Closer and Closer…and HOME!

While enjoying our time in Chelan in the Okanogan (the American spelling) Valley, we are so close to the Canadian side and home, with family and friends to see again we decided to move a bit further north to the border town of Oroville for two more days. The morning we left Chelan, Murphy once again positioned herself for the all-important watch for the killer squirrels…



She got so involved in her duties that we just had to let her outside for last one walk. She amazed us once again with her speed as she darn near caught one, and those things are FAST!

Chelan to Oroville

We’d always driven right through the town of Oroville, stopping only to eat at Trino’s, our favourite Mexican restaurant. This time, we decided to spend a couple of nights boondocking at Blue Lake, a Washington State Forest and Wildlife site we found on www.FreeCampsites.net.

Blue Lake

Blue Lake – Picture from Washington State Forest and Wildlife


While no RVers had reviewed the spot, the state’s website showed a nice lake nestled in the hills just a few kilometres from town. What could be better?

Unfortunately, none of our research prepared us for the road. Climbing steadily from the Similkameen River through vineyards and orchards, we gained 229 m (752 ft) in just a few kilometers, climbing a 10-12% grade. And, once we got to the top of twisty, winding road (the reason we ignored the “Trailers not Recommended” sign), we found there was no level place to park. Worse, and to Navigator’s horror, the lake was still frozen! We turned around and came back down to River Oak RV Park, located right on the Similkameen River.

We explored the town a bit and sadly, learned that Trino’s was closed for the winter. However, we did walk the riverside trail that turned out to be part of the Pacific Northwest Trail, which stretches 1930 km (1200 miles) from the Pacific Ocean on the Olympic Peninsula to the Canada-USA border crossing east of Glacier National Park in Alberta/Montana.




Unfortunately, the weather was cool and damp, but we’re hoping for some nice Okanagan sunshine by the time we cross the border for our next RV park in West Kelowna.

We crossed the border on March 29th and headed for Raven’s Nest RV Park in West Kelowna and here we are!  Home at last.


Oroville to Kelowna

We will be posting sporadically as we do and find interesting things to tell you about.  Have a great summer everyone!

Stay tuned…

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Chelan, the Little Town on the Big Lake

We dry-camped at a casino in Yakima, Washington, the headed north in rain, low cloud and mist to Chelan.

Bend to Yakima, WA

Yakima to Chelan

We’ve often travelled through this area, with the exception of one night while on a motorcycle trip, but many friends have told us how nice it is. Since the weekend forecast was favourable, we decided to book three nights at the city-owned RV Park right on Lake Chelan and within walking distance to downtown. What a great idea that was!

We ended up with our big rear picture window looking at an unobstructed view of the park, lake and mountains.



Lake Chelan is a natural lake which was dammed in 1927, adding another 21 feet to its highest level. It’s pretty big; 81.3 km (50.5 miles) long, with a maximum depth of 453 m (1,486 feet). In fact, its deepest point is 118 m (388 feet) below sea level. It’s the third deepest in US, and the 28th deepest in the world. To compare, Lake Okanagan is 135 km long and 232 m deep.



The lake level varies greatly between spring and fall, as we learned on our first morning walk and found a swimming ‘pool’ sitting high and dry and the docks of a marina suspended in air.



It’s so easy to build a breakwater when you can walk to it, or laying concrete for a new boat launch….


The city’s old downtown is cute but small, with public art on many corners.



Murphy is not too sure about this cat.




The town also has some good ideas about helping pedestrians.


We were particularly impressed with their idea for helping pedestrians cross the street without investing in a costly traffic light.



There are also increasing signs of spring. We were awakened by the calls of the robins, and more flowers are appearing.



We leave on Monday to dry-camp for a couple of days and then we will cross into British Columbia on Wednesday.

Stay tuned…

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Walking Around (the) Bend

This is the second time we’ve visited Bend, and both times the weather has been chilly. Regardless, we decided to venture out for a drive, and began with a short trip to the nearby town of Sisters. We’d heard it was an artsy type of place filled with galleries and street art. Unfortunately, it was so chilly we simply drove through and although we didn’t take any pictures, we saw enough to entice us back. Plus, there’s a cute little RV park right downtown!

By the time we’d returned to Bend, the weather had improved slightly so we decided to visit the Old Mill District, which is a glitzy new riverfront commercial area developed where there were once only sawmills and associated industries.




Along the way, Navigator delighted to spot some signs of spring…



We’re hoping these signs continue to appear as we head north to our next stop in Lake Chelan, Washington.

Stay tuned…

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On The Moon – Without a Spacesuit

Although the day started out with a promise of sunshine, by the time we reached the Lava Lands Visitor Centre just south of Bend, the clouds had rolled in, the temperature had dropped and the wind increased. However, we had wanted to visit the lava field we spotted on our first trip, and even though the Visitor Centre has not yet opened for the season, we could still walk the Trail of Molten land, which leads through this enormous field and has a wealth of informative signs explaining the sights.



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This fabulous park is situated in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, covering 56,700 acres of “lava flows, lakes and spectacular geologic features.” It is so starkly barren and surreal that NASA used the fields to orient the moon-landing astronauts to what scientists thought the moon might look.



Created 7,000 years ago when the Newberry Volcano erupted, plants and wildlife are still struggling to eke out an existence in the barren earth.




This single lava field contains enough basalt to build a four lane highway completely around the world – six times!

The lava field is just one of many attractions in the Newberry Volcano area and this visit gave us just a taste of the fascinating features, like lava tubes, caves and cones that are spread around Oregon. All worth visiting – when the weather is warmer!

Stay tuned…

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A lot MORE miles.

Day 3 (March 19) – Reno to Tulelake, CA

The day started out as any other, pack up, put Murphy in the truck and away we go…

Reno to Eagles Nest

Chauffeur remembered that we had seen a ‘shoe tree’ <link to 2015 blog> and blogged about it before but we never got a picture. We did today.

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We took secondary road #139 from Susanville to Canby just to travel a different route. Once again, interesting scenery and beautiful Eagle Lake where the water levels were really low. At the north end of the lake we heard what sounded like rain hitting the truck but turns out it was millions of flying bugs. We took a picture of the front of the truck and the cap of the 5th wheel to show you.



The campsite we stayed at was really ‘out of the way’ but interesting.


Our map shows a little backtracking as we didn’t find any gas stations in the smaller towns so had to head to Alturas to fill up.

Our original plan was to boondock in the Modoc National Forest. We stopped to check out a potential spot and the ground was really soggy so felt that that wouldn’t be advisable to pull the 5th any further in. In fact, as we travelled this road, we marveled at the amount of ground water around.


Day 4 (March 20) – Tulelake to Bend, Oregon

Eagles Nest to Bend, OR

We toasted the official first day of spring with our morning coffee and then were delighted to hear and see our very first robin of 2017. The day improved as we rolled out on the highway and had to slow as a herd of at least 16 white-tail deer crossed the road. After that, it was an uneventful trip; straight roads and a long day.

We’ll blog more about Bend as we do some exploration as we’re going to spend three days here, hoping the weather will clear and warm up a bit. In just four days we’ve moved highs of 30 Celsius (86 F) to only 6 (42). L

But, even with the rain, there’s still lots to explore, so

Stay tuned…

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A LOT of miles!

Since “Leaving Las Vegas” (isn’t there a movie out with that title?), we have put on just under 1600 km (1,000 miles) in our trek north. We are presently hunkered down in Bend, Oregon, in the cold and rain for a few nights and then we head out for Washington State, specifically Yakima and then Chelan.

Day 1 (March 17) – Las Vegas to Tonopah, California

Vegas to Tonopah

We enjoyed some very interesting topography and rock formations outside of Beatty. There’s also a great candy store in Beatty. We also note that we are starting to leave the desert.

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Our camp spot for the night was a state gravel pit just outside of Tonopah. The price was right, we were off the road and, we had the whole place to ourselves. A herd of cows greeted us in the morning just before we left.

Day 2 (March 18) – Tonopah to Reno

Tonopah to Reno

Just as we headed into Hawthorne, Nevada, we saw these interesting buildings and tried to figure out what they were.

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Turns out that the Hawthorne Army Depot is the world’s largest ammunition storage depot, which explains the bunkers we saw. The site covers 59,000 hectares, about three times the City of Kelowna. It has 600,000 square feet of storage space spread over 2,427 bunkers. They house reserve ammunitions to be used after the first 30 days of a major conflict. We drove by the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum, an unusual place that displays and explains the history of artillery shells, grenades, mines, bombs and even rockets. It’s apparently very good, if you’re into things like that.

Day 3 and 4 will follow tomorrow.

Stay tuned…

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Dam, But That’s Nice Architecture!

We decided to return to the Hoover Dam for a closer look after our accidental introduction a few days ago since dogs are not allowed on the dam. A good thought, but once again, our plans changed by circumstances outside our control.

We were going to take a guided tour, put on by the Bureau of Reclamation, the federal department responsible for the dam. Unfortunately, all of the elevators were out of commission and so they cancelled all of the tours. Instead we thought we’d just tour the Visitor Centre and all off those exhibits until we saw the crowds and realized that Spring Break has started.

Off we went to explore what we could and that’s when we realized the dam was also built as a tourist attraction way back in the 1930s. All of the buildings, and even the dam itself, are beautiful examples of the Art Deco style popular then. Once we understood that, we began to look for the little touches that, unfortunately, governments no longer choose to spend taxpayers’ money on.

First the architecture…





Then those little details that really add to the feel. Who knew brass was so beautiful?







If only modern architects could be given permission to include style in their designs again!

Stay tuned…