Saturday, August 10, 2019

Sisters, Oregon, and Cold Springs Campground

We left our overnight parking site mid-morning on 16 July and went south on U.S. Route 97 before taking State Route 126 west. We had only 25 miles to go; so in about an hour, we arrived in the beautiful town of Sisters, Oregon. A friend drove Margaret through Sisters back in 2002. It was so cute that she was hoping to return eventually and linger awhile. So she added it to our West Coast States Adventure itinerary.

My recollection of Sisters is different from my sister's. ;>) I spent my youth to about age 30 drooling over the photos of the gorgeous horses of Patterson Arabians in the Arabian horse magazines of the time. The Patterson Ranch was a famous landmark in Sisters. The photos of the mares in the pastures with the snow-covered Three Sisters volcanoes in the background were stunning and left a lasting impression on me. The horses were sold off in 1989, and the ranch was sold in 2017. (Here is a 2015 video of the ranch: I didn't know exactly where the ranch was located and ended up seeing it only after Margaret had driven by—a minor disappointment, but I saw enough to get an in-person impression of the beautiful place I remembered from magazines so long ago.

Welcome to Sisters sign. Photo by Margaret.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Peter Skene Ogden State Park & Rest Stop

After our day at Crater Lake National Park and two nights dry camping at Annie Creek Sno-Park, we headed north to the big city of Bend, Oregon, on 15 July. The Roadtrek got washed, we spent several hours using the Wi-Fi at the public library, and we grocery shopped at Whole Foods (YAY!) and Safeway. We were tired and too hungry to wait until we arrived at our at-that-time-still-unknown overnight destination; so we made and ate our dinners in the Safeway parking lot. One of the really great things about having your home with you all the time is that you can do things like make a meal whenever you're hungry. :>) Margaret got busy Googling rest stops where we could overnight and found one just about 25 miles north on U.S. Route 97 in Terrebonne, Oregon. It turned out to be the most interesting and probably the most impressive "rest area" I've ever seen. The rest area is located at the Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint (Peter Skene Ogden Wikipedia Page) on the border of Deschutes (duh-SHOOTS) and Jefferson Counties.

From the viewpoint walkway (thankfully with a sturdy rock wall), one can stroll along the south side of the 300 foot deep Crooked River Gorge with its basalt cliffs and gaze at the Crooked River, which is really far down there! To the west is the Crooked River Railroad Bridge, which has been in use since 1911. To the northeast are two more bridges. The first, Crooked River High Bridge, was built in 1926 and replaced in 2000 by the Rex T. Barber Veterans Memorial Bridge, which runs parallel. The "old" bridge is open to pedestrian traffic and offers alternately stunning perspectives of the canyon, river, and other bridges.

The  Crooked River High Bridge (foreground) and the Rex T. Barber Veterans Memorial Bridge. Photo by Margaret.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Crater Lake National Park

After our first night in Oregon (at the Midland Rest Stop), we continued north on U.S. Route 97 through miles of pastureland with grazing cattle and horses. There was ground water everywhere—irrigation canals, ponds, lakes, and reservoirs. There were large Rainbird sprinklers in use the likes of which I hadn't seen in decades. We passed through the city of Klamath Falls and drove by Upper Klamath Lake and Mount McLoughlin (in the distance) before turning west on Oregon Route 62. We drove through miles of dense pine forests before stopping briefly at the Annie Falls Overlook. We entered Crater Lake National Park via the south entrance, hoping to get a first-come-first-serve campsite, only to find out that due to an overly harsh winter, even some of those with reservations were being turned away because of downed trees. Numerous campsite loops were closed for repairs and still are, as of today.

 Crater Lake and Wizard Island. Photo by Margaret.

Hello, Oregon!

It's been 18 days since we posted our last two entries (Lassen Volcanic National Park and Mount Shasta); and we've traveled through Oregon and Washington, visited numerous places, camped at several, and visited with family. Today, we are parked at a public library utilizing their rather slow public Wi-Fi. I sure hope we can catch up a bit! 

On the 82nd day of our West Coast States Adventure and several hours after leaving the Mount Shasta area on 12 July we made it to our first Oregon stop, the Midland Rest Stop on U.S. Route 97. It was nearly 9:00 p.m., and we were more than ready to rest.

I did a quick walk around, checking things out and taking a few photographs. There were only a handful of personal vehicles and quite a few semi-trucks. We both felt quite safe there.

Our first Oregon sunset! Photos and editing by Virginia.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Mount Shasta

On 11 July we headed north on State Route 89 to camp near the spectacular Mount Shasta (CA) in the southern Cascade Range of Shasta-Trinity National Forest. When I lived in Shasta County as a teen and young adult, I saw Mount Shasta every day from my home about an hour south. I had seen it numerous times as I drove by on I-5, but I had never gotten as close as I did on this day. It really is such an impressive mountain/volcano. Mount Shasta and its satellite cone, Shastina, are visible from very far away, as it towers about 10,000 feet above its surroundings!

Mount Shasta from the McCloud area. Photo by Virginia.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

After twenty-five days with our cousins in Redding, CA, we had our sights set on spending a few days at Lassen Volcanic National Park (CA); but first, errands: oil change for the Roadtrek and grocery shopping at two stores. I handed out a business card to employees at the oil change business and at Trader Joe's. Both of the ladies appeared very excited about our adventure and asked where we were headed, etc. Once stocked up on food, we left Redding where it was 88°, and headed east on California State Route 44. When we reached 2,000 ft. elevation, the temperature had dropped to 82°; and at 3,000 ft. elevation, it was 77°.

We stopped in Shingletown to gas up; and our next stop was the park entrance, where Margaret's pass got us in for free! Once we reached 5,000 ft. elevation, the temperature had decreased to 70°. While Margaret was driving, I was taking photos and videos. We arrived at Summit Lake Campground North at 4:15 pm on 08 July, and it was a cool 68°. Yay! We found a lovely pull-through site and settled in. We were surrounded by huge pine trees and were very close to Summit Lake. The campground had flush toilets, showers, picnic tables, fire rings, and very recently had the potable water line repaired; so we had drinking water, too!

Loomis Ranger Station @ Lassen Volcanic National Park. Photo by Margaret.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Sundial Bridge & Redding, CA

After leaving Potato Patch Campground, we drove to Chico and headed north on Highway 99. Driving through the miles of orchards felt very familiar to me, as I lived and worked in Shasta and Tehama Counties many years ago. Whereas the temperatures were in the 80s up at the campground, we watched it climb to 103 degrees before too long. The area has changed a great deal since I was last there, but there were enough familiar streets, buildings, and landmarks to spark quite a few memories.

We have been staying with our cousins in Redding, CA, (camping in their side yard with electricity!) for more than three weeks. During that time, we chatted, went out to dinner a couple of times, made dinner a couple of times, used the heck out of their Wi-Fi, had showers, did laundry, took advantage of the abundant variety of stores in which to shop, and Margaret had work done on the Roadtrek. We were also taken to see Burney Falls, Shasta Lake, and the stunning Sundial Bridge in the Turtle Bay Exploration Park on the Sacramento River.

Sundial Bridge from the south. Photo by Margaret.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Shasta Lake

The first time I laid eyes on Shasta Lake was in the summer of 1977. What I most remember is the huge amount of earth showing that should have been under water. The lake was at the lowest point in its history—nearly 250 feet below its normal depth! Its "full pool" shoreline length of 365 miles was reduced to about 124 miles. Such is definitely not the case now. Shasta Lake is gloriously and amply full! Since October 2018, Shasta Dam has received about 88 inches of rain, which is about 42% more than average. Roughly 90% of the water retained in the reservoir is from rain water. So, the increased rainfall did its job!

Shasta Lake (Mt. Shasta in the center background). Photo by Margaret. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Burney Falls

I think the place Margaret and I both had on the top of our "places to visit wish lists" while here in Redding (California) was Burney Falls. Margaret had planned to visit there after the stay with our cousins was over, but our thoughtful cousins offered to take us themselves to McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park. They've lived up in this area for many years, and John knows where everything is. It was just a hop, skip, and a jump from their home to the falls in their quiet, smooth, and cool car. We stopped briefly at the Burney Mountain Vista Point that overlooks a lush valley with Burney Creek winding through it. The backdrop was Burney Mountain, with Lassen Peak in the distance. It was quite the view!

Panorama of Burney Mountain and Lassen Peak (right background). Photo by Virginia.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Potato Patch Campground

We left Boca Campground on the morning of 09 June and continued north on State Route 89, crossing over the Little Truckee River several times. We drove through the area of Sierraville, CA, which was predominantly lush grazing land—miles of it! There was a little resort town called Graeagle, CA (pronounced gray eagle), which was adorable to drive through; but, dang, I kinda wish we could have parked and walked around a bit. There were a lot of tourists taking advantage of the cool, clear day to take in the cute little shops and restaurants—another gem I had never heard of prior to this day. Just beyond Graeagle, we turned west on State Route 70, which would take us through the Beckworth Pass to the western side of the Sierra Nevada. We stopped in the cute town of Quincy, CA, to stock up on groceries at Safeway. Before long, we were back on Highway 89 and headed north, remaining in the Plumas National Forest. No matter how many stunning sights we have seen on this trip, we are still rendered spellbound when we see bodies of water like Indian Creek near Crescent Mills, CA (pictured below), particularly when they are just there—next to highways and other "mundane" routes that people use to get from Point A to Point B. I mean, just look at this creek that was meandering along the highway for miles. I don't ever want to be so unimpressed with a natural wonder such as this that it becomes mundane for me! Margaret stopped in a nice wide spot off the highway so I could get out and take it all in—the sights, sounds, and feel of such a pristine and powerful waterway rushing by me!

Indian Creek, Crescent Mills, Plumas National Forest. Photo by Virginia.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Boca Campground

Margaret once again relied on one of our most used resources, California Boondocking: The Desert and Eastern Sierra—A Frugal Shunpiker’s Guide by Marianne Edwards, for our next camping location. After our grocery shopping in Tahoe City, we headed east on Interstate 80, hoping the road over Boca Dam was open to access Boca Campground. The U.S. Forest Service Website information hadn't been updated for over a year, but it was definitely past snow season; and we figured the dam road should be open by then. However, it turned out that the dam was under construction, so the road remained closed. (Bummer!) So, we went back from whence we came; and using the GasBuddy app, I found the lowest price gasoline to fill up the Roadtrek. That bargain gas station happened to be located in the Historic District of Truckee, CA. What a quaint, fascinating, and crowded few blocks it was. (The immediate area of the gas station was made even more crowded by an Amtrak passenger train that was waiting to depart and was blocking the road.) I think if it wasn't so late, and if we could have found a parking spot large enough, we would have explored the town. As it was, it was nearly 7:00 p.m.; but we thought we had plenty of time before dark to get to the campground and find a campsite. Hah!

Between the directions from the U.S. Forest Service Website and Google Maps, we determined the alternate route to the campground was by way of Highway 89. The highway miles sped by; it was the several miles on dirt roads that presented us with challenges. At a complicated intersection of dirt roads, Google Maps ended up rerouting (unbeknownst to Margaret, the driver). There were California Highway Patrol officers blocking the forest road straight ahead (along with a detainee in handcuffs!). Continuing to follow the app's directions, we turned to the right there and ended up on a jeep track, which was narrow, rocky, and washed out in places. The Roadtrek is not an offroad vehicle, and we were riding high on either side several times to avoid bottoming out. Things were getting tossed about in the back; but Margaret did well maneuvering, and we didn’t tip over. My anxiety levels go through the roof in times like those, but Margaret remained calm and capable. It had been a very long day, my knee was throbbing, and a short scouting walk ahead on that trail hadn't helped it any. The jeep trail didn't look right to either of us and got muddy where I scouted ahead, so Margaret made a safe three point reverse and returned to the four-way dirt intersection.

The Roadtrek in our little campsite with a beautiful view! Photo by Virginia.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Site Navigation Tips

Note that you can now follow or subscribe to this blog to be notified of new posts.
The Amazon Affiliate program didn’t work out, and we really don’t want to clutter up our pretty Website with Google Ads. So, for now we’re trying a tip jar to accept donations for Virginia to afford basic necessities. Any amount is appreciated; no amount is too small. Thanks!

To navigate our Website, the computer/web view has horizontal, named tabs at the top for other pages, such as “About Us” and “Index.” The mobile view doesn’t show the side columns, and page navigation is a drop down menu at the top. At the very bottom of each mobile page, you may also toggle between “View web version” and “View mobile version.”

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Lake Tahoe Basin

We arrived at this unnamed free U.S. Forest Service campground off of Luther Pass after dark, but the drive to get there was very scenic. We left our previous location after squeaking out every last minute on their public Wi-Fi. Continuing north on Highway 395, we stayed in California by driving west on Highway 89 and finally to Highway 88 (versus continuing north and entering Nevada). The route was certainly quiet. I think we may have passed only a half-dozen other vehicles during the approximately 40 mile trek through the mountains. We drove through the Carson Iceberg Wilderness, and the West Fork Carson River wound its way beside and under the highway for several miles. At one point, coming slowly around a corner, there were five deer on the left shoulder probably no more than 40 feet away from us. Margaret stopped the Roadtrek, and three of the deer crossed in front of us and straight up the cliff to our right. The two remaining deer split up—one going down the cliff to our left and the other following the first three up on our right. They were remarkably agile and out of sight in a flash!

It was so dark when we arrived at the Forest Service campground that we ended up driving through the entire campground and turning around to try and spot a campsite because we could only see a short distance beyond both sides of the road! This campground is better suited to tent campers, but we managed to find a fairly level parking spot for the night (which turned out to be a campsite, we realized in the light of day). The one nice thing about arriving after dark was stepping outside first thing in the morning and seeing just how wondrously majestic it was in the light of day. Wow! It was definitely take-your-breath-away beautiful! The huge Jeffrey Pines were so healthy, lustrous, and aromatic! Oh, and there were springs and creeks seemingly everywhere! Margaret and I both wonder why such a magnificent campground hasn't been named. Get on it, powers-that-be; this heavenly spot deserves a special name!

The view from our campsite. Photo by Margaret.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest - Bridgeport, CA

After a long day driving and sightseeing at Mono Lake Park and Bodie State Historic Park, we were more than ready to stop and camp somewhere beautiful, quiet, and hopefully with a cell signal. One of our regular sources (California Boondocking: The Desert and Eastern Sierra—A Frugal Shunpiker’s Guide by Marianne Edwards) had recommended an area of free dispersed camping in the forest not too far from the town of Bridgeport, CA. After a brief stop for gas and goodies in town, we headed southwest up into Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (toi-YAH-bee) in the direction of Buckeye Hot Springs. Once we left the maintained road, the gravel forest road was a bit rough and quite steep in places; but the directions we had were concise, and we found a beautiful spot to camp under the trees. There were two other groups camping nearby when we arrived, but they were respectfully quiet. We also had two out of four bars LTE, which was a real treat. Especially given how remote it felt.

The Roadtrek, shaded by the towering Jeffrey Pines. Photo by Margaret.