A-frame Rally at Eagle Lake

Sunday (June 27): The A-frame rally has been a lot of fun. The rally is hosted by volunteers who are centralized in the Pacific NorthWest. The rallys are normally in Oregon and Washington, but this one was planned at Eagle Lake in the Lassen National Forest because of availability during Covid.

It was fun to see several A-frames in the campground.

Thirteen A-frame trailers with about 24 people attended this rally. It was my first time meeting up with this group. The participants were friendly and very comfortable to hang out with. A variety of expertise levels made this a great opportunity to get help with problem-solving.

The rally was very well planned, communicated and it went well without any issues. The primary purposes of the rally are to meet and greet, show and tell, and care and maintenance. Each morning begins with a coffee assembly at the home base campsite, an activity, such as the touring of A-frames, and the evening finds us gathering for wine and conversation.

Show and Tell – touring the A frames
Show and Tell – touring the A frames

I enjoyed the A-frame tours; they were a great way to see how others have improved their trailers. I picked up some good ideas for future projects.

Each evening we met to share info, ask questions and socialize

On one morning, several of us rode our bikes on a paved trail that connected our campground with a couple of others, as well as the marina. The marina was a great place to take a break, eat some ice cream in the shade and rest up for the hot ride back.

Great bike ride on the trails along Eagle Lake

Most everyone left on Sunday morning; the few of us remaining drove in to Susanville and had lunch and beer tasting at the Lassen AleWorks brewery. The air-conditioned room was a great choice, as the temperatures reached the high-90s the last two days.

Plenty of excellent beer options on this hot day.

I enjoyed my time at the rally and enjoyed meeting the people. I plan to check out next year’s rally – I’m hoping it can be another chance to include the rally as part of larger, longer road trip. There are still plenty of places in the Pacific NorthWest that I want to explore.

Group photo, taken on the last evening of the rally.
Camping under the stars.

Tomorrow I’ll travel about 3 hours, heading in the general direction of home. I’ll spend one night at a favorite campground at Jackson Meadows Reservoir and make my home on Tuesday.

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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 – 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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Exploring Cannon Beach, Astoria and Cape Disappointment

Thursday (June 17):
My visit to this Washington peninsula would offer only two full days to explore the area. I knew the time would go quickly so I wanted to prioritize my choices. In addition to checking out this area, I also wanted to go back to Cannon Beach and spend a couple of hours there.

My visit to Cannon Beach was timed perfectly for the weather. After a rainy morning on Tuesday, the weather cleared by mid-day. Cannon Beach is a popular destination, with a vibrant downtown corridor and adjoining beach. Haystack Rock stands prominently as the centerpiece of the long flat beach. Parking in the area is competitive; I was fortunate to grab a roadside space near an entrance to the beach.

Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach
Looking south
Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach
Low tide
Puffins! This is a composite of four images of puffins in flight.
Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach
Beach reflections

On the way back from Cannon Beach, I turned off to visit Fort Stevens State Park on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. Many of the river viewpoints were closed due to jetty construction. I was able to check out the shipwreck on the beach.

Shipwreck at Fort Stevens
Shipwreck at Fort Stevens

With the beautiful blue sky, I stopped in Astoria to get some new photos of the Astoria bridge. I returned to the same vantage point I took photos from the previous day. It’s a narrow residential street in the hills above the river with an excellent view of the entire bridge. I had to squeeze my car into a small turnoff space and walk a few blocks back to the best shooting spot. I was careful to not disrupt the homeowners on this street, I’m sure they see plenty of tourists checking out the view. I also drove down to the waterfront and walked along the area on either side of the bridge.

Astoria Oregon
Wide view of Astoria Bridge
View from the waterfront

On my last afternoon, I went to the Astoria Brewing Company located on the waterfront overlooking the river. Naturally I ordered fish and chips and a cup of chowder. The chowder was excellent but I’m not considering it as a candidate for my “best chowder” search. They add bacon to their chowder, which tastes great, but I call that cheating. I enjoyed eating the chowder, even though I had disqualified it. The halibut fish and chips were very good and I paired it with a very smooth blonde ale. I left the restaurant very satisfied with my last supper of the area.

Last supper at Astoria Brewing Co

Cape Disappointment State Park includes more than the campground. This area reflects the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition; the expedition reached the Pacific Ocean here at the mouth of the Columbia River. The park includes a Lewis and Clark interpretive center, two lighthouses and several historical remnants from the Pacific coast defense during World War II.

One of the lighthouses overlooks the beach next to my campsite; it is called the North Head Lighthouse. The park offers easy access to this lighthouse; a good sized parking lot and paved trail makes for an easy visit. This spot also has a trail to another viewpoint (called Bells Lookout) which gives hikers a chance to visit an old WWII bunker.

North Head Lighthouse above the campground beach
North Head Lighthouse
North Head Lighthouse
WWII Bunker
WWII Bunker
WWII Bunker
Three levels
WWII Bunker
Ocean view
North Head Lighthouse
This is the campground beach, looking back from the North Head Lighthouse

The other lighthouse is called Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and can be viewed from the Lewis and Clark interpretive center. This interpretive center is also home to the rugged structures of Fort Canby. While at the center I noticed a jetty that looked like it would have a great view of the lighthouse at water level. I consulted a map to see if I might be able to reach this spot and learned it is located in my campground. Very convenient and an excellent viewpoint of the lighthouse!

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, viewed from the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, viewed from the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
Fort Canby at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
Fort Canby at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
Fort Canby Exterior
Fort Canby Exterior
Fort Canby Exterior
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, viewed from the campground jetty

On the second evening of taking sunset photos of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, it drizzled for a few minutes. About 15 minutes later, a beautiful rainbow arced across the sky, directly over the lighthouse point. I was gifted with about 10 minutes of viewing (and photographing) this spontaneous gift.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse at sunset
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
Nightfall at the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Before settling down for the last night, I visited the campground beach for one last walk. The wind was blowing fiercely but the walk in the water’s edge was pleasant and bittersweet.

Last walk on a beach

My time spent on the beaches over the last three weeks has been very rewarding. I’ve felt a special sense of peace while walking in the water, outrunning the seagulls in search of intact sand dollars, inspecting the little shells in the sand and watching the rhythmic rolling of the waves. This experience has been cleansing, calming and rejuvenating. I will miss the beaches I’ve visited.

Last walk on a beach

This is a turning point of my road trip. My next two travel days will take me inland toward Hood River on the Columbia River Gorge. In a way, I’ll have two trips: the coastline tour and the central Oregon route. As I say “Good Bye” to the ocean, I look forward to the new adventures that await me.

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Photo Journal – Oregon Coast Aquarium (and a Fish Dinner)

Friday (June 11) The rain woke me up around 4:00 AM, so I knew Friday would be a good day for indoor activities. I noticed my satisfaction with having taken care of the trailer repacking the previous dry afternoon.

I had purchased a timed entry ticket for the Oregon Coast Aquarium, so I got up and got ready for my 9:30 AM appointment. The aquarium is modest yet very well designed. Some of the more tactile exhibits were still closed due to Covid. With the limited time entries, the facility was not crowded. I spent about two hours walking through the exhibits and taking photos. The walk-through underwater tubes are my favorite, with various fish swimming around, over and under the walkways.

Part of the new fossil exhibit
Black Sea Nettles
Jellyfish exhibit

In the afternoon the weather had dried out a bit, but the wind was still strong and cold. I met up with my friends at Roque Ales and Spirits for some pre-dinner beer tasting. I tried a flight of four beers and each one was uniquely tasty.

Pre-dinner beer tasting at Rogue

After some spirited conversation, we drove across the bridge and met at Local Ocean, a highly-recommended seafood restaurant on Newport’s bayfront area. This is one of their favorite restaurants and we were seated at the upper level corner window looking out over the bay. I ordered the wild king salmon dinner and it was superb! The salmon was cooked to perfection and the combination of vegetables and linguine was a delight.

Local Ocean Seafood Restaurant

Afterwards, I rode shotgun in their Class B RV and we took a driving tour to nearby Nye Beach and Agate Beach. We walked out on Agate Beach but the chilly wind was too strong to stay long. We drove back to the bayfront to my car and said our good-byes. It was fun to spend the time with them and experience a terrific restaurant. This was a great way to spend my last evening in Newport.

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