Trip Summary: 2014 Dog Camp in the Pacific NW

Total Miles: 2,560

Nights: 18

Average Camping Fee: $26. Half of the time was boondocking for cheap; the other half was some nice state parks in the mid $30s and a few resorty places in the $40s and $50s.

Average MPG (overall): 15.5

Maintenance Issues: On first day (of course), the Check Engine Light (CEL) came on. Same problem as we experienced in Quartzsite in January of this year--another glow plug went bad. We knew we could keep on trucking, so we did.

Surprises: Getting the best haircut/color of my life at a cute salon in Bend, Oregon. Yelp worked this time. And how very crowded the state parks were this time of year, especially around the Columbia River. Turns out this fall there's an epic salmon run!

Challenges: Lots of health issues this trip: inflamed eyelids, GERD, ganglion cyst on foot, and toothache. Nothing major, but enough to harsh my vibe. Made lots of medical appointments for our return once we stopped boondocking and got AT&T back.

Roadfood: Heaven on Earth outside of Canyonville, Oregon. Famous for cinnamon rolls the size of your head. We tasted, were not bowled over, so we pitched it. Also got a pumpkin bread pudding. Now THAT was epic. We made the one serving last 3 days. Some nice eats in Walla Walla and Bend, too.

Favorite New Camping Spots:
  • Cove Palisades State Park north of Bend
  • Tumalo State Park near Bend
  • Susan Creek BLM  or really any place along Route 138 in the Cascades
Bago's Swimming Holes:

  1. The rapidly drying up lake at the Thousand Trails CG in Oregon City, CA
  2. Deschutes River at Cove Palisades State Park near Bend, OR
  3. Lake Wenatchee
  4. Columbia River near Goldendale, WA
  5. North Fork of the Umpqua River at Susan Creek OR

Lessons to Relearn Again, Apparently:

  1. Don't pass up local produce stands! If you see something you want, turn around! I never did get my McIntosh apples, and there we were in the apple capital of Washington State. Sigh. Reminds me of the clementines I missed in Louisiana. But I did score a Walla Walla sweet onion!
  2. Don't trust the assurances of someone who has never driven an RV (the camp organizer, for example). Trust the grinning guy in the beat-up truck at the top of the steep, forested hill who says, unbidden, "Ma'am, you're gonna wanna drive that RV in down the hill through the back entrance." He was our guardian angel. 

The Reason for Our Trip: Maian Meadows Dog Camp, Lake Wenatchee, WA

Bago anchoring winning corner of Doggie Tic Tac Toe

And no, we didn't even TRY to get Bago in the boat. Harper, on the other hand, was beside herself with worry about her momma Karin in the canoe, so she swam out to get her.

Other scenic stops along the way:

It was such a relief to exit High Desert back into lush Oregon forests--ahhh.

Labor Day 2014 Trip Summary: Up into the Sierras Again--The Shaver Lake Edition

Trip Summary

Total Miles: 389

Nights: 2

Camping Fees: $45/night

Best: Having our car plus the RV so we could join all the activities with (or without) Bago

Surprises: Well, a first anyway. For the first time in my entire life, I paddled from the front of any kind of boat. This particular one was a hard plastic sit atop kayak. I learned the hard way not to turn around to talk to the person in the back, as I promptly dumped both of us in icy cold lake on a blustery day. We couldn't right the boat, so we had to swim it in. Brrrr.

Worst: Labor Day holiday crowds at the most poorly run RV park ever, Ponderosa Trailer Park. (Of course, the state parks were full, so we were lucky to get this, um, "spot." Note to self: Never, ever stay anywhere called a "trailer park." You know better.....)

We were invited up with bunches of other gals to our friends' vacation home for Labor Day weekend. Because we were concerned with the hot temps (and not having a proper 30 amp plug for our A/C) and because their driveway was sloped, we snagged a spot at an RV park only 1.6 miles from our friends' house. That's the good news. The bad news is that the park folks said that they had a power problem and would have to squeeze us into another part of the park where the power was working. Inches from others, which wouldn't have been so bad if we weren't surrounded on one side by late-night partiers (till well after 2AM) and early morning boaters (5AM diesel engine idlers). Not much sleep was had, but for the most part, we were outta there each day early in the morning and not back till 11AM for our evening "naps." All in all a fun trip, but ain't never gonna stay at that RV park again.

A few highlights:

Summer 2014 Trip Summary: On the River with a Raft of German Shepherds

We headed up to Wine Country in August to join a German Shepherd Meetup on the Russian River in Healdsburg for a day of paddling down the river.

Total Miles: 434

Nights: 2

Camping Fee: $50/night (it's the Bay Area)

Surprises: Experiencing a major earthquake in the RV

Lowlights: See below. Plus the 6-hour rush-hour/accident-laden traffic in the East Bay. (Trip should've taken 3.5 hours)

We thought this would be a great activity for Bago, since he's such a nut about swimming. Oy vey--was this a giant mistake.

1. The inflatable "kayaks" were extremely unwieldy--no rudder and very hard to paddle.

2. Bago was absolutely nuts the ENTIRE 6+ hours. He wanted to be IN the water, not ON the water, which was fine for the first part of the trip, which was in very shallow water that we hauled out of regularly on sandbars. He could play and be wild and even swim alongside the boat pulling us (we held onto his life jacket handle). We knew he was wearing himself out too much, but there was nothing to be done once the trip had started. The real problem arose when, unbeknownst to us (but known to most of the other folks on the trip who have done this trip before), the water got deep and rather swift for the entire last half (3+ hours) of the trip. There were never any more stopping places. Bago jumped out of the boat at a particularly swift section, and we couldn't get him back inside. Thank goodness we were still with the group because one kind gentleman (everyone else just mocked us) hauled Bago back up into the boat. It's the only time we've ever seen Bago flat out panicked. The plot then thickened. Knowing that we couldn't trust him to stay in the boat, Lisa (sitting in front) had to turn around and hold him in for over 3 hours, especially because we were going so slowly that everyone had passed us. There was no one behind to help us haul him back in and the water was too deep. That meant Julie had to solo paddle (without any rudder) for 3+ hours and Bago had to whine and cry and howl. A very long day indeed.

3. The trip back with a bunch of shepherds (many young and not well trained) all mixed together on a bus was a nail biter. In the morning, the bus driver had hoped aloud, "Maybe THIS trip we won't have blood all over the bus on the way back." When I asked him to elaborate, he simply said, "Last time there was a lot of blood. We never did figure out if it was dog or human." We fretted over that comment all day, but all was well. Especially after we taught the inexperienced owners not to let their dogs stare at other dogs....

4. The post-paddle night was a very unhappy one. Bago awoke at 1:30AM crying in pain. We got him pain meds and into bed with us, so we were all still awake when that 6.0 Napa quake hit (not far from where we were). Man, oh man, is there nothing like rocking side to side in a major earthquake in a motorhome. Thought we were going to tip over.

5. We realized that we needed to withdraw from the German Shepherd Meetup group. Bago gets so amped up around other shepherds and thinks he's just like them. We gotta keep our handicapped boy less active than fully healthy GSDs.....

On a happy note, we liked the rather rustic Alexander Valley RV Park and would go back there. It's not far off 101 and would make a good layover point on the way home from northern points. So there's that. It's also near the Coppola Winery with its amazing resort pools. That could make a nice relaxing day! But a note to self: bring bottled water. Remember what their tap water looks like:

A few more pix of the ordeal, er, trip: