We moved to Oregon 3 years ago and all our family lives elsewhere. So when the opportunity arose to spend Thanksgiving weekend out in the desert with a new couple we connected with through social media we jumped at the change of scenery, no pun intended.
We schemed for months on where we should go to finally meet up with the awesome van couple we had found a common ground with through Instagram. We dreamed of going on an epic fall backpacking trip but by the time we saw a dry weekend, it was practically winter, but who am I kidding we never saw that “dry” weekend. Ha! I proposed the coast but when thanksgiving was closing in we decided the driest place to escape to in Oregon was the desert so we packed up some yummy food, our warmest blankets and headed East in search of some relaxing hot springs and our friends who would meet us there.
The plan was to spend thanksgiving weekend in the desert soaking in the views and the minerals. We drove about 6 hours to reach Burns, Oregon through farmland and rolling hills, down bumpy country roads I wondered if we were ever going to get there. Finally after several vast vistas and empty roads we arrived, Large teepees were spotted from the road and steam rose high above the camp luring us in.
When we drove in on the bumpy gravel road into the campground in the middle of nowhere it felt great to literally be in the middle of nowhere. Finally I could breathe. There was a strong breeze it was cold and misty and the sun was just about to set the sky was orange and blue over the steamy hot spring pool. We walked into the office and were greeted with open arms. Noami and Dustin the two vagabond hearts traveling with their Vanagon Irie turned around to say hello with the warmest smiles and kindest hearts.
After we checked into camp we drove over to our spot and set up a large tarp between our vehicles to create a dry place for us to all sit through the evening since rain and wind were forecasted. It took us awhile to perfect this arrangement with the wind blazing through ripping it from our hands, but we got it eventually. We sat under the tarp getting the initial questions out how was your trip, what have you learned about van life so far and whats for dinner?! ha, we decided to go soak straight away those springs in the dark of night all those stars, it was amazing and magical and the best absolute place to get to know new friends.
We talked for quite some time at least until 8 when we all realized we couldn’t sustain ourselves on just wine and hot spring water. We decided to cook in the provided kitchen, which I must say was the nicest accommodation of any campground I have been to, to date! Crystal Crane Campground offers a fully functional kitchen with a stove, oven, sink refrigerator, cooking utensils — everything you need to cook except the food. We sat at the table drank some wine and we all made dinner, burgers and chips with fresh farm eggs on top. We enjoyed most of the rest of the night in the kitchen before we headed back to camp to settle in for the night.
It was so windy, over 30mph. I tried to sleep but all I could do was stare at the tarp hitting the back of the window over and over thinking this thing is definitely going to snap. I woke up early with the sun, it didn’t snap. In the morning we walk over to the clubhouse, another accommodation of the campground where they offered fresh brewed coffee and news on the large tv in the entertainment room. I have to say this place was so much more than I expected. We all had a cup of coffee and then decided to go for a soak in the springs.
We made breakfast after a soak and enjoyed the morning sunrise before we packed up and made our way back home, it was a perfect first trip with these two and many more adventures are in our future. It was great to have met such like minded individuals. It just convinces us further the life we are seeking (van life) is really the life we are meant to be living.