Saturday, July 18, 2015

2015-18 Oregon to Washington State


Traveling along the Oregon Trail

Ontario Oregon
Pendleton Oregon
Sunnyside Washington
Yakima Washington

Idaho, Oregon to Washington all in one week

Campground:  Malheur County Fairground, Ontario.  $10 Passport America rate.  30/50 amp.  Water may not be available at site.  Dump station and water available.   Basic grassy field with back to back power stations.

Malheur County Fairgrounds

Campground:  Wildhorse Casino, near Pendleton Oregon.  $30, full hookup (30 amp).  Good cell phone and tv signal.

views from Casino

Campground:  Emigrant Springs State Park near La Grande Oregon.  It’s right off of the highway 84 so I thought I’d check it out.  I did not stay here.  Sites are higher elevation which would be good in the summer.  Campsites on the inside of the circle loops are not accessible unless you drive your camper around in the opposite direction of the one way loop.  Outer sites are mostly all reserve-able.  All sites are heavily treed (large) and many of the sites are narrow.  Mostly paved back in sites.  I would not consider sites suitable to big rigs.

Campground:  Sunnyside Rv Park.  Sunnyside Washington.  $15 Passport America rate.  Full hookup.  Small park, only a few sites available currently as many sites have been leased for a one year period by traveling workers.  The owners have purchased more land and plan on installing a swimming pool and more sites that will be much larger.  Nice little park.

Distance traveled:  183 miles

I left Twin Falls with it’s cooler temperatures and on and off rain even with thunder and lighting last night.  I continue my trek on hwy 84.  The scenery changes once again.  Twin Falls with it’s green lawns, lots of trees and rivers and streams flowing at full capacity is overtaken by dry plains except for the irrigated circle farms.  It’s flat land with little to excite the eyes and imagination.

A little over three and a half hours later and I’ve entered the eastern side of Oregon and a town called Ontario for the night.  I’m attempting to get to the Olympia Peninsula to visit with friends Sandy and Erick and Tom and Christine.  Two wonderful couples I’ve met through my winter stays at Desert Trails. And who knows there are a few others out there in the hinterlands as well.

Fairgrounds stadium , I liked this shot

a rest stop

Distance traveled:   149 miles

The eastern side of Oregon has some wonderfully dramatic mountain ranges that are weathered to rounded soft looking peaks.  The first 100 miles those rounded mountain ranges are covered in a short grass that has turned golden and gives the mountains an even softer look to them.  Coming closer to Mount Emily, the road rises in elevation and wonderful pine forests fill out the mountainous scenery.

Yikkes, I haven’t had this happen before. Close but never this close.  My fuel gauge was showing that I was getting pretty low on fuel.  How low, about an 1/8th of a tank remaining.  As I began a six mile 6% grade decent the yellow light came on for the first time ever, letting me know I was getting low on fuel.  Near the end the decent…. Which at least if I ran out of fuel I was going down hill, ehh…. the on board message center said, “you are getting very low on fuel“.  No kidding…. Whew, I made it to the exit at the bottom of the mountain pass and with barely a vapor of fumes left in the fuel tank I drove into the gas station.

The gas station is part of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Wild-horse Casino and Rv park are right next door.  And that will be my stop for the afternoon/evening.  I think I’ve had enough excitement for one evening.

Well actually I did drive into Pendelton where I had to go to the Pendelton wool factory and purchased a great Native American inspired blanket.  Something I've wanted for quite some time.

Distance Traveled:  126 miles.  Sunnyside Washington

A short drive today as I continue heading towards the Olympia Peninsula and a visit with a few friends in the area.

Yakima Washington.  What a name.  I love it.  Yakima.

Yakima has a number of tourist attractions but today I wanted to concentrate on just two.  The first is the Yakima Indian Painted Rocks.  I was able to get GPS directions quite easily, but unfortunately, because of past vandalism, the site has been closed off to tourists.  I still tried to see the area but was not able to actually see the pictographs.  A shame, but I guess the Internet information and pictures will have to do.

in search of Indian paintings

many rivers in the area which help the local farmers

The second thing I wanted to see in the area is the Yakima Electric Railway Museum and trolley.  Got there a bit early and was able to tour the electric generating plant and then take the first trolley tour of the day.  The power plant produced A/C current and was then converted to D/C power for use on the trolley lines.  The longest part of the trolley rails were still in use starting in 1907 up until 1985 and went from Yakima to Selah eight miles away.  It served as transport for all the fruit orchards as well as passenger service.  Unfortunately the rails were torn up shortly after it was discontinued, as that would have made for a great trolley ride and would have been the longest one in the U.S.  The actual use as a freight hauler is what kept it in service for so long.

a short one mile ride

The actual trolley ride in town is a bit of a disappointment traveling only about a mile and in that the conductor stopped at the end of each block and gave a lecture or permitted the passengers to “run” the trolley which took forever.  The best part of the whole thing was being able to go into the trolley warehouse where there are three more trolleys, and two electric train engines from the earliest ones ever made.  Lots of history as the use of trolleys across the U.S. had a relatively short life what with the development of Fords Model A and Model T cars.

the storage barn

the 2nd electric train ever built

On the way back from Yakima I took a detour to see the Teapot Dome gas station.  Built back in 1922 as a memorial to the Teapot Dome oil scandal during President Harding’s tenure in office.  He made it possible for two oil titans to secure rights to the oil without competition.  When found out, the supreme court ruled against the transaction, Harding eventually died in office, possibly due to the scandal.  This was also an era when whimsical buildings were built to entice the traveler to stop and purchase gas or other items.  What a great little building.  Wish they’d build more stuff like this today.

the Tea Pot Dome  gas station

this area is noted for growing grapes/wine fruit trees and Hops
for making beer

lots of fruits and vegetables gown in the area
a local paper lists all the farms and what is in season for purchase

more pictures on PICASA


walterterry said...

There is no way that the Doug I know and love would ever pay $30/night for an Rv site - and at an Indian casino to boot!! :0)

Abraham Yates said...

That was a close call with the fuel. That could have left you stuck in the middle of the road, with a long stretch to the nearest pump. At least it was enough to drive you right into a gas station. Anyway, thank you for sharing this leg of your trip with us. It seems amazing, and quite educational. Cheers!

Abraham Yates @ Apache Oil Company