EarthCruiser Adventure Trip Preview: Oregon Backcountry Adventure

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The first official EarthCruiser Adventure is now available for booking for current EarthCruiser and Terranova owners. This week-long trip will explore some of the least visited corners of EarthCruiser’s home state. Beginning at Overland Expo PNW, it will include drives over the highest road in the state, over dry lakebed playas, through slot canyons, and over sand dunes. Highlights include a naturalist-led hike of the Fort Rock State Natural area, an exclusive farm-to-table dining experience at a vineyard, and scenic drives through wild and beautiful backcountry.

We begin our trip at the first-ever Overland Expo Pacific Northwest. Here we’ll have a chance to browse the latest in Overlanding gear, attend lectures and workshops, and chat with fellow overlanding enthusiasts from around the globe. We’ll dine together at an exclusive river-to-table experience led by local indigenous fishermen and chefs at EarthCruiser headquarters. Here we’ll go over the trip’s details and prepare for our Adventure together.

Fort Rock is a striking feature of the high desert landscape. This towering rock ring was a lake bed during the ice age, teeming with life. It is here that grass sandals dating back 9,000-13,000 years were discovered by archaeologists – the oldest directly-dated shoes in the world. We will have a guided walk of the area, led by local expert naturalists.

Our trip will continue through Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystems, spending time honing our driving skills through the sand dunes of Christmas Valley, where we may have the opportunity to practice using traction mats and recovery equipment. 

We will visit the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge via scenic gravel and dirt roads. Here we will take in breathtaking views of the plateau, have the chance to spot wildlife like pronghorn and bighorn sheep, look for pictograph rock carvings and enjoy a dip in natural hot springs.

We’ll enjoy a day of striking contrast as we drive to an altitude of over 9,000 feet via bumpy dirt backroads. We’ll drive to the summit of Steens Mountain, along the highest road in Oregon. This area is home to the Kiger Mustang, considered the most direct descendants of the original Spanish horses. From the summit, we can see the white playa of the Alvord desert stretching below, our destination for the evening, where we’ll enjoy stargazing at one lowest light pollution spots in the U.S.

The Owyhee Canyonlands is a seldom-visited area of winding rivers and deep canyons. Our Adventure takes us through some of the most scenic dirt roads and jeep trails in the area, winding through narrow canyons and visiting incredible geological formations.

In the Snake River Valley American Viticultural Area, we’ll camp in the vineyards of a small, family-run winery. In the evening, we’ll enjoy an exclusive farm-to-table meal, wine tasting, and a lesson in camp cooking by local culinary experts.

Along the way, we’ll have the opportunity to practice navigation, communication, and off-road driving techniques. We’ll look for wildlife like mule deer, sage grouse, and badger. We will enjoy wide-open spaces and back roads leading to places of exceptional natural beauty. Most of all, we’ll enjoy the company of our EathCruiser family and make life-long friendships for future travels.

Suggested Reading:

Oregon’s Dry Side: Exploring East of the Cascade Crest – by Alan D. St. John

Roadside Geology of Oregon – by Marli B. Miller

The Nature of Bend – by LeeAnn Kriegh

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