Frenchglen & Malheur Wildlife Refuge


This is part 3 of our eastern Oregon trip. If you would like to start at the beginning in the Alvord Desert click here.

We woke the next morning at the Steens Mountain Resort in total silence. The night before the owner of the Frenchglen hotel invited us in for dinner. Dinner here is served family style so we met some of the local people. The population of Frenchglen when we visited was 7. We were told it sometimes goes up to 12.

Desert. The only other pictures I have of this meal are in the video below.

This entire trip does not feel real. It would be easy to go through life not realizing that there are places like this that exist. Below is the main street of Frenchglen and we found something we had not seen in years, a phone booth.

Guns and Art. I guess that pretty much says it all. Well, and Harleys.

The entire town is about three blocks. There is a mercantile store and the Frenchglen hotel as well as a firehouse and a school with 14 students. I am guessing why they are not counted in the population is that they do not live in town but rather come from the ranches scattered around the area. We did not stay at the Frenchglen Hotel but we were given a tour and you can see the inside of the rooms in the video above.

Frenchglen would be a nice home-base while exploring the area as you have the Alvord Desert, The Steens Mountains and also the Malheur Wildlife refuge all within a few hours drive.

We stocked up on some supplies and continued north to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Obviously we packed a lunch as there will be no options for eating once we leave town.

We consider ourselves professional picnic people. We have eaten in some very remote and beautiful places. I remember a time making scallops in an orange buerre blanc sauce on the trunk of my car on the side of Hwy 101 in the California Redwoods. Even when visiting large cities and town squares in Europe we often choose to self cater as our view is exactly the same as the people paying large amounts of money for a table just a few feet away.

Just a few months after our visit the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge would make the national news. On January 2, 2016, an armed group of far right extremists seized and occupied the headquarters of the refuge in Harney county and continued to occupy it until law enforcement made a final arrest on February 11, 2016. Their leader was Ammon Bundy  who participated in the 2014 Bundy Standoff at his father’s Nevada ranch. Other members of the group were loosely affiliated with non-governmental militias and the sovereign citizen movement.

Harney county is one of the largest counties by area in the United States though the population is only about 7,700. Cattle outnumber humans by 14-1. 73% of the county is owned by the Federal government managed by the BLM, the USFS and the USFWS.

We continued north towards Diamond Oregon and called the Diamond hotel asking them if they would like to participate in our eastern Oregon documentary. They said yes! They also have a restaurant so we will be well fed and have a nice sleep courtesy of the hotel.

That will be part 4 of our trip through eastern Oregon and when we will set off into the desert to find a herd of wild mustangs.

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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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