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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.