Highway to Hoeftland

Adventures with Kristin & Mike

Last weekend we camped at Paulina Lake Campground in Central Oregon, we went on a beautiful hike around the lake via the Paulina Lakeshore Loop Trail, we ate lunch at Paulina Lake Lodge, and visited the Paulina Peak at Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The experience was documented in the video below.

Why tent camping is great overall
There’s a lot of amazing experiences involved in taking the tent out for the weekend. On one hand, I deeply appreciate tent camping. It gets us out in nature, which I absolutely love.

A case in point was the hiking trail loop at Paulina Lake. It was a spectacular hike within walking distance from our campsite.

Mini adventures like these gives us a chance to de-stress from work and home commitments. We spend time reconnecting rather than watching TV or reading the news on the couch, discover new experiences that are joyful and educational, and we get to eat delicious food and enjoy drinks while chatting around the campfire.

I’ve also noticed that when we go camping on the weekends – or any type of travel for that matter – it feels like time slows down. When we camp, we are no longer in our monotonous routines, but living freely and exploring our natural environment – if just for a couple of days.

Why I dislike tent camping
There are definite downsides to tent camping as well, especially for a nervous nelly like me.

Here in Central Oregon, nightfall gets cold quickly, even in the summer. Mike and I purchased a heavy-duty sleeping bag, brought warm winter attire, and even a small propane Mr. heater portable buddy as a backup and I still woke up freezing in the middle of the night. Even though we had two sleeping pads, I was tossing and turning with hip pain (I guess I am getting old!).

Was that a bear? Does he smell something in the tent that he wants?
Since I’m not used to sleeping outdoors, any little “odd” or unfamiliar sound can start my mind racing about whether I’m safe or not. Luckily, Oregon does not experience many attacks from black bears or cougars, but I still get nervous when I see signs posted near our campsite that read, “bears and cougars are common sightings here.” These are unwarranted fears though, so I push myself to get out there and tent camp and it definitely pays off.

Sleeping arrangements, lack of plumbing, disorganization
Other inconveniences with tent camping include not having a water faucet or sink on hand, or a dedicated place for our stuff that inevitably ends up in random boxes or in the back seat of the truck. Our camping trips feel a little disorganized at times, although as we keep camping, we get more experienced with how to stay organized. This might not be so much a tent camping issue as an “us” issue. 🙂

Solutions to our tent camping problems
If we were to keep tent camping, rather than get the trailer we have on order, I would want to buy a cot for the tent, as well as a larger pop-up tent for a little more comfort, easier set up and maneuverability. A few more tools such as a battery charger, a better-quality cooler that keeps ice longer, a propane fire pit, and other camping aides could help make tent camping a lot easier and more fun moving forward.

Overall, camping is wonderful and worth it
I’ve been camping off and on since I was a kid. It provides immeasurable benefits that I would not want to miss because of temporary and minor inconveniences. Camping via any method that gets you outside and exploring is good for the soul, and a worthwhile pursuit, regardless of whether it’s always comfortable or not. In fact, being too comfortable all the time could be a danger in itself. Would you agree?

“Comfort is a stance of avoidance rather than the pursuit of excellence.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

*This vlog is dedicated in memory of Aunt Elaine. Rest in Peace, Elaine. We love you.

Joseph, Oregon

Hello! For Mike’s birthday, we drove to Eastern Oregon for the weekend. Our itinerary included staying in a rustic Airbnb called “Grande Ronde Cow Camp,” outside of La Grande. A friendly donkey and adorable miniature horse greeted us when we arrived at the cabin. We ate delicious food and tried great beer at Side A Brewery and Pub in downtown La Grande (highly recommended). We also visited the charming northeastern Oregon town of Joseph and saw the “Swiss Alps of Oregon,” which were stunningly beautiful. In our opinion, Joseph was definitely worth the 1.5-hour drive from La Grande. Lastly, we stopped off in Pendleton on our way home at the Pendleton Woolen Mills store. With cooler temps on the horizon, we splurged and bought a warm wool blanket for our new teardrop trailer. Our video and photo gallery below features highlights from our scenic trip. I hope you enjoy it!

Recommendations from our Eastern Oregon Weekend trip (links):

Thanks very much for following Highway to Hoeftland’s adventures. I hope all is well with you. 🙂


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Last weekend Mike and I took a trip to the Painted Hills and John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. I am embarrassed to admit that as a native Oregonian, it took me 42 years to finally get out there to see what it’s all about. Was it worth it? Yes, it was!

The Painted Hills was such a memorable and positive experience. I highly recommend visiting the area if you get the chance. Our video features the Painted Hills, it highlights amazingly beautiful and colorful trails, delicious eateries, tiny towns to check out, and more. 🙂

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Mike and I headed out on another tent camping adventure past weekend. This time, we set our sights on the Palisades BLM Campground along the Crooked River in Prineville, Oregon.

We arrived at the campsite around 2:00 pm on Saturday. We were pleased to learn that there were a handful of sites still available along the river, although most of the prime spots were taken.

We felt lucky to nab site number 12, with beautiful riverfront views and plenty of space between campsites. Below are some quick tips if you’re considering camping at this location. I also created a short video of our experience at the end of this post.

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Hi, all,

While we’re waiting for our teardrop trailer to be ready (on delay due to supply chain issues), I thought I’d share a glimpse into our 2021 summer fun at Lake Merwin Camper’s Hideaway.

Sometimes we ask ourselves – Why we are willing to drive four hours after work on Friday up to Lake Merwin, Washington from Central Oregon, just to return on Sunday? That’s an 8-hour drive over the weekend – yikes.

The below video and top three reasons are a good reminder as to why we keep making the trip. Once we’re up there, it’s like another world and we’re reminded of why it means so much to us.

1) Reason number 1: Family and friends at LMCH
Being together with loved ones feeds the soul and helps us be happy. Numerous friends and family have trailers on the same block (featured in below video). This means that as soon as we arrive to camp, we’re greeted by my sister, our niece, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends without even having to plan a get-together in advance. 😊

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