Wednesday, September 5, 2007


The town of Frenchglen consists of a General Store, a Hotel, and a couple private residences. Their souvenir memorabilia claims the town has a population of 11, but they might be overstating things a bit. At any rate, Frenchglen is the first sign of civilization aside from cows since we left Burns, and is a full 60 miles away. We would later discover that the next closest town, Fields, is 55 miles to the south and has a population of... 14.

Frenchglen serves as a gateway to the Steens Mountains, and most people who come through here do so either because they're visiting Steens Mountain or the Wildlife Refuge to go bird-watching. The Frenchglen Hotel is itself an Oregon State Park because it's a historic building. To give you an idea of the hotel's size, we park out front practically on the shoulder of the highway and about 8 feet from the front steps. You first enter into the covered patio, and then into the hotel itself. The lobby doubles as a dining room complete with picnic table style seating. Instantly, Darrick is greeted with "Hello! You must be Darrick Wong! You're in room 2 -- it's up the stairs and to the left." This hotel has two live-in employees, eight guest rooms, one bathroom (single toilet/shower/sink) for each gender, and no keys. At 11x15 feet, room 2 is the largest room in the hotel and the only one with two beds. They were booked to capacity. That means there were more people staying in the hotel than live in the town.

We unpacked the basics from the car and took a quick walk around town before dinnertime. Dinner was served family style, which allowed us to mingle with the other hotel guests down in the lobby. It turns out there was only one couple even remotely close to our age. The rest of the people there were retired folks -- you know, the kind of people who actually travel after Labor Day. After dinner, we snuck back outside to take a few more pictures in what sunlight was left, and then retired to our room, where I spent a few hours making sure the cameras were charged up and reading a book in the super-comfy rocking chair.

Frenchglen Hotel

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