The Painted Hills

It’s Thursday, July 19th, and  we are up early and ready to rock and roll.  I packed up before bed last night after a couple of gals pulled into the campground in a small gold passenger car, threw up a tent, and proceeded to build a huge campfire.  From my perspective it looked like the flames were four feet high.  The wind usually comes up in the evening here at Barnhouse, so it had me a bit worried.  No harm getting ready to roll just in case.  To their credit they stayed right with the fire until it burned down a little and didn’t throw any more wood on it. 

The boys fed and out for a quick potty run, I get the big green machine on the road.  The morning air is nice and cool and we take our sweet time wending our way down the mountain.

The boys are suddenly on high alert when they notice a herd of antelope crossing the road ahead of us.  I slow down from a meander to a crawl and get as close as I dare to get a photo.

DSC_0022 (2)Antelope on road into our Barnhouse CampAs we gain Hwy 26 the plan is to take in the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. I spot this old barn along the way.

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These hills are fascinating and beautiful.

DSC_0068Painted Hills

Once we are finished drinking in the odd, stark but colorful Painted Hills we head west again on Hwy 26 and go through Prineville purchasing gas here.  Almost $100 to fill up!! Welcome to the west coast.  Just prior to landing in Redmond, I get this shot of The Sisters through the trees only because there was a place to pull over.  Most two lane roads are not conducive to photography for lack of sufficient places large enough to get off the road, but I was lucky with this one.

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And I wasn’t about to pass up stopping to photograph this gorgeous old building when a parking spot right by it called my name. Of course it was too close to get the whole beautiful building in the shot, but I will take what I can get.

DSC_0072In Redmond, OR   Then we make a dog park stop.  The Redmond dog park is one of the cleanest dog parks we’ve been in.  I was a bit weary and didn’t bother bringing the camera in with us, but the boys had a marvelous time!

With no place found to stop for the night we head on to Madras. I have enough time to do laundry and get ice and then we’re back on the road heading to the rest area just north of here.  It’s in a construction zone and they worked far into the night, but a place to park is a place to park, and I am grateful I didn’t have to drive on in search of a camp.  AND, I found out who discovered Mt. Shasta.  Say what? One finds this out in Oregon?  Yep.

DSC_0075Sign at the rest area

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel! Hugs, Shawna

 

 

Wetmore Campground, Hwy 26, Oregon

As we leave the valley floor behind after our visit to Unity, Oregon and the history of the fight for water from the Burnt River, we begin to climb in elevation. I am very happy about this as it will mean a respite from the building heat.

Amongst the tall pines we find the Forest Service campground, Wetmore, and it’s totally empty. I choose a nice shaded site and we settle in. The breeze floating through the pine boughs murmurs a sweet welcome.

After lunch the boys and I take a nap. A few people drive through but no one stays; perhaps because it’s right by the highway? I do not find the sparse traffic annoying, and here we will stay for five days. Tomorrow we will explore the walking trail.

There is a lovely walking trail between Wetmore and the next campground, Yellow Pine, and only a half mile hike.  It does have a couple of switchbacks to gain some elevation, but it’s an easy walk. The Chiweenie Brothers and I walk this every morning.

DSC_0027 (1)Bridge to the Wetmore CG trail

DSC_0030 (1)Chweenies on Wetmore CG TrailDSC_0022 (1)Huge Rock along trail in Wetmore CampDSC_0031 (1)Wetmore trail to Yellow Pine CG

We hate to leave this camp, but supplies are

running low. Time to move on.  Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel.com  Hugs, Shawna

CAMP AMENITIES

Water:  Yes            Garbage: No

Bathrooms:  Vault Toilet at upper tier    Electricity: No

Tables: Yes             Shower: No

Fire Pit:  Yes           BBQ: No

# of Sites:   !2         Fee: $5/$2.50 

Other:  Don’t leave your doors open at night.  Lots of mice. Ask me how I know this.  😦 — But it’s okay. The Chiweenie Brothers are perfecting their eradication skills. 

DSC_0032 (1)Wetmore to Yellow Pine trail

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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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.  

 

 

 

 

 

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.