Posts Tagged With: travel

Back in Bend, Oregon

Our last minute plan to squeeze one more trip out of camping season landed us at this Glamp-Site in Bend, Oregon.

Friends Lan and Jeff stayed here (The Crown Villa RV Park) last month and provided good reviews, so we knew we’d be comfortable on our last outing of the season. Beggars can’t be choosers – especially when looking for 3 nights just one day in advance. This is a very nice RV park located inside the Bend city limits. We feel quite spoiled and are hardly roughing it.

We did get some good hiking in, so in spite of our pristine site, we managed get a little dusty. Shevlin Park was crowded on Sunday afternoon, but we found the last open parking spot and settled on a loop trail that took us on a 5-mile walk through the park canyon.

It was a nice warmup for the hike we did the following day. The 6-mile Matthieu Lakes loop trail is located off the beaten path outside of Sisters, Oregon.

Our destination was North Matthieu Lake (above) which was just shy of the turnaround point of our 6-mile hike.
We first walked through acres of burned forest. There is very little regrowth from the 2017 Milli Fire.

We passed several small ponds along the way. Although we were in shirtsleeves today, one pond was edged with ice, evidence of how low the nighttime temperatures drop this time of year.

Our first glimpse of North Matthieu Lake.

Following the trail around the lake, we found the perfect lunch spot.

We continued on to South Matthieu Lake, a smaller lake but every bit as pretty. This is where we intersected with the Pacific Crest Trail, turning back along the iconic path and returning to the trailhead.

Our return trip took us up high with views of ancient lava flows, a view of Mt. Washington, a bird’s eye view of our lunch spot and back through sections of fire damage. All in all, a great hike and a good end to camping season!

Categories: Oregon, Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

It’s About The Journey…Not The Destination

A little over 2 weeks ago we waved goodbye to friends Chris and Judy as we left our campsite near Bend, Oregon. We had 4 days to reach Sedona, Arizona where we had reservations for 2 weeks of hiking and biking among the red rocks.
Twenty minutes into the drive, Reg began lobbying for a change of plans. Temperatures were hovering in the 90s in Sedona…a little warm for outdoor activities. “We should go to Colorado,” he said. I put up a fight, but after a few more heated miles, we canceled our first week in Sedona. And so our journey began, and that’s how we ended up spending our first night here. If not for our change of plans, we would have missed this.

It was 6:00 pm, Reg had been driving since mid morning and I had called every RV Park I could find with no luck. Tired and frustrated, we spent a restless night at this Interstate Highway rest stop outside of Boise, Idaho, cooking hot dogs for dinner.

The following morning we cobbled together reservations for 3 more nights on the road and 5 nights in Ouray, Colorado. The plan was to then head down to Arizona and salvage the last week of our Sedona reservation.

We spent one night in the Brigham City, Utah KOA (Kampground of America chain of parks) and then 2 nights in the KOA in Grand Junction, Colorado, where, as you can see, Reg began to relax after a frantic three days.
Since Grand Junction wasn’t part of the plan, we weren’t sure how we’d fill our day until we discovered nearby Colorado National Monument. If not for our change of plans, we would have missed this.

There are plenty of spots to pull over and take in views of the canyon while twisting and turning along 23-mile Rim Rock Drive.

Then it was on to Ouray (pronounced You-Ray) Colorado and more surprises.

KOA campgrounds saved us on this trip. Our site for 5 days at the Ouray KOA was tucked up under the trees and alongside a creek.

We weren’t expecting a fall color trip, but were thrilled to see our first high altitude change of season. If not for our change of plans, we would have missed this.

Another National Park that was never on our radar was Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Not far from Ouray, we decided to make a day trip out of it. If not for our change of plans, we would have missed this.

A short hike along the Warner Point Nature Trail led us to a spectacular lunch spot.

We drove along the “Million Dollar Highway,” a 25 mile length of route US 550 between Ouray and the historical mining town of Silverton. The history of the name varies depending on the source. Some say it refers to the million dollar cost of building the road, others claim it refers to the amount of ore mined from the area. My favorite explanation tells the story of a traveler who was so overcome with vertigo that he insisted he would never travel the road again…even if he were paid a million dollars. The drive offers spectacular scenery including an overlook of what’s left of the Red Mountain Mining site where an historic silver boom took place from from 1882 a 1893. If not for our change of plans, we would have missed this.

The overlook offers a view of the old Train trestle and mining operation as well as informational boards with its history.

When it was time to leave Colorado the Arizona temperatures were just not cooling off. We made the decision to turn around and return home. Disappointing, but there was still more to see. Making the best of it, I snapped photos through the windshield as Reg battled some gusty winds. This really is a beautiful country. If we hadn’t changed our plans, we would have missed this.

While we never reached our destination, we still enjoyed a memorable journey…and for us, that’s what’s important!

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Everyone Needs a Little Helper in Utah

It isn’t often that we post photos from towns we’ve stayed in, but we found the little town of Helper, Utah oozing with charm and we can’t wait to tell you about it! What was to be simply a roadside stop for the night as we traveled back into Utah turned out to be the biggest, nicest surprise of the trip.

Castle Gate RV Park gets our vote for best RV Park views of our trip.

To say we were pleasantly surprised by Castle Gate RV Park would be a gross understatement. Clean, tidy, uncrowded and practically brand new, the staff was friendly and helpful. We were happy as clams…then we walked into town.

Our first stop was this incredibly preserved old gas station.

Regular for .31 per gallon and premium/ethyl for .38 per gallon. Boy, those were the days!

We moved into the heart of town and the surprises kept on coming. Everywhere we looked were tributes to the town’s past.

“Big John” (the tallest coal miner in the world) celebrates the mining history of Helper, Utah.

This little gem of a town is located about halfway between Provo and Green River on Highway 6 in Utah. It’s well worth a stop to check out the rich railroad and mining history. In case you’re curious, the name Helper originated with the helper engines that, in days gone by, assisted trains making the steep 15-mile climb up Price Canyon.
What a treat is has been to have a little “Helper” today.

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Telluride, Colorado

The River Walk in Telluride.

We huffed and puffed our way along the gentle Riverwalk Trail in Colorado’s upscale mountain community of Telluride. At an elevation of about 9,500 feet, we appreciated the relatively flat terrain. There was plenty of scenery and fall color to enjoy, and a beautiful little town park where we stopped for our picnic lunch.

After lunch we made the short drive to Mountain Village, a resort ski town where everything looks new and luxurious. It was here we took the free Gondola ride that connects the communities of Mountain Village and Telluride.

The cars were sprayed with some sort of sanitizer before we got on. Reg and I had the car to ourselves.

The gondola system was designed and built to promote clean air and discourage people from driving between the towns (like we did…oops). It opens early in the morning and runs until late at night, carrying skiers during the winter months and hikers, bikers and tourists during warmer weather.

The cable flung us off the platform and we were off!

So there we were, hanging high in the sky on our way to the high point of the ride – an elevation of 10,500 feet. The views were astounding. And then…we headed straight down.

A bird’s eye view of Telluride.

Carryoncouple decided this was a much easier to travel than lacing up our boots. We could get spoiled!

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Along the Perimeter in Ouray, Colorado

Happy to find a sturdy bridge across the stream.

What better way to learn the lay of the land than to walk the perimeter…and that’s just what we did today in Ouray (pronounced You-Ray), Colorado.

Trail guides vary, listing the circular Perimeter Trail as 5 1/2 – 6 miles with 1,600 feet of elevation gain and loss. All promise spectacular views.

If you look closely, you can see the trail alongside the mountain.

The trail took us through tunnels, across numerous bridges and through some gorgeous fall color. There was a bit of climbing, mostly at the beginning and end. We chose to walk counter clockwise, saving our glimpse of the waterfall until the end.

We got a bird’s eye view of Ouray.
Lots of color.
It wasn’t much of a waterfall in October, but there was still a trickle spilling from high above.

All in all, this was a good days hike. By the time we reached our starting point we were hot and dirty and tired…but in a good way!

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Green Lakes Trail Near Bend, Oregon

Five minutes into the trail to Green Lakes we were challenged by a surprise crossing of Fall Creek.

Grateful for the railing, Reg and I managed to keep our feet on the log masquerading as a bridge above Fall Creek. As I stepped down Reg jokingly asked, “Could you do that without the railing?” Little did we know…

The trailhead to Green Lakes is located about 25 miles outside of Bend, Oregon. The path is an 8-9 mile round trip with 1,150 feet of climbing. It’s a beautiful trek through trees alongside a cascading creek.

One of the many waterfalls that tumble down the aptly named Fall Creek.

We followed the gentle incline along the wide dirt trail, enjoying the shade the forest provided. The creek crashed and tumbled alongside And then suddenly leveled out. That was when the trail crossed the creek again…twice!

With the creek rushing below and no railing to assist us, we had no room for a misstep. I was sure grateful for those balance beam lessons way back when in junior high gymnastics class. Reg made me go first. I think he was hoping I’d suggest we turn back. Eventually we two balance-challenged trekkers shuffled across the first log, and several hundred yards later we made it across the second. It was well worth the effort!

Lunch spot with a lake view.

We found a shady spot for lunch, enjoying the view until it was time to pack up and head back down the trail…and back across those two logs.

Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Up Around the Bend…Oregon

Mount Thielsen (elevation 9,183) pointed our way as we drove to Bend, Oregon for five days of camping with friends
Chris and Judy.

Our first day together we tackled the Sparks Lake Loop Trail which took us through forests and around ancient lava flows. While the remains of the lava flows were fascinating, the views from the shoreline were the high point.

Across Sparks Lake was a stunning view of Broken Top Crater.
This is a favorite photo spot to capture South Sister, the southernmost of the Three Sisters of the Cascade Range.


Categories: Oregon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Up The Oregon Coast – A Look Back

We weren’t sure a travel trailer was the life for us, but after five years and well over 20,000 miles, it’s safe to say we’ve found our second home. The trailer has been particularly nice this year…pulling our home behinds us feels pretty safe.

Compared to most trailers on the road, ours might be described as cozy.

The decision to travel this summer was not one we made lightly. Our most recent Oregon coast trip is only our second trip of the year since March…we’ve cancelled more reservations than we’ve kept. These two weeks spent along the Pacific Coast have been relaxing and rejuvenating and filled with gorgeous scenery.

Looking north from the Otter Point State Recreation site, just north of Gold Beach, Oregon.

Even this late in the summer there is still much color to be found. Hike any trail into the forest and you’ll find yourself surrounded by green.

Coastal fog rolls in and out anytime of year, lending a mystical feeling to distant views. It often clears up in the blink of an eye.

Harris Beach State Park outside of Brookings, Oregon is popular with campers and a perfect spot to watch a summer sunset.

We’ve enjoyed many trips to the Oregon Coast and we’ve never failed to discover someplace new. From hidden trails to surprise picnic spots to a previously overlooked viewpoint, the coast never disappoints…but for now, it’s time to return home.

Until next time…
Categories: Oregon, Oregon Coast | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Walking The Amanda Trail

We parked along the ocean front, just south of downtown Yachats.

Look beyond the beauty of today’s Oregon Coast and some ugly historical truths emerge. Our hike along the Amanda Trail served double duty, reminding us of our unfortunate past while offering a gorgeous walk today.

Passing by the bear statue assured us we are on the right path.

The beautiful 3.5 mile hike through evergreen forests eventually connects with Cape Perpetua where, on a clear day, the views are stunning.
However, a stop at the the 2 mile mark presents a disturbing reminder of Oregon’s less glorious history. Storyboards tell the tale of the forced relocation of Native Americans to reservation land after the Rogue River Indian War of 1856. A statue pays tribute to Amanda, an elderly, blind Indian woman who was discovered and endured a grueling march as she was led to the reservation.

We continued across a short bridge to our lunch destination – the Cape Perpetua lookout. Here, the trail climbs relentlessly uphill until dropping down and crossing a small creek before the final up and down path to the top.

The fog drifted in and out as we ate and gazed down at Cape Perpetua State Park.
Categories: Oregon, Oregon Coast | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The World’s Tallest Trees


No trip to northern California would be complete without a chance to stand beneath the world’s tallest trees.  Our first stop was the Lady Bird Johnson Grove where we walked one of the most popular trails in Redwood National Park.  We arrived early, just as the fog was lifting…and parking was still available.

Coast Redwoods can live more than 2,000 years and reach 360 feet in height.

Our next stop was just up the road to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.  In addition to numerous hiking trails, herds of elk are a popular attraction and are often be seen grazing throughout the large meadows alongside the roadway.
We were not so lucky with the elk, but we saw plenty more majestic redwoods as we hiked through the forest.

Categories: California, U.S. National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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