Riverside August 2021

We returned to the Bowl and Pitcher Campground at Riverside State Park to be camp hosts in the lower section.

Host Site #7

We had impressive views from our campsite.

And many more from park trails along the Spokane river.

There were many flowers and lots of critters to watch even in the heat of summer. We saw squirrels, marmots, ducks, geese, osprey, deer, and numerous wildflowers in the park.

We enjoyed a few evenings with family at their homes and here in the park and were able to do a few little things for them. We plan to head back here next summer so that we can spend more time enjoying the “inland empire.

Now that we have completed our hosting duties we will be spending about 3 weeks heading home via a route that we have not taken before and are looking forward to many new sights along the way.

All that glitters is not gold (Shakespeare) — Your Random Rovers

Another View of our Host Site

Summer ’21 1st Installment

After missing last year, as did almost everyone else, we are on the road again. The plan is to spend a month in Spokane Washington, camp hosting at Riverside State Park and spending time with family, then taking a month off on the Pacific coast with stops to relatives here and there, and finally returning to Riverside for another month of hosting. Other than heading homeward after that we really have no plans maybe just randomly roving so we don’t know when we will get back to Tucson.

Dazzo's RV Site 15
Dazzo’s RV Site 15

Our first night was in Wikieup which is really just a wide spot in the road with a few convenience stores/gas stations and diners, but it is a simple one-night stop. While not particularly commodious, Dazzo’s Rv is suitably located and has many Joshua trees and large Saguaro cactus throughout the park. When we were leaving the next morning we learned that the gas station/convenience store/restaurant/gallery where we fueled up the night before had burned to the ground. We could still smell the smoke at the park. Sad news.

Site #4 St George Elks
Site #4 St George Elks

5/24/21 and 278 miles to St George, UT where we stayed at one of our favorite places the, Elks Lodge overlooking a golf course and beautiful red rock formations. Actually, St George is a fabulous destination in itself. The city which has many historically significant landmarks also has beautiful parks and hiking/biking trails. On this trip, we visited Brigham Young’s winter home and did a little shopping on our day off the road.

Lakeside RV Provo, UT
Lakeside RV Site H7, Provo, UT

5/26/21 and another 270 miles closer to Spokane. When we arrived at the Provo Elks Lodge there were no sights available so we spent the night at Lakeside RV which was very near the airport. We never did find the lake but the campground was OK for a night.

Bannock County Fairgrounds
Bannock County Fairgrounds

5/27/21 A shorter day, only 207 miles to Pocatello, Idaho.

Junior Rodeo

We spent 2 nights here where we enjoyed watching the junior rodeo competition and also did a little shopping for provisions.

5/29/21 281 miles to Indian Creek Campground in Deer Lodge Montana. We are spending 2 nights here so we can return to Philipsburg and shop the Sweet Palace candy store. (Awesomely beautiful drive and fun shopping.) Deer Lodge will be our last stop on the way north. On the 31st we will drive the last 280 miles through Montana, across the Idaho panhandle, and on through Washington to Riverside State Park.

Bowl and Pitcher Campground Riverside State Park

Just keeping the shiny side up, and reminding ourselves that over the hill is still better than under it.

Your Random Rovers, Elaine and Gordon

City of Rocks State Park

Can You See the Giant Rock Creature Behind the Sign?

We are camp hosting here for the months of January and February 2018. This park is the most remote state park in New Mexico and if you know rural New Mexico you understand that we are a long way from anywhere.  Dramatic, grand, spectacular, you can pick the adjective, they all fit this magic land of boulders. They all originated about 35 million years ago from a multi-year volcanic eruption that was 1,000 times larger than the Mount Saint Helens eruption in 1980. Hot volcanic material compressed and solidified and then as it cooled and shrank vertical cracks formed.  From there eons of erosion has widened the cracks to make individual boulders.

Campsite City of Rocks SP
Our Campsite at City of Rocks

The views from our campsite.

A Thumbs Up Sunset
A Thumbs Up Sunset Looking South

And Looking West

And Looking East

And Looking North

I think that you will have to agree that this is a very awe inspiring place to park our tiny house for a couple of months.

Some of the sights in the park.

A Petroglyph of an Apache Crown Dancer

The Apache Crown Dancers are an important part of the tribal spiritual rituals.

Kokopelli

This is one of the two Kokopelli petroglyphs in the park. Kokopelli in this form is the bringer of music that changes winter to spring and brings rain for the crops.

There are at least 5 known and documented petroglyphs here. They are fun to find and see, but please do not touch them or do anything else that could damage them. And of course do not enter occupied campsites while you are searching.

013 Boulders3
Some Balanced Boulders

Rock Climbers

We often saw people climbing the rocks. In order to protect the rocks only free climbing is allowed.

Some More of Natures Balancing Acts

One of the Parks Multitude of Rabbits

I am not patient enough to be a wildlife photographer but sometimes opportunities do occur. This Desert Cottontail just sat patiently and kept a wary eye on me.  Coyotes, Blacktail Jackrabbit, Rock Squirrel, and Spotted Ground Squirrel are other park residents.

A Raven Nest Way Up in the Rocks

Sorry no pictures of the raven or even of the owl that borrowed the nest after the raven was done with it, but the park does have over 100 kinds of resident and visiting birds depending on the season.  Butterflies, Dragonflies and over 20 varieties of reptiles can be found in the summer.

More Rocks

While it is certainly impossible to define the park wth one picture, for me this one comes the closest.

The Welcome Center

The welcome center’s architecture fits well in its surroundings. Do stop in for area and park information from the real friendly folks there.

The Colonnade at the Visitor Center

Desert Camouflage

Geological History

Ancient Inhabitants

Early Inhabitants Mural

With the trails around and through the park for hiking and sightseeing, many species of birds to see and photograph or paint or draw, many desert plants and animals to discover, a very nice visitor center with helpful staff and a library of geological, botanical and biological information, and a botanical garden, New Mexico’s City of Rocks is a must see stop in the desert southwest.

“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to drive across the country coast to coast without seeing anything.”  This quote from Charles Kuralt was brought to mind by the fact that we are only about 30 miles north of that great set of asphalt paths with dashed lines that criss-cross this beautiful, immense country of ours.  The freeways bring convenience and are needed but we do need to get off of them regularly.

We will be here for another month or so before heading on.  Which direction? Well now that just depends on the weather.

Your Random Rover,

Gordon

Hosting at Rasar State Park

4/24/17

Off again.  Left this AM for a volunteer stint at Rasar State Park. The first leg of 40 miles took us to the Port Townsend ferry dock where we had a reservation and were the first “Big Rig” in line.

In Line at the Port Angeles Ferry Terminal

We got the front row on the ferry “Skagit” for the ride across to Whidbey Island.  Bertha seamed stoic about her very first boat ride but the sky was blue, the water smooth, and Elaine and I enjoyed the crossing from the cab of the truck.

View From The Drivers Seat

Second Leg, up Whidbey Island across the bridge at Deception Pass onto Fidalgo Island and on to the Camping World at Burlington to pick up out new mattress. Old mattress out and new one in we headed back westward to Bayview State Park and set up camp. We plan to do a little sight-seeing tomorrow and then on Wednesday will proceed on to Rasar State Park

.

Bayview State Park

4/25/17

Did the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and all I can say is: “Wow, why have we waited so long?  Actually it was a wintry day chilly, windy, and cloudy but none of that put any damper on the display.  I skipped taking pictures of the fields of tulips, those are available on the web, done by some very gifted photographers, and yes they are so brilliantly colored that they look like they were painted into the scene with millions of gallons of very expensive paint. We also shopped La Conner, WA where we found interesting craft and art items including The Wood Merchant where finely crafted wooden items from pins, bracelets, bowls, boxes, carvings, intarsia, inlay and furniture abound.

One of many tulip Gardens

4/26/17

We are off to Rasar State Park, 30 road miles up the Skagit river on scenic Washington Highway 20.  Unfortunately the new concrete pad at our site had not been poured due to rainy weather so we are temporarily on another site.  Sort of dark and dismal way under the trees but we will make do.

First Site at Rasar

We moved to what will actually be our site when they get it done. At least we have sunshine and we are in the group camp area.  That is a plus.

Second Spot at Rasar

Finally they will be pouring concrete so we have moved again.

Third spot!

When we weren’t busy being camp hosts:

We hunted mushrooms

Oyster Mushrooms with Conk below
Oyster Mushrooms

I cleaned and sautéed a few pounds of oyster mushrooms most of which we ate right away with a few still in our freezer.  It was very late in the season but still in nice shape and very tasty.

Fresh Oyster Mushrooms
Fresh Picked

We did a lot of sight-seeing

Mtn and stream near Baker Lake
On the way to Baker Lake

Thunderbird Totem at Newhalem
Thunderbird Totem at Newhalem

Suspension Bridge Across the Skagit River at Newhalem
Suspension Bridge Across the Skagit River

Carved a few more spoons

Wooden Spoons
More Spoons

We also explored all the nearby towns – Translation shopping and eating out.

They poured the concrete but we still had to wait two full weeks before moving onto it but we are finally settled in with only a couple of weeks to go.  Have to admit it is a beautiful sight with large concrete patio on the edge of the forest.

Fourth and final site for our 5 week gig hosting here.

6/01/17

Finished with our camp hosting here.  Met some great people and got to know the Skagit Valley area but it is time to hit the road.  Next stop Cashmere, WA over the mountains on WA Hwy 20.

There Is Still Snow In The Pass

E&G In Winthrop

Cashmere County Fairgrounds

It was a very nice days drive.  We saw lots of snow in the pass, but the roads were clear.  Took a long break along the way shopping Winthrop, a quaint tourist town.  And shorter breaks for lunch and finally a fruit stand and market where we resisted all except for some fresh asparagus.  Spent most  of the day traveling 221 miles at our pace.

Rocky Reach Dam

Leavenworth, WA

We spent 3 nights allowing us time to tour Rocky Reach Dam, explore Wenatchee, shop Leavenworth, and catch up some old friends that we had not seen for 35 plus years.  We were to early for the area’s fruit crops, but found some great local produce.

6/04/17

177 miles southwest to Randall, WA

Cascade Peaks, RV

We only spent one night here.  It has been many years since we stayed at this park and then it was under different management.  Appears to be  a bit run down, though it is still nice.

6/05/17

One more night for this trip and only 52 miles from home we drove 156 miles to Brinnon, WA so that we could go to the Whitney Gardens, famous for their rhododendrons.

 

Dosewallips State Park

We had a great trip with new and old adventures. Dosewallips is as nice as ever and the gardens were interesting.

Keeping the shiny side up,

Your random rover

House Hunting and Other Adventures

We had planned to make the Florence Oregon area our new home but sometimes the best laid plans …

Alas, I am getting ahead of myself which I often do.  In any case an update is long overdue.

Home At The Florence Elks
Home At The Florence Elks

We spent the remainder of February at the Elks RV Park just north of town. It has made a great vacation spot for us before and this time it made a great base of operations for house hunting.

Woahink Lake
Woahink Lake

We spent the month of March here at Woakink Lake RV which is a very nice park just a few miles south of Florence that backs up to the famous Oregon Dunes Recreation Area. We did a lot of house hunting, took a few very pleasant drives into the valley, and went to a wood-turning symposium (see previous post) . None of the properties jumped up and said “buy me” which was disappointing and then it was time to take a break and honor our commitment to host at Tugman State Park south of Reedsport, OR near Lakeside, OR.

At Home in Tugman State Park
At Home in Tugman State Park

We spent the month of April working at Tugman where we had good time and met a number of great people. We did some house hunting but mostly just worked and relaxed.

Lake Creek Falls
Lake Creek Falls

Shore Acres Raucous Ocean
Shore Acres Raucous Ocean

Shore Acres Serenity
Shore Acres Serenity

Lake Creek Falls, and a return trip to Shore Acres were on our agenda along with a few other side trips. We had pretty much given up on the Florence area and now had to decide what to do. We considered a number of options and finally decided to make a trip up to Port Angeles, WA, an area we had always enjoyed in the past that has a great rural feel, plenty of local shopping, is on the water and is only an hour or so from the big city for those major shopping trips. We liked what we found and one trip became two so at the end of our tenure we traveled to the Sequim / Port Angles area to start looking again.

Champoeg Campsite
Champoeg Campsite

We broke the 400 mile trip into two days which allowed time to spend a nice afternoon at Champoeg Oregon State Park. The grounds were covered with blooming wild roses and the park store/museum was a delight. Tomorrow we will be at Rainbows End RV and it will be time to get back into searching mode.

It isn’t the destination, it is the trip.
Your Random Rover,
Gordon

At Heyburn State Park

As we start the inevitable and unavoidable process of getting ready to roll, the time to document our time here at Heyburn has arrived.  We have had a wonderful time here with great people, wonderful scenery, and best of all family.  I will begin with our campsite home for the past two months.

Our Site at Heyburn
Our Site at Heyburn With Elaine Waving Hello We’re Here

Wow, another site in the woods to die for!  The site itself is quite large with a lot of privacy in an area reserved for volunteers. We are surrounded by tall pines,firs,  douglas firs,  hemlock, tamarac and many other trees.  We also have many guests (or maybe we are the guests).  So far we have been visited by a wolf, a young cow moose, and a few deer.  Unfortunately the camera has not learned to take pictures by itself and I sit or stand just staring but will try to do better so that I have pictures to share.

A Chipmunk and Some Whitetail Deer
A Chipmunk and Some Whitetail Deer

We saw many of the local inhabitants every day.  So many of them in fact that we had to be extra cautious when driving.

Wildflowers
Wildflowers

I am sure that the thing we will remember most about this park is the ever changing profusion of wildflowers.  We saw hundreds of varieties of which many only lasted a week or so while others bloomed the entire time we were here.

Elaine's Contribution
Elaine’s Contribution

Elaine spent 20 hours per week assisting park visitors and collecting park fees.

A Rustic Bed Frame
A Rustic Bed Frame

Gordon occupied himself a similar amount of time fixing tools and making cabinets, shelves, and this bed for one of the rental cottages at the park’s maintenance building.

Riding Bikes, Hiking Trails, and Boating With Phil and Anette
Riding Bikes, Hiking Trails, and Boating With  Elaine’s brother Phil and his wife Anette

When we weren’t working or off seeing family there were plenty of things to keep us busy.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

Plummer Creek Marsh
Plummer Creek Marsh

Just two more images of this wonderful place.

Happy Travels,

Your Random Rover,  Gordon

Umqua Lighthouse State Park

It was a bucolic drive here, even the first portion, which was northbound on I5 being quite pleasant as I drove, first squeezing out of Peggy and Gerry’s driveway (They have a large driveway but as I am occasionally reminded, Bertha, our 5th wheel trailer,  is big, very big, which of course is why we call her Bertha with apologies to anyone named Bertha who takes offense.) and on to Valley of the Rogue State Park where for the paltry sum of $3.00 we dumped our holding tanks and Elaine took over driving heading through the mountains to a rest area near the 7 Feathers Casino/Truck Stop at Canyonville and then it was Gordon’s turn for a few more miles on up the freeway to near Sutherlin and on to quieter roads, hwy 138 to Elkton where we stopped for lunch in the rig (we really wanted ice cream which did not see until we were done, and stuffed :-(, it was right across the road, and then hwy 38 to Reedsport where we turned south on US101 for about 8 miles to the park.

There you have it, a prime example of why my 5th grade teacher called me the king of run on sentences and she definitely wasn’t complimenting me. I haven’t lost my touch.

🙂

Umpqua Campsite
Umpqua Lighthouse Campsite

Even if we did not see anything else new and wonderful on this trip it would have been worth the drive for this campsite alone.  We are up in an open area of tall forest well above the ocean, out of the wind, above the fog, but with a fog horn barely audible for ambiance, and not in the campground proper so that we have only one neighbor, a fellow work camper.  As I was writing this a black tail doe walked through our site munching her breakfast. We are here for the whole month so we will have plenty of time to explore.

A Panorama of Lake Marie
A Panorama of Lake Marie

  The campground is very nice and has a beautiful little lake with hiking trail all the way around it.

The Beach
The Beach

There is a day use area with lots of picnic tables and a sandy beach for fresh water swimming.

Yurts, Campers, and Cabins
Yurts, Campers, and Cabins

And a wooded campground with tent sites, rv sites, cabins and yurts.

The Umpqua Harbor Lighthouse
The Umpqua Harbor Lighthouse

The lighthouse is just outside of the park and is run by the county.  Note the unusual bi-color lens. County volunteers give lighthouse tours, keep up a good museum of life and duties at the station and run a gift shop.

We changed our minds, filling a vacancy here for another month, and cancelling our planned stay at Sunset Bay.  Our site here is just too nice to leave.  We will visit Sunset Bay on a day trip or two before we leave.  So for now we are eating fresh seafood and fruit / vegetables from the local farmers markets. Elaine has made pickles and strawberry jam and keeps busy with crochet projects while Gordon collects mushrooms and does a little wood carving. I will produce another installment with highlights of our adventures in this area. So we will take pictures, and make notes and generally have a good time. We have begun planning our return to Arizona but as we have lots of time we will do both our planning and our trip back with leisure as the predominant feature. We do plan to go south and ride a jet boat on the Rogue River (it has been a long time and we still cherish memories of the first time) and then go back up to Corvallis to see family and then off to Idaho and down through Utah toward home. Will we do it that way? Maybe, probably, we will see, it is the plan for now.

Y’all splash a puddle just for the fun of it. (Ah come on now, remember how much fun it was. Just do it.)

Your random rover, Gordon

Cape Disappointment

Cape Disappointment State Park

Cape Disappointment Sign

We made it!  After spending one night at Pacific Holiday RV Resort just north of Long Beach, Washington we drove 5 miles south and arrived at Cape Disappointment State Park just west of Ilwaco, Washington at the mouth of the Columbia river where we are camp hosts for the month of August.

Campsite at Cape Disappointment
Campsite at Cape Disappointment

This was home for a month. From thankful campers we received gifts of home grown tomatoes and super yummy fresh crab. We also got to know campers who felt that someone should remove the dead wildlife from the beach. Life is fun and at times funny.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

North Head Lighthouse
North Head Lighthouse

There are two lighthouses here on the north side of the mouth of the Columbia river. The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse completed in 1856 and the North Head Lighthouse completed in 1898.  The North Head Lighthouse was added because ships approaching from the north could not see the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.  The first order Fresnel lens was moved 2 miles from Cape Disappointment and installed at North Head.  A smaller forth order Barbier and Benard lens was then used at Cape Disappointment.  Both Lighthouses are still in use though the North Head Light is in poor condition due to its having been sealed up to reduce maintenance.  It was sealed for a number of years so that the natural ventilation that was a part of the original design did not occur and the excess moisture has caused the mortar that holds it all together to weaken.  Open to the public and staffed with volunteer interpreters the North Head Lighthouse is one of the major attractions of the park.  The beautiful view from the top is definitely worth the effort!

Bill & Nanette
Bill & Nanette

When Elaine’s sister and brother in law visited us we spent a very nice day exploring and reminiscing.  Grandmother Margie had a cabin on the Longbeach peninsula so Elaine and Nanette both have many memories of the area.  We were able to finish our day together with a fresh crab salad.

Elaine Earning Her Keep
Elaine Earning Her Keep

Gordon Hard At Work
Gordon Hard At Work

This is what camp hosts do to be useful.  Actually we had a whole list of things we could do to help out.  Mostly we took the easy way out and cleaned up campsites and picked up litter on the beach.  We also answered a lot of questions and assisted campers and the park rangers.  We had an option to sell firewood which would have paid real money but we declined because we were afraid  it would interfere with our evening relaxation (happy hour).

Begin Your Trip Down The Lewis and Clark Trail
Begin Your Trip Down The Lewis and Clark Trail

The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center
The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center as seen from the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, with it’s volunteer hosts is a must see attraction.  It is set atop a bluff overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River just across Dead Man’s cove from the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.  You will walk a time and distance annotated trail that will give you a real sense of the breadth and importance of this famous exploration.  The exhibits including artifacts, documents, and art will bring your trek to life.  There is also a nice gift shop and a small maritime museum with an awe inspiring view to make the side trip worthwhile.

Dead Man's Cove
Dead Man’s Cove

 A beautiful place with a nasty name between The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

A Collage From Cape Disappointment
A Collage From Cape Disappointment

Three views of Beards Hollow, from the top of North Head Lighthouse, a tunnel of trees, a first order Fresnel lens, a gun battery, the mouth of the Columbia, and another view of Dead Man’s Cove.

Sand Forests
Patterns Drawn In The Sand By Wind, Tide, And Waves That I Call Sand Forests.

Seagull
Seagull At Beards Hollow

We saw many things, captured many memories, took lots of pictures, saw some interesting things at craft fairs, met some wonderful people, and best of all had a great time.  This picture of a young bird resting momentarily on one leg reminds me of the peace and serenity at Cape Disappointment.  We weren’t disappointed.

Happy and Safe Travels,

Gordon

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