Rogue River South and East

From Brookings, OR we headed just enough south to swing northeast on US 199 to Grants Pass and then south on Interstate 5 a few miles to The Valley of the Rogue State Park.

Our site at The Valley of the Rogue Oregon State Park
Our site at The Valley of the Rogue Oregon State Park

This is a really nice park right on the Rogue with much less freeway noise than you would think considering its location.  As you can see, fall is upon us.  It proved to be the ideal location to do a little uninhibited exploration of the area and for a run up to Crater Lake National Park which we had not visited since the early 80’s.

Small, Beautiful Waterfall
Small, Beautiful Waterfall

We stopped and took a short hike on the way up and were rewarded with this view. The caption simply says it all.

The Natural Bridge
The Natural Bridge

Between Medford and Crater Lake is this “must see” stop. The entire Rogue River flows through an old lava tube forming a natural bridge. It is easy to find and only about a mile off the highway. The beautiful level hike is on a paved trail across a foot bridge and up the river. The scenery is unforgettable.

Crater Lake With Wizard Island
Crater Lake With Wizard Island

An awe-inspiring sight and we certainly managed to pick a perfect day!

The Phantom Ship
The Phantom Ship

This view of the smaller of the two islands in Crater Lake was a short (uphill but worth the effort) hike from the highway through the park.

White City
White City

This giant private campsite was courtesy of our White City friends Peggy and Gerry where we spent a couple or three days imposing on their hospitality and enjoying every minute. (Hope you guys make it down to our place this winter!!)

Red Bluff Elks
Red Bluff Elks

We are really on the road home now.  Decided to enjoy dinner at this lodge tonight.  We had picked up some groceries and did enough laundry to probably get us home.  There was a lot of freeway noise here but was great for our needs.

Placerville CA Elks Lodge
Placerville CA Elks

It was here at Placerville that our trip got rerouted.  On our way up highway 50 we saw warning signs stating that the road was closed due to the King fire.  The television news that evening had the highway reopened but by morning it was closed again. So rather than head back north to Interstate 80 or take one of the higher and more difficult passes we decided to take US99 south.  See the big pyrocumulus cloud in the picture above?  The fire is only about 30 miles up the road from us.  (Pyrocumulus are clouds that are formed by the intense heat from fires and volcanic eruptions.  That is your miscellaneous trivia lesson for the trip.)   By the way this was another great place for an Elk to stay.

Staying at the Fresno, CA Elks
Staying at the Fresno, CA Elks

Next stop Fresno, while here we went to a well advertised farmers market that simply did not exist, so we had to settle for a Trader Joe’s grocery store which was a pretty good compromise but not what we had driven 20 miles to do.

LancasterCAElks
The Elks  at Lancaster, CA

This is a very large Campground and we spent three nights here. The first night in we had dinner in the lodge.  It was much quieter here than at Fresno, a very welcome relief as we have been moving nearly every day and it was time for R&R.

Kachina Dolls
Kachina Dolls
Baskets
Baskets
Antelope Valley Indian Museum
Antelope Valley Indian Museum

In the Mojave Desert one can find some unexpected things. One of those is the Antelope Valley Indian Museum, a Swiss Chalet like structure which once was the home of Howard Arden Edwards a theatrical set painter and his Indian Research Museum. It has passed through several other hands and is now part of the California State Park System and houses a rather eclectic collection of native art, treen, tools, pottery, textiles, baskets, and implements from all over North America.  The first day that we spent here we found some great food at a farmer’s market that really did exist as advertised.

Two Springs RV Resort
Two Springs RV Resort

He we are right outside of Palm Springs, CA.  The drive here was thankfully short as we are very near Los Angeles, the city that gave California Drivers a bad name.  Insane, I’ll say nothing more.  We went to another non-existent Farmers Market, found a very marginal used book store,  spent 1.5 hours  going  2.5 miles on  a 12 lane section of Interstate 10 in 107 degree weather, and went to a very large outlet mall.

PalmSpringsTram
Palm Springs Tram
A View From Mount San Jacinto
A View From Mount San Jacinto
We Are Headed Down And They Are Headed Up
We Are Headed Down And They Are Headed Up

We rode the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, a spectacular 5,873 foot 10 minute climb to the top of Mount San Jacinto. It was almost chilly up there and the views were astounding.  This made Palm Springs a worth the time and effort destination.

Rio Bend Resort El Centro and Holt's RV Gila Bend
Rio Bend Resort El Centro and Holt’s RV Gila Bend

Our last 2 nights on the road for this trip. From Palm Springs we headed west on interstate 10 and then south on route 86 to El Centro where we set up for the night and went shopping at Costco. Then west again on interstate 8 to Gila Bend with a rest stop in Dateland, AZ to get dates. We also purchased some garden ornaments at a couple of purveyors of Mexican crafts in Gila Bend.

Bertha Is Back Home
Bertha Is Back Home

Well we made it home again. Fifty-five hundred miles on Bertha and almost twice that on the truck in 128 days.
Would I do it again?  Oh I might, but there are still many new adventures awaiting us.  We will be home for a while doing other things and making new plans.

Keep your tires turning, there is always something new and interesting just around the corner.
Your Random Rover (and Migrant Non-Worker).
Gordon

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A Little More Time On The Oregon Coast

Before I even start this segment I should mention that much is left out from these accounts, some deliberately as I want to keep things upbeat and none of the misadventures/problems that have been left out are really worthy of note, some because as I blunder on from day-to-day what I see and feel does not seem interesting until I have forgotten the details that might elucidate those insights, some because I do not have the ability to set them to words,  and of course some because I did not take any pictures.

From Florence Oregon we did a very easy day of about 80 miles south on US Hwy 101 to Bullards Beach State Park.

Bullards Beach State Park
Bullards Beach State Park

We enjoyed this surprisingly secluded site in the middle of this very popular Oregon State Park just north of Bandon. We had trees and bushes all around us and could barely see our neighbors.  Glorious weather followed us again.  After settling in we drove out to walk the beach and get a picture of the Bandon Lighthouse close up.

Coquille Lighthouse
Bandon/Coquille Lighthouse

Guarding the entrance to the Coquille river this lighthouse is preserved but no longer used. Standing on the north Jetty we see the edge of Bandon and the south jetty in the background.  We chose to eat in during our entire stay here and spent some time perusing many of Bandon’s tourist shops and looking at Charleston Harbor.

Brookings Elks

Brookings Elks

We got to Brookings (another 80 mile drive) on a pleasant sunshiny day but then the fog set in and lasted until it was time to move on.  We didn’t let that dampen our spirits or slow down exploration.  After we got settled in we walked to town and purchased  a few necessities at the local super-center and then went over to the lodge for a very good prime rib dinner.

Harris Beach
Harris Beach

The next day found us walking Harris Beach which is one of those places where nature speaks loudly.  These big crashing waves can be heard long before they can be seen and are normal on a calm day.

Your Random Rover on the Redwood Trail
Your Random Rover on the Redwood Trail

Just a few mile up the Chetco river there is this lovely US Forest Service trail that follows a creek for a way and then through the northernmost stand of redwoods.

McVay Beach
McVay Beach

Just a few miles down the road the beach at McVay Rock provides a stark contrast.

I also touched base with a wood working kindred spirit that I met last year. We did a little catching up and sharing sawdust experiences and promised to keep in touch as we are both interested in turning and CNC machinery. The last day here we drove down to Crescent City, Ca to check out the town and the local farmers market. On the way we chanced upon a small pow wow where we some really nice Indian craft work.

Tomorrow we will head inland for more adventures.

Your Random Rover,

Gordon

And Heading South

It had to happen sometime.  We did the big 180 and started heading south.  Not that we are in any hurry to get back it just had to happen at some point.  So here we go.  We traveled from Banff, AB through Radium Hot Springs to Cranbrook, BC.

Our site at Mt Baker RV Park in Cranbrook, BC
Our site at Mt Baker RV Park in Cranbrook, BC

It was a relatively short driving day so we had time to do a little exploring in town where we found an excellent chocolate shop and a wonderful bookstore that had every magazine you could imagine. We bought more than we should have, but opportunities for good food and reading material should not be passed by lightly.

Staying at the Spokane Elks Lodge
Staying at the Spokane Elks Lodge

We stopped at the Spokane Elks for a few nights to see the families and we had a great time.  The first day back stateside was spent shopping, getting haircuts, and picking up all the stuff we had left in John’s care. (Things we couldn’t take across the border.)  Of course John and Miss fed us lunch and Gordon does not pass up free meals especially when the food and company are great.  We were able to spend an afternoon and evening at son John’s Lake place and Laura was able to come up with Delaney. On another night we were able to get together again with everyone at the lodge for “Taco Night” and they had a band so we got in a little dancing too.  I had forgotten that John and Missy had their wedding reception at the lodge so there was also a bit of reminiscing.

Card Sharks at Connell, Washington
Card Sharks at Connell, Washington

On the way down to the Tri-Cities area to see some old friends we stopped for break and lunch in a quaint small town named Connell, Washington where Gordon succumbed to a game with some locals.  I’m telling you that the raven was cheating.  He must have been.  If Elaine hadn’t drug me away I’d have lost everything and we would be standing at a rest area holding up a cardboard sign.

Army Corps of Engineers Charbonneau Park
Army Corps of Engineers Charbonneau Park

This COE park was beautiful!!  We spent a couple of nights here and were able to do a lot of catching up and getting re-acquainted with the Krudwigs, great folks we had not seen for at least 20 years.

The Dalles, OR with Mount Hood
The Dalles, OR with Mount Hood

Elaine was driving on this stretch of the Columbia Gorge so Gordon was able to get this “through the windshield” picture on our way from Charbonneau to Salem.  As you can see it was a picture perfect day.  (pun intended)  All to soon it was my turn to drive us through Portland.

At The Salem Elks
At The Salem Elks

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have made good use of the Elk’s hospitality on this trip and plan to do more.  If you are an Elk, the lodges can be a special treat on your travels.  We spent a couple of nights here catching our breath / relaxing and were able to enjoy steak night at the lodge.  We also shopped at the Salem Farmer’s Market.  Very,  very nice – bought some fruit and bread, and met some fine craftspersons.  Took the short drive up to Silverton to take in a little of the Willamette Valley farm country.

The Florence Elks RV Park
The Florence Elks RV Park

The park is the best. As you can see the spaces are spacious. The hosts are helpful and the Pacific ocean is just a few minutes away.

Morning On a Beach North of Heceta Head
Morning On a Beach North of Heceta Head

Now we are on the Oregon coast!  Elaine and I always miss the ocean and so are pulled in this westerly direction until we can hear the surf, smell the ocean breeze, and see the sunlight sparkle on water and sand.  The weather has been as great as it has been for most of this trip so we were able to do lots of just looking around and revisiting old haunts from Yachats to Winchester Bay.  We saw some friends that we met last year, ate lots of fresh seafood, and pretended we were on vacation.

Tomorrow we will move on to Bullards Beach State Park just north of Bandon, OR.

Travel Safely and Enjoy,

Your Random Rover,

Gordon