Saturday, August 25, 2012

2012-28 Marsing Idaho to Hermiston Oregon



Marsing Idaho
Baker Oregon
Hermiston Oregon

Campground:  River Haven Park, Marsing.  $11.25.  Passport America rate.  Full hookups.  Pull-thrus but at 90 degree angle.  No shade.  View of Snake River.  Very basic campground.  Laundry available.  Drive down to the lower row of sites, they are easier to pull thru and larger which isn‘t apparent when you first drive in.

Campground:  Oregon Trail West RV Park, Baker.  $25.28 per night.  Lots of shade.  Full hookups.  30 amp.

Campground:  Hat Rock Campground, Hermiston.  $17.87 per night at the weekly rate: $125.  Full hookups, 50 amp.  Free wi-fi.  Nice grassy sites with just enough trees for some shade.  Swimming pool.

Distance traveled:  129 miles

Sometimes things just don’t workout.  Even though it was a short drive to Three Island Crossing SP in Glenns Falls,  They wouldn’t let me in because I got there too early for camping.  Seems they water the grass in the camping area and won’t let anyone in until after 2pm.  Not sure what the folks already camping there have to do…. Maybe they’re required to leave the park until 2pm…. Not sure.  So it was water the grass over letting a camper in.  Darn, and it looked like a really nice park.

The Three Island Crossing is one of the most famous stops along the Oregon Trail and is where many pioneers crossed to the other side of the Snake river.  It’s a beautiful spot with tons of history.

So rather than go to another campground in the area, I decided to drive to Boise Idaho, actually about 20 miles past Boise to end up at a Passport America park.  Not the prettiest park by any means, but it’s cheap so I’ll stay a few days.  It’s near the town of Marsing, which is just a most pathetic little town out in the country.  If it wasn’t for staying at a Passport America park, I don’t think I’d ever have even passed through this little town.
Shoshone Falls, Twin falls Idaho

To back up just a bit, while in the Hagerman/Twin Falls area there are a couple things I would have enjoyed if I’d spent more time in the area.  Along the scenic hwy 30 are a couple of hot springs, one recommended to me is called Miracle Hot Springs and Rv Park.  Not sure if the campground is any good, but they tell me the hot springs are wonderful.  Also along the snake river near Hagerman one can take the 1,000 springs boat tour which is a catamaran cruiser.  It comes with either a lunch or dinner cruise.  Unfortunately they don’t always run every day, so if your in the area book a date near the weekend to ensure a river cruise.  And not too far up the road are the Shoshone Indian Ice Caves.  Sometimes there’s just not enough time or scheduling conflicts that seem to get in the way of seeing everything.  Obviously I need to come back to this area someday.

Thousands Springs

Don’t you just hate to bring your vehicle in for even a simple thing like an oil change?  You know there’s a good chance it will cost more than you expected.  Without going into details, this was one of those times where instead of it being around $50 I had to add a “0” to that number.  Just made me feel crappy all day.

In the evening, after the sun was setting, I walked down to the grassy park setting below all the Rv camp sites and met an older couple with a friendly black cat sitting at a picnic table.  They shared a few locations in the area I might be interested in and I told them a few of my camping stories.  The next day I drove over to Chicken Dinner Road where there are a few sculptures of horses and a stage coach made out of horse shoes.  Really beautiful pieces of art.  I understand there are more pieces out back, but I didn’t want to trespass on someone’s property so I drove off,  passing Drum Stick Lane along this back country farming community.  You know me, I’d neeeever go on private property just to get a good picture.

Distance traveled:  115 miles.

Just an overnight stay in Baker Oregon.  But I did get a chance to go see the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.  Quite a mouthful of a name.  The site, sitting on top of a hill.  The building jutting out over three sides with the most commanding views of the valley far below.  The Oregon trail once ran through this valley carrying wagon train after wagon train of hopeful settlers along a 2,000 mile journey.  Most men women and children walked the entire way.  Their wagons filled to the hilt with essential goods and treasures.  Many eventually being left beside the trail after oxen or wagons broke down and had to be left behind.  You know I’ve followed much of the trail on my journey through Idaho and now Oregon along the Snake river and now the Columbia.  A trail that took the pioneers six months to walk.  Finally reaching their final destinations in Oregon.  What a journey they had to endure.  Then with the coming of the railroad, that same journey would take only a matter of days and would continue the populating of the west.  Interesting to travel along these historical paths.  Occasionally stopping in these museums and interpretive centers to learn more about the history and lives of those pioneers brave enough to make the journey.

Distance traveled:  139 miles

I had planned on staying at one of two Passport America campgrounds in the Hermiston area but one had recently closed and the other was all booked up.  That’s when I went to plan B.  One of the web sites I’ve been using of late is called All Stays Camping and of course you can find a link to it on the left side of the Blog.  It really lists quite a few sites and I’m able to view them on a map which I always like doing.  That’s how I ended up at Hat Rock campground.  A nice family style campground with lots of grass and just enough trees for some shade, though the campsites are quite close together.  And it’s right across from Hat Rock State Park.  The site of a most stunning rock outcropping that Lewis and Clark first saw on their trip down the Columbia River before eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean.  Hat Rock was the first recognizable landmark they described along the Columbia River.  Many of the others sites have since been buried by water with all the dams and lakes created along the river.

I’ll be here for a little over a week getting a bit of a break from heavy touring before heading onto the Columbia Gorge area which is between Oregon and Washington.  I’m hoping to visit with friends who live in Washington State and then begin my trek south for my eventual stay in Arizona again for the winter months.

I’ve recently been evaluating my travels and I do enjoy them at the pace I’ve been going.  Usually staying a week or so in each destination, I’ve come to think that I may do it a bit differently next year.  Picking destinations and staying for a month before heading to the next location and possibly even staying two months in a destination I particularly like.  How this will work out in the future will have to be seen.  It great to realize I can travel at any pace I feel comfortable at.

Now on this last journey heading to Hermiston Oregon, I did stop off at The Wildhorse Casino along the way along hwy 84.  I couldn’t help but think of my sister Dorothy, knowing how she would have enjoyed this Casino.  They had all the usual slot machines, card games and poker rooms and a buffet that was one of the best I’ve eaten at in quite some time.  Even though I know her husband Dave is a great cook, I’m sure they would have both enjoyed the quality of the food.

I must comment on the scenery along hwy 84 which heads north  and eventually west along the eastern boarder of Oregon.  Though the mountains and hills do not appear all that big and I’ve driven along some of the most stunning broad valleys, I’ll suddenly be surrounded by rounded hills, dotted with Ponderosa pines.  The hills become so steep next to the highway that they blot out the sky.  I eventually head over a mountain pass that’s only about 4,500 feet, but the decent has warning signs galore as it’s a continuous 6% grade downhill for six miles.  Quite a distance for trucks and big campers making it essential to use lower gears to slow one down without burning out ones breaks.  I also cross over the 45 Latitude line marking the half way point between the Equator and the North Pole.  Oregon has done a wonderful job of removing all billboards and signs along most of this route, having designated it a special scenic and historical route.  At a couple of points along the way, the views are so expansive, I’m able to see the curvature of the earth.  How cool is that.

Many more photos on PICASA

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