Thursday, July 28, 2016

Oregon Continued

Friday/Saturday - July 22/23 

We are in Time Out. Not where we want to be, but need to be. The Ford engine did strange stuff. Originally, we were going to have it serviced by Northside in Portland. I had an oil change done there years ago. They were nice and more importably they welcome RV’s. Most shops will not consider working on them. We were not able to find an RV park anywhere close to Portland, so we bailed out and went south to Salem and spent two nights in a county park. We were able to stock up on pita bread and more fav beans in Portland, so it was not a totally wasted trip.

We turned 90,000 miles this week. We had the spark plugs and coils replaced two years ago. The only other major repair we have done were brakes this year. Now this, what ever it is. Hoping for something simple.

We shopped at WinCo and Costco. A few states allow groceries to be sold in bulk. That’s a feature of Winco in Oregon. Several isles of bulk food.

Sunday - July 24

We drove an hour south to Junction City, to an RV service center. It’s huge. Over 450 RV’s, plus parts and rentals. They have parking for those needing service. At least two dozen places with electric hookup.

A friend turned us on to Greg Brown’s tune Eugene. Since we are are close to Eugene I thought maybe one of you might enjoy hearing the words. It captures what we seek roaming around out here.

Monday - July 25

Turned out the service rep I talked to Saturday was a new guy. The rep I encountered today was not at all interested in even discussing engine work. He did refer me to an independent garage with experienced Ford mechanics. I went there and talked with the owner for awhile became convinced he knew what he was talking about, was fine working on RV’s, but they did not have an opening until Thursday. We bailed for the cooler beach an hour away and will be back in Junction City for service Thursday morning.

We are parked in one of our old haunts south of Florence. Surprise, the campground is maybe half full. Quite a change from what we have seen the last few weeks, well actually the whole trip.

Nice to see these again

The lagoon behind our site. Usually there is a Blue Heron on duty.

Tuesday, July 26

We took the Jeep on the sand. Kinda felt like we had to as our sand driving decal expires the end of this month. The marine layer was heavy, but well offshore. We did come on this eagle. She looks more like a cardboard silhouette in the light. But, we certify that she did fly. 

We went to the library in the afternoon and used their bandwidth to download season 4 of Orange Is The New Black. We would also be willing to certify that this library patron reliably votes for Democrats.

The Lady In A Hat
Wednesday, July 27

Intentionally got away late as we were not in a hurry. We got the oil changed and parked at the casino for lunch and nap. Then we undertook the arduous 90 minute drive back to Junction City. On the way, the garage called and asked if we could come in Friday instead. We were almost there, so he said come on and they started on it soon after we arrived. We are parked next to their building with electric hookups - needed in the mid-80 heat.

Check out the control hut/living space atop this abandoned train crossing of the Susilaw River. I think the operator must have been quite busy since there must have been hundreds of boats tied up along this river judging by the mooring pilings that go upstream for miles. I suspect there were also many canaries. It’s all gone now. No commercial fishing at all.

Thursday, July 28

They found a small leak in the hose that goes under the battery and the dryer? to the dash. That repair was booked at 6.5 hours because of all the stuff that has to be removed. They did not have the time to do it and it works well enough for now.

They had no idea about the antics of the evil engine. We have driven it five times since then and had no problems. No codes. He tweeted a few things and cleaned the Mass Air thingy and something else. We are headed south where there are no mechanics for hundreds of miles. Will we have more problems?

Dorothy wanted to go to Eugene, so we did. Spending one night here. Went downtown to a used book store. Homeless people all around. In the paper they are discussing what city park to move a lot of them to. Same deal going on in Portland.

Friday, July 22, 2016


Parting shots of the Palouse

A rancher had collection on sat dishes painted with whimsical designs strung out along the road for a half mile.

I did take one picture of the mountains and the lake south of Joseph.

Sunday - July 17

We stayed an extra day at the swell RV park in Prosser because Dorothy was not feeling all that well. She recovered in the afternoon and we had the pool to ourselves since the weekend crowd was gone.

One year old Alpaca’s snacking

A fruit, new to us, is called a donut peach. The taste is a mix of peach and plum to me.

About half of the stores in Sunnyside cater to the Mexicans who work in the vineyards.

Monday - July 18

Another day we should have stayed in bed. We woke to gray skies and the prediction of rain to commence at 10 and conclude at 12. Such precision. I thought we should get west before it hit. We left at 8. It hit after driving six miles. So much for prediction precision. We pulled off I82 to wait and see what was going to happen. You see I spent the better part of an afternoon a few days ago washing both vehicles. It was the first time they have really been clean since we left. I did not want to see my efforts spoiled in a few miles of driving. 

We went to an Ace Hardware and replaced the toilet seat. That was fun. Replaced a few other items that were worn or lost, surfed the web for awhile, found some more donut peaches, had lunch, took a short nap and then it was 1, the sun was out and we were on our way.

Glenda showed a complicated route using most of the roads in northern Oregon to get to our destination - near Government Camp. I stupidly did not check her route on the map. Big mistake. She took us on a scenic tour on rural roads, that added at least an hour to the trip. She favored a direct route to staying on I84. Going through the Dufur Valley we had a fine view of Mt Hood directly ahead of us for several miles. We finally got to the campground at 5 to be greeted by a Full sign. There are too damn many people not working.

Thankfully, Oregon has hundreds of SnoParks, which are large paved parking areas and there was one across from the campground. I was asleep before 9. About 6 this morning, I heard a car coming down a gravel road which I had blocked with the rig. There was a No Trespassing sign so I was not concerned about it when I parked, if I even noticed the road in my stupor. I was going to move for him, but found I had left the lights on all night. By this time, he had found a way to exit and even offered to jump us off.

Tuesday - July 19

Our quest for a home was quickly satisfied when we noted dispersed camping on the road to the campground. Bigger sites, sun for the solar panels, two bars of LTE and it's free. So we have the rear end of KoKo in the trees and the solar panels in the sun. The boat launch is a mile away and also features garbage pickup.

It's great to be back in the Oregon forests. Nothing like them anywhere.

Wednesday - July 20

Out in the forest the only access we have to the RNC is by PBS. It’s a hoot to hear the libtards ridicule the speeches. For instance, after Don Jr’s. speech they said nothing about the speech, but condemned him for killing wild animals and his birth sign. Yep. Then one said he had actually interviewed a delegate from Mississippi. He yammered on about something to do with people attending church in Mississippi. I would bet not a one of them was over 30.

We are thankful the campground was and still is full. We have a better deal here and it’s free. We looked at the site we had in 2013. It’s more open than most, but I don’t think there is enough sun to fully charge the batteries.

We got on the lake at 9 and there were already 10 yaks in the water. When we took out there were another 10 ready to launch. We recall being about the only ones on the water in 2013. There was one group of about a dozen, who had bought all the right clothes, had boats that cost $3,000+ and the some really fancy Thule yak racks that allowed the boat to be swung down to waist level with one hand. That’s a good thing when you are five foot nothing. They launched and talked to each other for 90 minutes while we paddled around the lake. We made do with the clothes we wear everyday and my 6’4” allows me to get the boats up and down without any trouble.

Mt Hood

Sometimes Hood has clouds

Sometimes not

Sometimes it has it’s signature lenticular clouds. [Note, someone juiced the heck of the green]

If you keep up with lunar positions you could get this photo.

Whatever, it's one of the more majestic mountains in the lower 48.

Malcolm Forbes put With all thy getting, get understanding on the masthead of his column. It’s taken from Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

I have spent a life trying to understand. I am re-reading Democracy In America. It is amazing to me that a man of 25 years could so thoroughly understand the culture of America in the short nine months he traveled here. All the more remarkable since most American’s have no clue about their culture.

Campground Full - All this trip we have seen campgrounds close to capacity. Aside from Yellowstone, the places we have been to are not top destinations. And even in Yellowstone, the place we parked was not desirable to most as it did not have hookups.

We paddled Timothy Lake today and noted it was full, as was another one more off the beaten track. We have encountered several private campgrounds that were full. We are trying to get reservations in Portland, but so far all are full. We have never encountered these conditions before. Cheaper gas? So many people not working? Cheaper RV’s?

The Oregon Trail - It usually took from 4 to 6 months by wagon traveling 15 miles a day to complete the Oregon Trail. We have beat that time and from a farther starting point. We made it in only 3 months. But we are so glad to be “home”.

Friday - July 22 - We have enjoyed our days in the forest. We are headed to Portland this morning to see some friends, shop and hope to learn what's going on with the Ford. It acted possessed for awhile Tuesday.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Idaho to Washington, Back to Idado, then Washington Again, then Oregon, Parked in Washington

We have crossed state lines so many times, I am dizzy and confused.

Monday, July 4

We said our goodbye’s to Heath, Jennifer, Hunter, Taylor, and London. We hope to see them again some where on the road.

We wanted to notch two more waterfalls before parking, but we were foiled in every way. First the town of Bruhl was having a parade from 8 to noon. Must be a one-hellva-parade that is fours hours long. We were routed around the town and so we missed the information center where I hoped to get waterfall directions. We saw Thousand Springs from across the Snake, but photography was not feasible because of the really tacky RV park, bar and grill, etc. that blocked the views. We could see a dirt road on the other side of the river, but I could not locate a bridge in five miles that would get us there. We were not prepared and did not have the time to unhook and spend a hour or more figuring out how to get to the base of the many falls, after having lost an hour in the detour around Bruhl.

Anywho, from the picture you can see that water exits from lava tubes in the gorge wall and cascades over the basalt cliffs. Kinda cool. It’s not my picture and it was not flowing that much in July.

When I read the fine print on Dead Man Falls, I found that the stream is dammed and it only flows over the dam after a major rain storm. Being extremely dry, we passed on it. We parked and I am cooking meat sauce.

End of the waterfall quest. Tomorrow, we head north.

Tuesday July 5

Off at 8:30, west on I84 to Boise, then north on ID55 to Cascade. We parked at Horsethief Campground. No one else on our loop. We have a water view. Odd campground, there are 120 numbered spaces, only a few level enough for a motorhome, but it’s free. Thanks Idaho Fish and Game.

The south bound traffic on 55 was almost bumper-to-bumper for 30 miles. Guess they were coming home from a long fourth weekend.
The drive through the 30 mile long canyon with the Payette River crashing down was quite scenic. 

Wednesday, July 6

The day did not go as planed. I planned to stay near White Bird. I recalled it as being at the summit of the canyon the Salmon River carved. Wrong, it’s at the base of the grade at about 1,000 feet. Far too low for comfortable temps. So we climbed, went down, climbed again and then went down to Orofino. We had good memories of a COE campground on Dworshak Reservoir. Memory failed again. We wound up at a COE CG alright, but not the one we recalled. Getting to this one involved a steep 2,200 foot ascent on a windy road that really had KoKo huffing and puffing. Then we had to descend to the lake, 1,600 feet down. I went down in first gear with generous application of the brakes to stay at 25 around the many curves. But, after crossing the bridge, we found we were not there yet. We had to go back up 700 feet and then back down to the lake. There is not a straight stretch over a hundred yards long the entire 19 miles of the road. I was already exhausted since we started out at 8:30. We parked at 4 having gained an hour going to Pacific time. A really long 19 miles. Did I mention the logging trucks on the “crookedist” road in the states? It makes the Caliente to Bodfish road seem tame.

The campground is fine, typical COE. Very quiet. Full hookups for $10. The appeal is to fishermen. We have four bars of 1X, but the data connection is slow.

Idaho took over the COE campground we recalled. Idaho has a mystifying few structure. We were going to stay at one the other night, but they wanted $33. We parked across the street in a nice enough park for $25. Washington charges the most, but Idaho is close behind. 

We downloaded almost a terabyte of movies and TV shows before we left Montgomery and we have been watching something almost every night. Anything David Milch had a hand in writing is good to us. Such as Hill Street Blues and NYPD. This is our third time through The Soprano’s and we still miss some key lines. Sub titles would be helpful. Bosch is one of the new shows we enjoy. And the fourth season of Orange Is The New Black is out.

Thursday, July 7

We needed groceries, so we took the windy twisty road back to town and did laundry, groceries and had one fine lunch. I had Enchiladas in a mole sauce. Devine. Dorothy had some tasty burritos.

Friday, June 8

Our care package arrived, so we took the windy twisty road back to town, got the package and went back to same restaurant. A different cook or the cook was drunk, the food was only so-so.

Saturday, June 9

We rested.

Sunday, June 10

We took the windy twisty road back to Orofino and then north through a river canyon winding up in Colfax, ID. This is the home of large scale wheat and bean farming. The area yields twice the normal amount of wheat per acre. That means most of the homes are well tended. And the scenery of the rolling hills suits our eyes. The hills are steep and the machinery is tracked.

We saw the hills when they were solid green with wheat in 2013. This time 45 days later in the season, some fields were green, some were golden, some were mixed.

Monday, June 11

We spent the day driving a loop from Colfax to Moscow to Pullman and back to Colfax taking pictures and eating along the way. The BBQ place in Moscow was closed. Second choice was a Thai restaurant in Pullman we had enjoyed before. We let lunch settle while surfing at the library until it was time to go on the WSU campus and get a milk shake at Ferdinand’s.

Tuesday, June 12

Having taken a few pictures of the Palouse we headed south to the Wallawa Mountains for sentimental reasons. We were there on our first trip in 2006 and wanted to make a short return visit. 

The Palouse is on a plateau, about 2,400 feet. You lose 1,600 of that quickly descending to Lewiston on a continuous 8% grade. I counted four truck run-a-way exits with signs that there is no fine for using them! Does that mean that a trucker, in another state might say: I could not afford the fine, so I just crashed the truck into the school bus.

We re-provisioned at Costco and Walmart. Glenda went bananas when we crossed the Snake. She had us in the river, off the road and was twisting the display around like she was possessed. I followed 12W to Clarkston and she finally decided that Costco was indeed just a mile down the road. We have never had that behavior before.

We headed south on WA192, a dandy little road that goes gently up to 4,000 feet and then descends like a rocket to the Grande Rounde River. Having lost all that elevation you go back up again and finally slowly drop into the the Wallowa Valley at Enterprise, OR. Taking the road was another trip down memory lane.[Grande Rounde. Several pronunciations, some locals prefer something that sounds like Grond Rond]  [Wah la wa, long a in the middle syllable]

It was a really long day. Glenda forecast 2.5 hours. We left at 8 and parked at 4:30. We toyed with a dispersed site on a mesa north of Enterprise on the rim of a canyon. We wimped out because of no phone coverage. We are so addicted. The place we planned to park in Joseph was closed. We checked out a forest service place, but there was only one RV spot and it was of course taken. We wound up at the super popular state park for a mere $30. Within a hour I was ready to leave. People everywhere, a family spot. No fires, but plenty of smoke.

Wednesday July 13

We were away by 8. We stopped at the Forest Service office in Joseph and a cute ranger, Sara, advised on the place to go. We are parked along the Lostine River in a valley of the same name. Very quiet and few people. It’s the first FS CG we have seen in years - one not operated by a concessionaire. The nightly bill is $3. Every once in awhile a breeze brings in a cell phone signal. The aroma of pines, firs and spruce fills the air. Nothing like an Oregon forest. The Wallowa Mountains are on both sides on us in a narrow canyon The mountains are steep, steeper than the Siskiyou’s on the other side of Oregon.

Thursday, July 13

We parked at a casino near Pendleton. Tried to dry camp, but it was way too warm, so we moved to hookup section. We got the last place. We enjoyed the pool and stayed up way too late with our neighbors.

Friday, July 14

We are winging it this trip. No planing and it’s starting to cost us. We planned to stay at a private campground in Sunnyside but they were booked full for the entire weekend. The owner had no idea why, especially since it was full on a Sunday, usually the slowest day of the week. Dorothy found another place in nearby Prosser, but the tariff is $35, rather than $12. Actually, WA added three taxes to the $35 for additional $7.71. It costs more in a welfare state. Grumble.

When we checked in, we saw some friends walking to a wine tasting in town. I thought they were leaving Prosser today, but they are here through Tuesday. Small world. 

We spent way too much buying some chocolate covered cherries. We got produce at the Fiesta Market, cherries, cantaloupe, jicama, etc. The prices were not cheap, but they were the best we have seen. We were the only angelo’s in the place. Today was payday and there was a line half around the store of workers getting their pay checks cashed. They bring them from the vineyards to the store in busses.

Next stop was Taylor Cellars. They were out of the wine I enjoy,  but Dorothy was able to score two bottles. After a swim, we went to a wine tasting in the RV park.

Saturday, July 16 - Sunday, July 17

Eating, drinking, soaking in the pool and running our yaps. Still no idea where we will go next. Probably a lake south of the Columbia and paddle the yaks. We just can not get it up for Washington. It should be appealing to us as it’s next door to Oregon, but it’s another world to us.

In this type of park you meet the folks who never ever park without full hookups. They are also in a different world.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Montana To Idaho - Searching For Waterfalls

Dorothy writes: One more word about Yellowstone National Park. This is the 100th Anniversary for the National Park System and it is being heavily promoted. Two other reasons for the large attendance is 1) the prospect of terrorists in Europe is causing more people to avoid international travel and 2) gasoline is not expensive as it has been in the past few years. According Motorhome Magazine, 400,000 (that's right - 400,000) new RV's are expected to be purchased this year! That's a lot of people camping.

We think a thousand dollar entry fee for Asians entering National Parks would improve the situation. As it is, the parks are being used to enrich tour firms.

Saturday, June 25 - We drove to Bannock State Park today. We were not expecting much. The cost was $6 per car.  We were very pleasantly surprised. Sixty historic log, brick & frame structures remain standing in Bannock, many quite well preserved and most can be explored. After the gold mining disappeared, the town began to fall into disrepair. The property was acquired in 1953 by Chan Stallings for $1400 with the intention of donating it as a state park. There were a few residents still there. The last person died in 1967 when her car ran over her. Some of the buildings were used as summer homes, the last one was purchased in 1985 by the state. One stipulation was made as part of the donation: it was not to be made into a tourist town like Virginia City, the ghost town atmosphere was to be preserved.

We had a personable and knowledgable tour guide to explain the town’s history.

With regret, we are leaving this tranquil place, Clark Canyon, and heading on a waterfall pilgrimage in Idaho.

Sunday, June 26

Interstate travel today on I15, the only way to get to our destination. About half-way there, I looked east and there were the Grand Tetons. 60 miles away the shape was unmistakeable.

It was difficult for me to turn south. I normally keep going in the same direction - inertia. We will resume our NW direction when we get to the west side of Idaho.

We have made almost a complete circle back to Yellowstone. Almost, but a not a complete circle. We parked on the Warm River, a unique Forest Service CG because they have planted ornamental trees. Our campsite is right on the river, which is warm and shallow for wading. Dorothy put her chair in the water and soaked her swollen feet.

We were looking for a place to fill the fresh tank. While at a rest stop I asked a guy in a fifth wheel. He gave me a puzzled look and finally stammered “You mean to fill your water tank”. “Yes”. “You need to check into an RV park”. “No, we don’t care to do that”. “What are you going to do, park on the street”? “I could explain it to you, but I doubt you would understand”. I walked away shaking my head, thinking he was what we call a Concrete Camper, An Easy Off, Easy On Camper. We found what we needed in the town of Ashford. Bless them for providing a dump and fresh water.

Monday, June 27

Water fall day. We viewed the lower and upper Mesa Falls. No need for hiking. You can see the falls from the overlooks. Besides the canyon walls are vertical.

Mesa Falls

We also spent a few hours at Harriman SP. Mostly going through the cabins that were built from 1902 to 1908 for the Harriman’s and other swell folks that owned shares in the cattle ranch. All I knew about Harriman was from Butch Cassidy movie. You may recall that Butch and Sundance liked to rob trains. And the guy responsible for the safe in the rail car was Woodcock. His line was “Butch, you know that if it were my money, there is nobody that I would rather have steal it than you. But, you see, I am still in the employment of E. H. Harriman of the Union Pacific Railroad!”

I was astounded that the cabins were furnished and none of the stuff was walking away. We saw a lot of vintage stuff that would sell like hotcakes on Ebay. You could sit in the homes and look out on the vista of the river and mountains undisturbed. We did not see a park employee and few visitors.

The heat is back. It was 90 today. We spent the afternoon in the shade with the Endless Breeze fan on us. And bottle of Mimbres white wine. Not bad. This place has numerous bird species, two very colorful ones. We are too lazy to look them up.

Tuesday,  June 28

Off early to Cave Falls which is in Yellowstone, barely. The access road starts in Idaho and then you go down 12 miles of gravel to a dead end. Cave Falls is only about 20 feet tall, but what it lacks in height, it makes up for in width. At 250 feet wide, there is no wider waterfall in the park. Plus it’s a short walk from the parking area to view Cave Falls. If you are a hiker there are six other falls in the area from a few miles to a dozen miles. Heck, you can hike all the way to Old Faithful, just 31 miles to the east.

Cave Falls

We got away from Warm River by 10 and arrived at Fall Creek Falls 2.5 hours later. Took some pictures of the photogenic falls and scampered back from the sheer drop. Got Huckleberry ice cream to reduce my stress.

We had to ask where these falls were. I had read they were only a 1/4 mile from the campground. About a mile actually, but there were no signs and we did not see them on the way in. When I asked I found out you can see where they are on the road back to the highway, but unless you twist your neck around they are not visible on the way in. The Forest Service took down the signage for fear of liability of people falling over the edge. I was not comfortable on the narrow uneven ledge, so I can understand why.

Fall Creek Falls

Wednesday, June 29

Planned to paddle the yaks on the Snake. Thought about it last night and decided it might be too much for Dorothy - very fast water. I considered doing it myself, but it would be only half the fun for me. So we had a lazy morning surfing the web and then spent an hour chatting with the campground host. We did not get away until 11.

We found a decent city campground in American Falls and enjoyed the air conditioning. After weeks of procrastinating and having no idea where we might be for the holiday, we selected a campground in Twin Falls with W&E to hole-up in for the holiday. We have a project we have neglected for years. I will tackle it as we will have access to hardware stores. And Costco! It will be our first in two months. It’s been over a month since we were in a big box store town.

Thursday, June 30

We did a long, 90 minute drive, from American Falls to near Twin Falls. We are holing up in a county park located in the crop fields. W&E for $15. We are the first here for the holiday weekend. There is a nice breeze off the reservoir.

Friday, July 1

Shopping Day, Costco - Woohoo! More groceries from Fred Myers. Then a 42 cent purchase at Lowe's and $2 worth of small string at Jo Ann Fabrics and we think we can repair the damaged rear window shade.

Bagged two water falls in Twin Falls before the shopping spree.

 Shoshone Falls

Perrine Falls

Interstate Trivia - We normally shun interstates. This trip we have used several of them. Most for short distances, but still… We started off in I85 in Montgomery to I65 to Birmingham, then I59 and I40 to Oak Ridge. Since then back on 75, 65, 74, 80, 90, 25 and now I84.