Sunday, August 12, 2018

8/11 LePage Park, John Day River, WA

LePage Park is a Corps of Engineering park and campground on the John Day River as it empties into the Columbia River, just east of the John Day Lock & Dam.  The COE builds parks and campgrounds near almost every lake and dam it constructs and manages.  I really like them because they are almost always extremely well maintained and are half-price for us seniors who have a federal pass.  (I purchased my lifetime America the Beautiful Pass when I turned 62 for $10.  It gets me into national parks and monuments free and gives me a 50% discount on camping in nearly all federal campground for as long as I live.  The price was raised last year to $80 for a lifetime senior pass, but it is still a bargain. There are similar handicap and veterans passes available.)

Plus, campsites nearly always have electric and water hookups at each site with a dump station nearby. And this one is in a very pretty place. 

This is the I-84 bridge over the John Day River as it enters the Columbia River.  Behind this bridge is also a railway bridge.   

Looking from my campsite towards the bridge.  Note that several campsites on the left are empty.  

Looking upriver with empty sites behind and in front of my site.  

This is the day use area.  It was empty on this Friday morning, but got really busy over the weekend. 

This park is what is called "right off the freeway."  Luckily, the campground is at the far end of the park, so there is almost no road noise other than a little bit of noise as trucks hit the roadway connections over the bridge. 

The camp hosts have camping spots high on the hill and protected from the hot sun by canvas shade structures. It can get REALLY hot here, like the 108 degrees when I arrived last week!

Looking down to the campground, past the day use area. 

On Friday afternoon, the weekenders started to arrive with their big boats, large families, guests, and multiple vehicles!!

It was very windy today on the Columbia River, as you can see by the whitecaps past the bridges.  So most of the boats were not launched until noon and then mostly stayed on the John Day River instead of going onto the bigger river. 

You can see the willows bending in the strong wind.  These are two of the boats.  I think they were some kind of a group because there were several boats that were almost identical except for the paint. 

And they all made way too much noise roaring back and forth!!

The good news, at least for me, is that most of these people have to go to work on Monday, so will be leaving around noon on Sunday.  

I, on the other hand, am lucky enough to be able to stay here until next Saturday when I will be heading to my next campground on the coast.

8/9 Drive East Along Columbia River

This is really one of the prettiest drives in the west, certainly as pretty as many of the coastal drives.  Interstate 84 goes all the way from Portland on the south side of the river to the Idaho border.  I started from Portland and was headed east to LePage Park Campground, a Corps of Engineering facility along the river. 

As you begin the drive, the land is forested and wet, as shown here, with cliffs along the river.  

You can see some of the areas that were burned last year when the dumb kids threw firecrackers from a lookout into the woods.  

It was hard to take photos as I drove, so I stopped at a scenic area and took photos of the opposite side.

Then I realized I was directly opposite the five tunnels I went through when I drove on the two-lane road on the other side a few weeks ago.  

Once you get past Mount Hood, you are in its "rain shadow" so the land is dryer and less wooded.   

Here is a grassy area that burned last year.  Or maybe this year?? 

I am guessing that the orange area is where fire retardant was dropped by an airplane. 

Almost to the campground, and this is the LePage Lock and Dam.  Going to visit it one day this week. 

I'll publish some photos of the campground tomorrow. 


8/8 Home Improvement

I thought I would show you some of the before and after photos of my most recent home improvements, including the slide roller and kitchen sink drain repairs.  

First, three weeks ago, the roller  under my kitchen slide pulled out of the particle board it is attached to for the second time.  It looked like this, but is supposed to be attached to the floor so the kitchen slide above it has some support as it comes in and out.  (Do you know how hard it is to lay on your stomach and take photos through a 3" space at my age?)

And I was having to live with the front slide stuck in until I could get an appointment to have it fixed.  So my living space was narrower than usual.  Had trouble opening the refrigerator door all the way, also.  Luckily, I had lots of space in the back as the rear slide was working fine.

So, this second time Fleetwood repaired my roller, I insisted they do it so it would never pull out of the junky particle board it had been attached to.  They added a couple of extra bolts and bolted entirely through the slide to a steel plate they attached on the bottom. You can see the bolts and screws in this photo where there originally had been just screws.  (And, yes, I know it is dirty under there, but the space is too low to get the vacuum cleaner hose in there. I will try a stick with a wet paper towel this week.) 

And here is the plate as seen from the bottom of my slide.  It has been painted white.  Can't see the bolts because they are in the plate inside of the vehicle, even when the slide is extended. 

Second problem was that I had hit a very large rolling chunk of rubber from a dump truck tire blowout on the freeway.  It not only bent my entry steps, but damaged the motor that opens and closes them.  So, here is how I was getting into and out of my motorhome while I was waiting for new steps to arrive.  Not good in an emergency, but better than a large jump.

Now I have shiny and un-rusty new steps!!  Yea! 

Another problem was that my sink had been leaking slightly for several months.  I got tired of wiping up crud, so had Fleetwood fix it.  Here is the "before" photo where you can see the gunk and corrosion that had collected. 

The big white thing on the left, by the way, is my hot water heater tucked under a counter, between my oven and sink. I was afraid to try to unscrew this myself because I was afraid it would break.  I did not notice, but the bottom of my sink looks a bit rusty.  Hmmm.

And here is how my drain looks now.  Much cleaner and no leaking.

Finally, I bought a new chunk of carpeting and a front door rug from Target the other day, and tossed the old green rug I had under my recliner.  Target had a bunch of bound carpeting pieces in just the size I need to fit under my chair but not interfere with my slide when it is in. Cost was only $15, a real bargain.  I am happy with how it feels on my bare feet and really like the lighter color much more than the ugly old green one.    

I have spent a ton of money this year on repairs, so I am hoping nothing else breaks for a while.  🤞

Saturday, August 11, 2018

8/7 Richardson County Park, OR

Lane County, where Eugene, Oregon is located has some very nice county parks, most of which have water and electric at each site.  I stumbled across Armitage Park about four years ago and have used it often when I am in the area.  However, after getting my most recent repairs to my slide roller, I needed a place to stay for a couple of days because the place I was headed was expecting temps around 108--too hot for me!! 

So, I checked Richardson and it seemed to have spaces, so I headed over there to find a drop-in spot.  Success!  The campground is mostly woodsy, but I was able to find a place where I could get satellite reception. It was very quiet the couple of days I was there because it was midweek. 

The only negative was very poor Verizon service, so I had to drive out one day to the area near the boat launch on the lake.  However, I have discovered that often when cell service is weak or non-existent during the day, it will be acceptable after 10 p.m. so I just stay up late to upload and download.

View to the south from my campsite.  See what I mean about empty during the week?  Will get even better when school starts.  I am really getting spoiled because I like to have entire campgrounds to myself! 



Wednesday, August 8, 2018

8/4 Fort Stevens South Jetty

At the very tip of the peninsula that forms the southern bank of the Columbia River where it meets the Pacific Ocean is what they call the South Jetty.   This is a long pile of rocks that sticks out into the river and ocean to narrow the channel. Narrowing the channel makes the water flow faster and deepens the channel for big ships.  

Before the jetty was built, most of this peninsula did not exist.  

 This is the jetty.  Some people were walking on it, but it was too far for me. 

Nice beach!   
Nice viewing tower.

 Pretty view of the coast.

The white dot on the cliff on the other side of the river is the Cape Disappointment lighthouse.  There is also a state park and campground over there, but the cell service is really bad.

Almost every parking area on the coast has a similar map to tell you how to get out of the area in case of a tsunami. 

There was a nature overlook on the bay side of the Peninsulal  
INn the nature overlook shelter, a bird was busy finishing a nest.