Potpourri

This evening I am headed out to see my daughter Kyrston and meet my Grandson Oliver, but before I leave I wanted to do a quick post with some pictures of what I have been doing the last couple of weeks.  I know I have been terrible about posting this summer and I am sorry for that.  One of the main reasons is our desktop computer has died.  This computer is the one I used for all of my pictures etc  and without it I don’t have a great way of creating these blog posts.

That’s all about to change though because I am sure I will have lots to say about my trip to see my grandbaby and of course LOTS of pictures.   As a sneak peek here is a picture Kyrston sent to me. I absolutely adore this picture.

In preparation for my trip I finally finished a couple of things.  I recorded the audio book for the baby and I finished my cross stitched baby blanket!!

 

It’s been a long time since I read a childrens book out loud. Thankfully it came right back to me.

It hasn’t all been work though.  Jack and I have been doing some exploring.  First we went to visit Little Crater Lake.

He took a big drink of the crystal clear water

Another day we went to White River Falls State Park.  This park is a small Day Use area that overlooks the falls created by a defunct power plant.  Although the falls were pretty, you can’t get very close and it is in a super out of the way location.  Jack was bummed because he couldn’t get close to the water and although I am glad I saw it I certainly wouldn’t go far our of the way to visit.

Huge signs when we came in. Apparently people used to try to kayak down these falls and there have been several deaths. Big fences keep people out now and the day use area has a camp host. I am guessing mainly to stop idiots from killing themselves.

 

Beautiful vista. You could walk down and go fishing but because there were no paths up to the falls I gave it a pass.

I thought it was cool that the dam was built in the early 1900’s.

What else?  On another day off Jack and I went over to North Arm campground to visit Parson.  The camp host there is a nice enough guy, but who everyone really loves is Parson.  Seriously last year Parson got more positive comment cards than any person.  I wanted Jack to meet the ultimate campground dog so off we went.

They did pretty good together although Parson was having one of Jack’s nonsense.

And on another night I finally got to try out the Tollgate Inn in Sandy.  I have passed this restaurant more times than I can count and I finally got to give it a try.  It was delicious!!  Best of all they have an extraordinary bakery.  I’m not kidding everything was super delicious and this entire box of goodies was already $9.  Actually it’s probably a good thing I had no idea that bakery was there because I’ve already put on 20 pounds since I quit smoking and that bakery would have made it more.

 

From upper left: Mountain Berry muffin, Strawberry Shortcake, Cheesecake cupcake, upside down pineapple cake, strawberry and cream bear claw. They were all fantastic but the pineapple upside down cake was the absolute best.

Speaking of quitting smoking, we are both doing really good with that.  Lee finally got off the Chantix and despite his concerns he hasn’t relapsed at all.  He actually went down a pant size and had to buy all new jeans.  I am at an all time high 152 pounds, which is really bumming me out.  I am trying to get out an exercise more, but it’s tough when you work all day.  I am moving some though because Jack is super high energy and wants several walks a day.

One last update…we have been digging into the medical bills and have a status update on that.  So far we have paid $2K in deductible payments all of which came from an HSA account.  We still owe $6,600 to the hospital but have applied for charity assistance from them.  We received a letter stating they are partially forgiving the debt, but we don’t know how much.  We should have a better picture of that within the next 7-10 days.  The only bill they didn’t pay at all was a cardiologist bill, which I have appealed with BCBS.  They didn’t pay it because the doctors were out-of-network, but it is not like Lee had a choice who saw him in the ER.

The biggest problem is the Helicopter Flight.  The bill was $59,000 and the insurance only paid $10K.  The helicopter company actually provides billing appeal services and we have given them the right to appeal on our behalf. I have absolutely no confidence that we are not going to get completely whacked though, and I contacted a lawyer through the Hyatt Legal Plan I signed up for at work.  One lawyer said their was no point in negotiating a settlement until the appeals process was complete, which was ok by I didn’t get a good feel from her anyway.  I think the cost of an 83 mile flight was ridiculous and want some assistance in getting it adjusted to something reasonable but she kept talking as if the power all lay in the company’s hands.  Anyways I have some calls out to other lawyers on that as well so we will see.  Just wanted to give you guys an update and let you know where we were at.

Tonight I fly out and will be in Charleston in the morning.  I don’t know how long it will be before my next post, but hopefully it will be soon!


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First Time in the Path of Totality

I would love to say I was smart enough to have planned being in the path of totality for this eclipse, but to be honest it was just dumb luck.  We accepted our job in Oregon because I liked the area and the pay was generous, and I was only vaguely aware that an eclipse was happening in the area this year.  It wasn’t until a good friend of mine Jim (who was smart enough to find a great job right in the main path of totality.  See their blog post here.) told me we were right on the edge, that it even registered for me.  Once we arrived though it was hard not to be aware of it.  Over one million tourists were coming to Oregon for this event and the radio stations and newspaper have been full of information about it for over a month.

Plus the various government agencies have been putting together plans.  Now I am a huge fan of plans, and risk management plans are some of my favorites, but even I thought it all might be overkill.  The agencies have been treating the eclipse the same as a natural disaster and their plans all reflect that.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the forethought and folks working so hard to get it right, but it started to feel a little like the Y2K craziness and folks started calling it the ApocEclipse or Y2E.  We even had an action plan for our jobs, and again I appreciated the forethought, but ultimately we are filling up toilet paper and cleaning restrooms, and that’s not really that complicated.

(I know you’ll be completely shocked, but I totally disagree. When it comes to large scale live events, there’s no such thing as too much planning, and there are the bad results of countless man made and natural disasters to prove that. And who would ever want to be the person that anyone, or worse, everyone, looks at when it all goes wrong and hear “Why weren’t you ready for X?” I would think that for people in those positions, there’s nothing better in the world than having a large heavy binder that they never had to open. We all got the same 30 page emergency preparedness overview from the company, and I bet I’m the only one of us that read every word, and I slept peacefully last night. – Lee)

National guard troops were stationed right outside our campground for 2 full days. But only 9-5 because apparently emergencies don’t happen after 5pm. (I’d like to point out that those things are pretty much useless once you’ve taken the 50 caliber machine gun off them. – Lee)

 

This sign was actually pretty cool, because after the fire last week we learned we are the first place people can call 9-1-1 on HWY 224. I was glad to see this and ultimately to have people stationed there, because if something did happen, we would not need to coordinate it.

 

Plus I was super annoyed by the raptures various radio personalities were having over the event.  I was in an eclipse in 1980, and yes it was cool, but not the “life altering event” folks claimed it to be.  The sky was dark, and back then we used pin hole viewers, and yes it was neat, but I don’t think my personality was fundamentally changed or anything.  The part that I remember the most was that all of the insects went quiet for a moment and that was pretty eerie.  I always thought that was a total eclipse, but Lee looked it up and turns out it was not.  This time we were going to be on the edge of “totality” and according to the experts that was something extra special.

Needless to say I was pretty skeptical about the whole thing and kind of bummed because Mondays are my campground day.  5 miles upriver at Moore Creek was in the path of totality but the campground itself was not.  I was trying to figure out whether I should take a break and go upriver, when one of my bosses stopped by and suggested I come upriver with them.  That was incredibly nice and allowed me to see the event guilt free, plus it was nice to have people to hang out with when it happened.  Lee came and picked me up and we found wonderful spots to watch the event from.

We had discussed taking pictures and I knew I couldn’t really get anything until totality but took my camera anyway.  Thankfully I did, because Lee had an idea to take the lenses from the glasses and tape them on the camera.  It was pretty low-tech but got the job done and he got some amazing pictures.  (I learned a long time ago that it doesn’t matter how you get the shot, it only matters if you get the shot. – Lee)  Plus the glasses themselves were very cool.  Our company supplied them and we had extras on hand to give to folks who were watching from Moore Creek, and I have to say that was a totally different experience than using a pinhole camera.  Being able to stare into the sun was pretty neat and we spent about an hour watching the moon cover the sun.

Lee’s improvised lens cover. The tape came from our truck’s first aid kit (Normally I carry a roll each of black and white gaff tape, but I was in the company truck, not my own. – Lee) 

 

 

Don’t worry he was being super careful with his vision.(I had the solar lens on while I was doing this. – Lee)

 

The glasses were so dark you couldn’t see anything but the sun. So you really had to stand still when you wore them.

After waiting quite some time it started to get dark and the air chilled considerably.  Birds started to make some evening noises and a twilight fell over out parking lot we were in.  Then we saw our first stars and finally the moon completely blocked the sun and we could take of our glasses.  We had a brief 20 seconds of totality and I have to admit it was pretty amazing.  No, it wasn’t life changing, but it was exciting, and we were especially transfixed by the corona around the sun, the aura around the moon and the rays of light that were on the ground.  That part was really neat and unexpected and the gravel parking lot was the perfect place to see the rays at our feet.  We took some pictures and video which tell the story much better than I can, but I will say it was a special moment and I am so glad I made the trip 5 miles to be in the totality.





The colored rays were caused by the lens but I liked the effect in the picture

 

It stayed in this phase for what seemed like a long time and then WHAM!… this is what we saw:

 

 

Very cool!

 


As the moon passed the sun started to peek out, and the colors were pinks and purples. This is as close as Lee could get to the “Diamond Ring” effect that people love so much about an eclipse. If you’ve never seen it, just do a Google image search for “eclipse diamond ring”.

 

Brief video of the ripples of light waves on the ground.

 

 


Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is also available in paperback.

First Time at Heceta Head Lighthouse

A few weeks ago I realized that three of our RV-Dreamers friends were both volunteering at Heceta Head Lighthouse at the same time, and were both staying at the Carl G. Washburne State Park.   This was pretty amazing, since they had never met each other, and it was a sheer coincidence that they would be at the same place at the same time.  We immediately knew we wanted to spend the weekend with them but weren’t quite sure how to work that out, and after considering moving our rig, or staying with Rick in his Class A, or taking our tent, we decided to take the tent. Not only would be get to hang out with them, but we would have a place to take our trial run with the new tent, and if things went horribly wrong, at least we would be with friends. At the end of our work day Monday afternoon we headed for the coast.

It was a 3-1/2 hour drive to their location near Florence, Oregon, but since we packed up the night before, we made it in plenty of time before dark.  After seeing everyone and exchanging hugs we started to set up the tent. Our experience with tents is very limited so we bought an “easy up” version, but “easy” is a relative term, so it did take awhile.  They had a fire going and gave us plenty of time to figure it out so eventually we did. It certainly was much easier than the tent we used when the kids were small but it did require some reading of the directions.  The good news is the tent worked great with plenty of space for  us.  We had an absolutely fantastic weekend with our friends and since I took over 1,000 pictures, I am going to largely let some of them tell the story.

Beautiful sand dunes near where they were staying

Rick and Jim/Diana’s sites were right next to each other. We stayed on Rick’s site but walked next door to get coffee in the morning at Jim and Diana’s!

Beautiful State Park one of the cleanest and best maintained I have ever seen

Lee was trying to figure out the tent. There were lots of strings we never really figured out how to use.

I liked the sun room area

There was plenty of room inside, lots of head space,  and yes, we took everyone’s advice and bought an air mattress Good call!!

They made dinner for us, so after getting set up, we sat around the fire and exchanged stories.  We all write blogs, but not everything is covered in those, so we filled in the blanks on what had happened since we last saw each other, and Rick and Jim and Diana got to know each other better.  Jim and Diana had been carrying around a present that they bought me when we were doing the beet harvest, which was so incredibly funny and sweet and Rick brought out a hard copy version of my cookbook and asked me to sign it.  That was the first time as an author anyone had asked me to autograph my book and was so kind it really brought tears to me eyes.

Diana, me. and Jim

And the very cute (and practical) spatula they bought me.  How cute is that!!

Signing Rick’s cookbook.  I really had to think about what to say and where to sign it.

The fact that they cared enough about us to go to that much trouble meant the world to me, especially since it has been a rough couple of weeks, and I will say again how blessed we are to be part of the RV-Dreams family.  They didn’t stop there though.  They really rolled out the red carpet.  They fed us dinner every night and breakfast in the morning, plus Rick let me use his shower. We even had an electric cord we could use to plug in a space heater at night and the site was free with them picking up the $7 per night cost of our parking pass.  It was a great way in which to try out our tent, and their generosity was amazing.  Hopefully we can return the favor in the near future, although it will be pretty hard to top!

Tuesday morning, Lee, Rick and I headed out to explore because Jim and Diana were volunteering at the lighthouse that day.  We knew we wanted to see Jim’s tour later, but Rick (who was off) also wanted to show us  the area.  First stop was Strawberry Hill a beautiful little day use area with lots of tide pools and seals. This are of the coast of Oregon is chock full of Day Use areas and campgrounds and it is all designed to allow the public easy access.  Fantastic!!

Walking down from the parking lot.  Rick’s very cool walking stick is made from part of a Yucca cactus.  It is strong but incredibly lightweight.

Beautiful coast views

These rocks are treacherous and we had to watch our footing, but so worth it

Maxine, (Rick’s dog), loves the ocean and exploring the tide pools

So many mollusks

We were able to get very close to seals on the rocks

Maxine couldn’t help herself though she had to get in the water near them. See the guilty look on her face when Rick tried to get her to come back

The seals were having none of it though and they all went into the water

They kept a watchful eye until we backed off a bit

We moved down to a different section of the beach and let Maxine fetch a stick for a while to get rid of some of that energy. She loves the ocean and is a joy to watch

Breathtaking! I did my best to capture the coast. All I can say is it is wild and untamed

This view from the Cape Perpetua scenic lookout does a better job of capturing it

Strawberry Hill is around the corner but the rocks we were standing on earlier are like these

 

We wanted to get down to the lighthouse when they first opened so we headed over the Heceta Head.  Volunteering at a lighthouse is one of those work kamping jobs that almost everyone wants to try at least once and there is quite a bit to recommend it.  This volunteer job has them working 4 days with 4 hour shifts and they give lighthouse tours all day.  Our friend Jim is a major history buff and his great-grandfather helped build a lighthouse, so this job was perfect for him.  I won’t get into all of the history of the lighthouse, referring you instead to Jim’s excellent blog post on the topic, but I will share some pictures of our experience there.

The only downside is the volunteers have to walk 1/2 mile each way to get to their job. It’s a beautiful walk, good exercise, and dog friendly

These two rocks are bird sanctuaries and were covered with sea birds

The views along the way were very special

 

This lighthouse keepers house has been turned into a bed and breakfast. It’s pricey but they serve a gourmet breakfast and they have wonderful views of the ocean and lighthouse

You can tour the B&B, but we were eager to get to the top and turned the corner to see Jim and Diana.

Rick, Lee, and Diana

Picture I took later of the area.  There are volunteers at the lighthouse and they take turns doing tours so in between they can stand at the rail, talk to folks, and enjoy these amazing views.  Nice gig!!

 

The parking lot we started at is down by the bridge, but despite the elevation change the walk is not that steep

Me by the lighthouse for scale. Jim took this picture and he has gotten pretty good at it since that is something they do for visitors

Jim gathering everyone for the next tour group

Lee was fascinated by the tour and Jim did an excellent job

The only bummer was you can’t go up to the top of the stairs. Still well worth the visit even if we didn’t have friends there

Next we went into Florence and treated Rick to lunch at Chen’s Family Dish.  This was the best Chinese food we have had on the road in three years.  Seriously, I gave it 5 stars on Yelp.  The restaurant was simple but immaculate.  The service was great and the food was reasonably priced, extremely tasty, and best of all, piping hot.  Really, really good and if you are passing through the area I highly recommend it.  After food we headed to Sea Lion Caves.  This is a really interesting attraction that has been in existence for over 75 years and has an elevator leading down into a giant cavern with sea lions in it.  The price was a little too high at $14, but the views were great, and the cavern itself was really neat.  I have never been in a sea cave before and really enjoyed it, although I did hear some people complaining about the smell. 

Walking down to the elevator we could see the lighthouse in the distance

These painted sea lions are around the area. This one was really beautiful

The elevator replaced the stairs that formerly went to the bottom and this drawing shows how big the cave is

 

It was tough to take pictures in here and no flash was allowed, but Lee managed to get a couple of decent shots

There was a neat waterfall on one side of the caves and a view of Heceta Head lighthouse in the distance

After the cave we stopped at a large pullout and I took a picture of the lighthouse.  This is one of the most photographed lighthouses in Oregon and bonus we got to see sea lions and a huge flock of Brandt’s Coromants on the rocks below.

 

Next we went back to the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center and learned that there were blowholes nearby and it was still high tide.  We raced down to the blow holes and had a fantastic time taking pictures of the action.  Lee and I could have stayed there all day.  Rick headed back to get dinner ready and let Jim and Diana know we would be a little while and we spent a very enjoyable hour exploring the blowholes.

Visitors Center

This berry guide will come in handy later on

The skull of an Orca. Jim said he saw 4 of them off the coast the other day and although we didn’t see any of these or whales the bones were pretty interesting

View from the visitors center

As you can see these holes were huge, and there were several of them

There was a hand painted sign stating people had died getting too close to these, but these folks weren’t detered

I hung back a bit, but Lee got right up in the action

There were holes and deep canyons, and lots of rocks. So very beautiful

One of my favorite shots of the day

And the coast itself was absolutely stunning of course, plus the skies cleared up and we even had a little bit of sun while we were there

Rick made us all fish he had caught on a recent deep sea fishing cruise and we had delicious Linc Cod and Rock fish

The we all decided to walk down to the ocean and watch the sunset

There was some mist on the ocean which made for beautiful pictures

 

And Maxine loved running and playing on the beach

We went back and talked and enjoyed a campfire until we saw that it was fully dark and the stars were out.  The five of us drove back to the lighthouse and walked up the path (with flashlights) so we could see the lighthouse at night.  One of the volunteers had told Jim to sit right under the lighthouse and look up, which we did, and it was truly magical.  We couldn’t really capture it with a picture, but it was like being under a kids crib mobile as the spotlights rotated and the clouds appeared to move. We were expecting to see a single beam of light rotating like at an airport, or a flashing light, but the lens rotates around the light, so you get 8 beams of light that spin and spin and spin. Very cool.

We all sat on the ledge and looked up at the night sky. That was a moment I will always remember.

We walked up to the top of the path and Lee took this shot at eye level with the light

This was as close as Lee could get to what we saw. In order to get any picture at all he had to take a long exposure, so the beams are really wide, but this is showing how far each beam travels in about 4 seconds. In reality the beams were much thinner. The beams are pure bluish white light and they bounced off the mist. You could also see them in rainbow colors when they hit the trees and hill behind the lighthouse.

We have been blessed to have many magical moments on the road, and doubly blessed that so many of them were with good friends.  This moment is one I will always cherish and Lee, who has always loved lighthouses, said it was his new favorite “on the road” experience.  Plus, we are really grateful that Jim, Diana, and Rick went out of their way to see us and made us feel so very welcome.  Rick will be coming our way and staying in our park for two weeks, and we hope to see Jim and Diana once they move onto their next volunteer gig in Oregon.  These moments really remind me of why we became full time RVers in the first place, and it couldn’t have come at a better time! Thanks guys, and can’t wait to see you again. Below is a short video with highlights from the trip. As always, it’s better to watch it in 720 or 1080.

 

 

 


Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is also available in paperback.

First Time on the Oregon Coast

We decided to take Thursday off.  Well actually I decided to take Thursday off, but Lee has a hard time just sitting when we arrive at a new place.  He ended up running some errands (which included going to 4 different stores looking for split top hot dog buns…obviously he is a big fan) while I mainly sat and read my book in the sun.  It was a nice day, and although we were expecting a very strong thunderstorm around 4pm, that storm missed us and we didn’t actually get rain until almost 11pm.  It’s pretty obvious at this point rain will be a factor this summer, so we need to be smart about when we do things and what we do.  To that end Lee and I started a Word document with a list of things to do in the area, and we will add to it as the summer progresses.  We have found it’s a good way to not forget about things you see or hear in passing, plus you can mark things off as you do them.

Thankfully there are tons of things to do in this area and on Friday Lee wanted to try the Oregon coast.  It was scheduled to rain all day in our area, but the coast looked somewhat clear, plus neither one of us had ever visited the Oregon coast before.  It’s roughly a two plus hour drive to get over there, but we are fine with long days and packed a lunch and headed out.  The first place we stopped was the town of Tillamook which has my very favorite ice cream and cheese dairy.  Unfortunately, the town itself was pretty torn up with a large construction project and the visitor center for the dairy has been closed for a major upgrade and they only have a small temporary store in it’s place.   It was pretty lame, and more importantly, their prices on the products were no better than you see out in the world, although I was a fan of their cheese tasting area.  I didn’t see anyplace to tour the factory, which was also a bummer because I would have liked that.  Worst of all I was hoping for some bargains on their ends and pieces, but the selection was minor and the prices weren’t really that much discounted.    Still, I am glad I got to visit, but I would prefer coming back once the new visitors center is completed in the Spring of 2018.

I did get to sit in the cheese bus

This was the interactivity portion of the temporary exhibit…lol

The store part was well stocked

And they had other cool local products, albeit at high prices

This cheese tasting bar was really good

We did spring for this cool ice cream scoop because it was very heavy duty and neither of us had seen one like it before. Plus it says Tillamook!

After our quick tour of the facility we headed to the Three Capes Scenic Drive.  Lee read quite a bit about it and although the article said it was clearly marked we still had some trouble finding it.  Part of the problem was that the road to Cape Meares (which was the northernmost part of the road) was closed.  We ended up finding an alternative route to get there and I was glad, because this State Park ended up being the coolest thing we saw all day.  By the time we reached the park it was close to 2pm and it was raining, so we parked the car facing an overlook and ate inside the truck.

The view from the truck was pretty good

And even better once the rain let up a bit and we could snap some pics

Since it was still sprinkling a bit we layered up and walked up a .1 mile path to see the Octopus Tree.  We visit nice trees wherever we go, but this one was very unique and was very cool to see.  We even met a guy who said he has a picture of himself when he was a little boy sitting in the tree, but it’s all been blocked off now to protect the tree. They also have trimmed several of the branches, but despite all that it still ranks up there with some of the coolest trees we have seen on our travels.

Lee walking up the path

The Octopus tree with Lee for scale

The base

After seeing the tree we walked down to the lighthouse and thankfully the rain had stopped and the sun even came out for some pictures.   I don’t mind light rain, but you just can’t take as good of pictures in it (well at least I can’t) and you get something extra in color when you have good sunshine.  So when you hear me lamenting the rain it’s not because I am worried about my hair or anything (it actually holds up well in the rain lol), but the pictures I could have gotten on a sunny day.  But that’s definitely part of the deal up here and the main reason everything is so beautifully green, so we will work with it the best we can.

All kinds of birds nest along these cliffs including puffins!!

Walking to the lighthouse we could see the top of it.

And you could stand right next to it which was pretty neat. Never seen that before

It’s a very small lighthouse, but you could walk right up inside

Lots of cool picture opportunities. See Lee through the red glass on the left

Lee likes lighthouses

Rainbow prism on Lee’s hand from the sun coming through the glass

 

We took a different path on the way and saw some more beautiful views.  Lots of birds hang out on these rocks but too far away for me to get a picture of any of them

Not sure what kind of bushes these were, but there were tons of these little flowers along our path

After the lighthouse we had high hopes for the rest of the drive, but unfortunately it was a bit of a bust.  We have taken the drive along the coast in Northern California and there are many more places to stop and see the ocean.  Here, the bulk of the drive was views of trees, which were beautiful, but precious few glimpses of the ocean, at least along this route.  We did like the fact that 100% of the beaches are public owned in Oregon, but many places also have very tall houses on the ocean side of the road so all you can see is them.  Still it was a pretty day and it was nice to get out and there is so much more coast to explore.

Some views were pretty

The towns were neat clinging to the hills and on both sides of the road

And we saw the first of what I am sure will be many rainbows on the way back home


Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is also available in paperback. 

First Time Camping in Mount Hood National Forest

There are several different ways to get from Nevada to Oregon, and because we wanted to avoid the recently hiked California fuel prices and explore the road less traveled, I picked Nevada State Route 95.  As I have mentioned before, I use a large paper Atlas to keep track of the roads we have already been on, and this section of road was a new one for us.  Although it was incredibly barren, I found it quite beautiful, and the road was well maintained throughout our drive.  We also skirted Death Valley and from what little I got to see, it definitely calls for a longer visit in the future.  The rock formations were stunning, and although the desert was missing my favorite Saguaro’s it was beautiful in it’s own way.

When we travel we generally look for either free campsites on US Public Campgrounds, Passport America, or  Freecampsites.net.  All things being equal we will take a decent Passport America option because they are generally close to the roads we are traveling, and are more efficient for one night, but this area of the country has lots of free land to camp on so we got a little more creative with our choices.  Due to where the campgrounds were available we chose the amount of travel miles per day, and unfortunately it broke down to two longish days with a short day in the middle.  I would have loved to have evened that out a little, but since we were traveling in sparsely populated areas it was more difficult.

Our first stop was a great find  at Sportsman Beach which is a free BLM campground near Hawthorne, Nevada.  This campground is right on  beautiful Walker Lake and the views were stunning.  Plus we saw wild horses and burros along the lake edge and there were only a few campers there.  Sometimes you stumble across a place and wish you could stay a few more days, and this definitely would have been one of those places, but as usual we were on a schedule to reach our next work gig in time, and that was not possible for us.  Still, we were glad we stumbled across it as it was a nice end to a long driving day.

The view from our campsite on Walker Lake.  The picture doesn’t really do it justice, and yes, the water was that blue.

Next was a short day where we stopped in Winnemucca, Nevada.  This is the last town before hitting Oregon and they had a decent Passport America park called New Frontier RV Park where we got full hookups for $19 for the night.  The sites are crammed close, but all brand new and beautifully maintained.  It also had tons of little three person cabins, which turned out to be man camps for the miners who work nearby.  We saw lots of man camps up in the Dakotas, but this one was really nice and new.  I hope they manage to keep it that way, because it was a nice place to stop for the night.

 

The next day was the longest drive because we wanted to be relatively close to our summer gig in Mount Hood National Forest.  There were lots of choices of routes to take, and since we had to cross some mountain passes we ultimately ended up trusting the GPS route.  One advantage of  our Rand McNally RV GPS is that it knows the length and height of our RV, and will avoid potential hazards.  Standard maps on Lee’s phone and of course the paper map don’t really help with that much, so when in doubt we tend to trust the RV GPS.  Plus, cell coverage was pretty spotty, but the GPS works well despite that.  It doesn’t always pick the most efficient route, but it does pick the safest, and since these were all new roads for us we chose to trust it.  Even using it though we had several downgrades that were not well marked with highway signs.  We were both surprised since generally there is good signage, but there were some long steepish grades that had no signs at all other than telling trucks to chain their tires on the climb.  It’s tough driving blind in these situations and was pretty stressful for Lee, but he did a good job especially when our route to the campground took us down into a deep canyon in Terrebonne, OR.

I had found a Passport America site that was pretty far off the main road, but the price was right, and we headed that way.  Unfortunately it was the worst kind of Passport America with beat up old trailers and worse, no availability, but luckily there was a very nice Good Sam park just a mile down the road.  We were both tired and unwilling to drive up the canyon to find another place so we spent the $35 and stayed at River Rim RV Park.  Although the sites were close to each other, hardly anyone was there, and since they put us in the camp host site we had a beautiful view of the surrounding cliff walls.  Lee also discovered a little path which took us to an observation deck and the views were stunning. I probably wouldn’t want to stay here in season, but what a great choice for one night, and we enjoyed both the full hookups (we needed heat because it was cold that night) and the beautiful setting.

The view from our site

View from the observation deck

The next day we had only a few hours to drive and it was a good thing because we had to go over several mountain passes.   When we finally stopped for lunch it was at Government Camp, and I was surprised to see some people sledding in the ski area that still had snow on the ground.

We drove out of the snow pretty quickly though, and eventually made it to Promontory Park.  It’s not open for the season yet, so it required some coordination to meet someone to open the gate, find our site, and get keys, but everyone there was super nice and accommodating.  Our site isn’t finished yet, so we were given several choices and eventually ended up in the general area we will be staying for the summer.  We have 50 amp power, potable pressurized water, and they brought us a waste tank so this will work for a week or so until they have an opportunity to finish the pedestal and move the storage container out of the way. The site was a little disappointing at first, but then I saw a path and a short walk down took us to a beautiful boat ramp we can hang out this summer. Once we get all settled in it should be nice and quiet, plus since it is outside of the campground proper we won’t have folks knocking on our door at all hours.  There will be two campground hosts for the campground next door, but we will be covering the marina and a couple of offsite locations.

We needed to be close to power

The storage container that will be moved so we can move back and down a bit

We have a peekaboo view of the lake

The trail leading down to the Clackamas River

The flowers are starting to bloom

View to the left

Stunning view to the right

I sat on the dock and put my feet in the water, which is deep and pretty chilly but felt great in the sun

These Yomes are sort of like a yurt. They’re close by and their path meets ours down to the boat dock

Once we arrived and got set up we spent the rest of that day and the following getting oriented.  This part of Oregon is full of really small towns and each one has it’s own personality.  More of that in the following months, but for right now we found a Supercuts and got hair cuts, grocery shopped at a WinCo which is an employee owned grocery store with fantastic prices, and a great selection, and saw Mount Hood!! You can’t really miss the mountain, although with the very tall trees, views of it sort of spring on you and since it creates it’s own weather I am sure we will be taking lots of pictures of it.  Everything was super green and in bloom and the weather (rain aside) has been wonderful after the desert.  The contrast between the two landscapes has been striking.

One of the upriver boat launch areas with changing rooms that. This is part of what we will be covering.

This is around the corner from us and on our daily rounds! The road we live off of is an Oregon Scenic Byway

We saw numerous waterfalls including one 200 feet high!!

Big trees pulled out of the river near the marina

Hooray!  Cheap and consistent hair cuts for the summer

Part of how I judge an area is grocery stores and this was was one of the very best we have seen and the staff was super friendly

Mountain views from the highway

We drove closer to the mountain to get this pic.  The mountain has 11 glaciers on it so I am sure you will be seeing more of it!

So, first impressions are fantastic.  I traveled to Portland for work many years ago and fell in love with the area, and I was hoping it would be as I remember.  Super green, people are generally very friendly, and lots and lots of nature.  The traffic is pretty congested, but since we will be working weekends hopefully we can avoid the worst of it and unsure about the weather but yesterday was 82 degrees, very sunny, and absolutely beautiful.  Oh, and our We Boost is working so I am able to blog from the comfort of our rig.  Our booster has been hit and miss on the road to be honest, and usually it’s not worth the trouble of putting it up.  But in a situation like this, where we are in one location for a while and have a very weak signal, it works pretty well.  We barely had one bar and couldn’t do anything but text before putting it up and now we can use the internet and make phone calls.  It’s not a perfect solution, but I am really glad we have it.


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Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is also available in paperback.