Thursday, September 24, 2009

Western States USA Motorhome Camping part 2

This and many other ancient pieces of fascinating geologic history are a common sight as you drive across Utah and the dry western states. Reminds me of 'Roadrunner and Coyote'. I'm sure their counterparts love this terrain.
Left early from the Farmington Sam's Club lot, and traveled through the four corners area. New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona all meet nearby. Shiprock's ancient volcanic core is visible majestically to the South of the quadrant. Cortez Colorado and on to Utah. Great weather this time of year. Not too hot or cold. Some highway construction budgeted for last year, was still being done while weather is nice. The oasis of Green River Utah, where we camped in the state park overnight last trip, is a sleepy little town famous for it's Water melons now. Don't forget John Wesley Powell started his Colorado River exploration from near here. The museum is in the village not far from the highway.

We drove on Through tourist packed Moab to Price Utah this time, Nice Walmart lot. We arrived late, bought some provisions and left early the next morning. Arches National Monument near Moab as well as Canyon Lands is always packed with tourists. Next year they will only accept reservations for the National campground. BLM sites are off road and available if unoccupied. Jeep tours and rentals are always in demand. This BLM area is adjacent to the Huge Canyon lands National Monument. These area motels are packed out every trip we make through the beautiful scenic desolation of Utah. World travelers seek out this area.

The next morning, early on our way to always prosperous Idaho. Jerome had another nice Walmart for an evening stay. More desolation mixed with scenic horizons. Baker City Oregon was a lunch stop at a little sandwich shop. Baker City is along the route to Pine Valley, which is on the way to Half Way Oregon, the gateway to Hells Canyon, another world famous tour. Cheyene Frontier Days, Calgary Stampede and Pendelton Round Up, are the premier Cowboy gatherings in the Western USA and Canada. Pendelton Round Up was fully underway and the Walmart was so packed that lot attendants waved us away. The Indian reservation fuel was advertised lower in cost. We topped off before heading on to Hermiston Oregon. Nice Walmart for the night with more provisions. Left early for trip across ranges to the Snake River.

We had followed the Snake River (Lewis and Clark) North down to the Columbia River. Now this highway is even more interesting. The produce from Idaho is trucked to the ports along the Columbia river. Frozen french fries are in the mix due to Idaho's fame as a potato grower. The exchange of goods destined to other parts of the world, in the international trade system that works so well (if not meddled with by Washington DC) is amazing. The walls of rock and valleys along the Columbia are each unique with ranches and villages all along the thousand or so miles. This is the second largest river in the U.S. so it can occupy lots of time. The Highway is excellent as it meanders along the shoreline on the South side, Oregon. Washington State is on The North side.

We had planned on parking overnight in a Portland Walmart. NO was the armed security guards recommendation. Bad area of the city, not safe overnight. Store closes at 10pm but guards stay all night. Our fun trip across the desolation of the West, is being brought back to the sad reality of large cities and their inherent problems.

This decision caused us to cross the old green bridge over The Columbia River, in rush hour traffic toward Vancouver Washington. Due to the long day and fatigue, tension between myself and my intent navigator, was at unusual extreme stress levels. This Old overworked bridge has been in the replacement planning stages for many years at countless millions of dollars in 'studies' each year. Planning and 'studies' are lucrative and not as risky as actually 'Building a Bridge'. The legalistics and environmental studies have brought it's replacement cost to over 4 billion dollars and climbing (always cost overruns). As usual the lawyers are the winners here... Always at the expense of the very deep pockets of the tax payers of course.

Driving along the North shore of the Columbia, on the Washington State side, now the arrival long after dark near our planned campground, was reality. I did not even get to stop and check on the Plainview
  • semi-submerged, resting in the mud about five miles East of the Meglar-Astoria bridge on the Washington side. 'Highpoint' was last seen on the Astoria side of the Columbia River. I have visited 'Plainview' on every other trip. We arrived after dark in great little Ilwaco Harbor
  • Spent some tense moments with the coach and tow on the narrow little streets, finding a large unpaved lot near the shipyard and harbor front shops. We remembered this remote possibility from last trips. Very, very exhausted, we parked in their big lot illegally while the rain fell and let it lull us to sleep. Early morning, before being sent away by 'the authorities', we left for the Cape Disappointment Campground nearby.

    Post a Comment

    << Home