From Richland WA to Beautiful Hwy 244 in the Blue Mountains of Oregon

June 30th. From our camp at Scooteney Reservoir we head out, late morning, our goal the dog park in Richland WA where the boys get a good romp. Oh my, the traffic!

Next morning we head out, cross over into Oregon, doing the Wally thing yet again in Hermiston and then Pendleton. I find the headstone of an uncle, Guy O. (for Olinger I am thinking) Ritcheson in the old cemetery on the way out of town.

From Pendleton I point Freedom’s nose south along Hwy 395, stopping long enough in Pilot Rock to fuel up and purchase a block of ice. Onward we travel to a little town called Ukiah where I take Hwy 244 into the Blue Mountains of the Umatilla National Forest finding a wonderful little boondock, a hunter’s camp, not too far in.

 

We spend five days here, trying and succeeding in staying away from the holiday traffic and noise, but instead of down time it was a very busy time: Cleaning and waxing the green beast, doing a mini makeover inside, updating the list of things I want to remove when we get back to Cali, updating what I want to ADD to our van home when we get back, setting up the shower and reveling in the warm spray. I also go through the box on the hitch tray. I do some reading, and take mini walks with the boys. We are right by the highway in a small federal piece of land next to privately owned land with our only neighbors the cows next door.
It may seem like we are on a perpetual vacation, but there’s always some chore or another that needs to be done, and this simpler life—well, most everyday chores that are done around a sticks and bricks takes 2-3 times as long to do living this way. 🙂 
On July 8th we head for La Grande OR, and I notice along the way many places to camp. Not necessarily boondocks, although there are those, but many actual campgrounds. I would definitely come this way again. It’s a beautiful relaxing drive with very minimal traffic.

Some of the beautiful old buildings along 395 and 244

Just a few miles from La Grande, off I-84, I stop and the Arched Bridge, a beautiful piece of bridge design, and fix lunch.

DSC_0035Arch Bridge off I-84 near La Grande OR

 

 

Scooteney Reservoir

June 29, 2018. We leave Moses Lake after our morning routine is taken care of; The boys are fed, I’ve had coffee, and The Chiweenie Brothers get another romp in the dog park.  

As the sun climbs higher and the day gets warmer, we take Hwy 17 south scouting for places to call home for the night.  Sometimes that has worked out better than planning too far ahead or travelling too far in one day to reach a certain point. . . sometimes it doesn’t. Today it works out.

Seeing a sign for a Bureau of Reclamation reservoir called Scooteney,  I make a right turn into the area and we drive down to the lake to check things out.  Nice campground!  A bit higher than we would pay in a national forest camp, but the heat has been building and I am already hating it. Just looking at the large shade trees and that blue, cool water makes me feel better.

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The picnic area at Scooteney

 

I find a spot to my liking–site number 18–that has a good shrubbery fence that will at least keep the ice chest side of the van shaded.  Even block ice isn’t lasting long in this heat.  There is also enough privacy  to allow me to keep the side doors (with lace curtains drawn) open and the back doors cracked open letting in enough air to keep it a bit cooler

in the green beast than it otherwise would be.

The boys are beyond excited to check out our new digs. I leash them up,  and in their eagerness to check things out I am practically dragged along on the way to the pay station.  WHOA!  Settle down you little hooligans! I pay half (it’s that senior thing again!) at $7.50. Getting a little wild with my money 🙂  Checkout time isn’t until 2:00 p.m.  Unusual, but nice! We can lollygag  all we want tomorrow morning.

It’s a busy campground, but not an inconsiderate bunch in the lot.

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Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna

CAMP AMENITIES
Water:  Yes                                 Garbage: Yes
Bathrooms:  Yes                        Electricity: No
Tables:  Yes                                Shower: No
Fire Pit:  Yes, with grate          BBQ: No
# of Sites:  20+     Fee: $15, $7.50 with senior discount

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Other:  Lots of lush green grass, huge shade trees in the expansive picnic area, a boat launch, observation decks in several places overlooking the lake. Paved road, paved parking at each site, tent pads, water spigots strategically placed between campsites as well as garbage cans.
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Moses Lake, Washington

There is traffic on I-90, but thankfully it isn’t bad.  I stop at a rest area to give the boys a break, and to do some checking for places to stay near Moses Lake AND to see if there is a dog park.  A quick internet search shows me there IS a dog park, but nothing close by in the way of campgrounds that would be in our price range.  Looks like Walmart again. Hmmmm. This is getting old, but the Chiweenie Brothers deserve their dog park time.

Eastern Washington consists of farm land and lots of it. As far as the eye can see and beyond the gently rolling mounds and hillocks of land there is wheat, food crops, orchards, a winery. And cell towers every few miles; lots and lots of cell towers.

When we reach Moses Lake I go immediately to Wally to make sure overnight parking is allowed (it is). Next is to get ice, then I plug the dog park address into the GPS and we head there.

It is a very nice dog park with two sections; one for large dogs and one for small dogs.  We have it to ourselves and the boys begin tussling and then dashing here and there playing their version of tag.

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The boys in full romp

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!

 

Fishtrap BLM Campsite

June 26, 2018.  We are up early — and have been most every morning since leaving the mountains of Montana and Idaho.  Dang! Sunrise is early when there’s no mountains to delay it! We really don’t mind because the air is deliciously cool.  I feed the boys and make coffee, and of course the morning walk. It’s quick, quick, quick, no longer than needed to take care of business. I am anxious to leave the city behind; some peace and quiet is needed.

We head to the Laughing Dog Park so The Chiweenie Brothers can get in one last romp here. It’s all but empty, but we three walk the perimeter a couple of times, then back in the van, and I poke the van’s nose out into traffic from the on-ramp and head west on I-90.  Spokane traffic is unbelievable, but I suppose that’s just me.  Not used to it, and don’t want to get used to it.  However, we are soon out of the city proper and traffic thins.

We are headed west is all I know at this point, to eventually get to Moses Lake, when I spot the sign for Fishtrap with the little brown triangular sign that signifies camping. And what do you know, it’s BLM land.  It’s easy to find the designated site, and there’s only two other people here, camped at the only table.  There’s room for four or five very close campers, but we’re only here for a night or two. We’ll deal with it.  There is a vault toilet and gathered-rock fire rings.

The campsite is on a bluff that overlooks Smick Meadow and a lovely little pond.

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On the bluff to the left is an old barn. I leash the boys and wander over to the sign that tells all about the area.  This is Folsom Farm, or what’s left of it, from the early 1900s. The barn still stands along with another outbuilding.  The house is long gone from a fire.  The farm was sold many times between it’s beginning and end.


DSC_0001 (7)     I am pleased to see that no vandalism has occurred here.  How nice!!!

All is quiet here during the night except for a distant train on occasion.

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In the morning I hear a coyote howl which reminds me of Arizona, which reminds me of the glorious sunrises and sunsets in the Arizona desert.  As if in answer to a silent yearning, the second morning we are blessed with this

DSC_0023 (5)There are no trees to give shade in this camp and considering it’s almost July, it’s beginning to warm up.  Too warm.  We head out, to once again take I-90 west.

I can’t resist stopping for a few moments to get shots of the wildflowers blooming with abandon along the road into Fishtrap Camp.

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna

 

CAMP AMENITIES
Water:  No                                   Garbage: No — pack it in/pack it out
Bathrooms:  One Vault Toilet  Electricity: No
Tables: One in Camp area        Shower: No
Fire Pit: Makeshift fire rings   BBQ:  No
# of Sites:  Room for four/five Fee: Free
Other: There are picnic tables past the gates (they ask you that you keep the gates closed) and a hiking trail down to the pond.  

 

 

 

 

 

Laughing Dog Park

June 24, 2018.  Finding out there is a dog park in Spokane Valley WA, I also find out there is a Walmart amendable to an overnight (or two) stay in their parking lot in Post Falls ID just a few miles from the park.  

The Patricia Simonet Laughing Dog Park is located at the old rest area off I-90 in Spokane Valley.  Easy to find and with the assurance from a clerk at the Walmart that it is still there I go ahead and say it. “Do you want to go to the DOG PARK today?”  All hell breaks loose and the boys get in a wrestling match, fierce but fake, and ends with fast tails wags as steady as a metronome. Got some happy dogs here!

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This is a lovely, well-used dog park.  Half of it is shaded with large trees and has a nice walking path. The other half is open with a nice sidewalk along the perimeter.

 

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Lorraine with her Sheva
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Sam, the large Airedale with his owner. Charlie loved this dog. Perhaps he thought it was our Burger, come back to us, just in a larger version.

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DSC_0043 (3)  These two nice young guys spend about an hour at the park; Cleaning up dog poop!  I stopped them when they were leaving to thank them for doing it.  They seemed surprised, but told me they do it at the other dog park in town, too, but it’s really a mess there.  How cool are these two young people!?!?

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John and his labradoodle, Gracie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Scott and Rosie

Just because there is this really nice dog park, populated with really nice dog lovers, we spend another night at Wally and visit again the next day.  Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel!

Couer d’Alene Rails to Trails

After our overnight in Cabin City we motor out of Montana and into Idaho. The town of Smelterville has a Walmart that allows overnight stays so we do.

On the second day it’s apparent that it’s time to do laundry AGAIN and an internet search tells me there is a laundromat in Pinehurst, just up the road.  I plug in the address and we are westward bound toward this cute little town … but there is no laundromat here any longer.

As we had back to Smelterville I spy with my travelling eye (catchy, no?) a sign for the Couer d’Alene River Trail. This would be a nice place to spend the afternoon and walk the boys!  We find a spot along the edge of the parking lot so we can have the side doors open while we grab a bite to eat, then we head out.

The paved trail follows the Couer d’Alene River and the old railroad tracks for 70+ miles! Walkers, joggers, and bicycle riders are out in force on this beautiful, sunny day.  Recumbent bikes are thick as herds of cattle. They look fun and comfortable.

My photo of the board showing the trail and telling the story about it did not turn out, but you can read about it HERE .  Teamwork!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Sloway and Cabin City in the Lolo National Forest

When we leave the Big Pine Fishing Access campground and continue our westward journey on I-90 I keep my eyes open for an improved campground, meaning one with pavement, water, garbage, tables, firepits.  We don’t need electricity or sewer so I’m not looking for THAT level of improvement, but we need something out of the mud.

It isn’t long before I spot a sign advertising a forest service campground called Sloway.  Sloway is in the Lolo National Forest and it is indeed an improved campground.  Being a national agency we will get half off the going rate.  Considering the retired, white-haired old lady I have become, that suits me fine!

I pull in, sign us up for a night just to see how it goes before committing to anything longer than one night.  We are in campsite 15.

This campground is chockfull of offerings. It has a picnic area, a launching area for canoes, kayaks, and rafts, a horse camp (which has it’s own entrance up the road), a section for large RVs with 7 pull-thru sites, 20 tent/car sites all with tables and fire rings. There are several vault toilets, 2 garbage collection sites, a recycling area, water spigots, and a camp host.  $10 per night, half that with senior pass. It’s right off the freeway, but traffic isn’t bothersome.  There is also a train that rolls through several times a day/night across the river, but I am either getting used to those sounds or going deaf. Not sure which it is.  What’s that, you say?  🙂  Lots of pines for shade.

We end up staying three days total, and you know what? I didn’t take any photos!  The old lady is losing it I guess!A

Before we get out of Montana we stay one night in another USFS campground called Cabin City. Much smaller than Sloway in the way of offerings, but has the basics: 2 loops of 12 sites each, tables, firepits, water, garbage, vault toilets.  It’s a pretty campground, but not so pretty getting there.  We drive past some drop-dead gorgeous homes and then at the turn to get to Cabin City, some pretty darn dumpy places.  All is well though, once you are in the campground. We saw a wild turkey sneaking through the undergrowth on one of our walks.  As in all of Montana, it’s bear country so keep your food inside your vehicle.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hugs, Shawna

CURRENT READ:  Still reading Colony by Anne Rivers Siddons … Good one!

Life is short 

 

 

 

 

Missoula and Fish Creek

June 17, 2018.  We leave our overnight camp in the Drummond City Park with a light mist falling. Hoping to find some sunshine we chug along through this tiny town and find the freeway entrance to head west on I-90.  I don’t like to travel the freeways unless it’s necessary, and in Montana it is quite often necessary. Due to the gorgeous, towering mountain ranges connecting roads are, more often than not, non-existent. It’s the long way, the freeway, or no way!

We gain Missoula and spend a night at Wally. I do absolutely no scouting; the traffic in this city is horrendous! There is a dog park here that is supposed to be a really nice one, but although I find the park next morning, the access is by footbridge, and I can find no place to park.  The businesses must have gotten tired of dog people parking in their lots and there are signs everywhere threatening being towed if you park in their lot and are not a customer.  I’ve learned my lesson and do not mention DOG PARK, so The Chiweenie Brothers don’t know they are missing out.  

Our next camp is found along Fish Creek at the Big Pine fishing access area.  It’s about 4 miles in off I-90, the last mile or so dirt.  Or should I say mud.  The clouds are breaking up so the hope is that it will dry out a bit and we can stay here a few days.  

There are five or six camp sites at Fish Creek, and only one is occupied.   Lots of trees and bushes separate the campsites giving wonderful privacy. I choose a site down a short “driveway” leading right to the river and park so our view out the side doors is of the rushing water, the driver’s side–which has the cooler–in the shade.  We head out exploring.

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This fishing access camp along Fish Creek is home to the largest known ponderosa pine in Montana.  

There are also some beautiful wild rose bushes here.  DSC_0007 (5) and this shrub with the white flowers.  Any guesses as to what it is?   DSC_0008 (5)

The boys settle down for a little nap.

One night here, and we leave. It’s raining again and it’s just plain muddy.  The road out is fine even though it’s soup.  I need to find a spot where I can walk the boys without bringing Mother Earth inside the van every time we step outside. 

We stop at a wayside along I-90, kind of a mini rest area for lack of a better word. There is room for a truck and a couple of cars and it has a vault toilet.  This sign tells the story of the building of the road through these mountains.  I try to see where the cut was made but I don’t find it here. nor do I find it once we get moving again. There is road work going on and I daren’t ogle the scenery much.

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Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna

Fish Creek Fishing Access is a boondocking site, but it does have a vault toilet, tables, and fire rings.  NO water and no garbage (pack it in/pack it out).  Cost:  Free.  There are one or two spots big enough for a medium sized trailer. Walk the “driveways” before pulling in as several of the sites have no way to turn a vehicle and a trailer around. Unless your really good a backing up 🙂

 

Anaconda, Montana

June 15th. From Butte we take Hwy 1, the scenic route, toward the town of Anaconda which comes up in short order.  We get “the rest of the story” about copper mining when we discover The Stack, a park in Anaconda dedicated to the miners who worked the mines in Butte and the workers who ran the smelter here in Anaconda refining the copper.

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The copper smelter

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Anaconda has some beautiful old brick buildings. I thoroughly enjoy driving through this town stopping where I can whether it be an actual parking spot I snag or just stopping in the middle of the street if no one is coming to grab a photo.

We continue the scenic loop drive on Highway 1. The campground I am looking for along this highway is closed for repairs. My guess would be because of flooding.

Several miles up the road I discover a forest service road on the right, and I take it in hopes of finding a camp.  While I don’t find a camp, I do find these lovely carpets of lupine.

Moving on we eventually end our tour of Hwy 1,  and glide into the little town of Drummond.  Thankfully they have a small park with about 12 camp sites.  I pay the $10 fee and get parked. A walk for the Chiweenie Brothers and we can finally rest our weary heads. It is once again raining.

CAMP AMENITIES
Water: Yes                        Garbage: Yes
Bathrooms: Vault toilet 

Electricity: Available for $25 per night and you have to make a phone call to have some one unlock the box

Tables: Yes                         Shower: No
Fire Pit: Yes                        BBQ: No
# of Sites: 12 or so.            Fee:  $10 for a tent site. $25 if you want electricity 

Other: Right by the river, has a day use area for fisherman, and you are allowed to use the baseball diamond if you want.  It’s also next to the rodeo grounds. Nothing going on while I am here, but might be a problem getting a site at certain times. 

Homestake BLM and Butte, MT

We spend one night at Homestake, A BLM boondock near Whitehall, MT.  I can SEE cell towers but cannot get decent reception.  I drive on to Butte just a few miles up the road. It’s dog park time!

I ask around, no one seems to be able to tell me how to get to the dog park.  I stop at the information center and the lady behind the counter isn’t sure either as I asked for the park near the Old Sherman  School and this throws her off. She doesn’t know. The other gal behind the counter finishes her transaction with another customer, and she comes over and mentions the Skyline Park.  With that I get a street address and we are off.

JACKPOT! This wonderful place has THREE dog areas. Four if you count the off-leash area, but we aren’t interested in that.  One area for the big dogs, one area for the small dogs, and a combined area.

DSC_0026 (3)  This combined area for both large and small dogs is huge.

 

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Our first night at Walmart in Butte is uneventful, although there does seem to be an inordinate amount of street people around; no one bothers us. We have internet and we have a fabulous dog park. We can hang in there, and do Wally for a couple days!

The Skyline Park not only has three fenced areas for dogs, it has a fishing pond and a small play area for kids, paved and unpaved walking/biking paths, and pretty views all around.

Butte was founded on mining, a dangerous occupation that took many lives in one way or another. From the park  you can see the old Poor House, still pretty much as it was back in the day.  Today it is a technology school.

On our final day here I ask the boys if they want to go to the dog park again. They know these words, and start wrestling and play fighting,  so happy they can hardly stand it.  I put the breakfast things away, hop in the driver’s seat and start up ol’ Green. Fries jumps up on the camera back pack that’s sitting next to the driver’s seat. It’s on top of the little plastic drawer unit I have between the driver’s seat and the larger drawer unit that replaced the passenger seat. The camera backpack makes Fries’ little head just about even with mine.  I ask him if he is excited to be going to the dog park again this morning and the little stinker pushes his little wet nose against my cheek; a little peck on the cheek. Oh how I wish I could get photos of some of the things this little dog does. He just melts my heart!

Arriving at Skyline Park the boys, anxious to get inside “their” park, they pull and tug and tussle torn between starting play and pulling me along faster to get inside.

We know our way, mom, don’t worry about us!