Waterfalls, Hikes, and Campfires

We’re in Oregon now and loving the change in landscape.  I love the pine trees and that ‘green’ smell of the forest.  The weather is cooler, but that’s ok (for now anyway).  In the morning, Mike turns on the furnace and brings me coffee in bed.  I can’t get up when he and Lucy do!  I stay in bed and read the latest news on my iPhone until the coach warms up.

Our first campground upon entering Oregon (from Interstate 84 leaving Idaho) was Farewell Bend State Park.  The lower loop of the campground was shadier, but we decided to go to the upper loop because we liked having a view of the Snake River.

After a couple of days here, we headed west to the Columbia River Gorge area.  We learned the hard way that this is fishing season on the Columbia River and campgrounds are booked!!  The Deschutes River State Park, where we had planned to stop, was completely full!  We continued on down the road to Memaloose State Park.  Luckily, we squeezed into the last available slot with electricity.  Unfortunately, it was the spot closest to the highway.  Lots of road noise!  It’s a good thing we can sleep through anything.  Interstate 84 is just on the other side of those trees!  We’ve got our speakers and iPod on the table helping to drown out the road noise with soothing, mellow music.

The other side of the campground overlooks the Columbia River.  We took many walks over there with Lucy.  I shouldn’t say “we”.  It’s mostly Mike who walks Lucy around the campgrounds.  I join them occasionally.  Those two are the social butterflies.  They always meet new people and new dogs when they go out walking.

We visited the nearby town of Hood River and caught the Mt. Hood Railroad for a scenic ride through the orchards to the town of Parkdale.  Our day included touring a fruit harvesting and packing plant with a museum of antique equipment and photos, gazing at Mt. Hood while picnicking in Parkdale, touring a museum of early pioneer days, and finally, visiting the Springdale Winery to sample (and purchase!) some local wine.  A really fun day!

The next campground on our travel plan was Ainsworth State Park.   It is a first come-first served, no reservations accepted campground.  So we hoped that there would be a spot for us when we arrived.  We got nervous because all the slots were full, til we got to the back.  We found a cozy pull-through space and set up camp.  We are officially in the forest now.  It’s so green and shady, and so cool!  So we had our first campfire.  We sat outside and drank our new wine by the fire.  It was so relaxing and peaceful.  Then we even roasted marshmallows, just to make it official.

Mike wanted me to be sure and tell you that there are no bugs at this campsite!  He is ecstatic!  We can actually enjoy sitting outside.

We spent a day shopping in Portland (The Container Store, Costco, etc.) and enjoyed a great lunch at a local brewery.  Mike’s in heaven when he can get a really strong dark beer.  Our next couple of days were dedicated to hiking the trails in the Columbia River Gorge to so many beautiful waterfalls.  I absolutely loved it!

Lucy wears her hiking shoes, too!

The trail pictured below goes behind the waterfall.  It was awesome.

Mike decided to take me out to lunch in Troutdale for Tad’s famous chicken n’ dumplins, but, surprise, they aren’t open for lunch.  We found a cute little place down the road called Shirley’s Tippy Canoe and I’m so glad we did!  It was great!  I had a bowl of clam chowder, a beautiful salad and a glass of wine.  Mike washed down his french dip sandwich with a beer called Black Bear by Alameda, a rich creamy stout that he thought was fantastic.

When we returned to the Bear, we discovered that Lucy had somehow pushed aside the barrier that I set up on the kitchen sink.   I’d left a pork roast defrosting in the sink and she had chewed through the wrapping and eaten about 1/3 of it.  Uncooked pork!!  She’s trying to kill herself!  Mike was so mad, that he wouldn’t speak to her or give her any attention for the rest of the day and evening.  And that’s saying a lot.  Normally, he can’t resist her.  He finally relented before bedtime and forgave her, so she smothered him with kisses.

Our final night in the Columbia River Gorge area, we had dinner with our sailing friends, Dan and Denise.  We met them years ago when we first began our sailing adventure.  We spent time together ‘buddy boating’ in Mexico and had a fun evening reminiscing about those good ol days.  Dan, by the way, is an excellent cook.  Lucky Denise!  Thanks for a lovely evening, you two!  We’ll see you again when we head back up this way.

We’re now in Eugene for a week with some interesting things planned for us.  I’ll save all that for my next post.  Cheers!

3 thoughts on “Waterfalls, Hikes, and Campfires

  1. Sounds like you are having a great time. Really enjoying the blog. We are thinking of getting an RV next summer and do some of the West. You guys are certainly getting us into the spirit of things. How much do the camp sites usually cost you? Hugs!
    Cathie and Tom

    • Hi Cathie! You and Tom would LOVE this lifestyle. The cost of sites is a topic I should dedicate an entire post to. Bottom line is that boon docking (like anchoring out) is free. We need to install solar panels before we can do that comfortably because this beast draws a lot of energy. We have a residential refrigerator, whereas most RVs have refrigerators that can be powered by propane. We have a generator, but we wouldn’t want to run it all the time while boondocking. That would defeat the purpose! (noise and fuel) So we have to look for campsites with electric hook ups. Next is National Forests and National Parks – with a Senior Pass ($10 lifetime pass) entrance to all parks is free and campsites are 50% discounted. The best bargain out there! Some states (e.g. Utah) also honor the discount in their State Parks. Then, there are the various clubs you can join for discounts at participating private campgrounds. We joined Passport America and get 50% off at those sites. Our average cost in National Parks has been $8. Passport America campgrounds run about $15. Here in Oregon (with no discounts for seniors) we’ve been paying up to $24 at their State Parks. Most privately owned campgrounds, KOAs, etc. cost a whole lot more. After we’ve spent a little more time on the road, I will write a post with many more details about what this whole experience costs.
      Hugs!!

  2. I am loving this adventure! Soooo glad you are writing about it! I so wish we could be experiencing it with you so your blog is definitely the next best thing! Loving that Papa is rocking the stache and I almost peed my pants when I saw Lucy’s shoes! hahaha The photos are breathtaking! Keep them coming and I can’t wait to see you soon! Love you!

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