While we’ve spent a night in the Hollywood Casino parking lot in St. Louis, MO (highly recommended, by the way…their security guards monitor the lot and even provide free shuttle services to and from the casino where we enjoyed a great meal and drinks), we’re not predisposed to spending nights in a Walmart parking lot or unimproved “boondocking" locations. So, out of close to 100 nights spent in our coach to date, we’ve spent at least 50 of them in RV parks that were little more than a waypoint along a route…albeit a waypoint with water, sewer and electric. The remaining 50 were spent seven or eight resort-like properties where we landed for a week or more at a time. Nothing we’ve seen, and frankly nothing we’ve heard about, can compare to the manicured perfection of the Bend/Sisters Garden RV Resort in Oregon.
This place is simply amazing. The grounds are as beautiful as a botanical garden, only possibly more impressive since their keepers have no mandate to include a wide range of disparate plant species, and can instead develop one cohesive theme across the property. If you’re really fortunate, you’ll have one of the spaces alongside the fly-fishing pond with a picnic table and fire ring between the front of your coach and the water. We extended an invitation to neighboring campers to join us around a campfire one evening, which resulted in a wonderful evening of conversation and adult beverages with a delightful collection of vacationers and full-timers.
If you haven’t visited Bend, and you can plan an itinerary through that area of central Oregon, it’s a delightful community. First, it’s practically the birthplace of craft beer. Visit Deschutes Brewery if you can. Not only do they have a great tour, the beer tastings are free! I discovered my new favorite there…Black Butte Porter. It’s an amazingly rich and deeply complex beer that could be characterized, fairly I believe, as the benchmark by which all other porters can be judged. For an extra treat, order your tasting sample on nitro. OMG it’s good!
Just north of the RV resort is the community of Sisters, which has a wonderful collection of restaurants, bars, and shops that are of a greater variety and higher quality than one might have grown to expect based on similar “touristy” towns. One of our favorites was Sisters Meat and Smokehouse where you can buy beef and bison from local ranchers (identified in the refrigerated display case by location). We grilled a couple of New York strips purchased there over wood coals one evening for one our the most memorable meals of our trip.
Perhaps the best way to explain how much we loved this resort is to mention that when the last day of our stay arrived, we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave. Though we needed to change sites because the one we were in had been reserved by arriving campers, we extended our trip by a couple of days just to enjoy the park a while longer.
We expect to visit Bend a couple of time every year, since we have kids and grandkids living there, but even if that were not the case, I think we’d try return to this park as frequently as we could. At least for now, it tops our list. —Alan
Extract Junk, Inject Living