Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tillamook, Oregon

We took off for Tillamook Elks Park on a Thursday before a holiday weekend.  Thank goodness Dixie, the host of Elks Park, had a space for us.  We have stayed at this Elks Park about 3 times.  It is South of Tillamook about 4 miles and located well off Hwy 101 so that we did not get highway noise.  There were 21 older sights and they are adding 16 more.  Some of the sights were used for the Holiday weekend.  The picture to the left shows the expanded area.
We continued to have some smoke in the air during our 11 day stay but not as bad as Bend.  One morning the sun was that orange ball again.

During our stay we meet up with some Boomers.  Lonnie and Ellen Riddle were staying at the Elks Park along with Tom and Marjorie Mahoney.  Georgia Griffiths was staying at an RV private park located about 5 miles away.  She invited us to a Labor Day picnic at her place.  She cooked chicken and we provided the side dishes.  She has two dogs she just adopted and they are a handful!

Georgia, Lonnie, and Dean at the picnic.

Dean and I stayed close to the Elks during the holiday weekend.  I picked blackberries, walked over an hour daily and practiced my ukulele.  We did not want to venture out on Hwy 101 during this busy time.  After the weekend we did some exploring.  We drove to Girabaldi, a small fishing town north of Tillamook, and took a hike and checked out the RV parks and fishing charters.  

Dean and Chica walking the hiking trail in Girabaldi

On Tuesday night we celebrated Ellen's birthday at camp.  I provided the cake, Georgia brought the ice cream and several Boomers showed up to celebrate.

Ellen Riddle celebrating her birthday.

Joe, Debbie, Dean and Georgia around the fire at Ellen'e birthday.

On Wednesday, Dean and I drove to Coastal Trail head near Netarts, Oregon and did a 5 mile hike.  It was a very nice hike starting off level with great views then turning into tree roots and some grade changes.  It lead to an overlook which was not too impressive and then we returned to the trail head.

End of the trail

Chuck and Jan Moore joined us on Thursday afternoon.  She brought produce from her sister-in-laws in Washington.  She split this huge head of cabbage with me.

Patsi Green and Mark Borseth came over Saturday and the girls went to the Farmer's market in Tillamook and then to the Dahlia festival close to the Elks.  Beautiful flowers.

Patsi, Jan, and me at the Dahlia festival.

On Sunday the 3 couples went on a short hike to Munson Falls.  This is a very pretty hike very close to the Elks Park.  After the hike we had Happy Hour and a pot luck dinner.  On Monday we finally left the Elks Park after 11 days.  

Mark Borseth, Patsi Green, Chuck and Jan Moore, Judy and Dean

Bend, Oregon

We had planned to stay at Bend for a week over Labor Day weekend.  We made reservations at Newberry RV park in La Pine, about 10 miles south of Bend .  This is probably the tightest RV park we have ever stayed in but we were pretty desperate since it was the holiday weekend.  We paid for a week at $37 per day (weekly rate).  The first day we drove to the Lava Tube but it was closed because of a fire in the area.  Then we walked around the Sunriver resort just to get a little walk in.  We went to the LaPine state park and did a walk along the river.  The smoke was getting pretty bad.  We walked to the Old Tree - the oldest Ponderosa Pine tree recorded.  When we got back to the campground we both decided that we definitely could not stay here for a week.  We called the office and said we wanted to leave after two nights because of the smoke.  They were very nice and said that we could get our money back.  

Walk along the river.

Smoke on the road between Bend and LaPine

The Oldest Ponderosa Pine ever recorded

The next morning the sky was so full of smoke the sun looked like an orange ball in the sky.  We tried to see some sites in the Bend area.  We could not see the mountains and really did not want to be outside much.

So we went to Bend and had a nice lunch at Greg's Grill in the Old Mill district and then walked around there (shops restaurants along the river).  We went to the High Desert Museum.  We could walk around inside and see the exhibits on the Indians, settlers, and military in the area.

A collared lizard at the museum.

One of the Indian village displays in the museum.

Next we drove to the Lava Tube where we could not go the day before because of fire.  They put the fire out so we were able to walk the 3/4 of a mile walk in the tube.  This tube is very big, very dark, and a pretty good hike to get out of the smoke.

We left after 2 days - besides the smoke in the area this closeness really did not appeal to either of us.  It made Dean very nervous on how he would get out but he pulled her out very smoothly.  

Our rig is on the right of the picture and our neighbors slide out is inches from the side of our rig.  Way too tight!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Great Basin, Nevada to Summer Lake, Oregon

We left Cathedral gorge and traveled Highway 93 to Great Basin National Park.  We had picked the only campground in the park that could accommodate our size rig, Baker CG, but when we got on the very rough gravel road to the CG we changed our minds and decided to stay at a private park called Border Inn.  We paid $23 per night and stayed 2 nights.  We highly recommend their restaurant - Dean had a patti-melt and I had a chicken wrap.  Both excellent!  It is called Border Inn because half is in Utah and half in Nevada.

Sign with Wheeler Mountain in distance

The first day we were there, Dean had to drive to Ely (60 miles away)to get a part to fix a shade that had fallen down due to the rough gravel road in the Park.  So we did not do very much today.

The next day was the great Solar Eclipse.  We decided to go to Baker Archeological site between us and the national park.  

This is the site of an Indian village but not much remains except the foundations and we did not think they were the original.

So we got the funky protective glasses from friends in Prescott and we used them!  We even lended they to another couple who was trying to view the eclipse thru a tarp with a hole in it, reflecting on a piece of paper. 

We tried to take a picture of the sun by putting the protective glasses over the lenses.  The sky never got too dark, kind of like a cloudy day with no clouds.  And the temperature cooled slightly.

Next we drove up to the park and did the scenic drive to the last campground which is at the base of Wheeler Peak.  This peak is the second highest peak in Nevada at 13,063 ft.  This road is paved and we, of course, were not in the motorhome.

After the drive to the top we stopped at Mather Lookout for a picnic.  Here is Dean eating his sardines. 

And Chica came with us for the day.  She is enjoying sitting under a tree, eating her cookies.

The only problem with taking Chica is National Parks do not allow dogs on hiking trails.  So we could not do any of the numerous hikes that day.

Dean and Chica did not want to go to the Lehman Caves but I did.  So I paid my $5 (with my Senior pass) and got on the 1 PM  tour which lasted over an hour and a half.  Dean took Chica to a stream and they watched the deers.

Lehman caves can only be entered with a ranger guided tour. We had a wonderful guide who was very knowledgeable and funny.  The cave extends a quarter-mile into the limestone and marble of the hillside.  Absalom Lehman explored it in 1885.  He lead tours into the cave for $1 a tour, including a candle, that was suppose to last 4 hours.

Lehman caves has familiar formations like stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies, flowstone and soda straws.

When Lehman lead the tours by candlelight it was acceptable to burn your initials into the ceiling with the soot from the candle.  One room is has multiple initials in the ceiling.  Early types of graffiti.

Lehman is most famous for its abundant shields.  The shield to the right is the Parachute shield.

The next day we decided to camp at Sacramento pass which is very close to the park and Border Inn.  But it was so beautiful here, free, good hiking, that we wanted to stay at least one night.  We both regret not staying longer.

We only had to drive about 30 minutes from Border Inn.  We didn't even hook up the jeep to the motorhome.  Sacramento pass is over 6000 ft elevation so we were nice and cool.  This is a free campground operated by BLM.  There are about 5 sites where we were, closest to the highway.  And then another 5 sites about a half mile, on a good gravel road,  south of the main CG.

There is a little pond in the middle of the campground.  Even through we were close to the Highway, we had very little noise.  During the afternoon 3 more campsites were used by tent campers.  

So far this is our most favorite campground on this trip.  We should have stayed more than one night!

The next day we drove the loneliest highway in America - Highway 50 from Ely to Austin, Nevada.  We wanted to stay at Austin but it is built on the sides of a canyon.  Not very level.

After Austin we drove Highway 305 to Battle Mt. then interstate 80 to Winnemucca.  The next stretch was very desolate - Highway 95 and 140 to Denio Junction.  This was a very long day for us - not stopping until around 6.  We boondocked in the parking lot of Denio Junction.  The next morning we wanted to have breakfast there.  It was the worst breakfast we have ever had.  It took 40 minutes and the food was horrible.  DO NOT EAT AT THIS RESTAURANT!  but it was an OK place to boondock.  

We continued on Highway 140 into Oregon.  This is a pretty scary road in Oregon with 8 and 7% grades and windy roads.  Some of the drop-offs were very scenic.

We drove to Ana Reservoir RV park north of Summer lake.  Full hookups with an Escappee discount for $24 per night.  The park is very nice and the owner, Jay, is very talkative.  The only downfall was the smoke from the many wildfires burning in the state.  

The next day we drove to Fremont Point which is about 23 miles from our RV park.  This has spectacular views of Summer Lake and the surrounding area. 

The road is gravel but with the jeep if was comfortable.

At the peak is a forest service rental cabin.  We hiked up to the cabin and over to the supports from a lookout tower that has been removed. 

On our walk we saw these bushes loaded with butterflies. 

After that short walk we drove back down the road to an abandoned forest service road.  I counted 13 trees that we had to either crawl over and under on the road.  And there were many more small trees that we could easily step across.  But is was a nice hike, cooler than the campground and less smokey.

The next day we took a drive to Fort Rock, north of where we were staying.   We first drove through Christmas Valley in search of Hole in the Ground.  But when we got on the very washboard gravel road to this hike, we decided against it.  So we went on to Fort Rock.  This is huge rocky structure resembling a fort and there are hiking trails in and around it.  

Fort Rock taken from the town of Fort Rock.  We had an excellent lunch at the bar and grill in Fort Rock.  

I toured the old historic town and museum in Fort Rock for $5.  Dean sat in the shade and waited for me.

This is a picture of the old school room.  There were many other historic cabins, church, store, and doctor office, and blacksmith shop

We decided to stay two more nights and then stay at our next campground until after the Labor Day weekend.  We have just been hanging our at camp doing projects, practicing ukulele, walking, etc.  This is a fishing area and last night some very nice Oregonians gave us a 16 inch trout for dinner.  Boy, was it good.

On this mornings walk we saw a man stop his pickup and get out.  When we walked up to him he said "I saved you". He had gotten out of his truck after spotting a rattlesnake in the middle of the road we were walking on. He killed the snake before we got to him and buried the head.  I think that he was going to take the rest of the snake home to eat.  He said that he has seen more rattlesnakes this year than ever.  We thanked him and went on with our walk but we were much more aware of our surroundings!