I stopped at all the cool barns and broken down buildings on the way out east. Someday I plan on finding out who own them and if they'd be willing to part with the wood for a small fee, but I'm still not sure what to do with them.
On the way to the Steens I stopped at two small ponds to look at some birds hanging out. This pond turned out to be Malheur Lake and Mud Lake, much smaller this time of year. After harrassing the birds with my camera I saw on the map there was a back road that goes through the middle of the refuge and took it.
The Alvord Desert is a dried up lake bed on the East side of the Steen mountains that gets around 4 inches of rain a year. It looks like a miniature version of the Atacama Desert in Chile. I tried camping out in the middle in a tent but the wind was blowing around 30mph and the tent was quite loud. I moved back to the edge of the lake and slept in the back of the 4Runner. The moon was super bright and you could see the whole lake at night. In the morning I went over to the hot springs and took a dip in the perfect temperature waters. It was really cool to be out there with only the birds chirping and water dripping. Here is a video from the springs
and another just hanging out