Friday, July 12, 2013

Back To Oregon - Again

This trip we have been back and forth between Idaho, Oregon and Washington several times. Not a lot driving, as many of our destinations were just across a state line.

We have had hookups and stayed in more private campgrounds this trip than ever before. Washington state parks are pricey, not as much as California's, but getting there. As we head south we hope to get back to parking where there is nothing but horizon and the cost is low or free. The stats so far:

  • Private - 13 nights at 6 places
  • Public - 54 nights at 19 places
  • National Parks - 10 nights at 5 places
  • Free - 13 nights at 9 places

Dry camped 40 nights. Hookups 42 nights. A BIG change for us.


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Our last free parking place

Wednesday, July 3 - One of the things we like to do when we travel is to visit state capitols. The outside of the capitol in Olympia is less than impressive, as they used local sandstone which discolors quickly. But once you step inside, it's breath-taking in it's grandeur. They used three different marble's and all the chandeliers are one-of-a-kind by Tiffany. The main chandelier weights 7,000 pounds made of bronze. Obviously they are priceless since Tiffany no longer does that kind of work. The capital was started in 1920 and only took a couple of years to complete.  It is the most impressive we have visited.  In the afternoon, we took a kayak trip on the Hood Canal.

All of the lighting in the Washington Capital is by Tiffany. These are two examples. This is said to the heaviest chandelier in the world. It's larger than it appears as the room is huge.

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Thursday, July 4 - We arrived in Portland and have "camped" in our friends driveway.  They are at their beach house and won't be back until Saturday. We are certainly glad to have a place to stay since everything is full for this week.  They have a very beautiful home and you can tell that a lot of time has been spent in the yard.   
Friday, July 5 - We went to the Rose Gardens and the Japanese Gardens, which is the reason we are here. There were so many types of roses so I didn't even try to remember the names. There was a Cambodian couple having their wedding pictures made and were wearing the traditional bridal attire for the occasion - lots of gold on the bride.  The groom was less than happy about the whole thing, but he smiled and posed when necessary.  

 Taken In The Rose Garden Of Portland's Washington Park 

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 The Japanese Garden in Portland's Washington Park 

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Saturday, July 6 - Another grocery shopping day.  We have been to Costco, Barbur World Market and Safeway.  I am amazed that our small refrigerator and freezer can hold everything we bought, but we will eat well for the next week or so. Don replaced backs of the kayak seats. Good thing as mine has been broken since I first fell in it a long time back. 

We ate dinner with Mary Ann and Debra at the Thai Orchid Restaurant. I had Evil Jungle Noodles. I could not resist the name. Chicken, bean sprouts, in a curry over a bed of cabbage and rice noodles. Yum

Sunday, July 7 - I needed to do a little laundry and Mary Ann & Debra did it for me - how's that for wonderful hostesses!  I cooked dinner for them and their friends, Merl & Jerry.  It was a little more difficult cooking a large meal along with dessert when you only have one mixing bowl.  But everyone seemed to enjoy it.  The broccoli salad was a big hit.  Jerold Packard is an author of nine books.  The one I want is "Victoria's Daughters", that's Queen Victoria.  I told him that we were going to the Maryhill Museum the next day and he told me that one Victoria's granddaughters was a contributor to the museum.  We had great conversations all afternoon and evening.

Monday, July 8 - We bid goodbye to Mary Ann & Debra, but not before they gave us blueberries and thick sliced bacon.  They are absolutely the best!  We met fellow campers, Ken & Cora.  The Maryhill State Park is extremely expensive - $41 and I can't say that it was worth it.  It is along the Columbia River, which seems to always have wind.  Our campsite had Cottonwood trees which were really dropping "cotton".  My throat was a little scratchy and I had a dry cough - maybe pollen related. [Peach Park CG adjoins the state park. $25 for W&E. No reservation fee, no dinging out of state people $6 to stay at a state park.]

Tuesday, July 9 - We all went to the Maryhill Museum.  It was built by Sam Hill who had a friendship with Marie, Queen of Romania, one of Queen Elizabeth's granddaughters.  There is a collection of royal memorabilia which includes her coronation gown, crown, silverware, ornately gilded furniture and jewelry along with other memorabilia.  They also had an area dedicated to American Indian artifacts.  There was much that we had never seen before.  It was even better than the Neah Bay Museum.  One thing that they had that I had never seen before was a collection of chess sets - talk about ornate!  By this time I was getting tired and coughing a lot more so we made a brief visit to the Auguste Rodin Collection of drawings and back to the RV.  

Wednesday, July 10 - I was really sick and probably only awake about 3 hours all day.  Don cooked spaghetti and I was even too sick to enjoy that!

Thursday, July 11 - We had been wanting to return to John Day National Monument for several years. It is divided into three units, Clarno, Painted Hills and Sheep Rock.  The Painted Hills are spectacular at the right time of day and we got there at the right time.  We thought that we would need air conditioning so we went to the Mitchell City Park to spend the night.  Mitchell, OR is another small eastern Oregon desert town that does not have much going for it, but we did appreciate the park.  Of course, the weather was perfect and we had no need for electricity.  Oregon has a lot of city and county parks where you can camp and they are usually reasonable.

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23 John Day09 resizeThe Painted Hills in late afternoon

Friday, July 12 - We continued our John Day tour at Sheep Rock unit. We were most impressed with Cathedral Rock.  We had no idea where we would spend the night, but found Grant County Fairgrounds in John Day. It has dry camping for only $11 and a much needed Verizon signal. We parked under a large shade tree and surfed the afternoon away.

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Cathedral Rock at the Sheep Rock unit of John Day NM

It looks like we are going to be using private campgrounds on our way to Colorado. Highs in 90's are forecast for all the valleys in the surrounding states the next few days. Oh and gas prices are going up, again. Our printer died. Curse Canon. I did not get to paddle the Deschutes River. If it's not one thing it's another.


  1. On our travels through Washington State, we too found the state parks too expensive. We paid a day use fee one time which allowed us to visit several parks on Whitby Island, but we made it a point of not spending the night in one. As a resident of California I refuse to pay the high camping fees they charge. It's too bad that they have been priced out of reach for many.

  2. Hot here too in Ohio and will be parking with hookups after tonight. I have the generator and the a/c going until the sun goes down and it cools off a little, hopefully.
    Hope to see you in Colorado.