Tag Archives: state park

Christmas Camping

Christmas obligations are met and it’s time to go camping!  Our fun Christmas campers are starting to join us at Tillicum Campground!

Did you know that you can use your campground receipt or car pass in any of the Day Use areas and Waysides; whether State Parks or National Forest?  If your receipt is required on your site post, ask the Host for a Car Pass.

We stopped in to take some photos at Governor Patterson State Park this afternoon.

Gov Patterson State Park-Park Bench
Park Bench

There are SO many great waysides on the Oregon coast.  Some are State Parks and some are National Forest.  Gov Patterson State Park has a restroom but not all of them do.

Pathways to the Beach
Pathways to the Beach

They usually provide access to the beach.  This one has several short paths over a small sand dune.  Some require a fee to park if you do not display your annual pass.

Gov Patterson looking south
Looking South

There’s a wide, sandy, beach for walking.  Driftwood builds up after the Alsea River floods.  High seas can move it all away with just a couple high tides.

Driftwood on Gov Patterson SP Beach
Looking north to Alsea Bay

Whether a State Park or National Forest, you can use any of the Day Use passes instead of paying the $5-$6 parking fee.

Here’s more info on the Day Use passes available for use on the Oregon coast:

Recreation Passes & Permits

Hhhmm – now there’s something worthwhile to spend that Christmas money on!

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Alamo Lake State Park, near Wenden, AZ

We had a really clear sunset last night.  The colors reflecting off the cliffs were incredible!
River Island SP Sunset
River Island SP Sunset

 This is a golf course near Parker, along the River Rd.  Looks like you could be a pretty crummy golfer and the ball would just roll back down the hill back onto the green. 🙂

Golf Course on the Parker Strip
Golf Course on the Parker Strip

We decided to see what Alamo Lake State Park looks like so we packed up camp.  We’ll head south on Hwy 95 to Parker, turn east on Hwy 72 until we hit Hwy 60.  Then we’ll turn left at Wenden, AZ.  It’s a couple hours drive by that route.

Saguaro Cactus
Saguaro Cactus

These Saguaro cacti were few and far between until we started climbing in elevation.  Some kinds of birds nest in those holes in the cactus.  We went over a 1900′ and a 2500′ pass to get to Alamo Lake State Park.  It was in the low 60’s today.  It is a little overcast this evening and, I think, the expected low is around 40F.

Alamo Lake State Park - Campground C
Alamo Lake State Park - Campground C

Campground C has electric and water hookups for $22/night.  There are about 40 sites here.  Campgrounds A and B also have some hookup sites.  They are closer to the lake but we liked the view from Campground C best.  The full hookup sites cost a little more but I can’t remember how much.  There are a lot of toy haulers with ATV’s out here.  The fishermen are talking about today’s catch of catfish and bass.

Our View of Alamo Lake
Our View of Alamo Lake - from Site 39

Here’s our view of Alamo Lake from site 39.  Our Verizon internet is picking up National Access on the Extended Network.  We have 3 bars but are only getting an average RX speed of about 40 – 70 kbps.  If it sounds like I know what I’m talking about, I don’t.  I’m just reading it off the VZAccess Manager window.  My point is that it’s not lightening speed but it’s doing the trick.  Some RV’s have their dish antennas out and one had a regular TV antenna up but we haven’t tried ours yet.

Scorpion or Tarantula holes?
Scorpion or Tarantula holes?

Don pointed out these holes under most of the bushes here.  He says they are scorpion holes.  I think they are tarantula holes :-}  Maybe they come out at night?  EEEeeeewwwww!!!! 

Hawk
Hawk

This little hawk scattered a bunch of little birds before he landed on the tree limb.  He sat there for 10 minutes, or so, while there was not a bird making a move or a sound.  Then he then took off after another small bird.  A few seconds later I saw a small bird flying towards me at lightening speed.  That hawk was right on his tail!  They were only a couple feet above me but I don’t think either one even noticed me.  They were pretty focused!

Needles, CA, to Parker, AZ

The Needles Ward had their Primary program this week.  What a great bunch of kids!  I couldn’t believe how loud they sang out.  It was a great program.  We continued south on, I-40, into Arizona.  This is rugged country!
Hwy 40
Interstate 40 Scenery

 We turned south, onto Hwy 95 (AZ).  There is a Hwy 95 in CA, also, to go down the lake on the California side but we wanted to be in AZ.  Lake Havasu is a really long, deep, lake.  It is downstream of Lake Meade.  There is a Lake Havasu State Park, just south of Lake Havasu City.  That wasn’t our first choice because it doesn’t have electric hookups.  But we’ll use it as a fall-back if the others are full.  We don’t know quite what to expect the week before Thanksgiving.

We stopped to look at Cattail Cove State Park, on the south end of Lake Havasu.  It was a little crowded, and we couldn’t get a spot on the water, but there were some sites available if we needed to come back here.  They were running a special: stay 5 nights and get the 6th and 7th nights for free.  The Host was also offering a pot luck Thanksgiving dinner – hahaha.  We decided to get a look at River Island State Park before we decided.
River Island State Park, Parker, AZ
River Island State Park, Parker, AZ

We went a little further south on Hwy 95 and around the south end of the lake but the Hwy doesn’t cross the Parker Dam.  River Island State Park is another pretty campground with hookups and hot showers.  This one is not crowded at all and we found a spot overlooking the river for $23/night.

River Island SP - near Parker, AZ
River Island SP - near Parker, AZ

 Don is looking forward to NOT driving for a couple days.  I can see why the snowbirds flock here!  Although, I am very confused about what time zone we are in.  All the maps I look at say we are in the Mountain Time Zone.  But our phones must be picking up the signal from the other side of the river, which is California.  Maybe we don’t care exactly what time it is. 🙂

Brookings, OR thru Humboldt Redwoods State Park to Westport, CA

From Brookings, OR, we continued south on Hwy 101.  I thought Trinidad, CA, was a good goal for one day’s drive.  I found a couple of county parks in the area; Moonstone and Clam Beach.  I wasn’t impressed with what I read about Clam Beach so I zeroed in on Moonstone.  But when we got there we found that it wasn’t a campground, just a Day Use area.  We stopped at Clam Beach and it was just as unimpressive as the pix on the website.  So we kept going south.
Avenue of the Giants
Avenue of the Giants - Humboldt Redwoods
We drove through the Avenue of the Giants in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.  These redwoods are just as impressive as the ones up north.  We pulled into Burlington Campground for the night.  Holy California-Happy-Cow!  $35/night and not even electric hookups?  Sure can tell we’re in CA!  Oh well, it’s unique!
Humboldt Redwood State Park
Humboldt Redwood State Park

 It looks like the huge redwoods were logged out of here and now the 2nd growth is pretty, dang tall!  New trees grow up from the roots of others.

Big Burly Redwood
Big Burly Redwood

I’m surrounded by burly, red, giants!

Since we were without cell signal or TV, we played several games of Rummikub.  I was behind for the first few games but then I went out with Don holding a wildcard!

We continued south this morning; planning on taking off on Hwy 1 so we’d get to drive down the coast.  Legget, CA, is where we took Hwy 1 from Hwy 101.

Hwy 1 from Legget to California coast
Hwy 1 from Legget to California coast

This is a beautiful drive!  Although it would probably be best in a sportscar.  For those of you familiar with the Alsea Hwy, think of the twistiest part and extend that for 30 miles!  Watch for cyclists and log trucks!

South on Hwy 1
South on Hwy 1

If you were headed north on Hwy 1, this is where you leave the coast and turn inland.  It might be called the ‘Kiss-the-ocean-goodbye Vista’.  But since we are headed south, and just travelled 30 miles on a roller-coaster-road of twists and turns up to 1500′ elevation and back down to 150′, Don calls it the ‘Dang-it-you’ve-earned-it Vista’.  Whew!  We made it!  We thought we’d make it to Fort Bragg tonight, but started seeing campgrounds before Westport.

Westport KOA, CA
Westport KOA, CA

We starting seeing campgrounds, overlooking the ocean, before Westport.  This one has hookups and showers.  Since we want to see our new grand-niece tomorrow, we’d better stay where we can get a shower or her parents might not let us near her 🙂   $45/night at this one.  $5 more and we could be closer to the beach.  I don’t know why I got cheap all of a sudden?  I guess because I had a choice.

Westport Beach
Westport Beach

We walked down on the beach and watched 4 surfers catch a couple waves.  No shells on this beach, a few rocks, lots of seagulls.  Is this all starting to look the same?  I don’t care – I love the coast!

After our visit with family, our next challenge will be how to not get trapped in California by the cold storms coming in.

3 Island Crossing, Idaho

Okay, so I’m behind on my blog.  The dodge broke down before we got to SLC so it’s a good time to catch up.  At least it had the descency (sp?) to break down in a Rest Area.  We were able to look up a phone number, of a Dodge dealer in Tooele, from our GPS.
Not sure what’s wrong with the Dodge.  It was running fine until we slowed down to park.  Then it started running rough.  Don kept the rpms up then let off the gas pedal and it choked and sputtered and stopped with a puff of smoke out the tail pipe.  We have emergency roadside coverage on our insurance so we’ll be spending tonight Tooele, UT.  Guess we’ll rent a car if we need to – gotta see those grandkids!
 
So, anyway, here’s what we did on Oct 12th:
We left Woodhead Park and continued south on Hwy 95 to Fruitland.  Then we hopped on I84 East to Glen’s Ferry.  We were headed towards a 50% off Escapees discount RV park but found this Idaho State Park first.  We prefer campgrounds to RV parks anyway.  The weather is turning cold but this park is still green and lush.  Three Island Crossing State Park is open year round but they’ll turn the water off before it freezes.
Three Island Crossing State Park
Three Island Crossing State Park
Site 6
Site 6, Electric and water hookups

We asked for a site overlooking the water and they gave us 18.  But he said to look at 6 on our way by.  We took 6 because we couldn’t see the water from the distance anyway and it wasn’t as crowded around 6.  We paid $23 for elec and water hookups.

Three Island Crossing of the Snake River
Three Island Crossing of the Snake River

3 Island Crossing is where pioneers, on the Oregon Trail, crossed the Snake River from the south side to the north side.  It was a dangerous crossing, deep and fast moving water.  Lives were lost.  I read one account from a woman who said after crossing this section of river, she had no fear of crossing anymore streams.  The grey wagon was used in a commemorative trail ride to Washington DC in 1975.  The yellow and green one was donated in memory of a family’s ancestors who crossed here.  (They must be ducks.)

Goblin Valley, Utah

We continued on Hwy 24 until the little brown sign pointed to Goblin Valley.  If we’d turned when the GPS told us to, we’d have taken a dirt road and we didn’t feel up to that.  They’ve done some improvements to the campground since we were here 10 or so years ago.  Each campsite now has a cover over the table.  I don’t remember much of a restroom, before, but now there is a nice one with showers.  There is an RV dump station and drinking water spigots throughout the campground.  We paid $16 – no hookups.  You can make reservations here.  They have some tent-only sites and the RV sites have lots of pavement.
Campground in Goblin Valley State Park, Utah
Campground in Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

 We also saw quite a few campers and trailers, boondocking, on the property outside the State Park.  The unique rock formations are the reason people come here.  We had beautiful blue skies but the icy wind was a little annoying.

Goblins Guarding the Valley Entrance
Goblins Guarding the Valley Entrance

There is a nice observation deck at the trail parking area.  It was a great alternative to being sandblasted.  Look at all these little goblins!  Can you imagine discovering this for the first time.  A cowboy, looking for his lost cattle, discovered this area.  I think he’s the one who called it Mushroom Valley – someone, later, renamed it to Goblin Valley (probably someone in Tourism 🙂 )

Valley of the Goblins
Goblin Valley, Utah - east of Capital Reef

 We don’t know this guy but it’s a good reference to see the size of the rock formations.  We walked through here the last time we were here with our son and granddaughter.  It’s amazing how quickly you can get lost.  I was worried about loosing the kids!  I think we left with them all?

Goblin Valley - Size Reference to Adult Walking
Goblin Valley - Size Reference to Adult Walking

 We took off the camper and went exploring down one of the dirt roads.  The Goblin Valley area is the tidal zone of an ancient, migrating, sea.  We noticed the similarities in the cliffs along the Oregon Coast.  You can also see the similarites to the large cliffs that the natives used to build homes in.  That’s Don, way in the background 🙂

Caves for tiny natives
Caves for tiny natives - these caves are about a foot tall

 We walked around this area and admired the unusual mineral deposits and small rocks that have washed out of the layer of sand.  I think the crystal is gypsum.  It’s amazing that anything can grow here!

Gypsum crystal and budding flower on parched ground in Goblin Valley
Gypsum crystal and budding flower on parched ground in Goblin Valley

 It was in the upper 40’s here today but felt colder because of the wind.  I’m sure it got down into the 30’s over night.  Winter is NOT over in Utah yet!  But, Spring is kind of ‘bi-polar’ anyway.