Page 55

We’ve been on page 55 of our Oregon Road and Recreation Atlas for 6 days now. We’re getting to know the area from La Grande south to Baker City and west to Sumpter really well. In the process we’re realizing that some of the roads that lead into the Blue Mountains are probably not meant to be traveled by RVs such as ours, we think they are really meant for Jeeps, 4x4s and ATVs. But, what can we say, we’re on an adventure of sorts.

Last night we found a really nice camp spot in the forest and we were hoping to find something similar today a little further north. We headed to Anthony Lakes to check it out then turned around to look for camping at a lower (and warmer) elevation. Since we were in the National Forest we thought we’d be able to find something pretty easy. Not so…

The first road we took went from public to private land repeatedly and with each change in ownership came a change in the road quality; good, level, gravel road to rutted, uneven, potholey road, over and over. There was no possibility of turning around so we had keep pushing on. The whole time we were hoping no one was traveling on the same road in the opposite direction, someone would have to back down the mountain and that wasn’t going to be us. We drove along a cliff side for awhile before finally ending up at the road that would lead us back to the pavement.

After that adventure we took a right down a road that follows the base of the mountains hoping that it might lead us to a campsite. It was a horribly wash boardy road. We couldn’t go above 2mph without the dishes in the cupboard bouncing violently into each other and threatening to escape out onto the floor. And then there were the cows who broke free of their fence and were standing confused in the road, they didn’t know whether to run away from or get closer to the rattling beast coming their way. Eventually that road started to head into the mountains like we wanted. It was getting dark and we were getting hopeful, until the nice, groomed, gravel road became someone’s driveway and we were once again on a gnarly dirt road. This time though we had the addition of giant rocks sticking up like teeth waiting to bite into the tires and trees that wanted to reach out and touch the rv, which they did, every surface of it. After about a 1/2 mile and 30 minutes we finally made it to a spot about 12′wide where we could turn around our 32′rv. It took walkie talkies and about a 20 point turn but we did it and as slowly as possible made our way back down. No damage, just a bit of pin striping and a mildly bent generator pipe, and maybe some scratches on the cargo rack but nothing major or worth note.

So, by then it was dark, we were hungry and frazzled and craving pavement. We drove south back to Baker City and found a parking spot at the truck stop we had visited this morning. It’s noisy and we’re under a street light but whatever… we had enough adventure today. We might just stick to the pavement for awhile, at least for 1 day.

Ahhhh, vacation

We’ve had a really awesome vacation so far. We’ve done a lot of hiking, had a lot of campfires, done a little bit of relaxing, we’ve visited great friends and made new great friends!

We spent the last 4 days in Sumpter, Oregon riding ATVs, exploring old gold mines and dredges, eating delicious home cooked meals, watching the deer and wild turkeys walk through the neighborhood, and really just enjoying time spent with wonderful people. We could have stayed there forever. It was difficult to leave.

Right now we have our Forester in the forest and we’re sitting around another big campfire.

More stories and pictures to follow eventually. Probably after vacation.  :)

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Our Forester in the forest.

Ahhhh, vacation

We’ve had a really awesome vacation so far. We’ve done a lot of hiking, had a lot of campfires, done a little bit of relaxing, we’ve visited great friends and made new great friends!

We spent the last 4 days in Sumpter, Oregon riding ATVs, exploring old gold mines and dredges, eating delicious home cooked meals, watching the deer and wild turkeys walk through the neighborhood, and really just enjoying time spent with wonderful people. We could have stayed there forever. It was difficult to leave.

Right now we have our Forester in the forest and we’re sitting around another big campfire.

More stories and pictures to follow eventually. Probably after vacation.  :)

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Our Forester in the forest.

Suppin at Sumpter

Americana… Only found in “small town” America.

We made our way through Eastern Oregon to the town of Sumpter. There we met some folks who kindly invited us into their home. We met their friends, rode their four-wheel quads on a tour of local gold mines and ended up breaking fresh home-made bread with our spaghetti dinner the host prepared…

Sigh… Such hospitality. Genuine American hospitality.

OH..Did I mention they put us up on their RV pad (with full hook-up) in the driveway?

Today we will help cut firewood for some folks in town that can’t do it on their own.

Our reward? Getting to be a part of the genuine Americana we found in this lovely town…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumpter_Valley_Gold_Dredge

Day 6 of our vacation and we’ve already lost track of days.

We left Othello this morning after lots of food shopping, food eating and socializing. Dizzy was sad to leave his friend Jinx…

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Even if Jinx did take over his bed.

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Now we’re enjoying our campfire at Woodland Campground, a Forest Service campground between Weston and Elgin in the Blue Mountains.

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Tomorrow we’ll drive a couple of hours to our easternmost point to do some hiking, kayaking and maybe even some swimming! The October weather has been amazing here in Oregon, still in the 70s!

Our October vacation, days 1-4

We’re on day 4 of our month long vacation and we’re hanging out in Othello, Washington.
Day 1: We left Stub Stewart around 11, dropped the trailer and Mustang off in storage and moved a whole 40 miles south to Champoeg State Park. The park had a few big events going on so we were super lucky to snag a site. Day 1 also happened to be our 1st anniversary so we went in to Canby on a recommendation and had a delicious Thai dinner. The rest of the evening was spent chit chatting around the campfire with some of our favorite people. Good times as always!

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Champoeg colors on an absolutely gorgeous day!

Day 2: On the way to the next park we stopped in Aurora to walk through Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage. Awesome place! Someday when we’re building our little cabin in the woods or fixing up our converted barn, this is where we’ll find what we need.

We stayed at Milo McIver State park that night and ran into another good friend of ours, small world in the parks… A few sites down from us was a family of Pugs! Dizzy got to be part of a grumble for a little while, he didn’t know what to do! We hiked one of the many trails before settling in around the campfire for the evening.

Day 3: We got up bright and early and hiked our kayaks down to the lake for a morning float. It was another gorgeous morning and the water was perfectly still. We could have spent the whole day out there but had to move on, Dizzy was not ready to get out of the water.

We packed and showered up and drove down the road a bit to check out another trail before actually hitting the road. We didn’t go far, about 50 miles north to Ainsworth State Park. We hung out around the fire, played some horseshoes and walked a few loops around the campground.

Day 4: Slept in, packed up and went for a short walk.

We ended up in Othello, WA where we’ll be storing my car with friends. We have some stocking up to do and a few little things around the rig and then we’ll be taking off in just the RV for our vacation!

Did anyone see the Eclipse? We missed it, it got cloudy.

Last day of summer!

Today is the last day of summer and we’re on the road home.

Yesterday was the Host Party at Cottonwood Canyon State Park so we drove the couple hours over and camped out. The party was a blast and the food was delicious! The stars were really gorgeous and clear last night so we left the rain fly off the tent for star gazing. So, go figure, we woke up to rain (in the desert) at the crack of dawn… oh well, it’s needed here and it got us out of bed early enough to enjoy the day.
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After we packed up we studied the map for awhile and decided on taking a back road home,  not unusual. This time we went through the woods around Mt. Hood. We eventually came across the trail to Ramona Falls and decided on an impromptu hike. Total prep fail for us though… we only took one bottle of water between the three of us and didn’t check the map and distances on the way in. Bad hikers! After much talk of turning around but continuing on anyway we finally made it to the falls! Awesome!! So worth it!

We’re in Sandy now about to indulge in the pizza we earned on our random 7 mile hike.

Mountain Music Festival

Happy Labor Day!
Today we took our first trip up to Mt Hood to watch the Mountain Music Festival at Timberline Lodge. It was a beautiful day and the music was awesome! We couldn’t sit still though and spent most of our time just wandering around the mountain side.


Now we’re eating dinner in Sandy at the Sandy Family Restaurant. I was expecting your typical Dennys style fare but was surprised with gourmet at a great price! And, local foods, bonus! Oregon beef, Oregon caught salmon, Oregon hazelnuts, Oregon huckleberry sauce and local, fresh, seasonal veggies. All delicious! Dave got the bacon-wrapped top sirloin with fries, I got the hazelnut crusted salmon. So good!
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On the way home now to what we can only imagine will be an angry Pug-son. He had great caretakers today though and has already had dinner, so maybe he won’t be too upset…

My own personal handyman!

Every Sunday Dave runs the generator and the truck as part of his routine maintenance/upkeep/keeping the critters out of the engines. Last Sunday’s run turned that routine into a not-so-routine repair. 

As he was walking toward the control panel to turn off the generator we heard the sound of something getting caught in and being thrown around by the metal fan of the generator. So, Dave “calmly” runs over and shuts down the screaming machine and just as “calmly” goes outside to see what happened. What happened was: the wing nut that holds the metal air filter cover on rattled loose over time causing the cover to fall off and bounce into the fan only to get thrown around the compartment with enough force to destroy itself, the starting solenoid, the foam that covers the fan and the plastic piece that holds the foam over the fan. Luckily it didn’t get into the engine… So, we “calmly” go inside, get online and order the $40 dollar solenoid and continue on with our day. We got it in the mail the other day and Dave installed it yesterday and beat the air filter cover back into somewhat reasonable shape, it will be put back on with a bolt. So, for those of you in RVs with generators, you might want to occasionally check the wing nut on the air filter cover to make sure it hasn’t rattled loose…

So, that was yesterdays repair. Today’s repair was the toilet! 

Toilet parts and lots of tools in the hallway...probably not a good sign.

Toilet parts and lots of tools in the hallway…probably not a good sign.

Things wear out, it’s just the way of the world. In an RV, things seem to wear out often. This time, it was the seals and the flush ball in the toilet. Age and heavy minerals in the water (which are different at every park we go to) built up over time until the seals warped and the toilet no longer held water. Not a horrible thing but annoying, especially when it’s the water held in the bowl that keeps the smell of the septic tank out of the living space. It was actually a pretty easy repair (according to my personal repairman) and could have been done in about 2 hours if the repairman didn’t do any cleaning (which would probably not be done at a repair shop). It only took Dave an additional hour to scrape off the mineral deposits (and other nasty build-ups) from the sewage pipe so that the new flush ball wouldn’t get scraped up like the last one, that step alone should help the repairs last longer. And those same hands cooked our dinner as soon as he was done… 

We also replaced the toilet seat. The flimsy, plastic one that came with the RV was starting to degrade. We bought a regular house toilet seat for $20 at Lowe’s. It’s much sturdier than the original and looks really good. And it was about 1/2 the price of the direct replacement, $40 for another flimsy, plastic one. 

The toilet and generator parts we ordered from AnyRVParts.com. Best prices, our orders were accurate and arrived quickly. We’ve ordered from them a few times with no issues! 

Dizzy wasn’t allowed to supervise today…

Dizzy is so bored!

Dizzy is so bored!

 

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