night we BBQ’d a salmon filet on the desert. I’ve made scallops in an orange beurre blanc sauce on the trunk of a car pulled out on the side of Hwy 101 in the Redwoods, so food has never been a problem wherever we find ourselves in the world. It was an amazing and peaceful night.

Below is a short video we made starting in Fields, Oregon where they claim to have the best milk shake in the world. When you are this far out I guess you can make any claim to fame to like, it was quite good though.

As you can see our dog Bisque Kitt is quite the traveler. Since 2012 he has joined us on almost every film shoot. Little did he know at the time that four years later he would be flying across the world to live in Spain.
The next morning a wall of sand was headed our way, time to go!

We woke the next morning in silence surrounded by nothing. Terri-Lynn stayed in the tent asleep while I took the car for a spin around the desert. When I left her I made a note of where the tent was, to the right of a few scrub bushes. After an hour or so I made my way back. When I approached what I thought was the clump of lonely vegetation poking out of the mud caked scorched earth the tent was now on the left. Be careful out here, everything is an illusion and it could be easy to lose your direction, or your wife. We had our breakfast just in time as a sandstorm appeared in the distance.

Sunrise looking west at the Steens Mountains
Camping tip: If you are a coffee drinker travel with a french press. It is way better then that instant stuff. Looks like we had sauteed broccoli for breakfast, weirdos.

The Alvord desert is bordered on the west by the Steens Mountains range. This would be our next stop on our journey through eastern Oregon. Bisque Kitt and I took our obligatory Burning Man photo and we headed out to see what type of strange, unusual and magical experience this part of Oregon would show us today.

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About XPLORE FILM and Sip & Stay

The Art of Life

Tony and Terri-Lynn met in 1987 as teenagers. In 1991 they were married.  Tony has been a professional musician his entire life and spent the 90’s touring and releasing albums.  In 2001 the couple left the cities and moved to a small community on the Oregon coast. This is where they fell into television production and film making. In 2004 Makai Ohana Productions was founded and the couple produced advertising and creative content for hundreds of tourism related businesses and government entities in Southern Oregon and Northern California. Realizing the industry was evolving towards the internet they re-branded the business in 2012 to Xplore Film.  This company would now be an international business producing films world wide as well as an NGO in West Africa where the couple provides clean water boreholes, scholarships and even a prosthetic hand project.

In 2018 Tony and Terri-Lynn with their dog Bisque Kitt packed the belongings they could carry on their backs and flew to Spain. They bought a home and planned to spend equal time between the two countries running the business.  Then Covid hit and the world closed.  By 2020 they realized Spain, and specifically Torrevieja was now home.  They bought a sailboat and started to create a life on the Costa Blanca of music, film, events and community.


Music from Xplore Film

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