Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Crazy, Crazy week. July 21-29.

The views leaving White Salmon

 Plains of Central Eastern Oregon on the way to Bend

We headed to Bend, Oregon to the Elks Club for a few days.  Ultimately we will be going to the Thousand Trails in Sun River but had to go back to Leaburg to pick up the tools and then go to Portola, California and drop them off.  When I arrived in Bend I went to the post office to complain about the mail be so screwed up.  The post master said she couldn't do anything about it and to be patient.  BE Patient!  It has been almost two weeks?

Why Portola? I still have a stick house in Verdi where Jason has been temporally staying and storing all his belongings  since Rhonda passed away and moving back from Tennessee. Jason and I were able to find a cute, affordable, piece of property near Portola which he could move into.  The draw for me is that the property is level, quiet,  AND has room to park the motor home.  The Gold Lakes area is 1/2 hour away with lots of hiking, biking, backpacking, and boating...the perfect place to park for awhile during Spring, Summer and Fall. The Feather River is within walking distance too. Joel's tools will have a home in the shed and will be used in the future as the home needs a little TLC and there is plenty of room for expansion.

 RV parking with views of Bristol Mountain.

We drove down to Verdi on Friday and escrow closed Monday. We dropped the tools off on Monday; Helped Jason load up the Uhaul and moved his stuff out of my garage and into his new digs on Tuesday; and we headed back  to Sun River on Wednesday.  Whew.  Too much driving.

On Monday (27th)while in Verdi, I called the post office to find out where the mail was and also checked with my mail forwarding service. The tracking showed the had been to Eugene, then to Portland again and back to Walterville again and forwarded once more on the 22nd. From the 23rd to 26th it had been going back and forth between Eugene and Portland.  The lady on the phone was very nice and provided a "case number" and explained that they would look into the problem and it would be 48-72 hours before someone would get back to me.

We arrived in Sun River late on the 29th and Joel picked up his mail, which he had ordered on the 24th.  Ouch.  I check the tracking and my mail had been forwarded from Walterville (again) on the 27th but there has been no activity since then. I wonder where it is going this time.

The Thousand Trails in Sun River is packed and there were no hook up spaces available so we are dry camping in the overflow area which is great.  It's nice a clean and grassy and very quiet.  I am ready to stay put for a while.

Eugene, Portland, White Salmon, and Columbia Gorge, July13-20

We headed to Eugene to see Joel's family and good friend Barbara. Our plan was to black top camp at the Valley Shopping Center in Eugene, however the RV parking was taking over by the shuttle bus and parking for the Fair so we scooted over to the Moose Lodge in Springfield.  Joel's had some tools stored at his brother-in-laws house in Leaburg  which  wanted to retrieve  before  the house closed escrow.   He spent a day sorting and setting aside tools with the plan to return and pick them at a later date.  I'll get into that later in another post. With that out of the way we headed to Portland to get the truck outfitted for towing.  Up until now I have been  driving the truck and following the motor home.

On July 9, I had requested my mail be forwarded to Waterville, Oregon, which is a few miles from Leaburg. Usually it takes three days and some times four to arrive.  On Monday I check and no mail.  We had to go back on Tuesday to finish sorting stuff and still no mail.  I obtained the tracking number and found out for some unknown reason my mail was sent to Atlanta, Georgia but was on the way back to Walterville and should arrive Wednesday.  We made a special trip to Walterville on Wednesday before leaving for Portland, only to find out that the mail had be sent to Yachats, Oregon on the coast.  I put in a fowarding address to Bend, Oregon, knowing I would be there in a few days.  This was on July 15. We continued on to Portland.

Todd's Auto and  RV repair in Portland did a wonderful job installing the hardware and brackets on the truck.  It took all day and a few hours the next day to finish up.  The GMC Canyon has OnStar and the battery has to be disconnected before towing, which presented a challenge.  Todd was able to install a switch to the battery so we don't have to totally disconnect the terminal wires.  The minor downside is some of the presets like radio and blue tooth devices have  have to be reset once the battery is reconnected.

While in Portland we caught up with Joel's son and daughter.  We probably won't see them again until next Spring. Bradly fabricates large stainless steel tanks for breweries and thus is very familiar with the local breweries so we also visited a few of Portland's more popular breweries including Rock Bottom Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing and Rogue Brewing, all which were very busy.

Before leaving Portland, I checked the tracking on my mail. It had arrived in Walterville on the 16th (the day after I left) and the tracking indicated it has been forwarded and had arrived in Portland on the 17th but departed Portland and went back to Eugene on the 18th and then back to Portland on the 18th. It sat in Portland until the 20th and then went to Walton, Oregon and according to the tracking went back to Eugene again and arrived in Portland again on the 21st. Apparently my mail is going around in circles. My head is spinning.

 We headed up the North side of the  Columbia Gorge with a few stops along the way. Tara had a really difficult time giving of the co-pilot seat.

We spent the two nights at the White Salmon Elks club.  For all you Elks driving a big rig, check out your route first.  There are signs to the Elks club, which is located  off the main street up a hill, but the signs direct you down very narrow streets which are hard to turn on.  Fortunately, we missed some of the signs and the navigation system directed in a round about way, albeit longer, to the Elks without mishap.

We had to cross to the south side of the gorge before White Salmon due to some tunnels not being tall enough. When we crossed back we crossed over on the Bridge of the Gods.  Very scary bridge. Very narrow.  Thank goodness there was no wind.

On Sunday we took a day trip up Route 141 towards Tout Lake and the White Salmon River. White Salmon River has plenty of white water.  With the temperatures in the high 90's I was wishing we had scheduled a rafting trip.

Tara is learning to be Splash Dog.  I don't think she is ready for competition yet, but sure enjoys jumping in the water and retrieving sticks or balls.

Mount Adams

We stopped and watched to the Kite Boarders.  The day before the water was totally flat, but on this day there was wind and an abundance of colorful kite boarders and wind sailors.

We stopped at Bonneville Dam

The sucker fish (their real name is too hard to pronounce much less spell) were hard at work cleaning the windows.
There is a serious fish ladder.

Next stop Bend, Oregon and then Sun River.  Hope my mail arrives.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Illinois River Valley and more, July 10.

We got an early started and headed down Highway 199 South West  back towards California and the Illinois River Valley.  The Illinois River has been designated a Wild and Scenic River.  The water are suppose to be crystal clear. We took a forest service road which started out a paved and continued on as very narrow windy road down into the canyon. At first Joel didn't want to go on the gravel road because he "would get the truck dirty". The major rains from the day before had cleaned off all the grime and dirt.  Give me a break!  I reminded him that we are driving truck that is supposed to get dirty.

We stopped at several pull outs along the way with vistas of rugged terrain.  A couple of the pullouts were trail heads and the trails down into the canyon  looked like they were very well maintained.

At the bottom of the canyon we arrived at a really cool picnic spot with deep clear calm water.

We ate our lunch and languished a while, letting Tara play in the water.

We headed back up the canyon and continued on the Redwood Highway towards the coast.  The redwoods are beautiful, but there was nowhere to pull off and take photos and it was beginning to rain.  We continued on to Brookings and stopped at Harris Beach for my beach fix.

We drove over to the marina for a seafood dinner and headed back to the park.  Very long day.   Tomorrow we leave the park and start heading towards Portland via Eugene/Leaburg for a day or two.

Hellsgate on the Rogue, better named Raingate, July 9

The DMV called and they received all the information needed so we were able make a early morning visit and and the truck registered.  We are now legal after about a month driving with only temporary registrations and no license plates.  

There is a bike path that runs through the park and I wanted to explore it.  I hopped on the bike and rode up river until the path crossed the bridge at the town of Rogue River and then it continued along old highway 99....on the shoulder of a very busy road.  There are much better paths in the area that aren't busy.  

The Jet Boat is docked in Grants Pass on the river.  For some reason I visioned the jet boat as only being one boat going up river. When got to the dock the line was huge! It turns out there are 5 boats that all leave about the same time. The Jet Boat trip to Hellsgate was a "hell of a ride".  Five jet boats full of about 60 plus people each headed up river towards Hellsgate, which is where the river narrows to a gorge. The boats leave promptly at 4:30 and return 8:00ish.  The trip includes a stop at Cowboy Camp for dinner.  

The river was pretty calm, and the scenery nice, although it was a little cloudy. 

About 20 minutes into the boat ride it started to rain, then pour, then pour even harder, then hail, then hail even harder, then wind and hail..big hail. Ouch!  Can this get any worse? The camera was put away and all stuff put in our one little plastic bag which I had had enough forethought to bring. I had been told this was not a white water trip and didn't need to worry about getting wet. Yeah, right.  

Our boat was the lead Jet Boat and the pilot  suggested we could take a vote and skip Hellsgate and go directly to dinner or try Hellsgate and then go to dinner.  We all voted to try going to Hellgate, at least for a glimpse before turning back to Cowboy camp.  The wind was really picking up and so was the lightening.  We made it to the mouth of Hellsgate and up river a little but had to turn back to Cowboy camp because of the wind and lightening....Well we got a glimpse but I don't have photos to show. My head was down trying to avoid getting pelted.  It was raining and hailing way to hard. 

The Jet Boat docked at Cowboy camp and the tram was waiting to drive us to the top of the hill, but it was raining so hard, most folks didn't wait to be seated on the tram and headed up the hill.  The expression of the young man and the far left of the photo shows it all. 

We were soaked, so a little more rain didn't hurt.  The mist in the photos is hard, hard rain, not mist.  It was a little hike to the Cowboy Camp but not bad.  The river is in the middle of the photo and barely visible. 

The Cowboy Camp structure is a huge covered deck.  Thanks goodness for the cover. 

 The kitchen crew had started a fire to help warm us, but it didn't help much. ..too many people trying to crowd around one tiny little fire.  Dry towels would have been more appropriate.  I had brought along my Patagonia sweater which was soaked but the fabrics keeps you warm even though wet.  Joel and I took turns wearing it during dinner. It's baby blue, so it matches his eyes.   Despite the rain  the food was really good and included ribs, chicken, salad, veggies, cornbread, dessert and all the wine and beer you could drink (for some that was a plus).  What we really needed was hot Irish coffee!

Back to the boat we went...we were still very, very,  wet by the way.  Some folks bailed and were hiring taxis to go  back . The rest of us braved the rain, but by now it had started to let up.  The Pilot joked about the rain and did his best to thrill us with spins and antics on the way back.  The crowd was surprisingly in good spirits, except for a few...perhaps they should have taken a taxi back with the other folks.  The  rain had quit by the time we got back to the dock....thank goodness.  We were still soaking wet and made a beeline for the truck, turned on the heated seats, cracked up the heater, and headed back to the Beaver in anticipation of hot showers. 

Whew..I hope I don't have to go through that again or at least have some warning and be prepared. I remember our Niagara Falls boat trip prepared  for you to get wet and gave you rain equipment.  Lesson learned. 

Tomorrow is another day with cloudy skies so I'll be a little more prepared.  

Rogue River State Park, July 7-11

We left the hot weather in Chico, California and headed towards Oregon to one of Oregon's nicest state parks, the Rogue River State Park. It was a risk because these parks fill of up quickly. and we did not have reservations.  I say nicest, only because I haven't been to that many Oregon state parks.  Normally, we wouldn't stay in a state park but the weather has been hot enough, that the AC is almost a necessity.  With Joel being domiciled in Oregon and a Vet, he is able to stay in Oregon State Parks for free.  Free is good.

The Rogue River State Park is located adjacent to a Rest Area off of I-5, which is a down side due to road noise, but the park is located on the river with wonderful bike and walking paths which I enjoyed.

 The main purpose of our stop was to get the new truck (which we purchased in Nevada,) registered in Oregon, so on Tuesday  our fist stop was to the DMV in Grants Pass. All the paper work was presented to the DMV but we were told that they needed additional paperwork from the dealership in Nevada.  A call to the dealership confirmed they would overnight the addtional paperwork so we could register the truck.  While we were in Grants Pass we booked a dinner jet boat trip up to Hells Gate on the Rogue River.  More on that later.

On Wednesday we took a day trip up Highway 62 towards the Upper Rogue River. Highway 62 is also a scenic byway and continues on to Crater Lake.  We didn't go that far, as we both have been to Crater Lake and if I go again, I want to spend a little more time there.

The North Fork of the Rogue River is gorgeous.  The following are just a few of the photos I took.  I think my old Canon Power Shot G9 is getting tired because the photos are not coming out as sharp as they used to.  It's almost 8 years old so I guess its time to start thinking about a new camera.  Anyway, the shots of the Rogue do not do justice to the river in real life.

We stopped at a Rogue River View Point and viewed the river from the bridge and then walked up river a little.

 The River has left evidence of how power full it is.  Look at the logs left behind during high river levels.

 We stopped at another view point where the river dissapears underground in lava tubes and comes out at the other end.
 You can't see the river at the bottom of the photo because it under ground but you can see it exiting the lava tube towards the middle of the photo.
 The river is flowing through collapsed lava tubes.

 We veared off High 62 to check out the sign that said "Mill Creek Falls" and hiked down, operative word is "down", to a beautiful vista of Mill Creek Falls.  Mill Creek Falls is is 173 feet.
 On futher down the trail we encounted Barr Falls which is 242 in its entirety.  The two falls are part of a different water shed, not the Rogue River.
 Tara and Joel enjoyed the vistas.  Man and "his" dog. I remember when Joel didn't want another dog.  Well, I do have to remind him Tara is "my dog".  I thinks this keeps Joel in line...he doesn't want to lose the dog. LOL.
Remember I said the operative word "down". Well what goes down on trail usually has to go back up. I bring this up, because Joel made all the way UP the trail without much difficulty, something he couldn't do before his surgery in February!!

We returned back to the State Park and tomorrow we will get the truck registered and take the boat trip up to Hells Gate.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Chico, June 30 -July 6.

We left the cool Monterey Peninsula to head north with a stop over in Chico.  Why Chico?  Well, we didn't plan very well and all of the cooler options were taken with 4th of July travelers.  We stayed at the Chico Elks Club, which is very nice.  We had a nice shady spot with just enough clearance in the trees for the satellite. Actually, our visit there turned out to be a very pleasant surprise and would not hesitate to go back.

One word about the the week Hot. Hot. Hot.  OK that three words.

Actually, the City of Chico turned out to be a very pleasant and surprising stay.  I had spent a semester at Chico State  College(right out of high school). At that time Chico was just a little cow town and the college was the main attraction. Most of my class mates were kids from the farm sent to the big city to attend college.  Now the little college is a California State University and the community has grown at least  ten fold.  The campus was huge and I didn't recognize anything. There are lots of good restaurants on main street and it is a "happen" place.  If you like Farmers Markets, there is one somewhere in Chico almost every day.  Joel continued his search for the perfect tomato at two of the markets.  I don't think he found the perfect one yet.  

Chico's Bidwell Park is amazing.  One could spend a month and not walk/bike/or explore it's entirety. Fortunately one of the entrances to the park with a stones throw from the Elks Club and we walked  or biked nearly every day, early in the morning.  Tara enjoyed the river immensely and with her black coat she struggled with the heat and the river was a welcome relief.  What's neat about the park there is something for everyone and there are lots of places where it is legal for your dog to be off leash.  Mountain biking, road biking, playgrounds for kids, huge swimming holes, fishing, and even golf is avaiable..its all there.

Chico Creek with runs thorugh the park.  The trail follows an old flume and leads up to an abandoned dam.

The other main attraction for you beer lovers is Sierra Nevada Brewery and Tap Room.  Several tours our offered of the brewery and they are quite generous with their beer tastings.  Joel and I participated in two tours which were extremely interesting.  The sustainable tour was very educational showing all the recycling and sustainable systems that have been put in place as well as discussing future systems. They have a huge solar farm, recycle water back to the city, compost all restaurant waste, sell and recycle  all the mash from the beer production. The public tour was educational about the types of beer and different hops that go into making the bear. The tasting at the end presented all summer beers. I asked about some of the darker beers and was informed they are winter beers, so they won't be available for tasting.  Alrighty then. ...

Everything is automated in the packing facitily.  Here they are boxing up Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, the first beer brewed and what started it all.

 Mash is loaded on to trucks and transported to farms to feed cattle and pigs etc.  There is very little waste
 This is a huge composter.  All compostable material from the resturant and brewer goes into the giant composter.  The scapes are also mixed with wood chips and heated.
 The result is a rich compost that is used for estate growing.
 Water is filtered and recycled.
 Hops, hops, and more comps.  I didn't realize there are some many different kinds of hops.
The hops are brought in and kept chilled in the hop room.  Each bin contains a different hop.  Most hops are imported from Washington and Oregon.  Sierra Nevada is the largest consumer of hops in the world.

The brewery started out on 2 acres with repurposed tanks and has developed into a 40 acre campus and has recently brought on line a new brewery near Ashville North Carolina. Now the folks on the east coast can enjoy craft beer.  Actually, we were told the new brewery was developed to cut down on gas house emissions do to shipping.

This tank was actually imported from Germany, brought to the US as a repurposed. It ended up costing more to ship it than to purchase it.

 There is a wonderful restaurant at the brewery.  At first I thought it would be the typical touristy type restaurant.  Not so. Much of the food served in the tap room is locally or estate grown. We enjoyed lunch there and and it was really good.

Tomatoe plants grown on site for the restaurant.

My good friends, Casey and Kim live in Chico and are RVers and I had hoped to catch up with them while in Chico.  We seem always miss each other by a day or two.   This time we were able to connect  very briefly as they returned the day before we planned to leave.  I had a wonderful visit with them and was able to catch up.  Casey led a great bike ride through Bidwell Park and lunch at their home and dinner at Tortilla Flat, a great Mexican food restaurant.  I sure hope we can catch up with them again this winter in Arizona!

On Tuesday, with pulled up the jacks, closed down the satellite and headed for Oregon.  We will be staying at the Rogue River State Park for a few days.  I have not explored this part of the country, so it ought to be interesting.