Moving On South

Crater Lake National Park

By mid-September, we were making our way south from Maryhill, Washington, to La Pine, Oregon. At La Pine we stayed for one week at the Cascade Meadows RV Resort, the last of the ROD resorts we planned to visit this travel season. Set in the scenic Lava Lands of Oregon, the resort is surrounded by grassy meadows and pine forests, with snow-capped mountains of the Cascade Range visible to the west and low forested volcanic craters to the east. At about 4,250 ft. elevation, nights were becoming quite cold, about 20º F, even this early in autumn.

Our route 2016, continued...

Our route 2016, continued…

Since we were staying near Bend, Oregon, we took the opportunity to schedule fall maintenance for our fifth-wheel. We felt we would have an easier time getting our rig in for servicing at Bend than at any of the dealerships in So-Cal when we return for the winter. I called to schedule an appointment with Jerry’s RV Services Center about two months earlier, but when I called to confirm the afternoon before, the center had lost the appointment – the person handling the call had made a note, but failed to get the appointment entered on their calendar. To their credit, the service center said to come on down and they would fit me in. Awesome!

I dropped the rig at the service center first thing in the morning and the requested fall maintenance and inspections were completed by mid-afternoon of the same day. Great service! Maintenance tasks included inspecting axles, bearings and electric brakes; repacking the wheel bearings; inspecting and lubricating the slide-outs; inspecting window seals and roof seams; inspecting hydraulic system and topping off hydraulic fluid; and inspecting LP, furnace, water & waste systems. We also had the service center reset the bead on our shade awning – a short section of awning was working loose from the groove/bracket on the side of the rig. The staff at Jerry’s RV Services Center was professional, friendly and took time to listen, as well as explain tasks performed and minor issues found. We can highly recommend this service center.

While in the area, we went to lunch at the Deschutes Brewery with Kim’s friend, Loraine, and her husband, Scott. Kim & Loraine had kept in touch after Loraine & Scott had moved to Bend, but it had been at least six years since they had last been able to get together. We had a really nice visit catching up with life events over micro-brews and sandwiches.

We also visited and had lunch with Kim’s cousins, Barbie (“Cookie”) and Gary, at their lovely home in nearby Sisters, Oregon. The house, designed by Gary and largely decorated by Barbie, was absolutely gorgeous in layout and decor. The backyard is beautifully landscaped, with emphasis on relaxing and entertaining – Barbie enjoys gardening and has a cute potting shed and raised flower beds, unfortunately nearing the end of the growing season. Gary enjoys fishing and has an impressive fly tying workbench. Gary and Barbie showed us around town and took us to their church where Gary had crafted a lovely stained glass window. Altogether, a very pleasant afternoon. (Barbie & Gary – we miss you & hope to see you again, soon!)

Other highlights of our stay included sight-seeing around the Lava Lands with day trips to the Deschutes River, the twin crater lakes – Paulina and East Lakes, as well as a visit to the Big Obsidian Flow – an amazing young lava flow with outcroppings of the black volcanic glass, obsidian. The obsidian was a valuable resource and trade item for the Native Americans in the area.

From La Pine, we moved on to Klamath Falls, Oregon, for a four night stay at the Klamath Falls Journey KOA. While there we celebrated Kim’s birthday and went out to dinner at the Klamath Basin Brewing Co. Several days were overcast, chill and windy, with occasional showers, so we stayed close to camp. We did have nice weather one day and took a day trip to Crater Lake National Park, about an hour drive away. We had visited Crater Lake several times in the past and camped there once with friends, so we had fond memories of the park. Unfortunately, this visit coincided with one of the weekends in late September when park closes the East Loop drive to vehicular traffic and opens the drive to bicyclists. The park was very crowded and especially congested around the lodge and overlooks. Many bicyclists were on the roads throughout the park, not just on the East Drive. We enjoyed what sights we did see, but did not stay long.

From Klamath Falls, we moved on to Susanville, California, for another four night stay at the Susanville RV Park. We met a wonderful couple staying at the site next to us, Holt and Kathy. We enjoyed hanging out and visiting with this couple,having them over for a happy hour one afternoon and going out for Thai food, another afternoon. (Kathy & Holt – we’re glad we met you two – we enjoyed visiting & hope to see you again, somewhere down the road – safe travels & stay in touch!)

Unfortunately, our stay at this park was soured by an incident and subsequent negative interaction with the park manager. Shortly after we arrived, an older rig from Alaska pulled in two sites down from us and had an accident while emptying their holding tanks. A hose broke or fitting came loose, resulting in a messy and smelly black tank spill. Spotting the leak, the unfortunate owner of the rig too hastily opened the door of his wet bay and was inundated by a flood of waste. What a mess!

The site occupant hosed off the spill into the street and the surrounding grassy area between sites and then went into the bathroom to hose himself and his clothes off in the shower. The occupant did not seem to make any attempt to alert park management to the spill, so Kathy and Holt separately reported the spill and condition of the bathroom/shower.

The following day, after little had been done to sanitize the site or bathroom facility, Kathy, Holt, and I reported the issue again. The reaction we received from the manager – defensive, belligerent and reactionary – and subsequent events (long story) have completely soured us all on the park. On the surface this park is quite a lovely RV park, but we do not plan to return, at least while the park is under current management. Enough of that.

From Susanville we moved on to Lake Washoe State Park, Nevada, near Carson City and Reno, for a one week stay. Upon arriving, we found that Washoe Lake was completely dry – years of drought and diversions of water had taken their toll. Still, the view from the campground of the sage lands and grassy meadows, dry lake bed and Eastern Sierra mountains was spectacular.

The Nevada State Parks, at least the ones we are familiar with, do not accept reservations and are first-come-first-served. Fortunately, the campground was not busy and we had no problem finding a large pull-thru site. The sites at this campground are dry, without any water or electrical hookups. We relied on our fresh water tank, solar panels and batteries while at this site. Unfortunately, we had not paid close enough attention when selecting our site for exposure on our solar panels – overhanging trees shaded our panels for  much of the afternoon. Tilting the solar panels and turning off most of our electronics when not in use allowed us to conserve energy and comfortably stay for the duration without depleting our batteries.

Highlights of our stay included day trips to Lake Tahoe and to historic Virginia City. We especially enjoyed Lake Tahoe – we realized that all of the trips up and down Highway 395, we had never taken the side trip over to the lake – we’re glad we did – lovely views.

For several days during our stay we could see and smell smoke from a prescribed burn by the Nevada Division of Forestry across the dry lake in the hills at Little Valley. Air quality was quite bad at times. Several days after we left the area we learned that 80 mph winds from a passing storm had fanned the prescribed burn into a raging forest fire, the Little Valley Fire, that burned 2,291 acres and consumed 23 homes. Scary!

That’s all for now. Take care and enjoy the journey!

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