Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

May 1 - 3 Ely, NV to Mount Hood, OR

May 1 and 2 Ely, NV to Hagerman, ID
May 2 Hagerman, ID to La Grande, OR

These were almost purely travel days. Route 93 out of Ely, NV is one of the most gorgeous 250 miles of country we have ever travelled. It is also one of the least travelled. Two lane, narrow, no shoulders, drop offs into the desert, fields or whatever, it is not a road to nod off on.

If you have not driven the roads in the west it is impossible to explain just how vast this land is.

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The views on each side into vast mountain ranges are just like a travel movie. It wasn’t windy for the first time in a long time and the temps were mid 50s. There was one mountain named “Hole in the Wall Mountain” that was like a beacon in the sun. We talked so often about the brave people who walked from the east coast and settled this land. Sooner or later they got tired and stopped and settled into these ranches, farms and small communities. We were reminded often that the Mormons had a great deal to do with this land as most tiny towns have huge churches.

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We were headed to Hagerman, ID to visit the Hagerman Horse fossils, a National Monument. It is one of the few fossil beds ever found of prehistoric American horses. Don’t know about the rest of you but there are days that end on the “cranky” side just from the amount of driving. We were shooting for a state park in Idaho that ended up being a day use only area. Finally found a resting place by the Snake River which seemed pretty high. Later another camper pulled in who was a local. She told us the fossils had been moved to a museum and nothing left to view but signs! AARRGGG. We decided to skip it. These falls were across the Snake from where we were camped and we could hear them all night long.

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May 2 – Hagerman, ID to La Grande, OR

Route 93 continues north and we stayed on it until Route 20 headed over to the Craters of the Moon National Monument.

We always stop at the visitor center first to pick up the National Park brochure. I’ve got quite a collection and often refer to them. The rangers were particularly chatty and we found that there aren’t many visitors this time of year. Worked well for us as later we were able to walk the paths into the lava fields and climb up to the spatter cones alone. The photos don’t show the huge area of lava or the different types. Here is ripple lava, pillow like lava and a Chalet in lava.

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We did NOT hike the 1.8 mile trail as first it was covered in snow and secondly 28% of the trail was from 8 to 62% grade. Yikes!

You can stand on the remains of one volcano and look out on the horizon to another large volcano mountain cone that hasn’t self destructed yet. I thought of those who live in Seattle.

I had many of Idaho’s Scenic Roads marked on my map to explore. There is the Sawtooth, Ponderosa Pines, and Wildlife Canyon loops reached from Craters of the Moon up through Arco. Looking up at those huge mountains covered in snow, we decided to leave that for a summer trip in the future.

We drove Route 20 to I-84 to La Grange, OR. It felt odd to be on a highway again with the heavy truck traffic. I wish we had taken the time to plan ahead and try to meet up with DJ and others who live in the Boise area but we really have no idea of where we will be when. Only appointment the whole trip is one to go see the Chalet factory. We Took route 20 to I-84 through Boise to La Grange, OR. It felt odd to be on a highway again with the heavy truck traffic. We hit a rain storm coming through the mountains around North Powder. There are some seriously long upgrades in this area and mileage dropped like a rock. We gained over 2000+ feet. How the road crews even find this road in winter takes a lot of planning. Warnings on mandatory use of chains are posted often with pull outs to put chains on.

Tomorrow we’ll head towards Albany, OR for our appointment with Chalet. After that, we’ll make the decision on Alaska or not and which way to roam.

May 3 – Over the Oregon Trail to Chalet RV


We left Camp Denny’s after being given permission to stay in the lot overnight. Joe foraged in the morning and came back to the camper with hot scrambled eggs and coffee. We had the whole camp to ourselves (smile).

Can you imagine the mental and physical stamina it must have taken to trek the Oregon Trail? Here’s a more modern road shown covering the same path – uphill, against a head wind at 3700 feet and still climbing. It’s hard enough fighting the wind in a TC knowing the power of a diesel engine behind you. Hats off to those early pioneers. Once you finish the climb there is a six mile 6% drop to a huge valley.

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As you approach the Columbia Gorge you start to see windmills. Oregon must be very dedicated to wind power as these windmill farms continue for probably 30-40 miles all along the river on both sides. They were really churning as the wind through this area is high. Again today we lost mileage as it was coming straight at up. River was running to the sea, wind was coming inland and the waves were impressive. Had to think of the Lewis and Clark expedition who fought their way to the sea down this river. Today it is probably tamer with two dams we passed but it’s still pretty wild. Stopped for diesel and a fellow told us they’d sold lots of ice to fishermen packing down salmon.

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We left I-84 finally and headed off on the Mount Hood Scenic Byway which skirts the base of the mountain. You see glimpses of it from afar, especially when the top is in clouds which I bet is often. The mountain stands alone and is enormous, probably making its own weather system. There were early glimpses of it through the fruit trees which were all in bud.

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Then suddenly there it was.

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By the time we had circled the mountain, the weather on the southwest side had changed and it was both snowing and sending up ground fog. Shades of New England

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We’re now “camped” at Chalet RV overnight. Tomorrow we’ll go over a few minor issues and give them some ideas we’ve had on the design, then head for the Oregon coast and a visit with relatives.

1 comment:

PurpleSage said...

As always, Anne, your pictures are tremendous!