Pacific Northwest Photo Slideshow

I assembled a photo slideshow of photos I took while on my road trip in the Pacific Northwest in May and June of this year. The video is about 5 minutes long and the musical soundtrack is the Cat Stevens song, “On the Road to Find Out.”

For the best enjoyment, click on the “Watch on YouTube” link below and choose to watch it in full frame mode.

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Travel Day + Photo Journal – Tulelake, CA

Wednesday, (June 23): Another beautiful sunny morning in Prineville and my last day in Oregon. I got an earlier start than usual and got moving before 10:00 AM.

A last peek at the Oregon peaks, as seen from east of Bend
1964 Chevy Van
I found my next project!
Collier State Park was burned out last year. The campground is still closed.
“Going down that long, lonesome highway…” was the theme song from what TV series? No fair googling.

I was considering making a push and doing the whole distance to the Lassen area in one day. The idea fizzled when I learned that no camping spots were available at the location of the A-frame Rally, the Merrill Campground at Eagle Lake. I stayed committed to my original plan: to stop near the halfway point and spend the night. I had seen some camping options at the Tulelake/Butte Fairgrounds, just south of the Oregon border. I was able to acquire a full hookup spot upon arrival.

The RV Park is located on the fairgrounds property, near the back corner. The fairgrounds are small yet attractive. I can imagine this place during the annual fair, with the crowded livestock barns, food vendors and musical entertainment. I noticed a destruction derby is planned during this year’s fair in September.

Tulelake/Butte Fairgrounds
The Tulelake/Butte Fairgrounds are quiet – the fair is scheduled for September. The RV parking area is right behind where I’m standing.
Tulelake/Butte Fairgrounds
Tulelake/Butte Fairgrounds
Tulelake/Butte Fairgrounds
Choices, choices

The town of Tulelake is a rural town center. One edge of town hugs the main highway (139) and a bright white water tower boldly announces the town name. Many of the buildings along the main streets are boarded up, most of them appear to have been closed for many years (not just Covid-related). A couple of markets are open, as well as a burger place.

Main Street, Tulelake CA
Main Street, Tulelake CA
Tulelake CA
There is a DMV in town, too.
Tulelake CA
One word: vacancy

Tule Lanes appears to be a former bowling alley – oh, what I would give to be allowed to enter that building with my camera! (Assuming some of the old bowling alley equipment is still present.) Remnants of The Dude!

Main Street, Tulelake CA
My next business venture!
Tulelake CA
It seems they used to make pillows here.
Tulelake CA
I want all of those for my bookshelf at home.
Tulelake CA
I’m not scared, you’re scared.
That might be a fun project, too.
Local high school athletics are well supported in Tulelake.

I didn’t take any photos of the RV park, it appears that many of the patrons are long term residents and I would feel a little too conspicuous snapping photos. Let’s just say we’ll all agree to leave each other in peace.

Tulelake CA
Drive 500 feet out of town and this is what you see.

Tomorrow I’ll make the second leg of this travel stint and should arrive at the A-frame Rally in the early afternoon. It looks like there are some lane-closures on my route, so it might take a little longer than normal. Whatever “normal” is around here.

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EDIT: after publishing this post, I stepped outside and saw this last light of the day. This photo is taken in the RV park after all.

California sunsets are pretty nice, too.

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Photo Journal – Smith Rock State Park

Tuesday (June 22): The Smith Rock State Park is located about 20 miles from Prineville. The park reopened less than a month ago after being closed for more than a year due to Covid.

Smith Rock State Park
The Crooked River winds through the park

I spent a couple hours at Smith Rock hiking the trails this morning. After last night’s thunderstorm and balmy night, it felt good to walk in the cooler air. Not only was the air cool, it was absolutely still. Occasionally, I would stop hiking to take a photo and notice the silence. It was so quiet that I felt conspicuous when I restarted hiking because my shoes were making noise.

Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park

This area has stunning rock spires that stretch vertically from the canyon floor. The Crooked River wiggles through the spaces between the rock faces. In the 80’s this park was a huge draw for rock climbers. Now, in addition to the continued focus on rock climbing, miles of trails beckon hikers and bikers to explore the area. I hiked trails in both directions along the river’s path.

Smith Rock State Park
Rock climbing class
Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park

After returning to my starting point, I got the notion to take the Misery Ridge Trail. Somebody had a sense of humor when they named this trail. It immediately transitions into switchbacks as the hiker climbs from the trailhead at the bridge.

Smith Rock State Park
The Misery Ridge Trail
Smith Rock State Park
The Misery Ridge Trail. I hiked up as far the upper right area where the trail wraps around the rock
Smith Rock State Park
Looking down from the upper part of the Misery Ridge Trail

I climbed about half the vertical height of this trail before stopping. I was rather proud of myself for not being intimidated by the sheer height of the trail, as well as its close proximity to the steep edge. When I began to hike back down, all that changed. When hiking down it was hard to not see the height and precariousness of the trail.

Don’t miss this right turn!

By the time I reached the bottom I was pretty tired. I still needed to cross the bridge and climb out of the canyon one more time. Slow and steady was my mantra (when I could breathe). The cool air had warmed up by late morning, and the humidity seemed to have increased, too.

Smith Rock State Park

I drove into nearby Redmond and met up with a former co-worker/current friend for lunch. Jerry and I share a strong interest in photography and we often send emails back and forth discussing the latest photo gear and techniques. He had recommended I visit Smith Rock SP and gave me good advice to get there early before it got too busy.

We had a terrific lunch of tacos from a food truck parked at a taphouse. It was fun to catch up with him and he had more suggestions of places to check out in the area.

I spent the remainder of the afternoon buying groceries and supplies for the last week (sniff, sniff) of my trip. When I was leaving Safeway in Redmond, the lightning and thunder had started. I drove back to Prineville and outran the storm by a couple hours. When the storm did arrive, it was not nearly as powerful as the previous night’s fracas. In addition to another stunning sunset, I was treated to a full rainbow at the RV park. One end of the rainbow burrowed into the roof of my trailer. I think I should name my trailer “Pot of Gold.”

A rainbow send-off

Tomorrow is the first of another two-day travel leg. When I stop for the night tomorrow, I’ll be back in California.

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Travel Day – Hood River to Prineville

Monday (June 21): Normally, Travel Days are not very eventful. They are more of a utility day, a necessary chunk of time spent moving from one area to another. However, this Travel Day was a little more interesting than others.

I left the campground near The Hood River around 11:00AM and headed south on the nearby highway. My route for the day would be on two-lane highways exclusively. I had received a photo tip from a friend from my home neighborhood about a great spot to see Mt Hood with a lake (Trillium Lake) in the foreground. When I looked up that location, I realized my travel route would pass very close to it. Perfect!

Mt. Hood
On the way out of the area, a few extra views of Mt. Hood
A view of Mt. Hood from the east. It looks like some boondockers in the snow park parking lot.

The road out of the area passed closely to Mt. Hood. I noticed how the shape changed as I viewed it from the east, then later from the south.

I reached Trillium Lake and drove into the day use area. The ranger at the gate cautioned me that the parking lot was jammed full and I would not be able to park in the lot. He did say I could try to park in some gravel areas along the main road if they were open. I thanked him as I handed him my $10 entrance fee and drove in.

The ranger was not joking, the parking lot, the roads and the trails were packed with people. I saw an open area in the gravel that was big enough for my car + trailer, IF I could back it in. As in, parallel park with a trailer. I was determined and it was not very difficult to do. As I walked away from the car, I glanced back and laughed. I had no idea how I was going to turn around when I left.

Parallel park with a trailer? Heck, yeah!
Mt. Hood and Trillium Lake
Mt Hood viewed from Trillium lake
Mt Hood viewed from Trillium lake

The walk to the edge of the lake was less than a quarter mile and made everything worthwhile. The deep blue water with the snow-covered Mt. Hood rising above was a great way to say Good Bye to this majestic peak. I gathered some images with my camera and found my way back to the car.

I had noticed that the road ahead would cross over a small dam; I was not interested in trying that route. About 50 yards behind my parking job was an intersection. I pulled out of my space, then backed up the 50 yards and back-turned into the intersection. Spun the wheel around and headed for the open road.

The rest of the drive went smoothly. Highway 26 was very busy and I took several opportunities to pull off to the side of the road and let the train of cars behind me pass. It’s a bit strange, I notice the drivers in Oregon don’t speed very much. Whenever I reach a passing lane, I move directly to the right lane so the cars behind can take advantage of the extra lane. Yet, when I look back, most of them are also behind me in the right lane. If someone does pass me, they are moving only slightly faster than I’m going. When I think of passing lanes in California, I think of Mad Max.

I reached the Crook County RV Park in Prineville in the mid afternoon. It’s a clean large RV park with plenty of full-hookup spaces. The restrooms and showers (no tokens) are modern and a nice laundry facility is on the premises, too. I noticed the heat when I arrived, it was 93 degrees. This might be the warmest day I’ve experienced since I left Lincoln 28 days ago. After setting up the trailer, I took a well-deserved shower and did two loads of laundry. For dinner I decided to try out a BBQ place I spotted as I drove through town earlier.

A nice calm and warm day at the Crook County RV Park.

The Crossroads BBQ Pit & Pub was open and lightly occupied. I had a very tasty dinner of a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich and the cook’s special beans. They were delicious. As I looked out the window at the intersection in front, I wondered if anything exciting ever happens in Prineville. I did see a county fairground, so that’s something.

About 15 minutes later, my question was answered. A powerful lightning storm had barged into town and it was putting on a show. The trees along the main street were swaying in multiple directions at once, and I wondered how my trailer was handling these strong winds. Then the rain started and several distinct bolts of lightning flashed across the sky, followed quickly by the companion thunder claps. I love thunderstorms – they remind me of the midwest and their intensity is humbling.

I drove back to the RV park as the storm was getting stronger, louder and brighter. Soon, it was directly overhead and the rain was pounding on the roof of my trailer. I looked up at the inside roof and watched the two panels shift about, heaving under the pressure of the wind. I was thankful that I had affixed the DIY rope/wind kit to my roof when I set up earlier, even though at that time it was sunny, warm and clear. All I could do now was trust that it would hold together.

And also take some photos. And video.

This was exciting, to say the least.

After about 20 minutes, the storm stopped. Like a Hollywood set, it just stopped. No wind. No rain (no winter’s cold…) Shortly, the colors in the sky reappeared and a beautiful sunset took center stage in the western sky.

Crook County RV Park
Taken after the storm, the entrance to the Crook County RV Park. The county fairgrounds are down the street.
The end of an interesting Travel Day.

I was thankful for the beauty of the sunset as it seemed to gently guide the day to a close.

I sure hope I can sleep tonight.

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Photo Journal – Multnomah Falls

Sunday (June 20): Happy Father’s Day! This was a rare time that I wasn’t available to see my sons on Father’s Day. We had good phone chats instead.

I did manage to wake up with the alarm and hit the road early to visit Multnomah Falls. It’s about a 45 minute drive and I remembered seeing a sign on the highway about the parking lot exits being closed after 9:00 AM on the weekends. I arrived at the parking lot just before 8:00, so I made good time. Other people were milling about, but it wasn’t crowded.

Multnomah Falls
In the early morning (8:00 am) the entire falls are in the shade.

Multnomah Falls are located very close to the highway. The parking lot is opposite the railroad tracks and an under-the-tracks tunnel connects to the waterfall area. The lower viewing platform gives a stunning view of the long ribbon of water as it falls more than 500 feet, and continues another 60+ feet to a collection pool at the bottom. It is pretty dramatic and the photos do not do it justice.

Multnomah Falls
The lower falls and Benson Bridge.
Lower falls detail

It was fun to people-watch on the lower platform. Lots of selfie sticks (and selfie arms). I would frequently offer to take photos of a couple or a family so they could all be in the picture together.

The lower viewing platform offers an excellent introduction to Multnomah Falls

The hike up to the observation bridge, known as Benson Bridge, is a short climb with a few switchbacks. This location offers a great view of the landing area of the upper falls. I was enamored with the soft spray of falling water juxtaposed with the large moss-covered boulders and rock walls.

Multnomah Falls
Looking down from Benson Bridge at the viewing platform.
Multnomah Falls
The upper falls
Multnomah Falls
Upper falls detail
Multnomah Falls
Upper falls detail

A trail continues up to the top of the upper falls, but I chose to spend my time near the landing areas. I took 252 photos of the falls. Many of them were multiple clicks of the same image, with the randomness of the falling water patterns making the difference.

Multnomah Falls
This trail leads to the top of the upper falls.
Multnomah Falls
Upper falls detail
Multnomah Falls
Benson Bridge
Columbia River Gorge, looking east
Columbia River Gorge, looking west

By about 10:00 AM I was ready to leave. The crowds had arrived and the sunlight was beginning to infiltrate the softly lit area of the falls.

I’m very happy I made the drive to visit Multnomah Falls. This is a location I’ve been wanting to see for many years.

Tomorrow is a travel day as I move south into Central Oregon. I’ll be staying at Prineville, Oregon which is in the Redmond and Bend area.

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Photo Journal – The Two Hood Rivers

Saturday (June 19): I trekked out late yesterday evening and walked along The Hood River as it flows alongside this campground. I waited until dusk for better light for photos. The mosquitos were abundant, but they were not interested in my blood. I’m lucky like that. Maybe I should sell my blood as a mosquito repellent.

Hood River
The Hood River directly behind my campsite

The river runs strong here and it has a powerful sound. I spent a little more than an hour trailblazing my way along the shoreline. I found a few sideline areas that probably have river flow when the water level is higher. All of these photos were taken within the boundaries of the campground.

Hood River
The Hood River makes an impressive sound.
Sometimes the water can be abstract.
This is probably part of the river’s flow when the water levels are higher
Next to my campsite
Directly behind my trailer

Today I ventured back down to Hood River. I ran a couple of errands and drove randomly in the upper hills of the city trying to find a good vantage point to get photos of the Columbia River Gorge area.

Downtown Hood River. It looks quiet because I waited for a line of cars to move along before I took the photo.
I would call this the “Paint Sample House.”
From the upper hills of Hood River, looking north at the Columbia River Gorge. Mt Adams is in the distance.
The water recreation area of the Columbia River Gorge

I drove down to the waterfront and directly parked in a free 3-hour parking space. Lucky again! A short walk brought me to the shoreline of the Columbia River. I was not alone. This area is a high adventure spot. The consistent strong winds and large water area combine for a great kiteboarding and windsurfing destination. And it was busy.

Spectators get to enjoy the wind, too!
The launching/landing beach.

I would estimate the wind was blowing a steady 40 mph with gusts up to 50. Apparently, this is ideal weather for this sport, as the river area was a visual cacophony of movements of people, zig zagging across the water. There must be an etiquette to maneuvering in this crowd because there were no collisions and I never saw anyone’s kite ropes get tangled with another’s.

How do all these people not run into each other?

On a few occasions, a surfer would become separated from their board. Another surfer would skim along, grab the vacant board, make a quick turn and drop it off with its owner. It was fun to watch (and photograph) all the action. After a while I was able to predict when a surfer would be preparing to execute an airborne maneuver or make a sharp turn.

Mad skills
Getting some air!
The guy looks like he realized he lost his hat.

All of this energy and chaos made me hungry. I drove back into town and got on the waiting list at the Full Sail Brewpub. After a 45-minute wait, I was seated at a window overlooking the Gorge. The amber ale was fresh and the burger was tasty.

The view from my lunch table.
Mt. Hood, as I drive back to my campground.
Mt Adams, to the north.

Tomorrow I plan to explore some of the outlying areas, including taking my chances at visiting Multnomah Falls. I will need to get up early in order to do that. Wish me luck.

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Two Travel Days – from Cape Disappointment, WA to Hood River, OR

Thursday (June 17): My road trip leaves the coast and turns inland. My next camping destination is the area around Hood River; I decided to break up the four-hour drive into two days. Since I didn’t have reservations for a camping location near Hood River, I figured it would be wise to arrive earlier in the day and improve my chances of getting a “first-come, first-served” space. It turned out to be a good strategy.

LL Stub Stewart SP
LL Stub Stewart SP has spacious campsites

My overnight stop was at LL Stub Stewart SP, about 30 miles west of Portland. I could tell I had moved inland, the temperatures were significantly warmer. Stub Stewart SP is a wooded area; the campground is pretty modern. About half of the spaces were occupied. The full-service campsites are spacious and spread out, each of the two loops has active camp hosts and the larger state park sports an abundance of hiking, biking and equestrian trails.

LL Stub Stewart SP
Inside the loop, lots of open space between the sites
LL Stub Stewart SP
Plenty of trails in this area

Friday (June 18): I woke up early and efficiently packed up to leave. My desired arrival time at Hood River was 11:00 AM and I had some errands to take care of along the way. In Beaverton, I got groceries, gassed up the car and stopped at an Amazon hub (thank you, Whole Foods) to pick up an item I had ordered a few days earlier. (Note to self: Amazon hubs are great for road trips)

My timing worked out well, I reached the city of Hood River a little before 11:00 and turned south to scour a couple of county campgrounds in the area. My first choice was Toll Bridge Park, about 16 miles south. Just to confuse things, the park is situated along The Hood River.

(“Hood River” = the city; “The Hood River” = the river, got it?)

Toll Bridge Park near Mt. Hood
Toll Bridge Park near Mt. Hood
Toll Bridge Park

I toured the prime camping loop and noticed a number of other vehicles doing the same thing. I spotted a nice campsite with partial shade, water and electric hookup, and occupied it. By noon, I was camping – Jackpot!

After changing into inland-warm-weather clothes, I drove back to Hood River to check out the town. Traffic was snarly, the parking was scarce and lots of people were enjoying the warm Friday afternoon. This is definitely a prime destination for outdoorsy activities. For the record, most indoor businesses are still insisting on mask-wearing, even if vaccinated.

On the highway back to the campground, I noticed a sign pointing to “Panorama Point” and figured that had to be something good. I took the turn-off and drove a few miles uphill to be treated to a wonderful view of Mt. Hood (the mountain). I figured if I can’t be at the coast, I might as well enjoy the other beauties of this state. I also caught a glimpse of Mt. Adams to the north.

Mt. Hood
View of Mt. Hood from Panorama Point, my campsite is somewhere near the ridge in front of the mountain

I’ll have two days here to take it all in. And I just realized those two days are Saturday and Sunday. I guess I won’t be alone!

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