Saturday, August 05, 2006

New Layover!

On 1 August, my airline started flying a new route: Los Angeles to Redmond/Bend, Oregon (RDM). With this came a brand new layover for the MegaWhacker in Redmond. It's not very often that we get new layovers so I was excited for my first stay there yesterday.

Redmond is on the east side of the Cascades, in Oregon's high desert. I think that most people not from the area imagine Oregon as being completely green and lush, with near constant rain, but the eastern two-thirds of the state is actually desert, scrub-land, and prairie. The Cascades are very effective at wringing out the rain from moisture-laden Pacific air. Redmond, only a few miles east of the Cascades, gets less than 20 inches of precipitation per year; some areas only 50 miles west get up to 120 inches (see this precipitation map).

Bend, 20 miles southwest of Redmond, has become a major recreational destination in Oregon, a sort of Palm Springs of the north. Nearby Mt Bachelor offers the best (well, actually the only) powder skiing in the Cascades; the Deschutes River draws rafters, kayakers, and fishermen; the Three Sisters Wilderness only 15 miles west attracts hikers, campers, and climbers. Bend has seen a population explosion over the last few years, with much of the growth coming from northward-migrating Californians. This was undoubtedly a large factor in my airline's decision to start service on the LAX-RDM route. I think it's going to make a ton of money - the route is brand new and bookings are already very heavy.

Friends who fly the MiniWhacker had warned me that Redmond itself was fairly boring, so I rented a car yesterday to get out and explore. The crew and I ate lunch at a great BBQ joint in Bend, and then we drove the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway which took us west from Bend into the mountains near the Three Sisters. Forty miles from Bend, we parked at a trailhead and made the short hike to Lucky Lake, within the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. It was a sunny day, but not oppressively hot at 5000' elevation; the lake was warm enough to wade or (in my captain's case) swim. It was a great way to spend an afternoon, on the company's dime no less.

One thing I liked about working for Ameriflight was that we had a crew car wherever we went. I really wish my airline did that. Still, car rental is pretty cheap when you split it among four people. I'm hoping we keep the same long layover in Redmond, because there were a lot of very interesting-looking trailheads along the highway, mostly leading to alpine lakes. Also, in the winter I'll need to bring my skis on the layover & do Mt Bachelor.


Dogbait said...

Have been all around that area and a great part of the country. I remember it being 105F in Bend at the time. Enjoy your blog.

Aviatrix said...

If you see a Canadian flying school airplane in Bend, you're likely looking at a commercial student on his or her "long cross country solo". Bend is just over 300 nm from Vancouver and Victoria, making it the place to go to fulfil the commercial requirement.

Lost Av8r said...

I spent the night in Redmond on my 300NM from Kelowna to Oakland. Flew right over Crater Lake the next day. Cool area.

GC said...

I used to have some great times on overnights there in RDM. My former airline used to put us up at Eagle Crest Resort, which was right on the Deschuttes river. I used to hike around the entire resort (which ended up being about 5 miles) in the afternoons when it started cooling off. The stretches of trail that ran by the river were wonderful for sights of all sorts of wildlife, from whitetail deer to bald eagles.

I missed that overnight in a big way when they changed it to the "Haunted HoJo" down town.

Sam said...

Heh, I've heard many stories about the Haunted HoJo from when my airline stayed there. I tend to pooh-pooh that sort of stuff, but I do know several very reliable people that claim to have had experiences there - people I wouldn't imagine ever telling "ghost stories." So who knows. I do think it's pretty funny that the hotel kept the one particularly haunted room for airline crew. My airline moved after getting reports of flight attendants sleeping in the lobby rather than sleep in that room.

GC said...

Well...stay there once.

Imagine being sound asleep to be rudely awakend by your TV turning on at MAXIMUM VOLUME and its channels being changed over and over.

That happened to me. Three times in one night. The remote was safely stashed on the nightstand, and after the second time, I pulled the batteries out of the damned thing. The third time it happened, I pulled the plug on the TV.

Try getting back to sleep.

clint said...

I was in redomond and bend 2 weeks ago and flew past the three sisters in a turbo 182. i think i want to move there.

Anonymous said...

Hey so speaking of ghosties...there happen to be at least two in the redmond high school theatre. Nicholas who died at age 17 and a little blonde girl in a flowery nightgown.
The former tried to kill me several times in my four years at RHS.
The story about Nicholas is that if you don't believe in him he is supposed to make himself known to you.
I always joked about how i didn't believe in him, so that he would show himself to me. I never saw him.
He pushed me down the light booth stairs. Those stairs are very steep...the only reason that i am still alive is because of my reflexes.
The little girl is scary kind of, because i saw her looking down at me from the catwalk every time i was performing. and i came pretty close to her when i went up to the catwalk to change out some gels in the elipticals.
She is about 8 years old, with long blonde hair and blue eyes. she has a 50's ish light blue night gown, that has small roses or some other red flower all over.

When i walked toward her she drifted away at the same pace. never blinked. creepy.

my friend took a picture of our theatre class one time. It was a digital camera, with a viewer. right above my head there was a blue orb. and above one of my classmates heads there was a pink orb.

Cool, Huh?

my name is Raughn.

I went to Redmond High School for all four years of my highschool career. i was in theatre every year. and in most after school plays.

a friend that i grew up with said nicholas wore white converse.

you don't have to believe me. but i swear to you that what i wrote is true.