Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Enjoying the Desert Breeze

We're in Yuma.  Got here last Friday. So I have some catching up to do, blog-wise, as we made five stops before we got here.  

We are at the Desert Breeze RV Camp at the Yuma Proving Ground, about 25 miles north of downtown Yuma. Desert Breeze has 109 camping spots and you need to get here by Thanksgiving if you want to hunker down here for the winter, as many of the same folks come here year after year and stay five to six months. It's all first come/first served. It's also unlikely that you can drop by in January and find a vacant site.

This is our fourth partial winter at Desert Breeze. I doubt we'll be here all winter this year, either. But we're here for now and in our Yuma Proving Ground routine of going to the base's very nice gym every day. I've also started taking a stretching class and a walking/step class taught by fellow Rvers. The stretching class was tougher than I imagined it would be -- after all, it's just "Silver Sneakers" stuff, right? I could barely get off the couch afterwards, but was OK the next day.

We've been to our favorite downtown Yuma restaurant, the Pint House. We twice watched military parachute jumpers (YPG is home of a military free-fall school.) float to a very nearby park called Cox Field  Since this is our first time here with two dogs, we've taken lots of walks, learned that the base has two good off-leash parks, and visited a great downtown Yuma off-leash park called the "Bark Park." We've searched Yuma to no avail for a "Hatchimal," this Christmas's hot toy, for our seven-year-old grand daughter. 

And it's 70 degrees and sunny outside.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Over the weekend we had a bit of rain and a huge rainbow inYuma.  A double rainbow, in fact, although this photo doesn't show the double.  From the number of Seahawk flags, we have a fair amount of Washingtonians at the RV park.  There are also Gadsen (Don't Tread on Me) flags and even a Confederate one.  Since this is a military base and those living at the base RV park are military retirees, active military or DOD contracts  I'm assuming the flyer of the Confederate flag is extremely old. 
Happy Thanksgiving to Bev's family of origin and their spouses.  From left to right:  Me, Jim, younger brother Don, Mom, older brother Bob, Don's wife Trudy, Bob's wife Suzie.  Suzie is holding Elroy, her latest poodle puppy champion.  Happy Thanksgiving to all the kids/grandkids/great grandkids too:  Season, Lee, Ashley, Shad, Brooke, Ben, Jill, Paul, Toby, Mia, Marshall, Owen and Connor. We love you. Happy T-Day to Jim's sister Cathy and family, too!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Burns to Ontario to Glenns Ferry to Snowville. Then home.

We're home in Salt Lake City. Actually we've been home a week as of yesterday. We've cleaned the rig and its contents, celebrated granddaughter Mia's 7th birthday, gone to a movie for the first time in months (Sully), went out to dinner with friends, hiked a local canyon and walked, walked, walked the dogs.

We were gone 30 days, drove 2000 miles, and made 16 stops  -- many more than we normally make in 30 days. The longest we stayed anywhere was Yakima, where we parked four nights. We stayed three nights in Kennewick, WA; Beverly Beach, OR; Season's home in Stayton, OR; and Detroit Lake, OR.  We spent two nights each in Baker City, OR; Bend; OR; and Glenn's Ferry, ID. And we made overnight stays in eight other places. We figure we averaged $27 a night for camping spots. 

We talked about Bend, Oregon, in our last post. After Bend we drove to Burns, Oregon. Burns is the closest city to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge where armed militants seized the refuge for 41 days earlier this year. The trial for the militants is happening right now in Portland. If you are interested in the standoff that lead to their arrest, here is an informative link.

From Burns we drove east through potato and onion farms to Fruitland, Idaho, and the Neat Retreat RV Park.  We were just across the Oregon/Idaho border and very close to Ontario, Oregon.

Campgrounds in those two small towns seemed pricey. We spent $37 for a night the the Burns RV Park and $39 for one night in Fruitland. Both RV park owners were beyond helpful. Both said "take some" about the fruit on display in their offices: plums in Burns and apples in Fruitland. Both offered site choices and said "go take a look and let me know" instead of just assigning one like the larger RV campgrounds do. But the campgrounds were basic (although Fruitland had fast wifi) and I don't think they'd be able to charge nearly $40 a night if there was competition.

After that it was two days at one of our new favorite public parks: Three Island Crossing State Park in Glenns Ferry, Idaho.  We spent one night there at the beginning of our trip and decided we'd stop on our way back if it worked out. 

Three Island Crossing is one of two places where Oregon Trail pioneers crossed the Snake River. Before ferries were available, pioneers waded/swam/floated their horses/oxen/wagons across the Snake, going from island to island to get a breather.  Between1840 to 1850, 50,000 pioneers crossed at the three islands.

And our last stop:  Snowville, Utah, just seven miles across the Idaho border at the Earp and James RV Park.  Then it was an easy drive home the next morning.

(Mom: Click on any of the photos to make them larger.)

Our camping spot in Burns looks like a road but made it easy to pull through without unhooking the tow car. We were told it was the last available spot -- maybe because deer hunting season had just started? Burns is in the the middle of sparsely populated southeastern Oregon and looks prosperous. 
An onion field near Ontario, Oregon, with all these onions sitting on top of the ground like apples neatly fallen from trees.  A sign we saw near Ontario said local farmers ship one billion pounds of onions a year.

Our spot at the Neat Retreat RV Park in Fruitville, Idaho, just two miles from Ontario, Oregon.  Jim and I thought we'd never spent any time in Ontario. Then we drove into town and noticed a familiar looking restaurant. "Didn't we have dinner there once?" we asked each other.  We went to the Red Apple grocery store and it looked familiar too.  A trip down the memory lane of our minds and a blog search revealed that we'd previously been to Ontario in 2003 and 2014. 

Our camping spot at Three Island Crossing State Park in Glenns Ferry.  The campground was mostly empty (one of the joys of midweek camping), but one night a couple in a tent-on-top-of-a truck parked next to us.  In all our travels we had never seen a contraption like that.

Jim paddling in the Snake River in Glenns Ferry, Idaho. The town is named for Gustavus Glenn, who built a ferry boat nearby in 1869. I dropped Jim off at a small pier in town; he paddled around the islands the pioneers used as stepping stones to cross the river before the ferry was available.

A volunteer at the Three Island State Park interpretive Center (standing in front of a photo of the Snake and the islands pioneers used to cross the river.)  She told us five generations ago her pioneer aunt crossed the Snake, gave birth to a baby girl the next day (near what is now the Interpretive Center) and then resumed walking the day after that.

Jim and the dogs with one of the original ferries that floated pioneers and later heavy freight across the Snake River.  Toll fee in 1878 was $1.50 for one wagon and two horses, mules or oxen. Jim's great-grandmother took the Oregon Trail from Missouri to the Willamette Valley; when we are near the trail we always wonder if we're stepping where she did.
On our way west our first stop was at the Earp and James RV Park in Snowville, Utah, where we were greeted by two goats.  I didn't get a photo so I had my camera ready when we stopped again on our way back.  This time, however, we were greeted by a cat who "heeled" next to my left leg all the way to our rig and back to the office.
We got to our campground in Snowville, Utah, at 3 p.m. and were the only ones there.  By 10 p.m. we had six neighbors.

Maddie:  Keeping us safe from squirrels, mice and other varmints since 2015.  The above was her "spot" and it now needs some upholstery cleaner.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Bend, Oregon

After Beverly Beach, Oregon, we headed east and stopped at daughter Season's home for one night. Season made us a great meatloaf dinner, and we got to see SIL Lee and grandsons Owen and Connor one last time.  And we used their laundry:)

Then we headed for Bend. We've been there before, but have always camped outside of town.This time we stayed at the Scandia RV Park just two and a half miles from downtown and it gave us a different perspective. We're already thinking about how could work a month-long stay in Bend into future plans.

We've got to consider our dogs when we travel and Bend has eight dog parks. I'm not aware of a another city that size (about 80,000) with so many dog parks -- most of them off leash and big. 

Second, the Bend area has lots of potential kayaking. We didn't have time to kayak this go around. In fact, with the exception of one paddle Jim did at Detroit Lake, our boats have remained perched on our tow car. (At least it makes the car easy to find in a parking lot.) We'd love to get the boats in the water in Bend.

Third, Jim loves craft beer. Bend has 22 local breweries and there are another half dozen nearby. We went to just one this trip brew pub this trip.

Fourth, we like to hike. There is plenty of that near Bend, plus could get in a couple of miles just walking around the dog parks.

Bend looks like it's going through growing pains. Three out of four Bend residents moved there within the last 25 years. With today's mobile world maybe that's not terribly unusual -- but traffic was heavy on the main streets, and I was told housing prices are high.

Still -- we'd like to spend more time there to see if we can add Bend to our list of favorite cities.
Jim at Silver Moon Brewery. Great beer, but boy was it noisy.  The restaurant was busy but not packed, so it must be an acoustics issue.
Lunch on day 2 in Bend: Season and Lee have a huge garden at their home in Stayton.  Season has been canning the harvest and graced us with three jars of dill pickles.  Jim has already used up nearly two of them via turkey, cheese and pickle sandwiches.
The dogs at Pine Nursery dog park, which was recommended to us by a poodle owner at another dog park near the Deschutes River. We went to four of Bend's dog parks and liked them all but this was probably our favorite because it was so big: 18 fenced acres. Our dogs had a great time running over rocks, around pine trees, and playing with other dogs in the park's grassy field.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Beverly Beach, Oregon

We spent three very dog-centric days at Beverly Beach in Newport, Oregon. We did a lot of beach walking (one day we did ten miles) and briefly let the dogs off leash. Maddie chased a seagull right into the ocean. I thought we'd lost her when a wave crashed over her head, but she bounced out. After that, there was no more off-leash-on-the-beach dog walking. 

We also walked the dogs on the long nature trail around the campground. We walked the dogs in downtown Newport. We took the dogs to two dog parks. We went to a pet store where Arlo escaped three times as Jim was trying to fit him with a new collar.  

Without the dogs we went to the Rogue Ales Bayfront Public House for a beer. After all of the above, the humans needed  drink.
Jim with the dogs near a Pacific Coast Highway bridge. We walked under the bridge -- which was near our campsite -- to get to the ocean.
Jim, Arlo, and the Pacific Ocean at Beverly Beach.  According to the park visitor's center, there are two theories for the park's name:  1) It was named after the niece of a local property owner; 2) It was  named after the favorite doll of the daughter of another local property owner. 
Arlo, Jim, and Maddie at one of Newport's two dog parks.  
Jim and Arlo in downtown Newport, Oregon, in front of a piece of a pier that floated across the ocean to Newport after Japan's March 2011 tsunami tore it from its moorings.  According to the display, the dock measured 19 feet by 68 feet by 9 feet, weighed 165 tons, and floated 5500 miles before it arrived in Oregon 15 months later. It was cut into manageable pieces and removed except for one part that was returned to Japan, and two parts (including the one above) that remain in Oregon to promote tsunami awareness.
After we left Beverly Beach: Our tow car and our (not pictured) rig in front of it, sandwiched between two semis at a rest stop near Salem.