Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Cannon Beach & Tillamook Creamery (OR)

We left Nehalem Falls Campground and headed to the Oregon coastal town of Cannon Beach on 04 September. I had visited this tourist town several times during the year-and-a-half I lived in Oregon in the late 1990s. It offered a very pleasant pedestrian shopping experience; and the beach, with its natural tide pools, was vastly different from those I had taken in prior to it.

In the twenty-two years since I last spent time there, it felt much larger and considerably busier—especially for a weekday following Labor Day weekend. We lucked out and found a parking spot on the main drag. The weather was a very pleasant 70°F; but it was quite overcast, which made for a lot of glare. Margaret and I strolled up and down Hemlock Street, stopping in Cannon Beach Bakery for some goodies and being awestruck by the photographic talents of Randall J. Hodges in his Images of the West gallery.

Cannon Beach is a charming and well-maintained little town brightened by planters of colorful flowers and sporting an abundance of art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and other specialty stores to enjoy.  

Cannon Beach Book Company on Hemlock Street. Photo by Virginia.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Nehalem Falls Campground (OR)

It was 02 September 2019 when we left Barview Jetty County Campground after five nights. We were both looking forward to peace, quiet, and a more natural camping experience. Margaret had Nehalem Falls Campground in mind; so we left the coast and headed up into the mountains of Tillamook State Forest where we were fortunate to find several open campsites (there are only 20), vault toilets, trash, recycling, and potable water (hand pump). What there wasn't was a cell phone signal, per usual. The fee was $20 a night, and we stayed for two nights.

Nehalem Falls Campground sign. Photo by Virginia.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

On Friday, 30 August 2019 during our five-night stay at Barview Jetty County Campground, we decamped and drove north to the town of Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Margaret had purchased two tickets online for us to take a train ride south the handful of miles to the town of Garibaldi and back to Rockaway Beach aboard the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad (OCSR). The OCSR is a steam-powered heritage railroad and nonprofit organization run by volunteers. This route is its regular summer excursion. They have other seasonal excursions, with more being added.

We boarded the train at 12:30 for a 1:00 departure. The entire trip took about 1-1/2 hours, including the half-hour layover in Garibaldi. It was hauled by the McCloud River Railroad #25 (steam-engine) on this route down the old Southern Pacific Railroad tracks (which run parallel to U.S. Highway 101 on its west side, the Oregon Coast Highway) now belonging to the OCSR. I feel I should mention that on the trip south, it didn't actually "haul" the train cars since it backed the four cars south to Garibaldi before "hauling" us back north. The entire train consisted of the engine, one uncovered open-air car, the covered open-air car we were in, an enclosed car, and the caboose, where passengers enter and are given their printed tickets.

The weather was a cloudy 74°F; and although a bit rough and loud ("clanky sounds"), we passengers all seemed to enjoy ourselves. Welcome aboard—virtually—on the OCSR Coastal Excursion!

The McCloud River Railroad #25 steam engine at the Rockaway Beach depot. Photo by Margaret.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Barview Jetty County Campground (OR)

It was the Wednesday before Labor Day weekend (28 Aug 2019), and we were very fortunate to have a campsite for five nights. Barview Jetty County Campground is a huge and busy campground in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. The Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer, as far as camping goes. Every site was reserved through the weekend, and there was a lot of traffic, activity, and noise. Margaret and I are both lovers of peace and quiet, and our campsite was right at the entrance of the campground. Even though we were both relieved to have a place to stay and appreciated the amenities, it wasn't our ideal camping experience.

The Roadtrek in our roadside campsite at Barview Jetty County Campground. Photo by Virginia.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Fort Stevens & Fort Clatsop (OR)

We left the Forks, WA, area via U.S. Highway 101 on a bright and cool August morning (26 Aug 2019). The highway was dappled with soft sunlight; and after a short while, we had brief glimpses of the northern Pacific Ocean through the dense trees. Near the Quinault Reservation (kwin-ALT), the forest opened up; and we had a clear view of the ocean. We stopped in the town of Aberdeen, WA, for gas and propane. About 40 minutes later we drove through the "Oyster Capital of the World," the town of South Bend, WA. Less than one hour later we were approaching the four-mile-long Astoria-Megler Bridge connecting Washington and Oregon States over the Columbia River. The bridge and views were impressive, but one thing that was not was the number of dead seagulls on the bridge. It was a sad and gruesome graveyard, for sure.

The huge Fort Stevens State Park Campground was full. Margaret checked with the KOA Resort nearby, but the cost for what we needed was exorbitant. The employee handed us a printout with other places to camp, and Margaret decided to try the nearby Hammond Marina RV Park. Fortunately, they had a site for us; and she paid for two nights. They offered full hook-ups, Wi-Fi, bathrooms with showers (no extra charge), and washers and dryers. Margaret made us vegan sloppy joes and potatoes for dinner, and I uploaded hundreds of photos to Flickr using the pokey Wi-Fi.

The following morning Margaret's iPhone was still not working (hence, all of the photos in this post and the corresponding locations on pages 4 & 5 in this Flickr Album were taken by Virginia). We went to the ranger station at Fort Stevens State Park, where Margaret bought a day-parking 12-month pass that allows the holder to day-park for free in any state park in Oregon. We then drove around the humongous campground, which, in addition to tent and RV camping, also had yurts available to rent. We then drove the short distance to Ocean Beach (or Peter Iredale Beach, as some refer to it) where we walked the shore and observed all that was left of the Peter Iredale shipwreck.

Peter Iredale Beach, Fort Stevens State Park, Warrenton, OR.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

La Push, Hoh Rainforest, Forks, & Allens Bar Campground (WA)

It has been over five weeks since our last entry. Sorry! Mainly, the gap was due to the lack of a constant/decent cell signal and our not being overly keen to spend days utilizing the universally pitifully slow Wi-Fi at public libraries. Another critical component in posting to this blogging service is it needs to be done on a computer, and my laptop display bit the dust on our way south. We are back in San Diego (our home base), and I have my laptop hooked up to a small flat-screen TV until I can replace my display. So, it's catch-up time!

We left Fort Townsend Historical State Park in Port Townsend, WA, on the morning of 15 Aug 2019 and headed southwest on WA State Route 20 to U.S. Highway 101. We stopped in the adorable town of Sequim, WA (skwim), to do some grocery shopping and were both impressed by how clean and lovely the town was. We stopped very briefly for me to take some photos of sparkling Lake Crescent in Clallam County, WA, before continuing west. If I am remembering correctly, when we saw the first sign for La Push, I asked Margaret if we could go there first before continuing south. Happily, she said yes; so we took WA State Route 110 to First Beach. It was a steely gray-sky day with only a few surfers on the small swells and a handful of people walking the shore. After taking quite a few photos, we got back on the highway headed to Forks, WA.

James Island, First Beach, La Push, WA. Photo by Virginia.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Whidbey Island & Port Townsend, WA

After leaving our nephew and his family on Lopez Island, we took the ferry back to Anacortes, WA, and filled up the nearly empty propane tank. Margaret and I both wanted to spend some time on Whidbey Island and were pleased when we drove over Deception Pass Bridge at about noon on 05 Aug 2019. We pulled over and walked on and under the bridge, seeing it from nearly every angle. It was a gloriously cool and clear day, which made for lots of photo ops.

Deception Pass Bridge. Photo by Margaret.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Brown Creek Campground & Lopez Island (WA)

Following our stop at Mount Ranier, we headed to the place Margaret next wanted to camp—Olympic National Park. While stopped for gas in Port Orchard (WA), our nephew, Joshua, contacted me, surprised that we were "already" in Washington and not too far away from where he and his family were anchored on their sailboat. After a lot of back-and-forth discussion, we decided to head north to visit them, but only after a couple nights of restful camping at the remote Brown Creek Campground.

Brown Creek Campground sign. Photo by Margaret.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

La Wis Wis Campground & Mount Rainier (WA)

On the morning of 24 Jul 2019, we left French Prairie Rest Area late enough to avoid the Portland commuting traffic and drove over the Interstate Bridge into Washington State at 12:30 p.m. We stopped for water, ice, and groceries in Vancouver, Washington, before continuing north on Interstate 5. We checked several sources for an open campsite near Mount Rainier; but after exhausting those sources, we decided there wasn't one available where we might be able to see it from the campground. We drove east on U. S. Route 12; and 2-1/2 hours later, after passing Mayfield Lake and Riffe Lake, we arrived at La Wis Wis Campground in Packwood, Washington.

La Wis Wis Campground sign. Photo by Virginia.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Columbia River Gorge (OR)

It's been a month since we visited the Columbia River Gorge, but traveling and camping has been the priority and not a cell signal or public Wi-Fi. So, better late than never….

We left our second time staying overnight at the Peter Skene Ogden State Park on 22 Jul 2019 and headed north on U. S. Route 97. We drove through miles of cotton and alfalfa fields and the pretty little town of Madras, Oregon. We had a view of Mount Jefferson to the west, while rugged volcanic cliffs were to the east; and through a rather thick haze, Mount Hood eventually became visible. I hadn't seen Mount Hood for twenty-two years! Fortunately, the closer we got, the clearer the sky became. We then drove west toward the busy metropolitan area of Portland, Oregon, because it was Margaret's birthday, and she really wanted lunch from Native Foods Café. While there are three Native Foods Cafes in San Diego (our home base), there is only one in the entire Pacific Northwest! That scrumptious lunch was served in the swanky Bridgeport Village Mall in Tigard, Oregon. We parked in the shade to eat our lunches, which meant Peaches could be let out of her crate (happy girl!). Staying for a few hours allowed us to catch up on our iPhones before it was time to go to French Prairie, a nearby rest area to park overnight.

The next morning we drove through intense traffic in Portland to get to one of the most breathtaking areas in the world—the Columbia River Gorge, where we spent the entire day in a state of wonder. (I'd been there several times when I lived in Portland back in the late '90s, but one can never experience this area too often. Margaret had only seen Multnomah Falls once, possibly in 2003.) The first waterfall we encountered on the Historic Columbia River Highway was Shepperd's Dell Falls. (We bypassed the actual first falls, Bridal Veil, on the way in and out because the parking area was prohibitively busy.) Shepperd's Dell Falls are like a winding ribbon through the rough hillside of trees, ferns, and bushes; and the terrain makes the falls difficult to see and to photograph in their entirety, as you can see below.)

Shepperd's Dell Falls. Photo by Virginia.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Sisters, OR & Cold Springs Campground

We left our overnight parking site mid-morning on 16 Jul 2019 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: https://youtu.be/C1sCVqnGEoI.) 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 (OR)

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 Jul 2019. 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 (OR)

After our first night in Oregon (at the Midland Rest Stop), we continued on 13 Jul 2019 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 2019 we crossed into Oregon and 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 (CA)

On 11 July 2019 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 (CA)

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 (08 Jul 2019) 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 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 at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Photo by Margaret.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Sundial Bridge & Redding, CA

After leaving Potato Patch Campground (13 Jun 2019), 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 (15 Jun 2019), Shasta Lake (03 Jul 2019), and the stunning Sundial Bridge (27 Jun 2019) in the Turtle Bay Exploration Park on the Sacramento River.

Sundial Bridge from the south. Photo by Margaret.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Shasta Lake & Shasta Dam (CA)

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 rainwater. So, the increased rainfall did its job!

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

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Burney Falls (CA)

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 which 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 (CA)

We left Boca Campground on the morning of 09 June 2019 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 (CA)

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 priced 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

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Lake Tahoe Basin (CA)

We arrived at an unnamed free U.S. Forest Service campground off of Luther Pass on 05 June 2019 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 (CA)

After a long day driving and sightseeing at Mono Lake Park and Bodie State Historic Park on 02 June 2019, 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.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Mono Lake Park & Bodie State Historic Park (CA)

After three nights camping on Grant Lake, it was 02 June 2019 and time to move on. We had just a few miles to drive to see the lovely little Mono Lake Park. We walked around the park oohing and ahhing over its lushness and the creek running through it. Margaret walked Peaches around in the grass, which turned out to be the ideal rolling stuff for her (see in the video below). It was a beautiful day of about 65 degrees, with blue skies with puffy white clouds, a slight breeze, and mostly just the sounds of birds and running water to hear.

 Mono Lake Park. Photo by Virginia.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Mammoth & June Lake Scenic Loops & Grant Lake Camping (CA)

After our couple hours touring the Hot Creek Geologic Site on 30 May 2019, we headed north on Highway 395 to the Mammoth Scenic Loop. The drive was awe-inspiring! The shimmering pine trees, snow patches, puffy white clouds, and cerulean sky...ahhh. We stopped at Lower Twin Lake; and even though the wind chill was nearing painful levels, how could we not gawk?

Lower Twin Lake. Photo by Margaret.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Hot Creek Geologic Site (CA)

After staying put for two weeks, it was exciting to get on the road again on 30 May 2019 and to see new sights. Just a few miles north of where we had camped at Crowley Lake Campground, is this fascinating geothermal area—Hot Creek Geologic Site. Margaret found out about this area from the ebook, California Boondocking: The Desert and Eastern Sierra—A Frugal Shunpiker’s Guide by Marianne Edwards, which has been an invaluable guide for us. Hot Creek begins mostly from snow melt as Mammoth Creek in the eastern Sierra Nevada. It flows east through the Long Valley Caldera, where the water is warmed by geothermal springs at the Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery. The geothermal springs come up through two faults as scalding hot calcium-rich water into several pools along the creek at the bottom of the Hot Creek Gorge. Parts of the creek were actually fenced off due to the “geysering” of the hazardously hot water back in 2006.

Driving east on Hot Creek Hatchery Road. Photo by Virginia.

Bishop, Tuff Campground, Crowley Lake Campground (CA)

This entry will be posted more than two weeks after our last one—mainly because we stayed in one location for two weeks, and we had no steady cell phone signal while there. Sorry for the delay!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Goodale Creek Campground (CA)

Goodale Creek Campground was another beautiful location we were reluctant to leave. Margaret found it using the Campendium app after we'd spent the previous night (06 May 2019) on U.S. Forest Service Land northeast of the town of Big Pine: a location where we thought we would have a cell signal, some quiet time, and great views. It turned out there was a peek-a-boo signal (which is highly frustrating!), and we also had an incident of a disgruntled, drinking person, who showed up the following morning. He seemed very displeased that we were camping where he wanted to meet someone. He did finally leave without incident.

We ended up driving back into Big Pine seeking a signal and a new place to camp—hence, our lovely six-night stay at Goodale Creek Campground. What an amazing alternate choice it was!

 Photo by Margaret.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Manzanar National Historic Site (CA)

After leaving Alabama Hills on 05 May 2019, we stopped briefly in Lone Pine for some more groceries and at the post office to mail some things and pick up a General Delivery item for Margaret. We got on our way with plans to stop just 12 miles north at the Manzanar National Historic Site, known officially beginning June 1, 1942, to its closing as the Manzanar War Relocation Center.

 The sign's appearance hasn't changed. All photos by Virginia.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Alabama Hills National Scenic Area (CA)

We left Red Rock Canyon State Park on the morning of 01 May 2019, once again heading north. We stopped briefly in Pearsonville to catch up on our iPhones, to call my daughter, and to get veggie subs at Subway. (We added our own tasty vegan Provolone cheese, Tofurky deli slices, and our preferred special condiments to make them extra yummy!)

We drove to Lone Pine to get a few groceries (mostly produce). All the while, I was gawking at Mount Whitney, which is a major draw for hikers/mountaineers. Then we let Google Maps continue to direct us to our next camping adventure—Alabama Hills—where we hoped to boondock for a few days. [NOTE: In March 2019, Congress designated the Alabama Hills as a National Scenic Area as a part of the John D. Dingell, Jr Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.] After searching for an easily accessible campsite just off the main road (Movie Road) so Margaret’s Roadtrek wouldn’t bottom out on the rocks and potholes, we found a perfect pull-through site next to Movie Road farther in after it turned into a smaller dirt road. It was close enough to level that we only needed one leveling ramp. The view made almost anything worth it!

And what a welcome it is! Photo by Virginia.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Randsburg, Coso Junction, Red Rock Canyon State Park (CA)

We gassed up the Roadtrek before leaving the “big city” of Barstow, CA, on 25 April 2019 and drove west on Highway 58 before heading north on Highway 395. After crossing from San Bernardino County into Kern County, we stopped for a visit in the old gold mining town of Randsburg. There were 70 residents per the 2010 U.S. Census; and according to the town’s Wikipedia page, it relies on tourists but only opens on weekends and holidays. Since we visited on a weekday, the only business open was a tavern, which we chose to forego. It was nearly 100°F; so we left Peaches in the Roadtrek with the generator and A/C going. After checking out the exteriors of the cool historic buildings on the main drag, we continued driving north.

Randsburg Historical Marker. Photo by Virginia.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Amboy Crater, Roy’s Café, Barstow (CA)

We left White Tank Campground (Joshua Tree National Park) at 12:30 pm on April 24 and drove east through Twentynine Palms, then north to Amboy Road. It was over 100°F, but the Roadtrek’s A/C kept the three of us cool during the miles of desolate desert.

Amboy Road. Photo by Virginia.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Starting Our West Coast States Adventure (CA)

After months of planning and preparing, we began our adventure on the afternoon of Sunday, April 21—Easter! We had shopped at several of our favorite grocery stores prior to this day; and on our way out of San Diego, we stopped to fill up on gas and propane and washed the Roadtrek.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Before We Begin—A Tour of the Roadtrek

Margaret’s much-loved Roadtrek is a dream come true for her. She has been interested in Roadtreks since the mid-1980s and knew the exact model she wanted. When this 2004 30th Anniversary Edition became available within driving distance in November 2011, she jumped on it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Creating a Digital Archive of Your Belongings

How much do you treasure your belongings? Your memories? Do you think about what would happen if you lost them? If they were destroyed? Are you considering downsizing and wonder how they will fit in your future smaller life?

Monday, February 4, 2019

Our Week in Quartzsite at RTR (AZ)

Margaret and I attended our first Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) this year. It was again held in Quartzsite, Arizona. After a four-hour drive, we arrived late Friday, January 11, its second day. Our backcountry drive through Borrego Springs, past the Salton Sea, Glamis, and lots of farmland was much more peaceful and interesting than taking the interstate.