Our goal in Seattle was to wait out the pandemic and get our vaccines. Now that the country is opening back up and we got our shots, we decided to hit the road again on May 1st. Before we headed out, we thought it would be a good idea to get Shadowfax detailed with a wash, wax, and buff out. It is now mirror pretty!
We wanted to take it easy on our first trip, to get ourselves back into travel mode and to see how my shoulder would
handle driving the rig (the shoulder was still sore but I was easily able to do my 2 hours of driving). We hopped down to just outside Salem, OR for a couple of nights staying at the Blue Ox RV Park. A very nice park, just off of I5, and one that we could have stayed at longer. I did take the opportunity to get back on my bike and tootled around the RV park. It will take a bit before my shoulder can take long rides, but it is getting better every day.
We then drove on to Crater Lake RV Park in Prospect, OR where we planned to get back to nature for a bit. It was a good thing we had so many wonderful places to investigate because we were deep in the Lassen National Forest surrounded by large trees, so we had only one or two bars on both of our cell services and no satellite. Luckily, the park had a pretty substantial WiFi, so we were able to check email and get texts. We spent most of our time outside really enjoying being back in the wild.
We had access right from the RV park to the trails along the Rogue River. We would take our daily walks down along the fast-moving water climbing over rocks and enjoying the warmer spring weather. We also drove downstream to see the Mill Creek Falls and we hiked out to the Avenue of Giant Boulders.
Rogue River Gorge Overlook Rogue River Gorge Overlook Pearsony Falls Rogue River Gorge Overlook
One day in order to make a needed phone call we took a dirt and gravel road up to what the locals call the Top of the World. Mainly this is a road up to the cell towers above Prospect. When we got up there, not only could we make our calls, but we also were able to see Lost Creek Lake when we climbed out on to Flounce Rock.
View from Flounce Rock Flounce Rock Lost Creek Lake Flounce Rock No one died when to guys pushed this off the cliff! Flies love this plant and it stinks! Flounce Rock Mom Memorial on top of Flounce Rock
Our main goal stopping in this part of Oregon was to visit Crater Lake National Park. The lake was formed when, after Mt. Mazama erupted, the lava dome collapsed creating the crater which eventually filled with water. It is the deepest lake in the US at 1,943 feet and has the clearest water. The snows are still quite deep. They have only plowed a quarter of the road that leads around the park and part of that is only open for foot traffic. We hiked up to one of the overlooks for Wizard Island to see this incredible natural wonder. The island was named because the one guy thought it looked like a wizards hat!
Later in our week’s stay we drove out to Medford to get cell signal and make some more phone calls and do our weekly shopping. One of the side effects of the Pandemic is limited campground availability. A LOT of people looking for something to do last year bought RVs to be able to get out of the house. They are all now out here which makes getting campgrounds when and where you want them difficult. It took several tries to straighten out a botched reservation (never trust them when they say they will put you on a list and to call back later!) over the 4th of July. It took us sitting in our Jeep, both of us on computers on our hot spots and multiple calls but we finally found an out of the way campground in Wisconsin that still had sites available.
The rest of our stay we spent hiking the river and upping my time on the bike to 20 minutes by riding around Prospect and the campground. We had picnics along the river trail and even spent one afternoon picking up trash along our hike back to the campground.
From Prospect we took blue roads over the mountains passes with snow still on the sides of the road and into the high desert to Junipers Reservoir RV Resort. This campground is located on Hwy 140 out in the middle of nowhere but the perfect halfway point to our next stop in Nevada. It is actually part of a cattle ranch and there is a mile long dusty road through the ranch to get back to the campsites. It was so peaceful and quiet being tucked away out in the desert. They have great trails going up to a springs and to a rock field strewn with lava rocks spewed from when Mt Mazama, 130 miles away, blew it’s top!
Next up was a butt clinching drive across southern Oregon on Hwy 140 over the mountains passes, through canyons into the high desert on narrow two-lane roads going up steep inclines with shear drop offs with no guard rails! We really do like getting off the highways and onto the state roads but we do take a bit of a chance that our coach might be a tad too big for them! Jon does a great job checking them out on Google Earth before we attempt them, but there are times when the passenger might we grabbing the sissy bar as they look down 1,000 ft drops!
Driving Hwy 140 So glad to get off the cliffs Dry lakebed
After coming through the passes, we made it down to the ancient lakebed and then drove across miles of thankfully straight roads arriving safely in Winnemucca, Nevada to the New Frontier RV Park. This RV park is a bit different for two reasons. One, this town is pretty much out in the middle of the desert but right on I80 and is a perfect place for a one-night stop, so the park fills up with RVers every afternoon and pretty much empties out each morning. The other interesting fact about the park is that they have built special housing for the miners that work in the gold and silver mines that surround the town.
Housing for the miners New Frontier RV Park Amazing skies over the mountains Amazing skies over the mountains New Frontier RV Park in the distance
When looking at the pictures of the desert you might think there wasn’t much to see or do but Jon found the beautiful Water Canyon. We decided to take a morning hike and headed up to the park to enjoy a bit of nature.
Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other. No matter how difficult it is … Life is good when you are happy; but much better when others are happy because of you.Sanskrit Proverb
We had driven up the gravel/dirt road up to the top of the canyon which is part of the Bureau of Land Management lands. When we got to the top we came across Robert and his dog Diesel. Robert had driven his truck and fifth wheel up the canyon to one of the BLM campsites and he blew out his radiator. We offered to help him by driving him back down the canyon to where he could get cell service to call an auto repair shop where he could get the radiator replaced. There are so many times when I feel like we have been directed to a place where we can help others just as the above proverb states.
Once we had Robert set, we hiked up the canyon, fording streams and enjoying the quiet under the Aspens that grow along the creek. You may have to really look for it, but the desert is quite beautiful.
Being high up, on mostly deserted lands, you can get that creepy feeling occasionally. Or maybe it is just all those old B Sci Fi movies Jon watches but these Mormon crickets that were swarming across the road for several miles did creep me out a bit!
And if the crickets were not enough to ponder what is really going on in the world, sometimes you really wonder what your neighbors are doing … full PPE to dismantle his sewer system!
We will be finishing out our week here in Nevada then we will be heading over to Utah for another extended stay.
Till then may you have safe travels!