Tuesday, October 1
You know, camping at a truck stop is not so terrible. I like the convenience. Down the ramp and you’re home. Another convenience is the fast food “restaurant” that’s usually part of the establishment.
For instance, this morning I walk the crew and then I go online to reply to comments. Gosh, the morning is slipping away. We need to get on the road!
Today is a heavy, interstate-driving day. Instead of brewing a pot of coffee and fooling around fixing breakfast, I pull up to the front of the “travel stop,” run into Carl’s, Jr. or whatever it is and order an egg-cheese-biscuit sandwich with coffee.
One-two-three and we’re on I-5 rolling south.
After approximately 50 miles we reach the other side of the rainstorm. Great timing because we’re about to drive into the Vancouver-Portland traffic. We take the 205 bypass to Interstate 84, turning eastward, and run smack into another rainstorm.
You don’t need a blow-by-blow account.
We’ve all been there. Three lanes of heavy traffic, dark sky, splashing wipers, low visibility, idiots in pavement-colored vehicles WITH NO LIGHTS appearing out of nowhere at high speed, big trucks, closed lanes, merge left (you’ve got to be kidding!), and so on. Well, at least there isn’t a lot of wind.
Here I am driving along the Columbia River which I’ve long wanted to see and it’s a big blob of varying shades of grey. I can’t even take a photo. Oh well, maybe next year . . .
I don’t know how far east we will go.
I just keep going, heading to the light. Yes, far ahead I see light at the end of the interstate . . . er, tunnel . . . whatever. Somewhere past Multnomah Falls I pull off to take a break at a rest area. The sunshine is breaking through the clouds and the rain is only sprinkles.
I walk the crew. That done, I turn on the air card and check the blog, answering a few more comments. Then I look at my Oregon Benchmark atlas and online for a place to spend the night. Hmm . . . that looks like a good place and it’s not much further.
By the time we make it to The Dalles the rain is gone.
The Dalles is a lot bigger than I imagined. Maybe because I’ve read a few Westerns where the cowpoke, gunslinger, mountain man, etc. eases his horse down the slope after a hard ride to make camp for the night at The Dalles.
Now it’s a matter of choosing which exit ramp, and you’d better move your horse over right quick-like, pardner, if you want to go down that slope to the car dealership.
Deschutes River State Recreation Area!
Fifteen miles east of The Dalles and about 95 miles east of Portland, the crew and I make camp at this pretty state park. We have an electric/water hook-up site and there are . . . oh, my, hold back the tears . . . there are SHOWERS!
What’s more, today is October 1st, the day the hook-up site fee drops to $16 a night for the off-season!
The campground is on the bank of the Deschutes where fisherman-campers dock their boats.
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