Dust & Rust: We Went to Descend on Bend — Again

September 13, 2022

Dust & Rust

We Went to Descend on Bend — Again


by Ben, Simpler Ways


The dust has settled, and our rigs have since been washed off - but the memories are vivid, and the feelings intact. Here's a little write-up of our experience attending what has become one of the largest van gatherings in North America — and most definitely one of our favorites!

Once again, we went to Descend on Bend. Far into the Oregon high desert, where the sun burns the skin during the day and a dry cold penetrates it during the night. In a sea of pine trees, thousands of humans gather here every year, in search of like-mindedness. Four days during which all cohabit - vehicles, humans and doggies of all ages - and share a laugh, a meal or a dance with each other. 

 Descend started as a campout with friends, and it's still a campout with friends. Many friends. The summer's end is near, and in one last attempt to soak in the heat, all drive from around the continent, sometimes even beyond, to join the happiest, sincerest gathering of them all. Hundreds of vehicles park in circles, some in the hills or amongst the trees. 

And the fiddle starts playing; the annual barbecue, a tradition, is prepared by the same volunteers every year, enthusiastically wearing aprons and snapping their pliers around; Chad from Autobahn Coffee brews gallons of fresh coffee every morning; the raffle gets many excited, while kids enjoy the soap-and-slide in a burning heat. All around people are having fun, making new friends along the way.


 What made all of us gather here, in this uneasy environment? The love of great people reunited in the great outdoors. The feeling of togetherness. Being with people that have put the same passion and energy in building their home-on-wheels. That skoolie kid playing with that Westy kid. That unimog dog running after the sprinter dog. Roadside stories and travel tips are shared over the fire, and sincere laughs can be heard until late at night. 

On Saturday, here's this other tradition from Descend: the Syncro run. Anyone willing to crawl their vehicle along the gnarly path leading down to the hole enthusiastically joins the roaring caravan. Pedestrians walk along, their faces covered with bandanas, contemplating the line up of impressive vintage rigs. Syncros, Troopers, Pinzgauers, 1st gen 4runners, beefed up bay windows and split windows even... it's a truly impressive mix. 

 In the dust pit, a large circle is formed. Bikers are going around in donuts covered in a sticky dust. In the middle, a sand pile: the most adventurous will jump their rigs, to everyone's delight. No better place to break a CV: on this day, the sum of suspension parts and mechanical knowledge down this hole is greater than in the entire Pacific Northwest. 

"Our nomadic community is about to spread out once again, and each rig will be taking their owner onto new adventures."

When, after four days, the exodus starts, we witness many accolades and contact information being exchanged. 

Promises of meet ups in the spring. 
Of shared road trips to be taken in the future.
Of recommendations for a nearby hot spring or a faraway camp spot.

Our nomadic community is about to spread out once again, and each rig will be taking their owner onto new adventures. But everyone is on their way with a head full of shared memories, promising themselves they'll be coming back. We know we will!


See you on the road.



Our product selection from Descend

We rolled in at Descend with some of our favorite products to demo, which gathered a lot of interest. We wanted to give you a chance to check them out on this page.

Lounge

Trippy Outdoor chairs

Trippy Outdoor chairs
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KAMA - Origami foldable mats

KAMA - Origami foldable mats
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Van shelf & straps

Leafted - Van shelf & strapsView product

Evapolar - Air Cooler and Humidifier

Evapolar - Air Cooler and Humidifier
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Post-surf & shower


Post-shower mat, made of algae

Clean Ocean Design - Post-shower mat (made of algae)
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Lava Linens - Flax/Hemp Travel Bath Sheet

Lava Linens - Flax/Hemp Travel Bath Sheet
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Tool storage


Venture Libre - Westy Cabinet storage

Venture Libre - Westy Cabinet storage
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Official Toolroll - Voyager Tool Roll

Official Toolroll - Voyager Tool Roll
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Coffee


Hand-painted camp mugs

Hand-painted camp mugs
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BruTrek™ - Collapsible Pour Over

BruTrek™ - Collapsible Pour Over
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Reusables


TOMbag reusable garbage bags

TOMbag reusable garbage bags
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Marley's Monsters - Linen Bowl Covers

Marley's Monsters - Linen Bowl Covers
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And more

Aeronaut - The warmest overquilt you'll ever own

Aeronaut - The warmest overquilt you'll ever own
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Leafted - Handmade van broom

Leafted - Handmade van broom
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Venture Libre - Handmade seat poncho

Venture Libre - Handmade seat poncho
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Boondoggle - Westy socks

Boondoggle - Westy socks
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Register now for DESCEND ON LOST SIERRAS

Tickets for Descend in Lost Sierras are now open for purchase! Join hundreds of others from Friday May 26th to Monday May 29th 2023, in California! Head over here to register and get updated.

Descend on Bend is part of an event series owned and operated by


Descend On

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