Riding the highway to the sun!

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.

1-DSC00599 - Copy It’s a well-maintained, spacious park with lots of open lawn.

1-DSC00604 - CopyBridget and Spike get their reward for being perfect travelers today — a long, leisurely walk.

1-DSC00603 - CopyTomorrow I’ll take more photos when the light is better.  I can’t do the river justice now.  I’ll see what fish are caught.  Pete the Camp Host says the weather will continue to be great!

1-DSC00605 - CopyAs I write this entry, I have the “heat strip” feature of the A/C blowing warm air throughout the Best Little Trailer.  I’m going to cook the interior until all the dampness is gone!

1-DSC00606This looks like a place to call home for a while.



Here’s a sample of items purchased recently by readers:

Camco RV Oak Accents Remote Holder
Good Greens Bars
Double Bowl Stainless Steel Undermount Sink
Kindle Paperwhite with Next-Gen Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers
Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Paradise Valley

  Where were we in October 2012?

“A slideshow of the Alabama Hills, CA, and RVSue meets Wheeling It!”

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69 Responses to Riding the highway to the sun!

  1. cathy S says:

    I am first! Just wanted to say how beautiful and green your new campground looks. Glad you all arrived safe and sound. Enjoy!

  2. Mick says:

    Kick back, dry out, recharge all the batteries and a few hot showers. Sounds great after the last week. Pendleton sounds good for tires and make sure to get a nice wool shirt.

  3. Tawanda says:

    So nice to see you where the sun is shining and the crew are able to be outside.

    Drove that route in Dec. a couple yrs ago (when we moved my folks from their home to ours), started out on I-5 about 2 hrs south of Portland, subfreezing temps with socked in fog and frost that covered everything, didn’t get out of it until the top of the grade out of Pendleton to see blue sky and the sun setting, went on to traverse the blue mountains in the dark until finally reaching our preplanned stay over in Nampa, oyee vey…

    Reports are of a cold front coming out of the gulf of Alaska moving south east, with the mention of snow…
    Enjoy the warmth and being dry!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Tawanda! What a horror story . . . Not something you want to do again, I’m sure.

      Noooo, I don’t want to know about any cold front or snow or rain or any of that.

      • Tawanda says:

        No never want to do that again…
        Sorry, that storm is probably more isolated north of where you are … 🙂

  4. Brian says:

    Definitely time to dry out!
    I hope for many sunny days for you …
    Well PNW sunny days not Texas sunny days.

  5. Gayle says:

    Time to recover in your FEMA trailer! Can’t remember, do you fish? How long does it take to unhitch and set up your trailer site? Some people say that awnings are more trouble than they are worth. Would you miss it? Do you ever leave yours up all night? Unexpected wind and rain is the problem that supposedly can tip over a trailer. As “Brooklyn Boy,” [my new neighbor] would say, “Wha’ da ya t’ink?”

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Gayle!

      You’re full of questions! 🙂 No, I don’t fish any more. Used to salt water fish a lot. Unhitching and setting up takes about ten – fifteen minutes max, including antenna, the crew’s pen, and the interior. I don’t always do the complete job all at once.

      I wouldn’t miss my awning terribly. It’s the kind of thing you don’t use for a while but then when you need it, you really wish you had it. I would kick myself if I tried to save money by not getting the awning. Not only does it provide shade for me, it shades the fridge side when I can’t or don’t want to park that side in the shade. I never leave the awning up all night, nor do I leave it out and go away. I don’t know anything about trailer tip-over.

  6. Cinandjules (temp in CA) says:

    Gotta laugh at Bridget giving you the evil eye from inside the pen!

    Oh my word…… SHOWERS! It’s your soap, their water…..take as long as you want! Enjoy!

    Hah….I’m laughing at the folks who just recently drove up to your blog! They are probably wondering what the fuss is over a shower? Or even half hook ups! The only luxury missing is the sewer ………….and the park ranger! 😉

    Enjoy the sunshine and the central heat inside the BLT!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right about Bridget! If looks could kill . . . . She truly believes it is an injustice for her to be incarcerated when she is always a good girl, even when she whines endlessly.

      Ol’ Spike… Have you ever noticed how he looks frozen in time? One of my readers, Kim of The Travels of Kimbopolo, asked me why he always faces magnetic north in photos. LOL!

      Not only is there a “fuss… over a shower” but the earth is shaking on its axis because I forked over SIXTEEN DOLLARS for a campsite.

      Central heating… my, ain’t this high livin’!

      • BuckeyePatti says:

        Yup, RV Sue is going spending crazy…LOL.. $16 for a campsite.

        Have enjoyed reading about your travels thru Oregon & Washington states. It’s part of the world I’ve never seen and you have really inspired me 🙂

        Glad you made it out of the storm safe.
        Patti in Ohio

  7. Dorothy says:

    Sue, there was a typo on my website entry. I fixed it so it should be correct from now on.

    According to one federal website I visited, the campgrounds and other areas where there would be someone on site are closed. I will try to find that site again.

  8. mockturtle says:

    R&R, right? 😉

  9. Dorothy says:

    Sue, what affect will the USFS and BLM closures have on your travels? I guess you can still camp in dispersed camping areas but is there much of that in Oregon? I am still new at this kind of camping so I really wish those guys in Washington would do their jobs and get things running again.

    My solar install is almost done. They just need to get the new batteries in tomorrow. I described my system on my blog if you want to check it out.

    Enjoy your fancy park and give the pups a hug from me.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dorothy! Congratulations on your solar install!

      I clicked on your name in order to see your blog but I got a message that it does not exist. Huh?

      I haven’t had a chance to research the gov’t. closures. There’s a lot of public land that is not “gated” so I don’t know how one could be prevented from camping on it. We’ll have to wait and see what develops. I really don’t know the answer to your question.

      You can bet I’ll blog about it if I’m affected by it.

      • Dorothy says:

        My blog is wanderingbornfree.blogspot.com
        Should still be there, I just updated it finally. 🙂

        • Mick says:

          typo on the link: awanderingbornfree.blogspot.com

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Dorothy! I didn’t realize who you are until I saw your blog address. Wow! Fantastic solar set-up! Congratulations! You are going to love it.

      • Sherry in Oregon says:

        I was curious about how this govt. junk would affect dispersed camping, too. From what I understand, most BLM land will still be open but some areas won’t have stuff like garbage pickup or restroom cleaning … shouldn’t affect you TOO much, since you rarely use “improved” camp sites that rely on those kinds of services anyway. Hope it’s all just a hiccup and things get better soon in that arena — all this animosity & drama — not good for anyone.

  10. kgdan says:

    Chuckling here in Wapato . . . you have almost made a complete loop around WA. When I first caught your blog you had come south from Ellensburg and were camping close to Clear Lake. At one point you were about 15 miles north from us. Now you’ve come full around and are camped 68 mi south of us. Next time you come this way—free camping with full hookups, including dump at our house. Bubble bath and/or hot shower on us!

    Couple of summers ago friends came up from Albany, Ore. and met us at Deschutes park in July. 107 degrees everyday for 4 days. We played Mexican train dominoes nonstop but for breaks to run through the big sprinklers they had running to water those beautiful lawns. Quite a sight to see 4 old geezers running through sprinklers to keep cool—wonderful memory!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, kgdan,

      That is a wonderful memory. Sometimes a little hardship (107 degrees) sets up some fun as we try to cope with it. “4 old geezers running through sprinklers” — What a photo opportunity!

      Thanks for the offer… but you know me. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed the “loop” as much as we did!

  11. Pauline says:

    What a beautiful spot ….with showers! I am so glad the weather cleared for you. Saw on the news last night that snow is headed to the Pacific Northwest. When do you think you will be back in Arizona? Always love reading your blog and looking at the pictures.
    Love you and be safe

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pauline,

      We will probably move into Arizona in December. Prior to that, southern California.

      It makes me happy that you and Tawnya read my blog. Love y’all!

  12. What a beautful campsite!
    Re:Alabama hills,CA…..! I chuckled so hard @”You better quit it Spike..I’m warning you!” Photo…the tears ran down my legs!!!

  13. Wheeling it says:

    Hey, how funny! The other day I thought of you in the rain in WA while we were in the storm (and then i saw your comment) and then today I think of you in the Alabama Hills and there’s the link to it!! Must be some kind of weird RV mind meld. I guess we’re all feeling that draw to go south. We just got sun down here in Brookings and are trying to dry out all that humidity too. Phew! We even had mould growing on our windshield! If you decide to head down 395 we may cross paths again.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Nina!

      Didn’t you know that psychic messages are sent via mold? I’m still finding mold! I want to empty this little capsule and spritz it down with cleaner!

      Maybe we will see you, Paul and Polly on the trek south. 🙂

  14. rhodium says:

    Reading your blog inspired me to download Lewis and Clark’s journals from Project Gutenberg. I wonder if 200 years from now people will be reading about your travels. Probably virtual reality will enable them to experience the West without the traffic, fog or dampness. Of course your spelling is much better than theirs and your food choices are better than theirs, too (your crew, and you, would be appalled by their favorite dinner).

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi rhodium,

      You mean, the BLT is the “covered wagon” of the 21st century?

      The more I travel the West the more amazed I am at what Lewis and Clark accomplished.

  15. kgdan says:

    You continue to inspire us as we prep to “hit the road” this month. Was wondering if you or your readers have any info regarding best satellite tv set-ups. We’d like to add that this year along with our new port-a-boat :).

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I can’t help you other than to put the question to readers again . . . .

      Anyone have info on SATELLITE TV set-ups?

      • Alan Rabe says:

        There are several options, There are auto-tracking antennas that cost $1500 and above. They will track while you are driving. Note: Federal law requires any TV that can be viewed by the driver to have a device installed that will prevent it from operating while the vehicle is operating. Next there are the manual tracking which requires you to re-aim it every time you move to a new location. None of them are providers so you have to find one yourself. Trick is to find one that will allow you to move around and second one that will interface to your antenna. You might start at DyersOnline on the net for the antenna, they have a great selection. Then go to the antennas manufacturer’s site to see what providers they support. I gave up on it as it was just too expensive to be worth it, and just got the Winegard HDTV antenna and just get TV when I get get it free over the air. It is 100 bucks at Dyers. Also if you have a wifi device and a good antenna you can stream TV over the internet. The only wifi provider that has national 4g coverage that is worth the money is Verizon. Good luck in your search.

  16. Michelle says:

    Yeah…you made it….Staying “East” of the Cascades will be your best bet for better weather. Cold at night and in the mornings, but usually pretty darn nice.

    Just a word to the wise – if you start to travel and try to stay in places other than camp grounds. Hunting season started this past weekend.

    Maybe you will make it to Bend / Central Oregon at some point. I will be over there October 19th – will be following you to see where you are and maybe – who knows…we may be in the same town at the same time. :o)

    Showers are the best – I don’t camp much these days BUT…showers are a must have!

    Enjoy the dryer climate and the Deschutes river. The Juniper is in full bloom right now in Central Oregon and not sure if it is up in The Dalles or not. I have only been there once and it was actually just north of The Dalles to a little, home grown winery – Marshall Winery. I love it because it reminds me of a old, run down farm, with a little place to eat and sample wine.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Michelle,

      I’ll keep the hunters in mind. A further problem is the gov’t. shutdown of National Forest Service and BLM campgrounds. Those campers being evicted from campgrounds are moving to the state parks. I can see it happening here and I’m concerned about locating sites as we travel south.

      I don’t see juniper in bloom but now I know to look for it!

      • Michelle says:

        I just read about that after I posted this morning.

        I really think that you should be fine for camping as do many Oregonians camp this time of year? Hard to say.

        Enjoy the Deschutes.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Some state parks are busy because of fishermen (like here) or some other local attraction.

          Others are busy because of snowbirds making their way south. Some are campers who wait until kids are in school.

          Many of these folks use BLM and NFS campgrounds like I do. I heard they are being relocated to state parks. So it’s not necessarily Oregonians.

  17. Donna K says:

    We enjoyed the beautiful green lawns and peaceful river views at that park – until the trains came by!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      What? You don’t like trains? That’s part of the “experience!” 🙂

      Two longs, a short, and a long . . .

  18. Glenda in OZ! says:

    I’m sure to enjoy your kick back time after following your journey out of the damp of northern Washington State. I love that wee map where I can zoom out and see exactly where you are. For an Aussie not so familiar with the areas of the US in relation to each state its good to get that perspective. What a lovely camp ground! Your photos are great even though the light was not great for the river shots I loved those taken with the back light through the trees. Lovely! I bet it must be so good to get in that hot shower !! Woo Hoo!!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Glenda,

      (Thanks for identifying which Glenda you are.)

      I appreciate the feedback on the map. I’d also like to have a map for every year we travel. I envision a map of the western half of the U.S. with a colored line showing our journey, starting and ending with our winter camp in southern Arizona.

      Yes, the shower here is divine! Pete the Camp Host, when welcoming me and describing the facilities, said, “We’ve got plenty of hot water. Turn it on, let it run while you undress, and then when you get in it’ll be really hot, then turn it down to comfortable. I’ve taken 3-beer showers in there so don’t worry about running out of hot water.” I guess since we’re at the confluence of the Deschutes River and the Columbia River that water shortage isn’t an issue!

      Oh man, hot water and lots of water pressure!

      • Kellee says:

        A three beer shower? interesting.

        Love the photos of all the green! We stayed in a BLM campground on a lake outside Ashland, OR one summer and it was DIVINE! Can’t remember the name, but it was quiet and not a lot of people.

  19. Jean wheatleyIn Molalla says:

    when yyou get back on 84just continue onto Baker City, anyone at truck stop can show you how to get to Sumpter, neat little town,touristy, but nice pS you went around sand our little farm in Molalla

  20. Kathryn says:

    My husband and I just did a trip this summer out 84 to the Dalles, on our way to Coeur d’Alene (right about the time you were heading back from that area).

    Along the way (either before or after, I can’t remember which) we stopped at the Bonneville Dam, at the fish hatchery area. I wanted to let you know about it because it’s very dog friendly and has gorgeous grounds to walk around and explore. We spent about an hour there with our 3 beagles. They loved it!

    If you haven’t already passed it up, it may be worth a stop.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, Kathryn. I drove by the dam at The Dalles and visitor entrance is closed for the season. I don’t know about the fish hatchery.

  21. Barb George says:

    Well your name came up again at work today, Miss Sue! A guy I did tabs for (his Casita) that I had mentioned your site to, came in to renew his other vehicle… and is hooked on reading your adventures… LOL He is looking forward to going full time some day… wistfully 🙂

    Hope the good weather stays with you. We are looking at sunshine this weekend. YAY I can mow the lawn! Stay safe!
    Hugs from Hoquiam!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barb,

      Ah, so that’s why my ears were burning. You were talking about me! Thanks for landing me another reader. Good to know he’s “hooked.” “Hello out there, Casita guy who just renewed his other vehicle! Welcome!”

      I figured the sun would come out once the crew and I left. Happy mowing!

  22. John and Kona says:

    RVSue and Crew~~

    Beautiful campground. What site is your Casita located in.

    We might reserve for April/May 2014.

    John and Kona

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, John and Kona,

      I was in site #29 which isn’t a bad site but there are better. I’ll try to remember to get the numbers of the best sites (meaning riverside) and get back to you.

      Notice I wrote “was” . . . I moved us to another site to be explained in the next post.

      • John and Kona says:

        Hi Sue and Crew~~~

        I’ll note #29 and await your thoughts as to the best sites ~ thank you!!!! Kona is a big boy at 128 lbs. So the best spot with LOTS of room would will work the best! I will be making reservations for 2014. I have many res’ at other Oregon State Parks for the entire month of May 2014 ~ looking fwd to staying here at this beautiful State campground.
        John and Kona (the Rottweiler)

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Well, John, I would choose 27. It’s on the “corner” of the loop so there’s a bit more space around it. It also has that big lawn that was behind my first site (with hookups). In addition it backs up to the river (with grass in between). If you want to be riverside, those are 13 through 27 (odd only).

          BTW, when you look at the BLT in the photo in the next post (the pic of the hook-up section), the one beyond us is #28. So #27 is between that big white rig and the “Cougar.” I hope that helps.

          It’s a nice campground. I don’t know if you’d have a mob of anglers in May like there is now in salmon/steelhead fishing season. Good luck! Hugs to Kona!

          • John and Kona says:

            Good Morning Sue and Crew~~~

            It’s Friday 2:36 a.m. ~ couldn’t sleep so up reading your latest. Thank you for the info on #27; that’s the one that will work for Mr. Kona!!! Beautiful site ~ I checked the picture out on the Oregon State Parks site and will reserve for Monday May 26 for 5 days in 2014. Kona thanks you for the hugs ~ he LOVES hugs!! Also, he would sure have fun with the crew; however, he can really run, so the crew would get a laugh out of him racing around wanting them to join in!!

            How do I send some pix of Kona? I would love to share some with you. I’ve had Rotti’s for 24 yrs and he’s the most beautiful of all. He’s an from a breeder in Battle Ground, Wash across the Columbia River from Portland. His dad’s a import from Serbia, and mom is an import from Germany. Unlike most Rott’s he’s breed to the European Union Std. He has a tail and after always having AKC Rotts with docked tails, I LOVE THE TAIL!!! Please let me know how to seed a couple of pix ~ if you are interested. I’ll share some of our Casita boondock camping too ~ the best ever!!!

            John and Kona (the EU pup)

  23. Marilu says:

    Sue, I am so impressed with your new camera. I’d like to order one for my hubby (through your site on Amazon of course). Would you please give me the make and model?

  24. Cari in North Texas says:

    Sue, I’m so glad to hear you got out from under all that rain and wind safely. I can only imagine what driving in the Portland traffic must have been like for you, pulling your BLT. I don’t like rush hour / crowded traffic, and I’m just in a Toyota Corolla! LOL

    Looks like you’ve landed in a beautiful spot, and I hope you stay for awhile and enjoy some down time. You probably need the rest after the week you’ve had! It reminds me of some of the Texas state parks – open green spaces, nice sized campsites, and of course, the showers! Bridget does not look like the ‘happy camper’ in her little pen, guess she is tired of being cooped up!

    I think the remnants of the weather system you just endured is headed our way – 10-15 degree drop (high around 74 on Saturday, low in the 50s), and 40% chance of rain. Very welcome cooler temps and rain! Of course it’s raining, it’s Texas State Fair time, and it always rains during the Fair. 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cari,

      While it wasn’t fun towing through Portland traffic, it wasn’t much different than driving through it in your Corolla . . . at least when I didn’t have to change lanes. I don’t notice that the BLT is following us… She tows so easily!

      Yes, this is a nice, green park. As for Bridget not being happy from being cooped up… Don’t you believe it! That’s the look I get every time I put her in the pen. She’s indignant whenever treated like a dog.

      Gee, maybe the Texas State Fair should be held more often, what with the drought.

  25. Linda White says:

    Sue: So sorry you had to experience one of the worst storms we’ve had here in a long time. I live in Vancouver, WA and have been following your adventures for a while. One day I hope that I too will be able to live in an RV and travel around. I have 5 years to go until I’m 62 and can retire.

    Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your day to day life. I hope you come back this way again. Believe it or not, the weather forecast for Saturday is sunny and 72 degrees. Hard to believe after the downpour of rain and it being 48 degrees out now. Take care. Linda

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda,

      You’re welcome! I’m not the least bit surprised that you’re having sunshine and seventies weather. Trouble is — hate to break the news — it’s not going to last. Time for the crew and me to skedaddle south!

      I hope you are making plans for lift-off when you retire. There’s a lot to be learned and plenty of decisions, as I’m sure you realize. Best of luck — Keep the dream alive! Five years seems like a long time but then, all of a sudden, you’re down to counting the weeks, the days . . . 🙂

  26. Marcia GB in MA says:

    Nice, very nice. Glad you made it past the storm and are now sitting pretty in the lap of (nature’s) luxury!

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