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