Tuesday, August 25, 2020

8/24 Two COE Campgrounds - Hood & Charbonneau

These two Corps of Engineers campgrounds are both close to the confluence of the Snake River and the Columbia River.  Lewis and Clark came through this area on their trip to find the Pacific Ocean.

I am here because I got cancelled from LePage and Plymouth Parks, both COE campgrounds.  As I have mentioned before, wherever the COE built dams or managed rivers, they build and manage recreation areas, and I don't think I have ever found a bad one.  Big advantage is that because they are federal facilities, they are half-price if you have a senior pass.  All have at least electric, and most have paved campsites and even water hookups, and both are in Washington State.  They are also well taken care of, so I stay at them when I can.  I have been hanging around this area until I can start heading south to my October destinations of Zion and Grand Canyon.

Both parks have large trees and decent Verizon service so I can get internet access.  They also each have a few sites where I can also get satellite TV.  You can see in this photo that my site is shaded by 4:00 pm.  

Just some photos of the campground.

On one side of the campground is the Snake River.

On the other side, but in the distance, you can see the Columbia river and Oregon.  

I spent one day in Charbonneau Park, which is about ten miles away along the Snake.

The dam in the distance has made a large lake here, so lots of boaters. 

And a small harbor.

Turtle on a log.

Heading back to Hood Park, with the Columbia River and Oregon in the distance. 

They grow a lot of grapes in this region.  

And apples.

Nice view. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

8/14 Motorhome Living and the Trials of Covid-19

I know I have not posted much lately, but not much has been going on.  Actually, what has been going on is my trying to find places to stay and where I can get my laundry done.

First, my original plans had me heading to northern Idaho and Montana for most of August after getting some doctor visits taken care of.  Then, I would be spending part of September in Lake Louise and Banff, Canada, where I have had reservations for almost a year.  Except, Canada will not let American's in, especially since so many of us deciding that partying, large gatherings, and not wearing masks was better than staying at home.  Frankly, there are not too many places in the world right now that want us hanging around in their countries.

Since I could not spend the first two-thirds of September in Alberta, I cancelled my northern Idaho and Montana campgrounds and made new reservations for a week each at a couple of my favorite places along the Columbia River.  My plans were to then head southeast through southern Idaho through Utah, and on to Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, arriving at the national parks by early October when the temps would be reasonable--like the 80s instead of the 100s.  I had some reservations along the way in scenic places, such as Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab, and Capitol Reef Natl Park near Torry Utah.  I travel slowly and planned to spend two relaxing weeks in Zion and four days at the GC north rim and six days at the south rim.  By late October, I would have moved on to a couple of my favorite places near Las Vegas, and weather should have been fantastic.

BUT, soon after I had my slightly over two weeks scheduled along the Columbia River, they got cancelled, supposedly due to wind damage.  I still have a week scheduled at Lake Cascade SP in southern Idaho, and none of my October reservations were affected, so I was glad of that. 

However, the second thing you need to know is that with the Covid-19 virus, the only really safe way to travel is to take your home with you, hence RVing has suddenly become very, very popular.  That means campgrounds are packed, especially on weekends.  And to make things even more fun, the governor of Oregon decided that campgrounds could be open, but that showers and laundromats would be closed. That included the county park I was staying at last week and where I had counted on their very nice laundry room.  I can do without showers, but I do NOT want to go to a commercial laundry!   I assume the governor did not want people congregating in the campground laundromats, but that is a problem with people like me who cannot go "home" to do their laundry.  (Note: I have never seen a crowd in a campground laundromat.  Shower rooms do not usually attract groups, either, but at least they are harder to keep clean.) 

I was able to get a camping spot at Hood Park, which is a Corps of Engineering campground where the Snake River joins the Columbia, but only during the week. (Weekends are booked forever by families.)  By this point, which is today, I had at least four loads of clothing and bedding to wash.  I ended up in an expensive commercial campground which had their laundromats open--much safer than a commercial laundromat.  So at least I have clean clothes!

I have four more days this coming week back at Hood and then hopefully three days at a county park nearby for the weekend.  At that point, I can move on to another COE campground and to Lake Cascade.  Hopefully.

I suppose the point is to discourage people from going camping, but it really has messed up the schedules for people like me who have no "sticks and bricks" home to go back to. I am hoping that after Labor Day, things will quiet down a bit and if something gets cancelled, I can more easily find a place to stay!

No wonder travel is an adventure! 

Addendum: Soon after I wrote the above post, I received an email cancelling my reservation for the week after this one at Plymouth Park, the COE park I referred to.  This is the second time they have cancelled my reservation.  When they cancelled me the first time, I rescheduled to a later date when they were supposed to be open, but they cancelled it because they extended their closing period.  Luckily, I was able to get five days in the COE park where I will be this coming week.  The weekends are still a problem, however.  

AND, I finally got my laundry done here at the commercial campground I am staying at.  The laundry was very clean and no one else was using it while I was there. Now all I have to do is hope my AC keeps working through the next few 105 degree days, after which it will cool down to the 90s. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

8/1 Tillicum Beach, Oregon

This is one of my favorite places, assuming I can get site #27 where I can get a peek of the ocean and still get a satellite TV signal.  Internet is very weak here, but I managed working late at night when it was a bit stronger and driving into a nearby town once every couple of days.

My favorite site was on the opposite side of the roadway, but if only cars were camped on the other side, I had a view of the ocean.  In any case, I could hear the waves crashing.

 Walking across the road and down just a few feet was the entrance to the beach.  

These are the campers across from me.

View of my roof from the beach.

A few photos of the beach at low tide.

So nice to walk on the hard sand at low tide.

My new beach shoes!  

Must be nice to own one of these homes.

Back to the campground and the windswept trees. 

7/19 Farragut State Park & Boardman Marina Campground

 Yes, I am very late posting this, but better late than never!  

I skipped a lot of things in the past couple of weeks because I was busy driving via freeway through Montana and Idaho.  There were two campgrounds that were memorable, however. One was Farragut SP in northern Idaho and the other was a very nice place in Oregon along the Columbia River. 

 Love these empty roads!

Farragut State Park is in northern Idaho and believe it or not, was a major naval base during WWII.  They even trained submariners here because of the deep lake.
Campground was very nice with big trees, but tricky to get into some of the sites.  I had to maneuver past several really big trees and avoid some park service boulders.
The old naval brig is now a museum of the naval base as it was during the war.
Hard to believe there were 20,000 naval personnel stationed here at one point. This is a map of the barracks and facilities.
An operating table.
And some fancy rope work.

This is the Columbia River where the Boardman Marina Park was located.  Looking west along the river.

Looking across the river at a barge being towed upstream.
Next stop was Bend, Oregon, but I was there only very briefly and did not take any photos, but the drive west along the Columbia River is always pretty.
Not sure what volcanic mountain this is. 
The route took a dive south and then west again, approaching Bend from the east.  And nearing Bend, there was this roadside park with a map of the mountains in the distance.