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Oregon Outback Scenic Byway and Smith Rock State Park

Oregon Outback Scenic Byway and Smith Rock State ParkThis week I'm headed out, on the first route of my quest, to the Oregon Outback Scenic Byway, but first I'll stop at Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne, Oregon to enjoy the glorious sculpted rocks.

I laugh at myself because I keep flubbing up the names of the places I'm visiting.  Must be the beauty and sun getting to my head!

At least I'm getting it right in the blog and my post-production editing.

There's so much raw beauty in Oregon. Some areas are more civilized in appearance with stores and communities – and then there's the areas that look like you stepped into a Hollywood Western movie.

It's beauty takes my breath away as I travel down through the Oregon outback, listening to music, sun shining, and my eyes alive with wonder and each new turn around a corner.

Smith Rock State Park

After leaving my first RV boondocking site, on forest service land in Skull Hollow, I took off to the infamous rock climbing location of Smith Rock State Park that was just around the corner from where I was boondocking. I think my jaw dropped as I saw the massive rock formation and deep canyon walls while driving into the parking lot.

Smith Rock State Park 2

These massive peaks against the backdrop of the blue sky presented an incredible photo opportunity that even I was impressed while only use the “auto” feature on the camera.  These photos were not altered.

Smith Rock State Park 3

You could see these little dots of people climbing the rocks in various areas around the canyon.  It was quite impressive and no, I didn't do any climbing in case you were wondering. Bahahahaaaa…

Smith Rock State Park Canyon

Oregon Outback Scenic Byway

So after admiring the beauty of this area, I headed South to Oregon 31 to start the Oregon Outback Scenic Byway from La Pine, Oregon to the California state line. I broke this trip up into two days of travel over 170 miles so I could stop and enjoy the surroundings, have lunch overlooking fields of sage brush and rock, and explore areas of interest.

Outback Scenic Byway

First I made sure I was completely filled up on gas, propane, and water since services are sparse in these areas along the Oregon Outback Scenic Byway. The weather was incredible during this mid-May time of year with sunny skies, soft breezes, and cooler temperatures.


It felt so amazing to start my quest and adventure into lands that I've never seen before. I'm reminded daily as I travel of the extreme and awesome beauty of our lands and the diverse cultures in each town and city. I'm in love! This life is amazing and I'm so excited that I'm able to finally fulfill my dreams of traveling full-time in my RV around the nation.

Oregon Outback Scenic Byway

Since it was my birthday, I decided to stay at a recommended hot springs along the way in Paisley, Oregon called Summer Lake Hot Springs, which was a very remote RV resort on Summer Lake off of the Oregon Outback Scenic Byway literally in the middle of nowhere.

What an amazing treat!

After getting the RV settled and Lily fed, I grabbed my swim suit and headed for the hot springs to relax on my birthday. It was such wonderful treat and my first time in a hot springs. The only downside – running from the hot springs to the RV since the temperature was so much cooler outside and I was so warm from the springs.

I guess there could be worse things in life right?

It was a nice evening and Lily and I settled in for a little dinner and reading before bedtime.

Summer Lake Hot Springs

As I continued my quest South the following day along the Oregon Outback Scenic Byway, the topography changed into this rugged landscape of rocks, brush, trees, and then – bam – there it was – Abert Rim.

Abert Rim is the largest geological fault in North America that is this incredible wall stretching 30 miles wide and 2,000 feet tall.

Then I came across Oregon's only geyser in Lakeview, Oregon called “Old Perpetual”, because she blows every 30 seconds. Yes, I did in fact time “Old Perpetual” and she's definitely a blower every 30 seconds.

Old Perpetual geyser

That evening I found a free place to stay in Lakeview, Oregon – at a Shell station – just off the highway.

Okay, so before you grimace at staying at the Shell station, the RV park charging a nightly rate was literally two blocks away with the same view and right off the highway. I'll take free any day with great views.

In exchange for my spot for the night, I filled up with gas and propane. I love the reciprocity of giving and exchange that this life creates – just like with Harvest Hosts where they give you a place to stay for free and in exchange you shop from the store of wine, coffee, fruits, and vegetables. It's a beautiful thing and I've always met such interesting people along the way.

This whole time I haven't really planned much of my travels and was really just winging it based on where I was and the weather. So I figured since this quest was coming to an end I better figure out the next leg, so I used this evening to do some planning.

This has definitely been a learning curve for me to figure out what resources to use in finding boondocking spots and places to stay along the way as well as learning about my RV. It felt daunting in the beginning, but I was excited and up for the challenge.

Lily and I woke up bright and early to start the last small portion of the quest on the Outback Scenic Byway to the California border and ended up at Goose Lake just over the border.

California State Line

We took a small walk amongst the birds singing and the sun shining. The air and nature felt so good on my skin and I feel more alive and happy than I ever have.

Goose Lake

I know I made the right decision to start this new segment of my life – to fulfill my dreams even through the midst of my fear and being uncomfortable.

I'm frequently asked about how I could travel like this as a single woman. Not out of fear, but people are genuinely shocked, surprised, but mostly think it's super cool and incredibly courageous of me to do this on my own. People would be surprised if I told them how much doubt and fear I had initially.

I'm no superwoman.

I am just me.

I am a Story Chaser.

I decided to live my life to it's absolute fullest and accomplish my dreams and conquer my fears. Now I live to create memories that turn into stories and tell other peoples stories of travel.

Leave me a comment below on your fears of travel, if you have or had any. How did you overcome your fears?

Overnights & Places Visited

Place:  Oregon Outback Scenic Byway from National Geographic 300 Scenic Highways and Byways

RV Accessibility:  Great for any size. No issues on the highways or getting turned around. This is wide open country.

Cell Phone Signal Strength:  Verizon signal was full bars a majority of the time with only a few areas where it was spotty.

Park Pass:  None

Cost:  $0 for Oregon Outback Scenic Byway and $50 for overnight at Summer Lake Hot Springs in Paisley, Oregon

City/State:  La Pine, Oregon to California state line

Quest #: 1 of 300

Video/Audio Equipment Used

Sony A6000 Camera – For most still images and vlogging

Sony Action Cam FDRX3000 – For dash cam and walking/talking video

Joby Gorillapod – Used for holding the cameras as a tripod or mounting to just about anything to capture a shot.


Friday 29th of December 2017

What are some of your fears when traveling?