As we galloped across the salt flats

The torrential downpour on the drive through Salt Lake City took care of pretty much all the mud we acquired in Winnemucca, so that our rig looked halfway presentable to parents when we arrived in Albuquerque around 1:00 AM.  After a proper bath, Goldie and her new camper look like this:

IMG_1316.JPG

Check out that beautiful Albuquerque sky! Goldie is carrying a Northstar 850 pop-up. This little ditty, despite the overhang, only weighs about 1,735 pounds (standard dry weight). While much, much smaller than the 5th wheel, it is all the space we need for a night or two or three out in the woods. The floor plan is below. We actually have a storage above the dinette and a double sink.

FullSizeRender (3).jpg

Website: Northstar campers

Plus truck bed campers keep the hitch available for towing things….

 

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Back in the saddle…

It has been almost four years since we sold our caravan and three years since we bought a house attached to the ground. Even then, we knew that we would never live in an RV again, but we would definitely own some version of a camper in the future. Well the future is upon us, folks, and we have purchased said camper.  After months of striking out on camper after camper, we found one in in Northeastern Washington.  On the eve of our trip back to New Mexico, Chris and Ally drove about 7 hours and veni, vedi, vici! Without room for negotiation, Chris offered top dollar in fear of losing yet another camper.  Chris, Ally and the camper arrived some time after 10:00 PM.  I did a quick clean and loaded the camper, while Chris checked out the mechanics of both Goldie (the truck) and the camper.  On the morning of Friday March 24th, we slept in, registered the camper and hit the road headed for our first stop, Winnemucca, Nevada. Arriving after dark and leaving before the sun came up, Water Canyon didn’t get a picture, but it will get rated.

Website :  Water Canyon BLM Recreation Area

The BLM website appears to be broken…

Location: 9/10

Water Canyon Recreation Area is 4.5 miles southeast of Winnemucca on Water Canyon Road. From Winnemucca Boulevard in Winnemucca, turn south onto Hanson Street, which turns into Water Canyon Road after 2 miles. Continue 2 miles on Water Canyon Road into the recreation area.

Visitors must use four-wheel-drive vehicles to travel past the main recreation area. Roads are only passable in dry weather and are snow-covered in winter months.

Facilities: 5/10

There are no actual facilities except for one pit toilet and a few kiosks. Water Canyon does offer up a multitude of activities including ATV trails, horse trails, bike trails, wildlife viewing, picnicking and of course camping which could help with a higher score.

Pet friendly: 7.5/10

We did not get to utilize the area to its full extent, but with the many trails and river access, it appears to be a great place for hiking (with or without a dog).

Overall rating: 71.6%*

It seemed to be a pretty good choice for our first night on the road as we fell asleep to the rushing water of the river, but sometime around midnight a truck drove by and honked. With the proximity to town and no charge for overnight camping; it appears that Water Canyon could be a heavily utilized area.  With the recent rains, the roads were quite muddy and even slick in areas. All in all it  was a fine spot to rest our heads for free.

*I don’t think we gave this place a fair shake.  Maybe sometime in the future we can try out the trails and give it a new rating.

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Emerald Valley RV Park ~ Jefferson, OR

Hello.

Well it looks like we will be staying at our last RV park in the 5th wheel.  Ain’t heard no fat lady, but we have sold the 5th wheel. We found a couple who is very excited about  vacationing in a 5th wheel for their retirement.  The contract says that we must deliver the 5th wheel on or before December 1st.  So, we will be joining the rest of the world and become stuck to the land.

Chris finally got offered a job so we moved to Jefferson, Oregon because Emerald Valley RV park was the only RV park in the Salem area that could accommodate us and our rig.  We hoped to move to the Hee hee Illahee RV park in Salem, but they are currently not taking long-term applications. But  of course now it is all moot because we are well on our way to becoming less pikey and a little more settled.

For the time we stayed at Emerald Valley RV Park, it did its job.  It gave a place to keep our home and vehicles while we looked for a place in Salem.  That place could have been another RV, a rental, or even a house.

http://emeraldvalley-rvp.com/

Location: 2/3

Emerald Valley is located right off I-5 at exit 244.  It is very easy to hop on I-5 and travel North or South with ease, but its roughly 20 minutes to Jefferson proper or 30 minutes to Salem proper.  It is not a bad commute for Chris, but since I’m not taking highways on Whisper (my moto) my commute can be up to 45 minutes to Chemeketa Community College.  On the bright side, my commute mostly consists of winding one lane roads through hilly farm country and one road on the outskirts of Salem.  I think I might miss those roads once we get into town, but I won’t miss the time.  So even though the park is close to I-5, our commute into Salem has not been economical. This is hard to rate.

Pros: Ease of getting on I-5 and scenic area of hills, trees, farmland and if you have children the park is only a 2 miles to The Enchanted Forrest Theme Park see the link below.(http://www.enchantedforest.com/)

Cons: I-5 is loud and for us our commute into Salem has really become annoying.

facilities: 3/3

Flat gravel pull-thrus and backs ins  make a for a quick set up.  The office is conveniently located and includes the keyed entry bathrooms, laundry room, and club house.  Emerald Valley also has propane.  We did not use the bathrooms or the laundry facilities.  In general the park is neat and clean.

Pet friendly:2/3

The park allows dogs and even has a nice grass area.  Of course there are breed restrictions and leash rules, but it seems that the rules are not always followed.  The location is not conducive to taking walks with dogs outside the park.

overall rating: 2.3/3

There are mostly long-term residents at Emerald Valley RV Park, but everyone keeps to themselves and takes care of their rigs.  Chris and I are at the end of our full-time RVing days and look forward to the next adventure.

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Columbia River RV Park: Portland, Oregon

I know it has been some time since the last post regarding Vancouver RV park, but a lot has happened since then. When Chris’ sister isn’t working we are at her house doing yard work or other projects. We also rented a car to drive back to Albuquerque and fetch the rest of our things and finally moved to Columbia River RV park. 

Our final destination of Columbia River RV park had some competition; Janzen Beach Mobile Home/RV Park. Janzen Beach is located on Hayden Island just north of Portland proper.  Hayden Island can almost be considered a suburb of Portland.  Hayden Island has many of the chain businesses like Home Depot, Target, and many restaurants you can find in other states or cities.  In the end Columbia River RV park won because they didn’t care that we are currently unemployed and did not require bank account information for the application.

WEBSITE/ INFO:  3.8/4

http://www.columbiariverrv.com/

The website has just about all the information that you need to stay at the park.  It really is beneficial to call ahead or even visit the park if applicable.  Last August we did a drive through and then in December I was able to visit the park and obtain an application via email.  According to the office manager, she felt there would be plenty of space when we arrived in March.  There wasn’t and fortunately Vancouver RV park had space.  All in all, if you are planning an extended stay; get an application and fill it out immediately because you  never know about RVer’s and  how long they might or might not stay.

LOCATION:3.8/4

Columbia River RV Park

10649 NE 13th Ave
Portland, OR 97211

This one is difficult. Columbia River RV park is located in a very industrial area, but the entrance is a matter of 40 yards to the Columbia River.  NE Marine Drive parallels the Columbia River and  very accessible to I-5.  In our case it takes us between 5 and 10 miles to get to the places we need right now: Chris’ sister’s house, Portland Community College, Safeway, Home Depot, Columbia Pool, etc. It is about 1/2 mile to a great multipurpose trail that parallels the Columbia river and a few seafood restaurants.

The Portland International Airport is about 2 miles east of the park and the planes can be loud, but have not kept us from sleeping.

We are still learning a lot about the area… more to come on the location.

PET FRIENDLINESS: 2/4

Pets are allowed, but there are rules about leashes and aggressive breeds. Good thing we have a Catahoula! The dog area is across the street which can be inconvenient to say the least, but  if you walk your dog regularly it shouldn’t be a problem.  Each spot has a bit a grass that is shared with your neighbor, so that works in pinch.

As was mentioned above there is a great multi-purpose trail 1/2 from the park that leads to Broughton Beach ( under construction until June ). http://columbiariverimages.com/Regions/Places/broughton_beach.html

FACILITIES/SITES: 3.5/4

Every site is level and has full hookups including 30 and 50 amp service.  There is also a on site dump station.  The showers are directly across from the office and include a workout room, multi-purpose room and laundry.  The bathroom codes are changed monthly.

Each site has an 8 ft vent tube for the dump drain. Keep an eye out for it as you park your rig because it can be in the way of windows and slides.

The park is in the process of added more sites to the already 152 site park.   If you have a big rig like us ( 35 ft ) and have up to two cars ask for a site north of the office because the sites are bigger. See the website for more info on pull through sites. Many of the sites are small.

OVERALL RATING: about 3.27/4

Columbia River RV Park will be our home for at least the next year. We have plenty of time to explore and play while we get to know this great city.

FYI: the WiFi doesn’t work through out the park so we recommend getting internet through Century Link or tethering your phone if internet is important to you.

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Vancouver RV park: Vancouver Washington

After a marathon drive starting at around 1:00 AM Sunday morning we arrived in Vancouver, Washington around 8:00 PM.  If you know us, this wasn’t exactly our plan, but Columbia River RV park was booked until the end of April.

WEBSITE/INFO: 3/4

http://www.vancouverrvparks.com/west_side2.html

The website has most of the information needed; including the address, phone number and amenities. You must call to get rates.  We were in a bind and this one had the best price for a month stint.

LOCATION: 3/4

The website actually does a good job with directions. The following came directly from the website.

Directions:
From Jct. I-5 take exit 4 (78th St.):
Go 1/4 mile east on NE 78th St.to NE 13th Ave. (2nd light)
Take a right onto NE 13th Ave.
Enter on left 500 feet

From Jct. I-205 take exit #32 (West Padden Pkwy):
NE Padden Pkwy becomes NE 78th St.
Go 3 miles West on 78th St.
Take a left onto NE 13th Ave.
Enter on left 500 feet

There is a Fred Meyer grocery store within walking distance on NE 78th st.

The price was pretty reasonable, but this RV park  is only 20 minutes from Chris’ sister via I-5 South.

FACILITIES/SITES:2/4

There are 181 level (concrete) sites packed into this small park where most people are here long-term.  Regular sites are $395/ mo and Deluxe sites are bigger and include some grass are $480. All sites require a $50 utility deposit for water and electricity usage. Your meter is checked when you arrive and the day you check out.  If your usage goes over the $50, you will pay extra. If you are under, then the park will pay you the difference.  ($0.08 kw/h and$0.20 /H2O unit)

The park has on site managers, showers and laundry facilities with codes, a recreation building and trash disposal.

PET FRIENDLINESS:2/4

Up to 3 animals are allowed and 2 may be dogs.  The park has two pet areas near the trash disposal and provide bags.  Unfortunately, NE 13th ave and NE 78th st are quite busy and not the best place for walking a dog or two.

On the bright side there are dog parks in the area.  Chimney dog park is a large park in Portland off of N. Marine Dr.   We took Ally there and she had a “ball”! Woof! =)

Chimney Dog Park:

9360 N Columbia Blvd
Portland, OR 97255

OVERALL RATING: 2.5/4

Vancouver RV Park has what we need (electric, water, and sewer) for a decent price. It is within tolerable driving distance to the Portland area via I-5 to visit Chris’ sister, our Portland bank, dog parks, etc. Plus this will be our home for just one month AND we will be in Albuquerque for part of it anyway.

 

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San Bernardino RV park: San Bernardino, Califonia

We left our piece of grass near the Colorado in Blythe, CA for a tiny spot of gravel in San Bernardino, CA with a view of The smoggy  mountains in the San Bernardino National Forest.

WEBSITE/INFO: 4/4

http://www.sanbernardinorvpark.com/

LOCATION: 3.5/4

The location in terms of driving is fine.  The park is a short drive from I-10. Take exit 74 (Tippeconoe) and then turn left on E. 9th street.  Many restaurants and services near the interstate.  Many homes and a shipping center in the direct area, but nothing in walking distance. We  had another tire issue some where between Blythe and San Bernardino, but it didn’t become a problem while driving.  There is a Camping World 4 miles from the park.

FACILITIES/ SITE: 2/4

This one is difficult because at first glance this park is immaculate even with old and new RVs throughout the park. The office staff is friendly and accommodating. When the smog lifts you can see the mountains of the San Bernardino National Forest. There is a small, but enclosed dog run and a small grass area by the office.  The park has on site bathrooms and showers. The park itself is gated and you need a pass code to enter. The sites are level.

On the other hand it took A LOT of maneuvering to get our 36 foot house into the space  so that the slide wouldn’t hit the tree. All the sites are tight.  After we unhitched we realized that our dump hose wasn’t long enough and that was 2 dump hoses connected.  The dump connections are in the back of each site. Up until this park, our hose has been long enough. We bought a another 10 footer at Camping World for $20. The biggest issue we see with this park is the entrance. While the gate is nice for security, the driveway is very short. Initially, you must dial #000 so that the office staff can open the gate.  Even with a small RV, traffic will be blocked during this process. Just imagine our rig trying to get in the gate for a minute…..=O

PET FRIENDLINESS: 2/4

Dogs are allowed, but even though the dog run is enclosed it is maybe 15 square feet. Ally is already missing her grassy field in Blythe. We assure her that we will only be here three nights, but then it is on the road again toward another RV park with roughly the dog conditions.  On the bright side; The Columbia River is only feet from the park’s entrance!

OVERALL RATING: 2.8/4

Out of the few RV parks in this area, San Bernardino RV park has the best rate at $31/night (Good Sam discount).  We chose this park because we needed a stop over near LA with full hookups for the usual laundry, dumping, showers etc.  More importantly, we are only 30 minutes from Chris’ Aunt. What a bonus! I hear that a visit to the ocean is on the docket.

Sadly our journey in the 5th wheel is coming to an end.  Our next stop will be a quick one at a Walmart or a rest stop in Northern CA or Southern OR on I-5.  It is time that we get up to Portland and get settled.  We will continue the blog, but  it may be with or without the 5th wheel. There are plenty of adventures to be had!

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Hidden Beaches RV Resort: Blythe, California

So it seemed that we needed a change of scenery and after a visit to the Arizona side of the Colorado River we decided it was in the budget to pay at a park.  Chris’ experience with Blythe is Cibola Wildlife Refuge and a few restaurants and a hotel the times he came for work.  Even though the temperatures reached 110 degrees + while he was here in the summer, we are experiencing between 80 and 90 degrees during the “winter/ spring” months.

CIBOLA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/CibolaNWR/

WEBSITE/ INFORMATION: 4/4

http://www.hiddenbeachesresort.com/

The website is very informative, complete with a download-able menu for the Owl’s Nest bar. We have visited the bar twice for drinks. (two beers: $5.50) It’s just a “block” from our site located in the center of the park. It is not far, but far enough Ally knows we are gone and not just hanging around outside without her.  Her training is definitely a work in progress.  In the beginning she did well in her crate, then gradually she began to have trouble.  She started to tear up her bed then she shredded the black tray while we were in Missouri. So, these times going to the bar we have left her just in the 5th wheel (no crate). She has done well thus far.  She will have to get used to being left alone once we are settled in Portland. Any way, what a digression. Moving on…

LOCATION: 4/4

The park is 5 minutes north of Blythe off of hwy 95 on 6th street.  It almost seems to be far away from the town and the park is right on the water.  There is a boat launching area and a small dock. There is an Albertson’s grocery store in Blythe, but if you don’t mind spending a little extra, Hidden Beaches has a little store stocked with just about everything.

I took a short motorcycle ride west on 6th street, north on Lovekin, east on 4th and then south on hwy 95.  I saw some funky cacti, a tiny airstrip, Blythe Boon docking site and fruit orchards.  Chris took a longer ride to Joshua Tree National Park.

MIDLAND BLM Boon docking blog: http://pics.dangsites.com/displayimage.php?pid=4565

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK: http://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm

FACILITIES/ SITE QUALITY: 3/4

Hidden Beaches is mostly a permanent stay kind of park.  We are paying $10 a night to park in the over flow camping area, but we have water.  With the solar panels, we don’t have trouble with electricity and makes boon docking relatively easy for us.  It is the tank space that gets us in the end. Fortunately, we have had many sunny days recently. Our site is grassy and fairly level. We used only one leveling block on the passenger side.

It jumps up to about $30 a night for full hookups and more if you would like river front property.  They have a shower house on the property with good pressure and plenty of hot water.

PET FRIENDLY: 4/4

We are set up in the grass and there is only one other RV in the area.  Ally has loved to romp and play in the grass.  It takes us about 20 minutes to get to the dunes and then a bit more to the river.  While Chris road to Joshua Tree National Park, Ally are I played in the river and ran in the sandy dunes. We will make her a water dog yet! Oh, later after reading the website rules we found that dogs are $2 extra. They didn’t ask and we didn’t tell.

OVERALL RATING:  3.75/4

There is an RV near the dump station that has a sign in the window that reads: WHITE TRASH. While that about sums up this place, the people are friendly, $10 a night ain’t bad, and Ally has grass to play in. I know, I know grass in the desert: That’s a whole other blog and up on my soap box for me!

 We are behind on photos and I am sorry for that, but shrinking them to size is a process and going through them is a process. So hopefully, my phone photos will tide you over until we get to Portland.

Dome Rock: Quartzsite BLM boondocking area

Dome Rock: Quartzsite BLM boondocking area

Dome Rock BLM area: Jumping Cholla with Ocotillo in background

Dome Rock BLM area: Jumping Cholla with Ocotillo in background

Cactus Tree spotted on Laura's Moto ride in Blythe (Hidden Beaches RV Resort)

Cactus Tree spotted on Laura’s Moto ride in Blythe (Hidden Beaches RV Resort)

The mighty Colorado River

The mighty Colorado River

Ally's life in the grass at Hidden Beaches RV Resort

Ally’s life in the grass at Hidden Beaches RV Resort

Laura's first quiche: we ate it all!

Laura’s first Quiche: we ate it all!

crustless Quiche recipe: thanks to Jesse’s mom!

I cut in half and then winged it to fill in the pie pan…

12 eggs, 1/2 lb Monterey jack cheese, 1/2 lb cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup flour, 1 pint cottage cheese, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 small can green chili, 4-5 green onions chopped, 2 strips bacon

blend together and bake in greased pie pan for 45-55 min @350

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