January Doings

January 2019 became a mish-mash of camping sites, moving back and forth between Ehrenberg and Quartzsite, Quartzsite and Yuma. The nights have been cold—relatively speaking for those of you experiencing real winter weather—and a bitter wind rocks MissAdventure on the morning of New Year’s Day. After the morning “To-Do” list the boys and I cuddle up back in our snug bed and while away the rest of the morning. They are content to nap. I play a few games on my phone, read, write, call family. We’ve been coming to winter in “Q” for four years now, and this has been, by far, the coldest, wettest, windiest, and most prolonged.

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DSC_0049Flooding at Hi Jolly
Torrential Rain at Hi Jolly

In the middle of the first week in January I decide to leave our exposed camp on the desert plain near Tom Wells Road and go back to Hi Jolly in Q. I need gas. While fueling I notice a pool of gasoline coming from under the van. Panicked, I quit fueling, fumble with the hose to get it back in place on the pump, and take a deep breath after jumping in the driver’s seat and turn the key in the ignition.

I stop at Everett’s Auto Repair in Quartzsite and talk with the secretary. She can’t get me in today and suggests putting a piece of cardboard under the fuel port and tank to see if anything shows up, see if the van is using more fuel than usual, and come back in a day or two.

Off to Hi Jolly to make camp. It is packed with people, and after two nights I need solitude. We head out to Dome Rock Road and stay there for a few quiet nights before heading back into Q and checking in with the mechanic at Everett’s.

I report to him that there were no wet spots on the cardboard and gas consumption seems to be normal. He says there is no smell of gasoline on the outside or inside and that’s a good sign. “Be back at 2:00,” he says, and I’ll put it on the lift just to be on the safe side.

He thoroughly checks things out and finds no sign of anything leaking. He assures me it looks perfectly fine and suggests that maybe I was using a high velocity pump? Or didn’t have the nozzle pushed all the way into the port? I don’t know, but there hasn’t been a problem since.

Sunrise and Sunsets Remain Stunning

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Interesting Rock Openings on the Bouse Cutoff Road

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs.

 

We’re Back in Q

                                                                Life is short

November sure has whizzed by.  The Chiweenie Brothers and I made it to Arizona, spent a couple of nights at Craggy Wash in Lake Havasu where some guy tried to roust us from our spot beside a nice shade tree by whining about how this was the third time he’s lost out on this spot and HE needed shade­­­—like we didn’t!—and when I refused to give it up  he hopped in his rig and peeled out spraying us with small rocks and dirt!

When we left a couple of days later I got the tires rotated on MisAdventure, and then we spent some time at the SARA dog park. SARA Park has much to offer besides a wonderful dog park: Hiking and biking trails, an equestrian area, and more.

We move on to Parker where we spend one night off Hwy 62.  Last year’s camping area is inaccessible. Not sure if it was due to flash flooding or just the fact the road has been graded, but nothing looks familiar and I can’t find a spot with shade. One night here and we move on. Q (Quartzsite) here we come! 

I drive straight into town, get ice and fill up the generator (I love being able to use my Instant Pot!!) then head to the dog park.  Big surprise here.  The “Big Dog” side is closed for some unexplained reason and all are using the “Small Dog” side.  It isn’t working too well as the big dogs have pretty much taken over and there are plenty of little dogs that don’t like being in with them.  But, it is what it is. We will either spend more time in other areas of La Paz County or we can change our preferred time to be at this dog park to later in the afternoon. We’ll work it out!

Once the boys are ready to leave the dog park I drive to the library and try to get a blog post done.  I no longer have mobile internet as ATT said I used too many roaming hours and they cut me off everywhere there is no ATT cell tower.  Hmph!  This may be a long winter with fewer posts. Not surprisingly I still have to pay until my contract is up so I won’t be getting anything different at this time. Again … It is what it is.  I’ll work it out!

Meanwhile, out in the desert we settle onto BLM land with a sweet, shady spot at the Hi Jolly 14-day area.  Long walks with the boys in the chilly air of morning, some reading, checking email­­­—fortunately I can get my email and get onto the internet with my phone, but no way can I do a blog post from it— and I am able to make an appointment with my dentist in Los Algadones. But, before that happens we will head to Bouse and stay a night or two.  The boys will get to romp in the HUGE dog park there, I will get veggies from the truck that brings in produce fresh from the fields, and I will also attend a get-together with the Bouse Genies, the local genealogy group. 

This trip to our wintering grounds has brought some frustration, yes, but there has been blessings, too:  Lying in bed one night with the back doors open I watch the space station glide silently through the night sky.  Early mornings, before sunrise, I watch Venus hanging huge and glittering, low in the east as day tries to make her disappear for another 24 hours, Sun demanding her time in the sky. One morning Venus was next to the quarter moon; so beautiful!   

Some mornings Sun brushes past the distant mountains with a silent but huge burst of light, other mornings she makes a magnificent entry wearing a cloak of the softest pinks and lavenders or bright red and gold if she’s feeling brassy.

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Coyotes howl across the desert.  I do consider this a blessing, although it’s not much fun when they come in close trying to trick The Chiweenie Brothers into coming out to play which they did three nights running at one point.  Sends a chill up my spine.

Gorgeous sunsets and sunrises.  They make my heart sing in their beauty.

Thank you for stopping by 2DogsTravel. We appreciate you coming along on our adventures, and appreciate your patience while we get through this little internet glitch. Hugs, Shawna

The SnoPark, Timber Lodge, and Zig Zag Falls

Friday, July 20, 2018. It’s a warm, sunny beginning to the day even at 6:00 a.m.  As I pull out of the rest area north of Madras, Oregon I think of the cooler weather up ahead. At least I am hoping it will be cooler.

We are headed west, still on Hwy 26, and drive through the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Other than the casino at the very eastern end there isn’t much out here but a few houses here and there, brush and some timber. The wind is blowing sideways, and it’s pretty strong.  I white knuckle through and we gain the SnoPark with no mishaps.

The plan is to stay at the SnoPark in the Mt Hood National Forest for a few days.  Upon arrival I note there are a few travel trailers and a motorhome or two. The very large parking area is divided in half by a strip of brush and trees, and the vault toilet is located here, too. I find a spot on the west side. There is only one other vehicle parked here and he’s at the very tippy top, next to the road. It’s a peaceful quiet night.

July 21st, Saturday.  I feed the boys and we take a walk.  I discover, on the other side of the access road to the SnoPark, a small dispersed campsite on a dirt road.  We finish our walk then we move to the new camp.  Big mistake.

As the morning gives way to afternoon we are bombarded with dirt bikes. Waves of dirt bikes in groups of five or six roar past our camp and envelope us in dust.  Once the herd is past it is quiet for the rest of the day, but they again gear up and roar past in the evening.

We take a wander across the road to the parking lot and discover the SnoPark has filled to capacity with a sea of moms and dads, grandpas and grandmas and their motor homes and travel trailers, some tents.  All manner of recreational vehicles and trailers here for a motor cross event!  Oh boy, that explains the dirt bikes. We hear a few oohs and awwwes, directed toward The Chiweenie Brothers. I know they are smiling!

It does quiet down for a good night’s rest, but next morning I hear revelie.  The motoring herd will once again make an appearance.  Enough of this, we’re outta here. It takes a mere ten minutes to pack up and we are on the road. I love being so mobile!

We drive to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.  I LOVE Mt. Hood.   There is just something very special about this mountain, but I have no idea what.  Maybe the lush green that surrounds it?  Maybe the way it juts up into sky with a commanding air?  I don’t know.

You can read more about historic Timberline Lodge HERE .

I make a quick, illegal stop along the highway on the way back down the mountain to get a couple of shots of these small waterfalls alongside the road.

As we tip over the top and begin the decent down Hwy 26 toward civilization again, I begin looking for the road into Zig Zag Falls that I had found on the map last night.

An easy hike and a beautiful water fall.

Love this old bridge, part of the old highway that once went through here at one time.

As we are taking in the bridge and surrounding area I discover a small empty campsite right at the perimeter of the parking lot. It’s banked on both sides with green bushes and sits right along Zig Zag Creek. We spend the night here before continuing on down the highway.

 

 

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

 

 

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.  

 

 

 

 

 

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 🙂

 

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!