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.