44 - Steens Mountain Wilderness Resort - Frenchglen, Oregon

Arrived at Steens Mountain on Friday 8/26th. Wasn't that long of a drive but the roads made it a bit longer. Also, the GPS were a bit confused as to where it was so it probably took an hour longer as we passed it and finally got some help from a woman driving near when we stopped to figure it out. But it's a nice site, nothing fancy, in the middle of nowhere but very peaceful.

On Saturday 8/27th we took a ride to the Alvord Desert. It was about 1.5-hour drive but it did not disappoint.  There was supposedly an Alvord Lake as well but no water in it.

Interesting facts about the Alvord Desert

The Alvord Desert is a desert located in Harney County, in southeastern Oregon. It is roughly southeast of Steens Mountain. The Alvord Desert is a 12-by-7-mile dry lake bed and averages 7 inches of rain a year. Two mountain ranges separate it from the Pacific Ocean—the Coast Range, and the Cascade Mountains. Along with Steens Mountain, these topographical features create a rain shadow. The Alvord Desert lies at an elevation of approximately 4,000 feet.

During the dry season the surface is sufficiently flat for driving or landing small aircraft. Vehicle driving attempts to score land speed records are performed on the dry lake bed. The women's world land speed record was set in 1976 by Kitty O'Neil at 512 miles per hour, later surpassed in 2019 by Jessi Combs at 522.783 miles per hour.

Glider pilots enjoy the thrill and beauty of soaring above the Alvord desert. Once a year a group of 20-30 pilots gather for a week of soaring above the playa, but their method of getting airborne is unique. Using the 18-mile long playa as their runway, these gliders forgo the traditional airplane tow and opt instead for a tow cable hitched to a car.

The desert is named after General Benjamin Alvord, who served as commander of the U.S. Army's Department of Oregon during the American Civil War.

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