About Us

Chris and Dennis are traveling around the country seeing the sights and occasionally volunteering at select locations. We avoid the interstate as much as we can and tend to stop for squirrels and shiny objects.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Vagaries and Varieties of America

BerkyAnd our tourism continues. For you grammarians out there, yes, I know I shouldn't start a sentence with “and” but hey, this is a blog which is somewhat like a blob only it has pictures and in my case on a very rare basis, a semblance of intelligent discourse.

FamilyOur last entry left us on the road to Regent North Dakota, the southern starting point of the 32 mile long, self proclaimed Enchanted Highway. According to Wikipedia this backroad is the home for a collection of the worlds largest scrap metal sculptures. DeerNo, not because there are a lot of sculptures, but because each one is huge! Scattered along the highway about every 4 to 6 miles these creations are quirky Americana at its best done by a guy who had never welded before nor was considered an artist when he began.

TeddyRThere is no theme other than the underlying one of American Gothic and 60 years ago these would have been right at home on Route 66 except for one glaring fact – no commercialization. Other than an advertisement printed on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch piece of paper posted on the information kiosk and a donations box, there is nothing but the sculptures, information about how they came about and an acknowledgement of the folks that helped make each site happen.


Another feature of each site was the size of the turn-out/parking lot. When in traveling mode we are about 56 feet in total length with a turning radius of a small country and the inability of backing up. No problem here. Each attraction was graded pretty smooth and there was tons of room to get in and turn around when we were ready to leave. It is so frustrating to see an attraction, gas station or other pleasant stop only to have to pass it by because we didn't fit.


From Regent we headed for the beach. Beach North Dakota that is. Instead of a nice visit to this border town, we ran smack dab into a Montana grassland wind storm that smacked us around like an MMA fight. At one point a side gust grabbed our slide awnings, billowing them out like a parasail. Note to self: motorhomes are really not made for parachute braking.

After pulling over to check for actual damage and a change of pants we very cautiously continued south and ran face first into Wyoming's version of a grassland wind storm that, combined with some rough roads guaranteed we’ll be visiting the dentist for loose fillings.

You know how a rainbow always makes you feel refreshed after a storm? Well, after the windstorm there wasn't a rainbow in the sky but there was an RV park on the ground. Fort Bridger RV Park in Fort Bridger was our “rainbow”. An all grass park/campground far enough from the interstate you didn't hear traffic and in the country enough to hear the cows and horses. We met a really neat couple of ladies from Virginia who were touring the western states – just friends we've had all along but hadn't met yet. We talked for hours and when we retired for the night, did so to a concert crickets. (There Annette, I said you would make it into the blog.)

Berky2I had promised Chris' sister that we would return before summer ended so they could spend some more time together than just the reunion so we headed back Riverside RV just south of Preston Idaho. While the park is tiny in comparison to most we visit; a spacious grass site with a 50 amp hookup and a view to die for is well worth the $20 a night. Look up serene in the dictionary, their picture should be there. Only downside is their spring water is at very low pressure so you have to fill up your tank and rely on the onboard pump for use.

j_summer_dressNext stop – Joseph, Oregon. Why? Absolutely no reason whatsoever. We were on the road, had no destination, and pretty much had all month to get there. We wouldn't have known about this little gem if it were not for another camp host who mentioned it. j_cougarLocated east of La Grande Oregon on the shores of Wallowa Lake and named after Chief Joseph, this small town of around 1,000 people was founded on timber but when the market crashed, the only thing holding it together was agriculture and even that wasn't doing too good a job. Then, a little over 30 years ago, three bronze foundries opened up in the area giving the town a real boost. j_chief_squawAlong came some artists as and you can see their work on nearly every street corner.

Yep, tourist candy.

j_chiefWallowa Lake is the other attraction and with it comes a very popular state park. Chris and I took a drive through and were really impressed. Pretty easy to do when we had to stop every 100 feet or so for meandering deer, bunny rabbits and squirrels. We've applied for a hosting position for next year and we'll keep you updated.

j_cowboyReluctantly we left Joseph and continued our way back to the Wenatchee area to pick up mail, do some light maintenance on the motorhome and get prepped for our 2 months of hosting in Coos Bay before heading south. I wish I could say it was a wonderful drive with amazing scenery and wildlife but it was not the case with the number and size of the wildfires cloaking the country in smoke. The news has been covering hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Jose and in doing seem to have overlooked the fact Montana, Washington, and Oregon have been the victims of some huge fires this year. Yes, I should also mention the Los Angeles area but they at least got some news coverage. Anyway, enough venting.

Crescent_BarWhat we did was to detour ever so slightly and stayed low, along the Columbia River at a place called Crescent Bar, outside of Quincy. We were still within 40 minutes of Wenatchee but since we were out of the valley we avoided a good portion of the smoke. Besides, not much could beat the view even with a bit of haze in the air.

I've used the past week's downtime to finally wire the Jeep's lights so we can do away with the magnetic ones we’ve had for the past 3 years. Took me a couple of trips to the city for parts, some scraped up knuckles, and a stiff back but I got 'er done. Mr. Keppner, would you like to visit the hot tub? Oh yes!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Oh Good Grief, We've Become Tourists!

Since our last blog entry another 1000 miles have gone by. We spent almost a week with family at our annual family reunion and while the venue changed and the kids have grown, the familial comradery and hijinks remain. I mentioned the location had changed – for the better as we left the dry, dusty Twin Lakes of Preston Idaho behind and set up at the beautiful Hyrum Lake State Park outside of Hyrum Utah.

Good food, good conversation and the peaceful surroundings (except for the kids, their assignment was to run around screaming alot!) contributed to our sense of homecoming and renewal. I've always found myself torn between the allure of the open road and the sedentary security of family. I say torn but to be honest, love of the open road wins out for now and well into the foreseeable future, hitch itch will continue to direct our movements.

Back in July I posted we had purchased the Tire Patrol system from RV i Brake to monitor the pressure and temperature of all 10 of our tires. Due to one thing or another - mostly modifications to the sensors and program improvements, our equipment had not been operating at 100% and when the company was notified the owner, Dan Decker, offered to replace everything and start from scratch. We countered his offer by saying we would travel to Castle Rock Colorado so he could investigate the problems directly.

Two days travel and about two hours of shop time later we had a fully operational system. Seems there was the perfect storm kind of variables going on which prevented us from having a straight out of the box success and really confounded the owner and technicians. Yep, we are “special”.

So here we were, sitting just outside of Denver with its big city traffic snarls and road construction EVERYWHERE. We wouldn't have minded snagging a spot at a local RV park but there was not a single campground within 50 miles that had an opening and could accommodate our size. Yep, in the RV'ing world, size matters. 

That's how we ended up in a Walmart parking lot outside of Evergreen Colorado scrutinizing the paper atlas, googling every possibility, and calling far too many campgrounds to mention. I'm pretty sure it was after our second trip into the store that we found a spot just a little over four hours away in Grand Junction. 
We had never been there but had heard plenty of positive comments about the place from the times we had hosted at Flaming Gorge. Added bonus, we would be taking the pass over to Vail to get there. As a lover of mountain passes, curvy roads and the breathtaking scenery, this was a no brainer.

Three things stand out about Grand Junction:

1. Junction West RV Park is a gravel parking lot that has very spacious sites, wide roads, very little dust, and it is very quiet at night despite being a short ways from the interstate and a truck stop. We can highly recommend it as a good stopping over place.
2. Grand Junction and the surrounding area has some young but pretty good wineries. Perhaps in a few years they'll also have the restaurants or eateries that we were looking for.
3. Old town Grand Junction and the newer shopping areas on the outskirts are night and day. The newer stores offer the fast, in your face marketing we are now accustomed to while old town turns the clock back to a time where a leisurely walk past store fronts and the occasional visit within are expected and welcomed by the vendors.

So, two days of downtime allowed me to fix our dining chairs (cheap construction), shop for a new couch (just shop), and generally do the little maintenance jobs we all have at one time or another. It also allowed us time to decide on where to go.

I need to set the stage for this next part. In 1991 during one of our cross country transfers we had the opportunity to visit Mount Rushmore. With us was our trusty Canon AE-1 35mm camera. For the last 26 years Chris and I have referred to the photos we took as some of the absolute best with crystal clear focus, perfect exposure and superb filter choice. I would post up some of the photos as shining examples but for one thing - there had been no film in the camera.

That brings us back to Grand Junction, just two travel days away from redemption. Instead of roaming aimlessly with few cares of where we ended up we switched to full on tourist mode with a planned, detailed itinerary with every hour accounted for. To anyone who knows us I'm sure we looked like lunatics on crack. Especially when we put on our knee high white socks, slipped on our sandals, buttoned up our aloha shirts, and hung our cameras around our necks.

Did we finally get pictures? You bet we did! Things have changed in the quarter century since our last visit. Cameras in our phones and no film needed, just to name a couple.

We've spent a full week at the Heartland RV Park and Cabins located in Hermosa. Not a bad park at all with level gravel sites with patches of grass in between. I will warn you though, the park is next to the highway and there is considerable road noise. Of course the highway makes it really easy to get to all the sights and parks in the area.

We're on the road again, this time to Regent North Dakota the beginning of the Enchanted Highway.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Boo Boo's Happen – Hanging out in the Pacific Northwest

threeforksLiving in a motorhome and traveling around may sound like life is all cherries and bon bons but I'll have you know, more often than not, its just “real life” - with all the bumps, bruises, hiccups and hundreds of assorted unplanned events. Yep, life happens.
If I mention them at all, I usually just gloss over these “happenings” as they tend to be uninteresting. Okay, to be truthful they are in all likelihood the direct result my own inherent stupidity which, if I remarked on each one, would take up volumes.
booboo1booboo3Case in point. In the last entry I mentioned returning to Wenatchee for some final punch-list items. What I did not mention was the argument I had with a small, hidden tree stump that snagged the front corner of our home. Obviously the tree stump won resulting in some cosmetic fiberglass damage. Fortunately, Larry at Interstate Autobody and Truck in Cashmere Washington once again came to our rescue (yes indeed, this was not our first visit to his shop). His superb workmanship and ultra-fast service is second to none.

I don't believe I mentioned killing my cell phone while we were at Alta Lake and I'm going to gloss over it still. I'm sure everyone knows that dangling your phone by the charge cord really isn't good for the phone or the cord. All I can say is thank heaven for extended warranties.
Are there more examples? You bet there are! We have these really cushy floor mats in the kitchen. They make doing chores like standing and washing dishes more comfortable. They also act as outstanding dart boards for dropped knives. Which reminds me of just how thankful I am for shoes.
Time to change subjects.
Of all places, the most deer seen were in my sister's back yard.
IMG_20170726_183634103_HDR[1]We've traveled a little over 2000 miles since the last entry. 
We've crossed the continental divide twice, going from sea level up to 7200ft.
 No matter what  form it has come in, we remain in awe of the majesty and beauty of our country.

The 9/11 memorial in Cashmere, WA.  Stunning!
Little Bighorn Battlefield

This last picture pretty much sums up my luck this past month. Fortunately, it IS called fishing for a reason.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vagabond–Back on the road.

A happy grandma
Vagabond. noun. A person who wanders without home or job.

As a kid the word was used by my mother as a dire threat and a predicted outcome if I didn't complete my chores. I can still hear her voice “Pick up your room right now or you'll end up shiftless and a vagabond like those men living out by the tracks.” To this day I'm unsure what the correlation was but back then it always resulted in me cleaning my room.

This morning it struck me. Here I am, over a half century later, sitting at the dining table while using a laptop computer (didn't exist when I was a kid) to access the internet (nope, neither did it) to find the definition of vagabond. The fact we haven't been in a house for several years didn't even cross my mind until I read the definition and even then it was jumbled about with the thought that I really need to do laundry at some point today – and figure out where we're going next.

No job: check. Wanders: check. No home: in the classical sense, check.

I don't think this qualifies as a crop circle.
Yep, I'm a vagabond.

And best of all, my room is picked up.

We returned to Wenatchee to complete our motorhome punch list with a modification to two of the slides and a replacement of our water heater cover. I really can't say it enough just how good All Seasons RV has been to us. 

Back in April we arrived with a myriad of items needing repair, replacement, or just tweaking and they really came through. They accepted the challenge of us being vagabonds (full-timers) with the need to have our home back each night and went the extra mile (see what I did there) to ensure each work session ended with a fully functional home each and every time. By coordinating the parts, work, and time in the shop, even though the total time-span was just over three months, the actual work was in the neighborhood of about 32 hours. This was broken down into 5 visits with no session greater than 8 hours which allowed us ample time to return the rig back to the park and continue our hosting duties. This was a novel approach for us and one we'll keep in our bag of tricks if we need it again.

So hats off to All Seasons RV in Wenatchee Washington.
While All Seasons worked on warranty items, my brother-in-law created our first modification to the motorhome in the form of shelves in the bathroom. Outstanding workmanship using old growth fir that will definitely last a lifetime. Chris did the final finish work in sanding and staining and matched the rest of the coach's wood perfectly.

Our tire pressure monitor system finally arrived! After backorders, redesigns and other delays the Tire Patrol system we ordered back in December finally showed up. I'm sure you're wondering why we waited 6 months for a system we could have got cheaper and quicker if we had gone with another manufacturer and answer is pretty straight forward. Simplicity, expandability, and customer service. Unfortunately, there have been some hurdles to clear on this state of the art system so both we and the company are learning new things. Once the dust settles I'll have a full review and lessons learned.

This morning we are in Sutherlin Oregon. We intended to stay away from Oregon until our hosting gig this fall but I couldn't shake the worry of our rig not having a documented oil change in the past two years. Being a lot orphan, Monster's (yes, we did name the rig) only mileage consisted of delivery, short moves around the dealer's lot, and our one trip to Arizona so while the miles were low, I just couldn't shake the idea of having two year old oil. Since we were free of hosting duties, had no set plans, and were close to the border, a quick trip to a no sales tax state to get the service job done seemed to be a good idea.
Just one problem. Full campgrounds up and down the coast. Our only recourse was to stay inland and as luck would have it we found an open park we were familiar with just a short trip down the road. Timber Valley SKP. This beautiful, quiet, slow-paced park is where we had our first experience with the Escapee community and frankly, I have no idea why we had delayed our return until now. IMG_20170719_145024299_HDR (2)Okay, granted you have to dodge the occasional wild turkey while parking but I don't feel that qualifies as a down check. Peaceful? Oh yes! When a doe is comfortable enough to nurse her fawn on the side of the road it speaks volumes.

We'll probably stay the weekend. Oh darn.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Alta Lake State Park


When faced with tasks which can only be described as drudgery, look outside the task and discover wondrous avenues to enliven the mind.

5_lavenderI'm paraphrasing that quote from a college professor in a lecture I was fortunate to sit in on and though he said it decades ago it has stuck with me. Especially true when faced with some facets of a camphosting job that are not only repetitive but also far from intellectually stimulating at the best of times.
Alta Lake State Park has provided both this past month; the drudgery of watering lawns, cleaning fire rings, and picking litter countered with stunning scenery. The photos really don't do the place justice and when you consider the area was devastated by wildfires just 3 years so, the recovery is astonishing. (If you are curious, search for “wildfires Carlton complex”.)
2_bakeryOf course it wasn’t all work. Visits to local wineries and bakeries provided welcome diversions during our down time.
1_tsillanThe scenery, the outside visits and the occasional spell of surveying the local fish population provided some short term diversions the most rewarding was the opportunity to mentor a brand new camphost on her first gig. Pam, I know you'll be reading this at one point and I am not sucking up; it really has been a wonderful time working with you and we both hope we'll get to do it again in the future.
We're heading back to the Wenatchee area for some final warranty fixes before we return to wandering. Still haven't decided where, just know there will be grandkids involved at one point or another.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Campers–Lincoln Rock State Park

fred_marmotWhen I was fresh out of boot camp a wise old chief petty officer once told me, “Take it slow and keep a steady strain.” At the time I had no clue what he meant as I had just begun sweeping grass clippings off a sidewalk. Come to think of it, I still have no idea what he was talking about yet his words have obviously stuck with me for upwards of 40 years!

When we first arrived, spring break was beginning to wind down with the older kids headed back to school leaving the parents busy in an almost futile attempt to keep the younger ones contained yet entertained. I believe one prime example would be the one group who seemed to take hourly walks around the park. This special train consisted of two pre-school aged children obviously making their first forray into bike riding struggling to balance on the training wheels followed by at least a couple of adults voicing their encouragement minute by minute (I'm pretty sure there was an alterior motive behind this as I for one can recall the difficulty of carrying the bike AND the tired kid back to camp). The older siblings, while not getting the hands-on encouragement were shouted at all the same with such phrases as “Watch for traffic.” or “Keep off the grass.” and even the “Stop pushing your sister/brother over!” Being situated in the middle of the park as we are, we can easily observe the goings on and silently cheer for the obvious underdogs.

I think I still owe Chris on a lost bet or two of who would crash first. Next time I think I'll bet more on the parents.

Thursdays and Fridays are definitely the fun days with out of towners rushing into the park and around the loops so they can hopefully be the first to the popular sites. Since our full hook-up spots fill first and are guarenteed to provide the most entertainment, that's where you can usually find us just in case someone “needs our help”. For people watchers like us, there is not much that beats an arrival day at a campground. There is no end to the different ways people can bash their heads, splash themselves with the output of their grey and black tanks, or break a folding chair. Add sharp tools like an ax or hatchet and I am amazed we don't have an ambulance on standby. Recently, we did have one very talented camper who beat the odds and managed to accomplish all three goals and by only the slimmest of margins avoided the fourth. Quickly.

I guess what first caught our eye was the blur going past our window. Looking down the road the blur resolved into a very large combination of 5th wheel trailer towed behind one of those super large diesel powered dually pickups – you've probably seen similar, the trailer has a garage or party room in the rear and usually has a severe weather type name like Typhoon or Tsunami painted in large swooping letters. The camper had obviously been here before, knew exactly what site he wanted, and by golly no one was going to pass him along the way. Pretty inspiring if you discount the narrow, one way road and complete lack of traffic.

Making a beeline to one of the prettiest sites overlooking the rest of the campground our camper whipped into the pull-thru and arrived with the groaning of stressed steel and a loud thump the overcompressed hitch. What caught my eye first off was what appeared to me to be sort of a backwards order on the steps to set up. Usually it consists of leveling, slides, and then hookups but what our guy did was to hookup his sewer hose first thing. Not sure if there may have been an emergency need to dump the tanks or not but right after hookup he pulled his front gray tank valve.

All could have proceeded without incident except for what happened next. The guy went back to the truck and began moving back and forth to I guess find the most level parking spot. Of course while doing this, he unknowingly disconnected the sewer hose from the dump pipe. Fortunately, the tank had emptied itself in the time it took him to begin his maneuvering. No harm, no foul odors, and the driver is still without a clue of what happened.

After a good dozen back and forths on the site he must have found a spot he was happy with as he commenced to set jacks and unhitch. There is something to be said for automatic levelers for this was the one procedure we observed where things actually progressed normally. I apologize up front for the visuals to follow, you can shut your eyes if you need to.

Okay, what we have now is a 5th wheel trailer that is level (this is assumed as Chris and I both saw a thumbs up). Connected to the trailer is a sewer hose with the other end laying beside a closed dump pipe. Our camper goes to the front of the trailer and hits the side twice. Unseen by us was the guy's wife who had entered the trailer and was waiting for just such a signal to put out the forward slides. Once done, the guy went around the trailer and was out of our sight but I'm pretty sure he was getting the patio slide out. For a brief moment I thought he was not going to put the off-side slide out until he completed the hookups but out they came while we watched.

All would have been perfect but for one minor miscalculation. You see, the posts guarding the services area stick up about 42 inches from the ground. The bottom of the guy's rear slide sits at 38 inches from the ground (we measured it afterwards). Wouldn't have been so bad except apparently he had gone inside to run slide rather than have his wife do it while he watched. Only after the very loud “kee-runch!” did the slide stop coming out. The damage must have looked much worse than it was as he did manage to get the slide all the way back in.

Not letting a little thing like structural damage get in the way our camper went back to the patio side to set up all the little sundry things we carry to make our camping comfortable. Chris and I were just about ready to move on for some fresher entertainment when we saw the guy come around the trailer carrying a chair.

You know, the neat thing about 5th wheels is that you can stoop and walk under the front end by the hitch and shorten the number of steps it takes to get around the trailer. There are two problems with doing so however; bumping your head and, if you are really tall, the lower back strain from stooping. Our camper was tall and I believe he had a prior back injury. At least that's my assumption because he was really slow in picking himself up off the ground after slamming his head on the hitch. I'm sure it was the distance and wind that prevented us from hearing what he was saying.

Rubbing his head the guy took the chair over to his wet bay and sat down. I'm not sure if he was running through a mental checklist or what but he sat there for a good 5 minutes occasionally rubbing and shaking his head. Time passed and the camper began finishing his hookups – first electrical, followed by fresh water. Note, he still doesn't notice the unconnected sewer hose.

He pulled the black valve. Out came a brown torrent with the full force of a only totally topped off tank can provide. This tragedy could have been mitigated and been a minor clean-up if only the guy had kept calm. That and maybe not become entangled in his folding chair. All he had to do was reach over and close the valve; ignoring the splash back effect the flopping hose spewing I don't what to know.

Third time's the charm I guess.

This was all within 30 to 45 minutes of his arrival and while Chris and I would have loved to stick around to see what else might have happened, we are volunteers and need to report spills such as this as soon as possible. That and quickly become busy doing something very important somewhere else.

A side note here. Did you know you can tell an experienced camper from one just beginning by their ability to distinguish black and gray water just by catching a whiff?

Whoever did do the cleanup while we were busy with important stuff elsewhere did a good job. When we returned to clean the fire ring and pick up litter two days later you couldn't tell what all had occurred there. Our park has an outstanding staff!

campfireSee you next time. Take it slow and keep a steady strain.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Journey Back–East Wenatchee

donkey1We have been traveling in company with my sister and brother-in-law; on their first adventure in their new to them, 2007 Winnebago Journey. Way out of character for Chris and I, we actually had sat down and planned our trip back north; surfing the forums for suggested routes and things to do. We had plenty of time so the need for running on the interstate never materialized and looking back we've all come to the conclusion taking highway 95 was probably the best decision we could have ever made. Excellent roads, light traffic, and either touching or in very close proximity to all the folksy Americana you can ask for in one trip. Our last blog entry is a fine example of what I'm talking about and if memory serves (it does, I looked it up) we left our readers in Oatman with the donkeys.
IMG_20170321_115400801Picking up from our last entry, I would be doing a disservice if I didn't mention Moon River RV Resort in Fort Mojave. The park had just changed hands and there was talk of the planned improvements. At the time of our visit it was still gravel, close sites but with good room to maneuver. Having the standard amenities, Moon River makes for a good, quiet, overnight stopping place. At the time of this writing, I could not recommend it for any long-term stays.
From Fort Mojave we continued north and again had a short travel day. It just so happened our next stay was to be in Pahrump, Nevada at the Wine Ridge RV Resort. This planned two day stop allowed us to thoroughly check the rigs for anything that may have rattled loose after being parked for such an extended period and gave us time to see the area a bit better; popping into some of the nearby attractions easier. IMG_20170321_120617694_TOPThat was the plan, what actually happened was we spent a good amount of time indoors avoiding the results of a cold front that had come through. No worries, being next door to a winery did have its advantages.
IMG_20170322_154225807Before we could even try to find some of the neat places to go in Pahrump, it was time for us to leave with our longest, and what could be considered our most boring leg ahead of us to Winnemucca. Over 470 miles. Seven driving hours which makes for close to ten on-the-road hours. IMG_20170321_120942453Of course the cold front that had plagued us during our stay wasn't quite done shaking things up with and generated several storm and flood watches. All reported constantly by the Garmin along our route. These alerts, which consisted of heart stopping beeping and with minimal information, quickly became a thing to dread and ultimately to despise as each alert while along our route was well ahead of us in distance. By the time we reached an area of one of the watches, the storm had already passed; usually only leaving a damp stretch of pavement.
Arriving in Winnemucca in the early evening we could finally see the sad results of a flood warning with some side road closures and flooded fields. Get your notepad ready, if you are ever in this neat little town, stay just a bit outside at the New Frontier RV park. The park is brand spanking new with paved and gravel sites generously spaced apart. The “club house” has tons of room with an attached mini market/store, a TV room fit for any superbowl party, and from what we could see, a steam line for snacks and such during the season. Of course, being Nevada there is the obligatory casino and grill next door.
IMG_20170326_150007Still on highway 95 but soon switching over to OR-78 our next destination is one I've mentioned several times before – Crystal Crane Hot Springs. This was our original reason for taking 95 before finding out how nice a road it was as offered the shortest, most direct route to our most favorite stop. We had actually made reservations early on so we were able to park in two of the three full-hookup sites with a very short walk to the springs. While the pond is free with unlimited access if you are in an RV spot or cabin, for a small fee you can book one of the huge private hot tubs which is what Chris and I did this time round. You see, spring break was in full swing there and we really couldn't see ourselves getting caught up in one of the numerous spontaneous water fights. After all the road time, the quiet soak was just what the doctor ordered.
We got to spend two very relaxing days at Crystal Crane and our brother-in-law Randy has become a convert; swearing they'll be coming back in the very near future.
IMG_20170329_145809416While our next planned destination was Prosser Washington to revisit the tasting rooms, we had a day to kill before arriving so we opted to take to the hills and come into Pendleton Oregon via the back way. What a simply stunning drive and while sure, there were a couple of grades and lots of curvey roads just north of John Day, it was nothing we hadn't seen before nor was it overly difficult. Four hours took us from the scrub desert of Crane, through the mountain meadows of Sylvie Valley Ranch and the high timber of Battle Mountain to the high plateau grasslands of Pendleton and the tribal lands of the Umatilla. It is really hard to pass up on the all you can eat buffets and senior specials at the Wild Horse Casino - nor having a shuttle bus at our beck and call from the RV park to the casino or the cultural center.
IMG_20170331_150338875Wine Country RV in Prosser is quickly becoming another favorite of ours. Not due to the proximity of several tasting rooms but really in large part due to the friendliness and professionalism of the staff and of course the part itself. Wide, long pull thrus with 50amp full hookups, grass patios with picnic tables and ample room between even the tightest sites. We could have easily gone directly to our next hosting gig from Pendleton but this park deserves a visit; even when it took us 20 miles out of our way.
Okay, I'll admit it, the wine wasn't bad either.

That's it, we've been sitting at Lincoln Rock State Park for the past week picking up our campground hosting duties like last year and just trying to keep warm. Seems this year we may have come north just a bit too soon.