fall colors caravan / rally 10/8 – 10-13 2014

Our favorite time of the year, fall. The nights are cooler and the days are warm, a great time of the year. Fall also brings our annual trip to the Winthrop Washington area for the Fall Colors Caravan / Rally. This would be our 4th year attending this event. In fact the first ever truck camper rally we have ever attended was this event 4 years ago. We were welcomed and had a fabulous time. That trip changed what we do and how we do things on our trips with groups. So I guess it has a little something special in our hearts.

Our trip started as it usually does, right after work. This time we left on a Wednesday after work. We made our way to Spring Canyon Campground along the Columbia River and behind Grand Coulee Dam. Last year we could not stay here because of the government shutdown, this year was no problem. We arrived and got a quick setup done at our site. We took Dusty and Buddy for a walk (the other two dogs stayed at home with our oldest son) then Joanne made dinner. I got a campfire going and set some chairs up for us. Cody was content to hang out in the camper and play a game. It was a very nice night, We were amazed how bright it was out at night with the full moon. You did not even need a flashlight. The night drifted away with the warmth of the fire and the occasional yelps of the coyotes nearby.

a quick stop on our way to the camp spot for the first night. interesting history in the little town.

a quick stop on our way to the camp spot for the first night. interesting history in the little town.

our spot for the night at spring canyon campground. $5.00 a night fee.

our spot for the night at spring canyon campground. $5.00 a night fee.

sitting by the fire, the lights in the background are the grand coulee dam, upriver side.

sitting by the fire, the lights in the background are the grand coulee dam, upriver side.

The next morning we ate breakfast and left fairly early. We wanted to get to our friends house in Twisp Washington. We would stay the night in our camper in their driveway. We arrived in the late morning and our friend Sally was on a conference call and George was away for a short while doing errands. We parked our camper then went just a short distance away to a fish hatchery habitat area. Wow, that was a really neat place. There was natural pools and streams with a fun little path to walk along. A geocache took us there and once again, if not for geocaching we would never have known about that place.

joanne and cody on the trail

joanne and cody on the trail

cool art

cool art

After our little excursion we returned to our friends home. By then George was back at home and waiting to take us for a drive up to Harts Pass. Harts Pass is north of the Cascades Highway 20 and is the highest road you can drive on in Washington State. The drive up is not for the timid with some huge drop offs on a one lane road with some pull outs. The views and the finish point are worth every single second of the drive. We were completely blown away by the views. I can not explain in words the beauty of this place. We could have easily sat and looked at our surroundings for hours but we were on a time schedule. We took in as much as we could with the time we had. Breathtaking, sights permanently placed in our memory.

our camp spot at our friends house

our camp spot at our friends house

slate peak. the top. you had to walk the last 300 yards or so, the gate was closed.

slate peak. the top. you had to walk the last 300 yards or so, the gate was closed.

looking back at the car and george waiting for us.

looking back at the car and george waiting for us.

wow

wow

truly breathtaking

truly breathtaking

cody at the lookout tower

cody at the lookout tower

cody and i checking the views out on the walk back down

cody and i checking the views out on the walk back down

george and sally made a lunch for us to eat at harts pass. it was delicious.

george and sally made a lunch for us to eat at harts pass. it was delicious.

What a wonderful time that was. We now want to return for much more. We returned to our friends home and they made dinner for us. A yummy lasagna was on the menu. After talking for a while after dinner we retired to our camper. The next day we would make our way over the Cascades Highway and stop at Sauk Campground, along highway 530 and north of Darrington Washington. Joanne and I have never been over the Cascades Highway. The past rallies we waited for the caravan to join us at the campground in Winthrop. The weather was fantastic, sunny and warm. We made a few stops on our way to enjoy the sights and of course find a geocache. We were treated with amazing views on the drive. If you ever get a chance, take highway 20 over the cascades. It is only open from late spring to early fall, it closes during the winter.

washington pass overlook

washington pass overlook

non stop views

non stop views

the highway coming up the east side of the pass

the highway coming up the east side of the pass

joanne, cody and i along with buddy and dusty

joanne, cody and i along with buddy and dusty

our campers at the pass parking

our campers at the pass parking

We eventually made it to the campground. Our friends lead us to the site where we all would be staying. They then left to go to Arllington Washington to meet up with the folks who would caravan  from there to the campground. Joanne, Cody and I set up camp and walked around a little bit. Then we made dinner and got a campfire going. Soon enough several truck campers arrived and parked. We visited and enjoyed each others company at camp. It was great to meet new camper friends and see old friends once again.

our spot, soon to be joined by several others

our spot, soon to be joined by several others

walking around exploring the campground

walking around exploring the campground

truck campers everywhere

truck campers everywhere others not in the picture too

a nice evening.

a nice evening.

When morning arrived it was time to caravan over the highway eastbound towards Winthrop. The weather was a little rainy and cloudy but not bad. There were still lots of sights to see. What a sight to see truck campers in a caravan. We made a few stops along the way to stretch our legs and take pictures.

the caravan, we were the tail gunner

the caravan, we were the tail gunner

diablo lake

diablo lake

another of diablo lake

another of diablo lake

us at the lake overlook

us at the lake overlook

parked at the overlook at diablo lake

parked at the overlook at diablo lake

parked at washington pass overlook

parked at washington pass overlook

a bit colder and windy today at the pass

a bit colder and windy today at the pass

heading down the east side of the pass

heading down the east side of the pass

a truck camper pose just outside of winthrop

a truck camper pose just outside of winthrop, we are last in line

our spot at silverline resort in winthrop.

our spot at silverline resort in winthrop.

everyone getting set up

everyone getting set up

good to see camper friends

good to see camper friends

seems i missed getting everyones camper in a picture.

seems i missed getting everyones camper in a picture.

potluck time

potluck time

That evening we had our potluck dinner. What can I say about the potluck dinners…if you go away hungry it is your own fault! So much great food and laughs with friends at dinner. Prizes were given away after dinner then we went to the campfire to relax at. It was a bit breezy so the sparks drove some of us to our campers for the night. I went to bed fairly early as I was very tired. The next morning we had a great breakfast supplied by our rally hosts George and Sally. They did an excellent job as hosts for the rally.  A big thank you to them.

Joanne, Cody and I then left to go into Winthrop and do some geocaching. We found all of the ones we attempted to find. We then went to the Methow Valley Cider House just a mile from camp. We have stopped by there on previous trips and now it is tradition to go and sip some cider. Eventually almost everyone from the rally ended up there too.

mmmm biscuits and gravy along with other delicious stuff

mmmm biscuits and gravy along with other delicious stuff

in winthrop

in winthrop

a museum in winthrop

a museum in winthrop

cider time

cider time

time to sip cider

time to sip cider

camper friends at the cider house

camper friends at the cider house

a relaxing time

a relaxing time

hula hoop fail by me

hula hoop fail by me

Later that night back at camp we sat around the campfire. The breeze held off tonight. We visited with each other and had fun swapping stories. The next day it was time for us to make our way home. We decided to take our time as we like to do. We took a longer way home geocaching along the way. We traveled on highways we have never been on and saw just what our state has to offer.

a view from a pullout on the way home.

a view from a pullout on the way home.

neat things you find on the backroads

neat things you find on the back roads

at this spot we learned of some of geology of the area.

at this spot we learned about some of geology of the area.

We made a stop at the overlook of Grand Coulee Dam and had lunch. A nice view to have lunch at. We then made it back home. Another awesome time on the Fall Colors Rally. We enjoy the trip so much and look forward to it every year. Next year will be the 10th annual rally and our 5th year in a row attending it. We cannot wait. We look forward to seeing our friends once again and doing our traditional things we do on the trip.

Here is a short video on some of the sites:

 

fall colors caravan / rally 10/8 – 10/13 2014

 

 

 

new tires and a tree 9/27/14

I needed new front tires on the camper truck so in the morning I went to Perfection Tire in Spokane Washington to get that done. They had a set of highway tread type tires I wanted on hold for me. I gave them the keys and waited for the job to be done. When they called me up to the counter and said it was ready to go I saw my camper being drove up front and a few leaves and a small branch laying on the back of the camper and truck. I did not think much of it. I drove the camper home and the new tires were nice, smooth riding and quite. I parked the camper at home in its usual spot and after a little bit went out to wash the camper. That is when I saw it… TORN UP ROOF!  I KNEW I should have looked closely when I saw the little branch and a couple leaves on the truck back at the shop.

I called the shop right away and talked to the manager. He was very cooperative and said someone would call me first thing Monday morning. In the meantime there was nothing I could do but cover the roof to protect it.

IMG_20140927_171426_256

IMG_20140927_171411_050

IMG_20140927_161603_692

IMG_20140927_161554_229

IMG_20140927_161542_315

Monday morning arrived and I talked to Perfection Tire about the situation. It is bad enough that it happened, accidents do happen. However the kid working on my truck and not saying anything, well that is a whole other story. To make matters worse we would be going on a trip next week. The manager at the tire shop said someone from their insurance would be calling right away. They did call right away, Farmers Insurance. They said to take it to whatever shop I wanted and get a temporary fix on the roof so we could go on our trip. Then after the trip to have it repaired completely.  So that is what I did.

I took the camper to Johnson RV in Spokane Washington and they did a good temporary fix on the roof with Eternabond tape. They also replaced my refrigerator vent. It was very great of them to get me in right away for this fix. So now we can still attend our rally next week. When we return from our trip they will have to replace the whole roof. A estimated cost of $3000.00.

temporary fix

temporary fix

I must say, Farmers has been very easy to deal with so far. They said “no problem” we will handle this for you. They called Johnson RV and are handling all the paperwork so I do not have to. The tire shop has also called a couple times today to make sure things are being handled for me. I do appreciate that service. It all would not have been so bad if the kid who did the damage spoke up. I don’t have very many warm happy feelings towards him at this point.

So we will see how it goes with a new roof in a few weeks. I will be sure to do a follow up story on it. For now, I am getting ready for our trip next week!

 

new tires and a tree 9/27/14

a few modifications – september 2014

Just when I think I am done with modifying my camper and truck…something new comes to mind. As most of you know, my setup is already pretty modified and unusual. That’s me, unusual. So what did I do this time?

My camper did not come with a 12 volt power source and I finally got around to installing one. I can have my camper out for 2 to 3 days before I need to run the generator to charge the batteries. However, my phone will not last that long. So in the past I had run the generator a little bit everyday to charge it up. Now with a 12 volt source, no more doing that. It is back to 2 to 3 days before running the generator. I tried it out last trip and it worked as it should.

12v plug and cap

12v plug and cap

The next modification was to mount my new Lock and Load that I won from Torklift. A big thank you to Torklift for that! What is a lock and load? It is a metal tray with locking bars that will secure your generator or what ever you can fit  in it. It mounts to a 2″ receiver. Well since I have a unusual setup (remember) I had a receiver placed in a different location than most for this project. I have a small porch on the back of my flatbed and I had the mount bolted and welded to the flatbed. The bolted part was where it lays over the wood deck. The weld would hold it completely but what the heck, can not go wrong with added security right? It is awesome having my generator easily accessed for power. I tried it out last camping trip. I ran the generator in place without removing the locking bars, it worked perfectly. I have a generator cover on order and it will be here any day now. It was brought up about blocking my lights on the camper a little bit. That is no problem because my truck lights are completely visible. Really, my camper tail lights are just bonus lights.

mounted to my rear deck

mounted to my rear deck

fits a gas can too.

fits a gas can too.

The next modification was well…something fun. Did I really need it? No but why not have some fun things too. I purchased on line an old fashion horn for the truck. You know, the ones that you find on the old old cars. Do not know what those sound like? No worries, if I see you I will give it a try for you. It has already given me a few laughs and smiles. My wife Joanne just shakes her head at me. I did not replace my original horn, I simply added this one with its own push button switch.

arrruuuuggggaaa

arrruuuuggggaaa

Next on the agenda was to add another storage box under the flatbed deck. I got a great deal on the brand new box and the size was perfect. I wanted a box to store my sewer hoses, gloves and such in one spot. I had a couple of those white sewer hose tubes already mounted under the bed but sometimes in the winter it was a pain to get them out. I left those where they were, I am thinking they may be good for a couple fishing poles.  To mount the box where I wanted it I had to move my truck lights farther out the back end. That was a easy fix. The box fit into place perfectly with the help from Joanne. I know for some it may seem to be low to the ground but not really. My rear receiver hitch is a couple inches lower than the box. This new box is the same measurement in height as the longer one on the other side. I really like how it turned out.

box for sewer supplies.

box for sewer supplies.

a great quality box too

a great quality box too

Yet another modification I got done was to finally (and I mean finally!!) get a winterizing kit installed for the water system. In the past I just stood outside and pumped the pink antifreeze into the city water connection on the camper while Joanne was inside to open and close the water valves on sinks and such.  Now I can do the winterizing simple and easy. One thing I need to tell you…place the valve in the correct flow direction or read the directions first. After that duh moment it was installed and works perfectly.

winterizing kit installed. the hose is off normally and a brass cap installed.

winterizing kit installed. the hose is off normally and a brass cap installed.

I did get a couple other things done too. I got my C.B. radio antenna tuned and I got the front end aligned on the truck. Today I got new front tires installed. I went with a good highway tire on the front. My rear dully tires are still all good to go.

So there you have it, the latest in modifications on the truck and camper.  It has gotten to be so many things done on my setup I have lost track but I am pretty sure I am done. Hey, what is that? Oooohhhh that would be great on the camper!

 

a few modifications september 2014

 

skwa AY ay 9/19 – 9/21 2014

skwa AY ay, that is what the native Kalispel people called the spot where we camped this weekend. What does that mean? It means “elbow in the river”. What is it called in the more modern world and where is this place? Pioneer Park campground, just north of Newport Washington. The river is the Pend Oreille River.

Joanne and Cody arrived with the car ahead of me by an hour at the campground. I arrived with the camper and we got set up in our camp site. Joanne had the car because she would need to drive into Spokane for a baby shower then would drive back to camp. We made camp, ate dinner then relaxed around the campfire.

time to relax

time to relax

The next morning after breakfast we all got in the car and drove to an area nearby that had a couple of geocaches to find. One was near a lake that we will return to and camp at sometime. After we found both caches we returned to camp and Joanne left to go to the baby shower. Cody and I stayed at camp. We played a couple games, Cody rode his scooter and we did a short hike in the campground. There was even two more geocaches that Cody and I found in the campground. Pioneer Park Campground has a very nice interpretive trail along the rivers edge. Nice views and great information are given to you on the hike.

cody along the pend oreille river

cody along the pend oreille river

hiking along the river

hiking along the river

pend oreille river

pend oreille river

nice boardwalk trail

nice boardwalk trail

one of the many interpretive signs

one of the many interpretive signs

paved loop road in the campground, perfect for scooters

paved loop road in the campground, perfect for scooters

A while later Joanne arrived back at camp. The rest of the day was filled with playing games and relaxing at camp. The weather was absolutely perfect this weekend. A bit warmer than normal for a early fall time of year but we took it with a smile no matter what.

ahhhh feels good on the feet

ahhhh feels good on the feet

On Sunday morning we set out with our kayak to paddle up river to a couple islands and look for a geocache. There was one cache on each of the two nearby islands. This time of year is perfect for a paddle on the river, slower currents and great weather make it a great day out on the water.

the boat launch at the campground

the boat launch at the campground

our sea eagle ready to get out on the water

our sea eagle ready to get out on the water

After about a 1.5 mile paddle up river we arrived at one of the islands we wanted to go to. We pulled our kayak up on the shoreline and set out on a hike to try and find a geocache. This island really was a neat place. Many great views were enjoyed while there, we even watched a bald eagle flying around while there. Many other types of birds were around too.

arrival at one of the islands

arrival at one of the islands

joanne and cody hiking on the island

joanne and cody hiking on the island

one of the many great view. this one looking back at where our kayak is at

one of the many great views. this one looking back at where our kayak is at

more great views

more great views

cody and i at the geocache, we found it.

cody and i at the geocache, we found it. steep area.

When we finished up doing what we do at the geocache we returned to our kayak. We paddle down river to another island that we passed on the way up. We beached our kayak once again and walked a short walk on the island. We found our geocache and returned to our Kayak.

joanne going back to the kayak

joanne going back to the kayak

We made our way along the river back to the boat ramp at the campground. We returned back to camp and relaxed for a short while. Wow, what a nice paddle that was on the river. A very enjoyable day out. We packed up our things and left to return home. This was our second time at this campground and we really enjoy it. It is not too far from home and a nice weekend get away. It always amazes me how many places we have to enjoy in the nearby area. We are very lucky.

skwa AY ay 9/19 – 9/21 2014

a night stroll 9/5 – 9/7 2014

a night stroll 9/5 – 9/7 2014

 

This weekends trip was to Farragut State Park in Idaho. We would be camping in the Whitetail Loop. That loop of campsites is a bit more primitive, being that there are no hookups. I know, I can hear the inhales of fright.  Actually this year we have had more camping with hookups than in the past. We are set up for no hookups and do not mind it at all. In fact, sometimes it is even better. Well anyway, we would be parked next to some geocaching friends for the weekend. Our plan included doing a “night cache” on Saturday night. What is a night cache for you muggle friends? Oh, let me tell you that a muggle in geocaching terms means you are not a geocacher. No worries that I called you some colorful four letter word or that red headed stepchild. Where was I? Oh yeah…a night cache is just that…a geocache you search for in the evening. It needs to be dark so you can follow what it called, fire tacks. Some portions you might need your GPS. You definitely need it to get to the start point. At the end is what you seek, a cache.  So, that is the jest of it. I think you are up to speed now.

So after work on Friday We made the  hour and a half drive to the state park. We checked in and got to our site. We had our dinner then visited with our friends camped next to us and had some delicious  dump cake that they made in a dutch oven. Afterwards it was time for bed.

our campsite for the weekend.

our campsite for the weekend.

The next morning the sun rose and shed its light onto us. It would be a beautiful early fall day. We had our coffee and biscuits and gravy. We then decided to go for a hike and look for geocaches. I got the backpack on and Joanne got the two dogs that we brought on this trip ready. The other two dogs were at home keeping our oldest son company.

a little blurry, buddy, who is on the fence was excited and moving around faster than my camera.

a little blurry, buddy, who is on the fence was excited and moving around faster than my camera.

We ended up finding five geocaches and one we could not find. It was a very nice hike in the park. Farragut State Park is huge and has many miles of trails. Many more than you can hike in one day for sure. Every time we go there we find another trail we did not know about.

views abound

views abound

no really, our two dogs are with us.

no really, our two dogs are with us.

We returned to our campsite in the early afternoon. We decided we would just hang out and relax at camp. No schedule, no worries. We started a fire and kicked back in our chairs. Might have even got a cat nap in.

joanne at camp.

joanne at camp.

Later on near sunset time our friends gave us a ride down to the start point of the night cache. We were greeted by a few other geocache friends. When it got dark enough we set out for the hunt. It was a wonderful walk through the dark deep forest. I really do enjoy the night walks. Pretty safe to do with a group of people too. We found the cache, in fact we found two of them. After the first one was found there was a bonus cache to find.  We had lots of laughs and a great time. We returned to the starting point and after talking for a while at the cars, we returned to camp. Soon enough snoring was going on. No not me, I purr.

a view of pend oreille lake

a view of pend oreille lake

its dark on the trail.

its dark on the trail.

Another restful sleep in the camper.  Our bed in our camper is very nice. While sitting outside drinking coffee and having breakfast we enjoyed the mornings sunrise.

i love the light through the trees

i love the light through the trees

We packed up and said our goodbyes to our friends. We would not be heading home right away. We would be geocaching in the park and hiking around for a few hours before we left the park. We explored more new trails and found every geocache we tried looking for.

one of the many trails.

one of the many trails.

After a few hours of hiking and hunting for the caches we left the park and made our way home. Another great time in Farragut. We really do enjoy the park. I could go into so much more about the park. Like how it was a Navy base during WWII or many other great things about it. I will save that for a return trip to this great place.

 

a night stroll 9/5 – 9/7 2014

 

fall festival 8/29 -9/1 2014

fall festival 8/29 – 9/1 2014

The end of summer, where did it go? I guess time does fly by when you are having fun. Labor Day weekend once again brings us back to Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Sandpoint Idaho for the Fall Festival. This would be our third year in a row attending this fantastic event. It has been and still was too much fun to miss this celebration on the mountain.

We arrived up at the gateway parking lot that would be our spot to camp for the next few days around 7 p.m. on Friday.  We were greeted by fellow truck camper friends Sally and George. Luckily for us they got there earlier in the day. There were many more rv’s already up there parked for the long weekend. Many more than there has been in the past. Our friends parked in a way to save us a spot and when we arrived they readjusted their parking and we both got set up.

parked and ready for fun

parked and ready for fun

our little area for sitting and a campfire in the evening

our little area for sitting and a campfire in the evening

Friday evening was a relax around the campfire night. The festival did not start until the next morning. Saturday morning we walked up to the event area. We placed our chairs on the grass with a great view of the music stage. Soon it was time to wait in line to buy our drink ware and buy tokens for the beer tent. There was over 60 beers to try out this weekend. We were proud to say that we were FIRST in line thank you.

first in line

first in line

Every year the resort issues out a new drink ware logo. This years stainless steel cup was very cool. What was even better is when there was a tasty beverage in it. I tried my best to make sure that was achieved.

stainless steel cup with music stage in the background

stainless steel cup with music stage in the background

Saturday was filled with music on the stage from various bands, walking around the resort area checking things out and of course…beer. Once again the resort did a great job and making things family friendly.  I tell people all the time when asked about the event that it is family friendly. Yes there is a big beer tent and that is a big part of it but it is far more than that really.

so many beers to try.the beer tent just opened and it was tasting time

so many beers to try.the beer tent just opened and it was tasting time

joanne, cody and sally

joanne, cody and sally

large crowds on saturday but it all flowed well. no issues at all

large crowds on saturday but it all flowed well. no issues at all

looking down below the resort towards our camp out spot in the lower parking lot

looking down below the resort towards our camp out spot in the lower parking lot

joanne and i

joanne and rich

After a day of listening to music and having fun at the resort we went back to our campers and relaxed. We made dinner and sat around the campfire for a while before retiring to bed. The next morning was greeted by a huge rainstorm. It flat out poured rain. It was a perfect time to do the dishes and pick up a couple things in the camper. Soon the rain stopped and it was time once again to return to the festival area for the day. Over the next couple days Cody got to play in the kids area a little bit. We thought about maybe riding the chair lift up the mountain but the weather was still a bit foggy up top. So we choose to wait until Monday for that. There was still plenty to do in the resort area.

soon enough this will make more since with all the snow.

soon enough this will make more since with all the snow.

cody being the hamster

cody being the hamster

cody got a bit frustrated not making the climb to the top but he did great for his first time trying

cody got a bit frustrated not making the climb to the top but he did great for his first time trying

The last band on this day was The Alliance. They are a medieval themed rock band. The show was really good. They have a bunch of actors that are part of the show. The whole thing tells a story from beginning to end. Some of the actors walk through out the crowd interacting with people. It was a lot of fun for sure.

part of the alliance rock band

part of the alliance rock band

joanne locked up by the dungeon master

joanne locked up by the dungeon master

rich and one of the actors

rich and one of the actors

george, joanne and rich packing up our stuff after the last band.

george, joanne and rich packing up our stuff after the last band.

After the great show it was time to once again return to our campers. Of course there was another nightly campfire and visiting with each other.  Monday morning arrived and the weather was a bit sunnier. We decided to ride the chair lift to the top of the mountain. There was a little delay in getting the chair running but soon enough we were on the chair and riding up the mountain. As always the views on top of this mountain were breathtaking.

riding the chair up

riding the chair up

taking in the views

taking in the views

beautiful

beautiful

After a little walking around up top it was time to ride the chair back down. Uh…what is wrong with the chair? Remember the delayed start? Well…it now was a long delay. The chair lift was broke. At least we were not stuck on the chair lift like others. We waited for 45 minutes before the chair lift was somewhat repaired. It was running on a back up motor. We opted to be shuttled down the mountain in a vehicle.  That actually was a interesting drive down with great views. The resort made things right by returning our money and giving us coupons for lunch. No problem, we did not even have to ask.

We had lunch and then relaxed in our chairs and watched the last two bands of the day.

an ac/dc tribute kind of band. they were awesome!

an ac/dc tribute kind of band. they were awesome!

After the last band played we finished the little bit of packing up at our campers and made the drive down the mountain road. The Fall Festival was over. What a great time once again. Especially nice to have friends join us for the fun. We look forward to next years Fall Festival up at Schweitzer Mountain Resort.

fall festival 8/29 – 9/1 2014

 

 

 

 

“…Ocian in view! O! the joy…” 7/11 – 7/27 2014

“…Ocian in view! O! the joy…”

William Clark wrote those words in his journal on the great journey west that Lewis and Clark embarked on. We do not do many trips to the Pacific Ocean and we had the same excitement as we neared that vast body of water. Our trip would take us from Spokane Washington to south of Tri Cities Washington and stay a night at Plymouth Campground along the Columbia River on our first night. We would then take highway 14 along the Washington side of that grand river to Vancouver Washington. At that point we traversed inland a little ways and crossed the river into Oregon at Longview Washington. From there we would take highway 30 on into Astoria Oregon. Our final stop westward would be Fort Stevens State Park just west of town on the Pacific Ocean.

The first nights stop as mentioned was at Plymouth Campground. It is a Core of Engineers Campground and a pretty nice spot. We would only spend the night there. After our nights rest we would leave making our way slowly down the highway to our next stop at Maryhill State Park. We would geocache along the way and stop where ever we wished. This trip was about taking our time.

camp spot at plymouth campground

camp spot at plymouth campground

joanne at camp, the sun starting to set

joanne at camp, the sun starting to set

After a nights rest and some breakfast we started our trip westward. We searched for and found several geocaches along the way. We did several stops to enjoy the views around us. Once we arrived at Maryhill Washington we decided to pass by it just a couple miles to go to the museum and then the winery near there. Maryhill State Park was a very nice park and the campsites were huge. It would also be our last high heat day of this trip west. In fact it reached a 102 degrees on the day we were there. Too hot, I was ready to get to the ocean cool breezes.

a view along the columbia river

a view along the columbia river

john day dam

john day dam

a stop at stonehenge above the campground at maryhill

a stop at stonehenge above the campground at maryhill

i was showing cody where our camp spot would be down below stonehenge

i was showing cody where our camp spot would be down below stonehenge

at the art museum. stopping to smell the flowers on our trip

at the art museum. stopping to smell the flowers on our trip

these oil paintings were so lifelike. amazing art.

these oil paintings were so lifelike. amazing art.

maryhill winery. even if you do not drink wine i suggest a stop there

maryhill winery. even if you do not drink wine i suggest a stop there

our camp spot at mayhill

our camp spot at maryhill

We did a little swimming at the campground after we got parked. Then we pretty much relaxed the rest of the day. Our next section of our trip was to go to Battle Ground State Park northeast of Vancouver Washington. It was another shorter drive, again taking our time.  The terrain would start to change on our drive and the weather started to cool a bit. Highway 14 along the Columbia River is a wonderful drive.

one of the many view points along the river

one of the many view points along the river

a neat spot to stop at on our drive at wishram

a neat spot to stop at on our drive at wishram

a stop to do one of the many geocaches on our trip.

a stop to do one of the many geocaches on our trip.

bonneville dam

bonneville dam

we stopped and did a tour at bonneville dam. an excellent tour

we stopped and did a tour at bonneville dam. an excellent tour

joanne, cody and i on the tour of the dam

joanne, cody and i on the tour of the dam

whoa...thats a big fish

whoa…thats a big fish

we stopped for lunch at beacon rock state park

we stopped for lunch at beacon rock state park

our camp spot at battle ground state park for a night

our camp spot at battle ground state park for a night

We did a bit of hiking around battle ground lake and reading on the history of the place. It was a great park and would love to go back and spend a bit more time. The next morning it was on to Astoria Oregon and our final stop west at Fort Stevens State Park. We drove to Longview Washington and crossed the bridge and the Columbia River into Oregon. We then drove on highway 30 west. We made a few stops checking things out. One unexpected stop was at a fish hatchery. It was a great one to stop at that had several trails to hike too.

We had arrived at Fort Stevens a bit early so we had to wait to check in. No problem, we drove to the northwest section of the park where the Columbia enters the Pacific Ocean. We then walked the beach for a ways and yes, we did some geocaching too.

just crossed into oregon from longview washington

just crossed into oregon from longview washington

a stop at a fish hatchery

a stop at a fish hatchery

stopped to check maps in astoria at the maritime museum parking lot

stopped to check maps in astoria at the maritime museum parking lot

on the south jetty. where the columbia enters the pacific

on the south jetty. where the columbia enters the pacific

our camp spot for the next 9 days in fort stevens

our camp spot for the next 9 days in fort stevens

Once we got into our site at Fort Stevens and set up we relaxed the rest of the day. We would be camped here for the next 9 days. For the trip report something might be out of date order but you will get the idea of some of our fun times here. We did so many things each day, there was so much to see. The area is rich in history and we really loved that.

we took our kayak out on a fresh water lake in the park

we took our kayak out on a fresh water lake in the park

joanne and cody at the ship wreck on a pacific ocean beach in the park

joanne and cody at the ship wreck on a pacific ocean beach in the park

cody and i at the wreck. cody loved playing in the ocean waves

cody and i at the wreck. cody loved playing in the ocean waves

outside the maritime museum in astoria

outside the maritime museum in astoria

cody checking out some coast guard gear in the maritime museum

cody checking out some coast guard gear in the maritime museum

the big astoria bridge. it is 4.5 miles long and gets you back into washington

the big astoria bridge. it is 4.5 miles long and gets you back into washington

the trolley in astoria. it is a neat trolley and the conductors give a history lesson while you ride it.

the trolley in astoria. it is a neat trolley and the conductors give a history lesson while you ride it.

on the trolley and hey, that camper looks familiar.

on the trolley and hey, that camper looks familiar.

of course we found a brewery in town.

of course we found a brewery in town.

at the astoria column

at the astoria column

the outside of the column has amazing pictures on it

the outside of the column has amazing pictures on it

geocaching along one of the trails at the column

geocaching along one of the trails at the column

going to check out the goonies house.

going to check out the goonies house.

the goonies house

the goonies house

one of the days spent there we stopped at a park to have lunch. looked like a perfect place to do that.

one of the days spent there we stopped at a park to have lunch. looked like a perfect place to do that.

we crossed the bridge over to washington and went to fort columbia and cape disappointment.  this was at fort columbia

we crossed the bridge over to washington and went to fort columbia and cape disappointment. this was at fort columbia

the old barracks at fort columbia

the old barracks at fort columbia

at cape disappointment

at cape disappointment

a view on the trail to one of the lighthouses at cape disappointment

a view on the trail to one of the lighthouses at cape disappointment

the south lighthouse at cape disappointment

the south lighthouse at cape disappointment

at the visitors center in cape disappointment

at the visitors center in cape disappointment

we went to fort clatsop. this is where lewis and clark spent a winter. cody earned a junior ranger badge here too.

we went to fort clatsop. this is where lewis and clark spent a winter. cody earned a junior ranger badge here too.

a fantastic sculpture in the museum at fort clatsop

a fantastic sculpture in the museum at fort clatsop

cody and i watching a demonstration at fort clatsop

cody and i watching a demonstration at fort clatsop

cody and i finishing some of the paperwork studies for his junior ranger badge

cody and i finishing some of the paperwork studies for his junior ranger badge

cody showing off his junior ranger achievement

cody showing off his junior ranger achievement

one of the structures at fort stevens

one of the structures at fort stevens

joanne and i at fort stevens historical section

joanne and i at fort stevens historical section

there was some war reenactment stuff going on during our visit.

there was some war reenactment stuff going on during our visit.

more reenactment going on.

more reenactment going on.

another structure at fort stevens

another structure at fort stevens

the guardhouse at fort stevens

the guardhouse at fort stevens

they didnt mention this part when the tour of the guardhouse started.

they didnt mention this part when the tour of the guardhouse started.

a new little sculpture park in astoria

a new little sculpture park in astoria

one of the biggest farmers markets we have ever been to in astoria

one of the biggest farmers markets we have ever been to in astoria

stopped for lunch here for fish and chips in astoria

stopped for lunch here for fish and chips in astoria

checking out more war structures in fort stevens

checking out more war structures in fort stevens

we made the short trip down to seaside oregon

we made the short trip down to seaside oregon

another great sculpture of lewis and clark in seaside

another great sculpture of lewis and clark in seaside

cody and joanne at the beach in seaside

cody and joanne at the beach in seaside

cody taking in the ocean view at seaside

cody taking in the ocean view at seaside

we visited the aquarium at seaside

we visited the aquarium at seaside

a view from our kayak on a fresh water lake in fort stevens

a view from our kayak on a fresh water lake in fort stevens

cody earned his junior ranger badge for oregon state parks at fort stevens

cody earned his junior ranger badge for oregon state parks at fort stevens

Our time at Fort Stevens and Astoria was outstanding. So many great things there. We left after nine days there and made our way back east. We would drive back on highway 30 to Longview Washington. From there we would get to highway 12 and make our way to Yakima Washington. We had a rough plan on camping somewhere along highway 12 but there was a huge storm going on so we opted to stay in Yakima for the night.

After a nights rest in Yakima we drove north to Ellensburg taking the canyon highway instead of the interstate. It is a much prettier drive. We then took the old vantage highway from Ellensburg to the Columbia River. After that we had to get on I-90 for a few miles until we went north towards Ephrata. From Ephrata we made our last camp stop at Sun Lakes State Park.

At Sun Lakes we would be there for 4 days. We were there for a geocache event, The Washington State Camp Out. The next few days were filled with time spent with fellow geocache friends. We had a wonderful time there.

canyon highway north of yakima

canyon highway north of yakima

our camp spot at sun lakes

our camp spot at sun lakes

a view of part of the campground at sun lakes

a view of part of the campground at sun lakes

i got the kayak out on a nearby lake in the morning when it was very peaceful.

i got the kayak out on a nearby lake in the morning when it was very peaceful.

a friend took us out on his boat on one of the bigger lakes at sun lake state park.

a friend took us out on his boat on one of the bigger lakes at sun lake state park.

I know I did not get into great detail of our travel on this report. It was a longer vacation so it would be more like a novel if I did. I can say we had a awesome time. We wished it did not have to end but it was time to return to home and work. This trip was our first time to Astoria and we were not disappointed. We would go back for sure if the time allows us to.

Here is a video of a couple of our sights on our trip:

 

“…ocian in view! o! the joy…”

7/11 – 7/27 2014