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Burns to Pendleton Oregon Vanabode Trip

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Burns, Seneca, John Day, Pendleton Oregon 1-5 days June   
More Pictures  |  Map  |  N 45° 56.505' W 119° 36.247' where we spent the night under the power lines

We started out the day real early at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns Oregon, so early in fact that the entry gates were not even open. We waited until 8 am and they still would not let us in. With budget cuts hitting every state and small town government hard, it is becoming increasingly more common to arrive at huge gorgeous sanctuaries, parks, and refuges only to be the only ones there. Most of the time it works in our favor. Today it did not. Still it was not a total loss as we were able to hang around the perimeter and see hundreds of different birds, deer, pheasants, rats, rabbits and more. The sound of these birds was phenomenal. I was spellbound for 15 minutes just standing there with my eyes closed.


We then headed some 300+ miles to Pendleton where we explored the downtown area and had some of the best pizza we have ever had. We interviewed the locals and they recommended this Napoli style restaurant downtown. The downtown area is typical of fun small town areas where the older parts of town have been through a restoration and revival and instead of providing staples to the locals now serve the interests of money dropping photo snapping tourists. Fun for 3-4 hours with shops of all kinds here. Prices were fair and streetside parking is free.

malheur national wildlife refuge picture

Above: Bridge leading across the river and into the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Park includes scenic drives, flowering meadows, lots of running and still waters, wild groves of trees surrounding heavy grass marsh and thousands of singing song birds. This refuge is also home to many predatory birds like Great Owls, hawks and falcons as well as Bald Eagles in the Winter. Then we drove through Senaca.

Right: This crazy bobcat was on a leash in front of a lodge in Seneca Oregon. He ten years old and was supposed to be tame but he attacked us and tried to tie up our legs, batting and swatting with his clawless paws. He stalked our toes as if the rest of our body did not exist concentrating all his attention on them until suddenly he would burst forward and grab our ankle and try to bite it. We lunged back because the owner said "get away from that cat he will bite you".

Then we hit the Clyde Holiday State Park on US 395 inside the city of John Day, Oregon. It has the best bathroom situation for Vanabode living that you may ever find. Super hot stainless steel private hot showers and bathrooms that are super clean for $2 per person. Even if you are not camping here you can park about 120 feet outside the front entry pay station and simply walk in and use the showers. During the summer months they also have a convenient ice machine set up near the pay station and you drop money in the box and take a bag of ice if you need it. This park was super clean, big lots, and very quiet even during the early days of June during the on season. I highly recommend this park for camping or showers anytime.


tame bobcat on leash picture
A "tamed" leashed ten year old declawed 40 pound bobcat jumped us at this specialty lodge and would have bitten us were we not careful enough. See Video

great pacific pizza restaurant in pendleton oregon fantastic nopoli style pizza

Below: Not every place we spend the night is a gorgeous valley surrounded by mountains and rock studded cliffs. Sometimes we are tired and on our way to a boutique like destination. Sometimes we just stay were it is safe and convenient and free.

prosser oregon powerlines provide a handy place to spend the night for free on a  Vanabode trip

It is in these times that you come to realize some of the subtle but extraordinary value in Vanaboding. With a large Class A RV we would have looked like "campers" and would have been ticketed or asked to move to the $25 a night campground 12 miles from here. However we are in total camouflage here and just looked to every one passing by like a power line workers maintenance van. We were undisturbed all night. The GPS reading at the top of the page shows where we spent the night under the power lines in Paterson then traveled to Prosser Washington. See Burns to Pendleton Oregon camping details for more information and pictures.

This page is part of a 20 day, 2,866 mile, Vanabode trip.
See van camping Nevada Washington Oregon Canada for an overview of this particular trip.
Visit travel destinations for our master list of 100's of cool places visited that we have reviews on.
Vanabode travel and live anywhere in America on $20 a day including food, lodging and transportation.

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