Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 27 - Iowa through Illinois to Indiana

June 27 - Iowa through Illinois to Indiana

Travel day - after looking for fossils at Devonian Fossil Gorge in the Coralville Corps of Engineers Park. None seen and fortunately the dam held while we were parked
in front of and under it.

I-80 East over the Mississippi River Bridge is closed for inspection and repair. Seems there were weak structural members and per internet, no idea of when it will be repaired and reopened. We did take I-80 from Iowa City to 280 around Davenport and then I-74 to get Peoria and red road Route 24. This route meanders through Illinois corn and soy bean fields, through myriad tiny towns and great views of America at its small town best. We plan to stay on Route 24 as long as possible as it cuts east between I-80 and I-74/I-70/ Slower? of course but a lot more scenic and almost no truck traffic. Gets pretty tense traveling in and around herds of 18 wheelers on the interstates and not much to see. Might get back on I-80 to cross Pennsylvania but not decided yet.

1,120 miles to go to home. Wonder what adventures lie between here and there?

Friday, June 26, 2009

June 25 Nebraska and June 26 Iowa

June 25 - Travel day through Nebraska Heat

Up on the road really early to try to air out the cow manure smell from the truck before the day's heat hit. Think I'm getting wimpy in my older age. Took I-76 to I-80to meet friends, one of the few interstate roads on this journey.

Today was a pure travel day other than the joy of meeting up with fellow TCers TinCanSailor and SailorsMate in Paxton, Nebraska. They were heading west from MA, we were heading east and with the miracle of GPS and cell phones we met up. We traded places to go and see and I gave Toni a lot of the brochures we had collected along the way. This is their first long trip since retirement and the TC is proving perfect for what they want to do and where they want to go. Joe and Ron did a lot of looking over each other's TCs to see that everything was working well. The seal in our toilet is slowly leaking out flush water from the bowl and no amount of cleaning will stop it. Doesn't happen all the time but enough that we'll replace the seal or ?? when we get home. They had a great time discussing tires and rims while Toni and I drank a lot of water.

Nebraska is right in the middle of the Breadbasket of America. Miles and miles and endless miles of corn, hay, and other foods we couldn't identify.

And then there are the cattle! Missed getting a photo of the main part of this stockyard since we didn't want to open the window. Got the "tail" end. We do love a good steak and can appreciate a bit more the effort to get it to us.

Tonight we are in a superb Nebraska state park, Eugene Mahoney State Park in Ashland, NE. Big trees, paved pad with manicured grass around it, full utilities plus wi-fi for $19 plus a $4 park entry fee. To get air conditioner tonight, we'd probably have paid twice that. TC when we opened it up looked like this -

It's hard to find an out of the way, safe place to run a portable generator all night so we chose to go for power. We even went over to the Lodge and had the buffet for dinner. US Air Force SAC museum is at the park entry so we'll go through there before leaving Nebraska tomorrow headed into Iowa.

June 26 - Iowa

Travel day in heat but overcast so it only got to 85F instead of 98F. We stay on red roads as much as possible but due to construction had to get travel I-80 a bit today.
The thundering 18 wheelers just get a bit too much after awhile.

There are hundreds of these huge windmills lined up in rows like a checkerboard. They
are adding even more as we saw a lot of the big vanes on flatbeds once we had to get back on I-80 for a bit. Many of the smaller country roads are being repaired. Thanks to Delorme GPS software we usually can figure out an easy way around the detours.

We stopped in Newton, Iowa at the Maytag Blue Cheese Farm.

Never had any idea of how blue cheese was made. We watched a film on the process and then took a tour of this immaculate small facility where all the employees looked like they were contented like the 200 head of Guernsey cows that provide the milk. happy people, great samples and we left with Havarti, Munster, and of course - blue cheese. This blue is nothing like what you can get in a grocery store. Smooth, creamy
and strong but not overpowering.

Tonight we are in the Corps of Engineers campground at Coralville Lake, Linder Point. Another great bargain at $8.00 with the old geezer pass as Joe calls his Golden Age access pass to federal facilities. Quiet, clean, electricity for the AC (86F is still hot) and some beautiful trails we walked down to the lake. Tomorrow we will go see the Devonian Fossil Gorge and then head further east. Looks like we are headed home and the total wandering has stopped. We'll wander a bit more but the line home is getting straighter.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 24 - Rocky Mountain National Park

June 24 - Rocky Mountain National Park

Today was a mountain and elk day combined. This morning at the North Fork Campground in the NFS we were awakened by bugling elk. Cool! From where we were in the White Mountain National Forest to Yampa, CO was 50 miles of gravel road. This road was in
better shape than a lot of interstate highways we've been on. Saw several small
groups of elk and a lot of beautiful scenery. Elk are huge animals and move so
gracefully and quickly. Their dark brown color blends pretty well with the big trees
so once they run out of the meadows, it's hard to spot them.

From Yampa we went to Grand Lake via Routes 40 and 34 into the Rocky Mountain
National Park. You can see the Rockies from quite a ways away and they were just
glowing with snow on the top in the bright sunshine. Along the way, we saw many
miles of dead lodge pole pines with some new growth of trees around them and between
the groves of aspen. A ranger told us the dead trees were from the pine bark beetle.
There hasn't been a big fire in RMNP since the 1880s and the older trees get stressed
and infested. Fire normally controls these beetles. The park service no longer tries
to prevent forest fires as fire is a natural pattern of renewal in the forests. One
day this corner of Colorado is going to be ablaze. Some of the trees are being cut
and used but no way could you ever remove them all. You can see the dead pines behind
this elk.

Just as we entered the park there was an "elk jam", a traffic jam caused by people
stopping in the middle of the road to view a herd of elk. Managed to get through the
crowd and then had the road to ourselves for a long time. Up and up and UP we went,
finally maxing out at 12,100 feet. Many, many 15mph U turn curves with no drop off
rails up there and we took it slow and steady.

Hated to leave this park and the scenery but finally drove out through Estes Park and
back to Route 34 over to Fort Morgan. Look at this "boring" road we travel led out of
Estes Park.

We were headed for Fort Morgan town park which has spots for RVs with electricity for
a donation. For some reason it just didn't feel "safe" so we moved on in search of a
better spot - and ended up with our first Walmart (and last?)

For those of you who have never been by a cattle yard there is no way to describe the
smell. Think of an open septic syst We'd planned on staying in the Fort Morem in 90F
heat and you might have a clue. If you like beef, be grateful to these cattlemen but
hold your breath. The old romantic image of cowboys out on the pristine range has
given way to more commercial feeding in the lots. Last night was our first Walmart
camp over and we had to move the truck during the night as an empty cattle hauler 18
wheeler came in to park nearby.

Mike T - the refrigerator thermocouple didn't soot up even at over 12,000 feet.
Fridge is working great.

Tomorrow we head on east to Kearney, Nebraska and a museum on pioneer life. We're
trying to catch up with TinCanSailor and Sailorsmate who were in North Platte. Two
TCs from New England passing east/west should be able to catch up with each other
with cell phones and GPS right?

p.s. Writing this June 25 as we drive down I-76 towards a meet up with our TC
friends. My eyes are actually watering from the cattle poop smell.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June 23 Provo to Flat Tops Scenic Byway, CO

June 23 Provo to Flat Tops Scenic Byway, CO

Mostly a travel day with several stops to see dinosaur digs and take a lot of back roads and scenic byways.

Dinosaur National Monument in Jensen, UT had few exhibits and no park maps available. They explained that to get up into the campgrounds near the Green River we would have to have a "high clearance" vehicle but they couldn't explain what that meant. We argued a bit but finally wandered on down to Dinosaur, CO where they also had no park maps (budget cuts?) and very few exhibits. We started up the 30 mile trail into the Green River but quickly turned back as the road was washboard and not a lot of fun. Not knowing exactly where we would end up and having been to a lot of dinosaur digs last year in Utah, we decided to forge onward. Don't mind not knowing where I'm going but would like some sort of activity at the end.

We hit the back county Roads 61 and 64 towards Meeker, CO. Amazing amount of mining and natural gas trucks use these tiny back roads.

They are tandem so we moved over a lot like we do in Maine for the logging trucks. The White River runs along this valley and it has ranches, hay fields and a lot of orchards right beside the red rocks we associate with desert and high country. Altitude was mostly around 6500 feet all day.

Stopped in Meeker to look at the town park for an overnight. Just not inviting when those high mountains kept calling with the river and elk and birds. Kept going into the Flat Tops Trail National Forest and State of Colorado Scenic Byway (county road 8), going by even bigger ranches, huge log homes up on the sides of the mountains and a lot of elk grazing in the fields and by the roadside.

We're camped in North Fork unit of the NFS. About 35 sites and there is only a tent here other than us. The aspens around us are stark white and the firs make a deep green contrast. No sound except for the birds and leaves rustling. Can sit outside without being drenched in bug spray for a change.

Tomorrow we head on towards Rocky Mountain National Park.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 21 Tioga Pass CA and June 22 Provo UT

June 21 - Summer Solstice and Tioga Pass

We finally found one of the most scenic, fun to drive roads in the USA. If you are ever near Yosemite, you have to make the Tioga Pass run. We saw more TCs on this road
than any other yet. Many were pulling boats, many had kayaks and a lot had people
beside them putting on mountain climbing gear. All the small primitive campgrounds in
this area were full.

Left Yosemite early to avoid most of the incoming tourists (like we aren't?) and
headed up Route 41 to route 120 which is called Tioga Pass. What an incredible ride.
You climb from the water falls and domes of Yosemite and go up into Sequoia trees
along snow covered trails. As you ascend, the road gets steeper and twistier but
there are good pull out spots all along to let faster vehicles go by. We stopped for
many photos and walks up into the forests.

Tuolomne Meadows was a high open meadow nestled in the center of miles of molten rock that looked like waves on the sand. Tenaya Lake was so crystal clear you could see the bottom for a long way out. It was freezing cold water as there is still lots of snow up on the peaks and in shadowed valleys.

All good roads eventually end and Tioga did as we came out to Lee Vining CA and some
much needed diesel. $3.19 a gallon but we were sucking fumes so needed it. Stopped
for lunch at Mono Lake Tufa Reserve -Tufa not Tofu. Tufa are fresh water vents that
have petrified and left as rock formations when the level of Mono Lake was dropped.

At Benton we left Route 120 and started off on Route 6. This dead straight road goes
through totally uninhabited country. Most of the land is semi-desert, open cattle
range and home to herds of horses. We assumed the horses were wild since this is BLM
land. At one point, we went 25 miles before a car came the other way. We were headed
to Tonapah to a free campsite but Joe felt Tonapah was the model for an Apocolypse
movie so we wandered on. It was close to a wrecked ghost town and not very inviting

Humbolt National Forest, Ward Mountain just south of Ely, NV was our stopping place
for the night. There were only two other campers in this entire park, beautiful place
with small twisted cedars and many lizards. As we were setting up for the evening, we
noticed the check light on the refrigerator was on and ,yes, it was not working.
Since we read RV.NET and had seen others have this problem, we knew it was probably
associated with being over 10,000 feet. Do you think we could get it lit? No way.
Good friend Mike Tassinari was home, cell phone worked, and Mike talked us through
lightly sandpapering the thermocouple. Tiny piece of metal stuck way in the far
almost unreachable corner of the refrigerator mechinicism but finally got it cleaned
and the frig lit off well on propane. Thanks again Mikeeee. We owe you a case of
Klondike Bars. Since we are headed even higher in altitude in the Rocky Mountain
National Park, good trick to know.

Awesome trip so far, so much to see and walk through. We aren't really campers, we
are travellers and what a country to travel through. Tomorrow we head up near Provo
and then cut east to the Rockies.

June 22 - NV to Provo, UT

Today was a travel day and a day to catch up on laundry, groceries and cleaning up the exterior of the TC. A botanist would have been in love with the layers of bugs on the nosecone - but all gone now. We're now beside the Provo River in Provo Lake Park enjoying a beautiful sunset and a steak dinner. Time to get a new grill when we get home. This one is falling apart!

We did stop along Route 6 coming from Nevada into Utah to see several old mines and the equipment that was left behind. A lot of tiny towns on this route have dried up and just left carcasses behind of what was once a pretty busy town.

Also stopped at the Baker Archeological Dig which is an excavation of a Freemont Indian village. When you look around from where the wall outlines are, you realize how exposed to the elements and animals these people were.

Provo is a big city and we are anxious to get back into the back roads again tomorrow. We missed some of the dinosaur museum last year when we were in Utah, so are going to try to catch them this time.

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 19 - Jackson, CA to Yosemite National Park

June 19 - Jackson, CA to Yosemite National Park

Today was a rock and roll day. California Route 49 is a real treasure for those of
you who like tight curves, steep ups and downs and who don't get carsick. It is a
fascinating road with a lot of pullouts with markers of historic places and events,
beautiful sights out over ranch country and tiny towns all along the way. There are
vast stretches where there is absolutely nothing but the road in front of you and
steep hills, dropoffs and a few cattle - no people or vehicles. We went through San
Andreas hoping for some signage to the fault line if this is actually where the San
Andreas Fault gets its name from. I know the fault line is actually visible in parts
of CA and was hoping to see it. At least it didn't split open in front of us.

In several small towns, we stopped and walked the old main streets, enjoying the
early frontier architecture and watching all the river rafters stock up on supplies.
This is big business in the small towns all along these rough, small rivers. I kept
expecting to see kayaks but mostly there were the large rubber rafts.

Stopped in Mariposa and walked that town, finding Castillo's Mexican Restaurant for
lunch. At last - great food and what we think was authentic flavoring. Maine is not
exactly a hot bed for Mexican food, flavors there being pretty bland and all tasting
the same. This was not bland and definitely not flat. My tongue is still tingling
from the salsa.

We had not planned on going to Yosemite National Park and therefore didn't make reservations. Of course all campgrounds in Yosemite are full so we found camp space
in Mariposa. Off comes the Host, first time since we left Maine.

An audience gathered of course to see how the truck camper came off. Always fun to
explain the fastguns, legs, etc. Off we go in the naked F350 to Bridalveil Falls and
Glacier Point. The Ford feels like a sports car without the TC weight.

Prior to El Portal, a landslide had totally closed the road and gone out halfway
across the Merced River. Two temporary bridges make a detour around the slide. IT's
going to be a long, long time before the original road is open if ever. The rockslide
went half way up the mountain like part of the side of the mountain had just

Along the way to Yosemite, there are many rock overhangs. No signs of RV debris so
they must be tall and wide enough.

Bridalveil Falls is the first real glimpse you get of what Yosemite is about and it
is awesome. After only three circles in the small parking lot, we finally squeezed in
a legal space as the park ranger was busy writing tickets for the idiots who had
parked everywhere. We must have heard a dozen different languages walking up to the
view point but once there, everyone sort of falls silent as they look.

We decided to go up to Glacier Point today and save the valley floor for tomorrow.
Weather was 90F as we entered the park and 63F up at Glacier Point. No way to
describe the view all along the way and up at the end of the 16 mile dead end road.

Met a Caribou TC couple from Bend, OR who really want a Host and asked us a lot of
questions. Shame we were TCless. Saw many pop up TCs and way, way too many of those
Rent-an-RVs driven by people who probably have never even driven a pickup. Scary when
you are looking down the side of a cliff and see one of those things barreling
towards you over the middle line. I kept thinking of Robin Williams and the movie "RV". Shudder.

Great day. We are both very tired from a lot of intense driving, town walking and a
couple of the smaller trails up at Glacier Point. This view was all along our walks.

Tomorrow Yosemite Valley floor and then we will turn eastward.

June 20 - Yosemite Valley

Today we planned on playing tourist and taking a guided tour of the part of Yosemite
Valley that you cannot drive into. Wrong!!! We had to pick this weekend to come to
Yosemite. It was "Free Weekend" with no entrance fees so of course there were traffic
jams, no parking, and a lot of very overworked rangers playing traffic cop. We missed
a two hour tour by one seat - meaning there was one left rather than two but it was
okay because by then we were on edge from all the people. Isn't that the problem with
being a TCer? You get so used to the back roads, out of the way places, that if you
encounter crowds, it's a bit of a bother.

We did finally find a parking place in a far off lot (truck only, not TC loaded) and
took the shuttle bus over to the Visitor Center. We wanted to see the Ansel Adams
exhibit (fantastic) and watch the 20 minute film on how the park was formed. Both
were excellent but by then, the elbow to elbow crowd was enough. Shuttle buses were
packed so walked back to the truck and left.

Fortunately we were able to find a parking space along several of the open meadows
and walk there on the paths and boardwalks. We also watched climbers going up El
Capitan through our binoculars. Oh to be young and fearless?

Got a good photo today of the landslide over Route 140.

Went into Mariposa and walked the street(s) again going into a lot of the small
shops. So many of the small towns have vacant buildings, businesses and houses.
Recession is hitting hard in the tourist areas. Maybe that is why Yosemite was so
busy today. Free means a lot to a family.

The TC is loaded on again (first try!), fridge has some Tecate Beer cooling and we
are going over the next leg of our trip. We are going east on Route 120 which
is the Tioga Pass Road. A ranger today gave us some good places to take off this road
for incredible views. I'll start a new message group on going east in hopes of
picking up more places that have to be seen and roads that have to be driven.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June 17 and 18 - Redwoods to Whiskeytown Lake to Jackson, CA

June 17 and 18 - Redwoods to Whiskeytown Lake to Jackson, CA

Long day today but worth the time. After spending more time walking in Jedediah Smith Redwoods we headed south on Route 101, the Redwood Highway, to intersect with the Newton Drury Scenic Road. We had stopped in Klamath at a ranger station to clarify the meaning of "no trailers on this road". No one there and the three rangers took a lot of time explaining why no trailers on unmaintained pothole back roads. They did point out several they felt the TC could handle without rocking so much it tore the cabinets out of the wall. Someone recently tried to sue the NFS for rough roads, hopefully not a TCer.

Newton Drury road goes right through a redwood forest for miles with many turnouts and trails to walk. We were mostly all alone walking through these giants, with only bird calls and the sound of dripping water around us.

Stoppepd and saw the biggest redwood named Big Tree - Diameter 21 1/2 feet, 304 feet tall and 1500 years old. Lunch was enjoyed while watching a herd of elk grazing.

Back on Route 101 we drove just about straight up to the Lady Bird Johnson redwood area. I think the grade was about 15% or so it felt and no good place to park at the top so we just pulled into a grass area and took a short walk.

Beaches everywhere on 101 as we continued south. We really enjoyed the sand at Clam Beach since it was the closest we'd seen to Northeastern sand beaches. No we didn't try to dig clams.

Finally cut east headed in the general direction of Yosemite. I'd already called and there are no reservations to be had there except first come but we are going to try it anyway. Route 299 is another mountain, twisty, turny, up, down, sideways road with log trucks and terrified drivers. Again, fabulous scenery but if you get carsick, don't go there. Not many places to cut east/west in northern CA which is similar to ME/NH/VT. Took hours to go from Blue Lake to just before Whiskeyville. We're "camped" or should I say parked in the Oak Creek National campground RV section. It consists of nine spots lined out on the edge of a huge paved parking lot where the boaters put their trucks and boat trailers. Hey - it was $7.00, we couldn't have driven any further and it's clean and quiet. Joe just finished cooking a steak and all is right with the world.

Tomorrow, we head towards Yosemite.

June 18 - Whiskeytown to Jackson, CA

Did you all hear me screaming today? Oh Reddog1, you live in this general area. How on earth do you travel these roads all the time. These are the tightest, steepest, closest together curves we've traveled in almost 5,500 miles.

First group came south of Auburn, CA on Route 49/193. If we were to get carsick this would have done it. However..... once we got on Route 89 there were a series that made Route 49 look like a straight away. Hats off to any of you who travel these roads as a commute.

Today was a travel day, planned as such. We are headed to Yosemite and have reservations for Friday and Saturday night. Figured we'd get a good part of the mileage done today.

Now I can understand why so much of CA burns often. All along our route today we saw vast fields of dry grass that had to be knee high.

Folks we talked to said they hadn't had a bad grass fire for 30 years, that most of the big fires are south of here. No idea how a fire here would ever be stopped as the dry grass goes for endless miles.

Tonight we splurged especially after our $7 asphalt campsite last night. We are in "Jackson Rancheria RV Park" in Jackson, CA. Plush, not expensive but we are the only TC here. Lots of those huge bus sizes, 5th wheels and a few travel trailers. The RV Park has a mandated black water dump as you enter. They do it and give you a bio friendly black tank treatment bottle. We're going to take the shuttle bus over to the casino and watch people throw money away. Good chance to catch up on TC chores and, since it is 94F degrees, we're going to enjoy the electricity tonight with AC.

Tomorrow - on to Yosemite where we will take the TC off and enjoy exploring for a couple of days.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 16 - Crater Lake and redwoods

June 16 Crater Lake to the Redwoods

We'd hoped to get into some of the Oregon lava fields around Bend but for budget
reasons, the state has some parks closed Monday and Tuesday. Oh well!

As we got closer and closer to Crater Lake the skies started to clear and the sun peaked through. Up you go, up to 7,500 feet, on roads that still are banked with 6-8'
of snow. Suddenly the first pull over appears and there it is.

If you haven't been there, words just won't work since the colors, shape and reflections don't translate well in photos. The lake is in a perfect bowl created once the volcano erupted and then collapsed. The rim is even so no rain water and snow melt cascade out. Deepest lake in the US and the most wondrous shade of turquoise blue that changes with the light. Since we had boots we walked out to some
of the points off the turnouts and just gawked. The mosquitos were thick and very
hungry but TCers carry bug spray.

We visited the Steel Visitor Center and watched a short film on how this area was
saved and made a national park. The other 3 minute film was showing how the park
service clears 20+ feet of snow from the roads. Nerves of steel those plow drivers
have as there is nothing but sheer drop offs in many places. We hugged the center
line a lot to keep away from edges.

Took Route 62 out of the park. Something must have happened on the tip of the north
road because as we approached it a park service person was putting up road closed
signs. We did get about 2/3 of the way around and it was well worth the time.

When we entered California, we had to stop for an "Agriculture Inspection Station" -
a first for us. Very polite but wanting to know each and every piece of vegetable and
fruit on board. Since I couldn't remember exactly, we invited him in to look himself.
I knew I had avocados, cherries, lettuce, etc all bought in Oregon. We left without
the avocados. He showed us the white scale on the avocados which he said was insect
eggs ready to hatch. California is where a lot of our produce comes from so no
problem having him put our fruits in the incinerator. He also looked all under the
truck for signs of gypsy moths.

Route 62 led to Route 199 and one of the more twisting, turning roads we've been on.
If you get carsick, don't take this road. We are in the Jedediah Smith Redwood State
Park, last place available for the night. We'll take a lot of the trails and then
head down the coast to a coastal redwood park.

Monday, June 15, 2009

June 14 and 15 - Cape Perpetua to Bend Oregon

June 14 - Cape Perpetua, Florence and Eugene, OR

Left South Beach campground early and headed down the coast through more summer tourist towns. Fortunately we persisted, got some glimpses of the ocean, stopped at a lot of state park pull offs and walked down the cliffs and out on the beaches. Along the way there are turnouts to see lighthouses and a beach covered in seals or sea lions. Couldn't get close enough to see and didn't feel like swimming over for a visit.

The path did finally turn back to wildness and we stopped at Devil's Churn to walk down and see the waves crash into the cleft in the cliff.

We finally rolled into Cape Perpetua. What a glorious place that is. It was exactly what we thought the coast of Oregon would be. We talked at length to two volunteer rangers and then to a fellow TCer who stopped to chat. They gave us good advice on some back roads to take to get up top of Perpetua for views which often include passing whales - but not that day. Years ago, I had cut out an article on Cape Perpetua and kept it in a folder of places I really wanted to see. Now I have and it was worth the drive to get there. We lingered a long time walking the trails, watching the waves and talking to the rangers.

Lunched with an internet knitter friend Junieanne in Florence at an excellent restaurant, Bridgewater Fisheries. Hard to beat a lunch of grilled oysters and shrimp. One of our main purposes in this trip was to go to Eugene and visit relatives I haven't seen in years. Seeing the two woman cousins was just like seeing them yesterday even though it had been 50 years. We're not that old are we? We camped in their yard and had a lot of fun remembering our youth and catching up on the years in between. They grow all their on veggies and fruit and it is almost a full time job. Grilled salmon, salad greens just picked and roasted garlic on home made bread!! Great visit especially since it was day before my aunt/uncle's 63 wedding anniversary. The TC was warm and snug during a big rainstorm in the evening. Fun to carry your own house with you.

June 15 - Eugene to Bend OR

Today we got to see more of Oregon's waterfalls, mountains and landscape variety. Fresh picked strawberries for breakfast and off we went headed east from Eugene towards Bend. The back road, Route 242 from MacKenzie Bridge to Sisters, is still closed due to snow. We stayed on 126 up through the Willamette National Forest beside Mount Washington. We walked from Koosah Falls to Sahalie Falls and both were roaring.

When trudged uphill back to the camper and there was a fellow looking under the F350 truck at the frame mounted Torklifts. He was pretty embarrassed but said he wanted a TC and didn't know how they were attached. Joe and he had a great time going over all the details while I showed the rest of his group inside the Host. They left in their fifth wheel with two Host brochures and lots of photos of our rig. They kept saying how they could not get into a lot of places and that the TC was how to get into their fishing holes.

Sisters, OR was a suprise as it looked like an old west town. Lots of empty spaces to park on the main road but signs said nothing could be parked there that was taller than 6.5 feet tall. I kept looking up at the snow covered peaks looming over Sisters and thought of Mount Saint Helens and its big bang. Hope not!

Smith Rocks State Park was hard to find as the signage could have been a lot better but good old DeLorme mapping got us there. We walked the rim opposite the monoliths and watched rock climbers free climbing. Scary! No, we did not drive the TC up this road at Smith Rocks. Looked more like a Whazoo Trail where he would follow the horseback riders using it.

Stopped at Host Industries to pick up some TC brochures since we give so many of them
out. Mark gave us a quick tour of the plant and we got to see a kitchen unit being installed in a camper. We also met a CA couple who had just picked up their custom built Host Everest. They had about every extra possible and it was one serious TC. Extra batteries, two solar panels, outside spotlights, extra wardrobe spaces, all on a F350 with G rated 19" tires. They suggested LaPine State Park as a good place to stay for the evening and that's where we are.

Tomorrow we head out to Crater Lake and then redwoods somewhere in CA.