30 Days Western U.S.

Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
97
Backstory: we've had our PUP for just over a year. DW wasn't sure we'd get enough use out of it to justify the cost. 2021 we camped about 40 nights, including an 18 day summer trip. So far, it has been well worth it. So much so, that we are thinking when we retire in four years, we'll buy a 30' fifth wheel and spend 6-9 months on a retirement trip.

Since we're both employed by the same school district, we have about 7 weeks off in the summer. We decided to "test the waters" of a longer time out, and we're currently on day three of a 30 day trip through Northern CA, OR, WA, MN and ID.

Rather than wait until the end, I thought I would update our travels on the road.

1st stop: McCloud RV Park, McCloud, CA
We've been here once before, so I knew we would find a beautiful, grass covered park right near the Siskiyou forest. Of course, Mt. Shasta looms gracefully looms over this sleepy little former mill town.

This park is medium sized, but most sites are well shaded, and almost all are covered in lawn. They are pretty particular about their lawn, which I completely understand and admire: our two border collie companions love having natural grass outside our PUP.

Highway 89 is close by, and the noise briefly bothered my wife at night. I slept right through it.

There's not much to do in the town, other than walk around and enjoy the friendliness of the people there. We stopped in for coffee and a scone, and ended up speaking for close to half an hour with some of the regulars there. We learned all about the mill, how McCloud was the quintessential "company town", why the mill closed down, etc.

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Next stop: Rising River RV Park, Roseburg, OR
 

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Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
97
2nd Stop: Rising River RV Park, Roseburg, OR
It was an easy 3.5 hour drive to Roseburg, although several passes seem to go on forever. The closer we got to Roseburg, the greener and lusher the landscape appeared. Apparently this is been their wettest and longest Winter/Spring in a long time.

To get into Rising River RV Park, you kind of drive through/around a trailer park, which doesn't give you much hope. The hosts are very kind, and escorted us to our site. We were put into a small drive-through site, so set up was a breeze. We had asked and hoped to get a site adjoining the river, but apparently they save those for "bigger rigs". Hmmm, I feel discriminated against.

The pros of this park, as I see:
1. River access. You can easily get to the shores of the Umpqua river, and the scenery is quite beautiful.
2. Bathrooms. They are very well kept up, and they have individual shower rooms. Very clean and modern. The laundry room also looked well taken care of, although we haven't needed to launder yet.
3. Staff. They are very friendly and attentive.

As far as the cons (for us), go:
1. Pretty crowded. Sites are pretty close to each other, (although I've had worse)
2. Very little grass. Most sites are on decomposed granite, unless you are lucky enough to get one next to the river.
3. Full-timers. Seems like close to 40% of the park are full-timers.

For us, it was fine, as we didn't spend much time here. We have good friends who moved to Roseburg, so we spent time with them. Our second day we hiked and explored some of the many waterfalls here in this area.

We stopped at a Ranger Station, and a very helpful ranger came out and explained where some of the best falls were. We drove to the Wolf Creek falls trailhead, hiked in 1.5 miles, and found a beautiful, two layer waterfall.

Unfortunately, I didn't bring my phone, so not only could I not take photos, I had to fly my drone blind. I got some just ok video, and grabbed a few frames. They obviously don't do justice to these magnificent waterfalls.

Grotto Falls is about a 6.5 mile drive up a gravel road, that makes one wonder if this is all staged. Indeed, we found a trailhead, and fortunately this was only a .35 mile hike in. The beauty of Grotto Falls is that you can actually walk behind the fall, viewing "the backside of water", previously only available on the Jungle Cruise. :) Grotto Falls 2.jpg Grotto Falls.jpg

Overall, Roseburg is an incredible area if you enjoy the outdoors. There's at least one more RV Park here, and we tried to get into one with higher reviews, but it was full. I would stay here again, but wouldn't necessarily be looking forward to the park itself.

BTW, our next three stops are Salem, OR, Stevenson, WA, and Dayton, WA. If anyone has suggestions on things to do/see, please let us know, and we'll be grateful!

Next stop: Salem, OR Hee Hee Ilahee RV Resort
 

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jhowe327

Active Member
Jan 28, 2012
215
We really liked the Willamette Mission State Park, it is almost an Island unto itself. Our Lab mix learned to pick her own Blackberries there ;-)...

I don't like most of the RV parks because of the way they pack them in... That's not what we go camping for..
You could try Champoeg State Heritage park in the area. We really liked that one on our way thru Oregon
It is too late to do the normal reservations but you could call the park directly and see if they have a space available - reservations number probably just goes to reserve american and be too late for today...
Call for reservations: 800-452-5687
Call for info: 800-551-6949
Call park: 503-678-1251

We also liked the Veterans Memorial Park south of Portland, but it is all paved and proper....
And the Columbia River Gorge Falls
We also had lunch at the River Gorge Hotel, fancy but worth it (Near Hood Ore)
 

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KeizerTrailer

Active Member
Aug 31, 2020
166
Keizer, OR
Yes! You lucked out coming this time of year. The winter and spring was more like it was in the late 90's, early 2000's, which makes for a much more lush, beautiful state. HHIH Resort isn't bad, the immediate area around the park is a bit rough, but there's Keizer Station just 5 minutes North, across I-5. We live just down the street from Keizer Station. If you want to see the Willamette River, Keizer Rapids is a nice place to go for a walk and explore, also has a dog park. Willamette Mission and Champoeg are both really nice parks to camp. Definitely explore the Columbia River Gorge. Hood River is a fun place to visit, good food and brews and outdoor sports.
 

Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
97
Yes! You lucked out coming this time of year. The winter and spring was more like it was in the late 90's, early 2000's, which makes for a much more lush, beautiful state. HHIH Resort isn't bad, the immediate area around the park is a bit rough, but there's Keizer Station just 5 minutes North, across I-5. We live just down the street from Keizer Station. If you want to see the Willamette River, Keizer Rapids is a nice place to go for a walk and explore, also has a dog park. Willamette Mission and Champoeg are both really nice parks to camp. Definitely explore the Columbia River Gorge. Hood River is a fun place to visit, good food and brews and outdoor sports.
Wow, thanks for the fountain of information!! We are only here for two nights, but will have lots to do!! 😃
 

Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
97
Stop 3: Hee Hee Ilahee RV Resort, Salem OR
Let me just say that Salem OR is an absolutely postcard gorgeous town! And since they have had an exceptionally wet year, (unlike us in CA) everything is lush and very green.
I am finally learning the difference between an RV Resort and a campground, haha (I know, master of the obvious). This resort is very well equipped: very well kept bathrooms, a pool and spa, well maintained. However, it is an RV Resort, which means you are camping for the most part on asphalt, with (fortunately) some grass in each spot. It is definitely urban camping, and as such, there are a ton of Class A RVs, 40+ foot fifth wheels, etc. Our neighbor has a huge Class A, behind which they are towing a giant utility trailer (big enough to house a car, I'm guessing). She said the total length of their rig is 72 feet!! I believe we are the only PUP in this park, and I can count on one hand the number of true PUPs I've seen in our three stops so far.

Thanks to @KeizerTrailer we explored the Willamette river via Keizer Rapids. It is a lovely stroll through some riparian forest, and we enjoyed it. By chance, we saw a sign for the "Oregon Garden". Feeling adventurous, we followed the signs and had an absolutely lovely visit there. The place is quite dog friendly, which is important when you've got your two Border Collies at your side 24/7. They even allowed our dogs to get on the tram tour, which was a 20 minute drive through the park. It's much more than gardens, including an area showing a replanted forest, etc., and well worth the $10/12 to visit, if you enjoy this type of thing.

Our next stop will be the polar opposite: a true campground in Stevenson, Washington.
 

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Arruba

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 28, 2014
863
Central Oregon
Though it’s been a long time since I frequented it, I‘ve been to Dayton Wash several times. My kids always liked bellying up to the soda fountain at Elk Drug. We used to get a burger at place we called “The Bus”, the moniker earned as the place was in a converted Metro Bus. I’ve heard rumors it’s gone, so Dads, another burger joint isn’t a bad choice. From Walla Walla to Clarkston are several nice wineries if that’s your thing. I used to take my boys up the Tucannon and Touchet Rivers to fish. If you’re wanting hookups and want off the beaten path, The Last Resort, is located up the Tucannon River a ways between Dayton and Pomeroy. It’s just north of the Tucannon State Game Range, which I’m fairly confident still allows dry camping. The one down side is if you are headed south from Dayton as far south as the Umatilla Nat Forest, (it’s a ways ) know it experienced a forest fire that spanned from about Dayton to almost Pomeroy.

Good luck with your trip.
 

Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
97
Thanks for the food tips, @Arruba ! Most appreciated.
We have all our reservations, but when coming back through next time, we'll check out those campsites!
 

Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
97
Fourth Stop: Timberlake Campground, Stevenson CA
We were hoping for something a bit more into the woods, and Timberlake Campground delivered! This campground is about 3 miles off the main road, in a heavily wooded area. There are trees everywhere, including between almost every site, which gives one a real feeling of privacy. The sites are, for the most part, pretty secluded.

Our only issue was getting into our particular site: there are a number of campsites carved out of a hill, and you have to pull a pretty steep gravel road. As long as one has a decent start, climbing the hill is no problem. What happened, however, is that as we made it to our site, I noticed we had been assigned two different spots; 26 and 28. Naturally, I stopped to assess which was truly ours. DW walked back down the hill, only to find that we could take either site. We decided on 26, so I only needed to pull forward about 10 feet.

(Enter soundtrack of James Taylor "Slip Slidin' Away". Of course, as soon as I hit the gas, the front wheels of our Grand Caravan just spun needlessly. We ended up having to back down the hill to a flat spot, which only gave me some more practice on backing down a steep, narrow, gravel road. Eventually, we made it to a flatter area, I gunned it, and 5 minutes later, we were nestled in our campsite.

Another beauty of being in the woods is no light pollution! Combine that with a rare heat wave in the NW, and upon retiring for the night, we opened up all the windows of the PUP, for a true camping experience! It was nearly magical to have the semi-cool breeze blow through the PUP; to hear the leaves rustle, and the birds in the early morning.

Wind River is a 10 minute drive, and apparently a popular placed for stand-up paddleboarding. DW and one dog made several ventures on the river, and the scenery there was quite lovely.

We would have absolutely no hesitation coming back to this spot. Full hookups in the middle of the forest? Does it get much better? ;)

From here, we head to Dayton, WA, Coeur d'Alene, ID, and Coram, MT, hoping to visit Glacier National Park (we have our driving permit, hoping to get a "Going To The Sun" day pass.

Any and all tips are (again) most welcome!
 

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Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
97
Stop 5: Tucannee Campground and RV Park, Dayton, WA
We've spent the last two days/nights in Dayton, WA, in the Southwest corner of Washington. This campground is actually about a 25 minute drive east of Dayton, but other than the village of Starbuck (population 161) it's the nearest town.

The park itself is quite spread out, with mostly pull-through sites. Once again, we're the only PUP here. Our spot is probably 75' long, so we could put three of us in one spot! There is some shade in several spots, including ours, but many are completely exposed. This would be fine were it not for the wind: yesterday, we had gusts that were close to 50mph, so obviously the awning isn't coming out. (We learned that in season one, haha!) The gizmos were quite entertaining to install -- it was a combination setup and paragliding! Once we had every one of our 12 windows completely open, it was actually quite enjoyable to hear the wind try and do its worst on our little PUP! I had forgotten how much larger and open the PUP feels with the windows open. And the evening was simply luxurious: having a nice breeze come through the trailer, as you watch the Milky Way form in the sky is one of the reasons we camp.

There's a river that runs across the back of the park, but we could not find a spot accessible. The current looked pretty swift, and the water is definitely cold, so it was probably for the best.

After exploring the metropolis of Starbuck, we headed to the historical town of Dayton (population 2,620). There are quite a few buildings here on the historical list, and armed with a well laid out pamphlet, we visited many of them, including one of the oldest train depots in the west. Although a pizza or burger from "My Dad's Place" was awfully tempting, as well as a soda from the Elk Drug fountain, we settled on some delicious, albeit pricey, sandwiches from a local bakery/cafe. The proprietors even offered our two dogs some turkey, which was a nice gesture.

From here, it's about a 2/5-3 hour drive to Coeur d'Alene, ID. We'll see some family here, and then head up to Glacier.

I would be reminisce not to give a shout out to RV Trip Wizard. For us, this website has been an amazing resource in researching and building our trip. Again, YMMV, but I'm sold on it.

See you in Idaho.
 

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Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
97
Stop 6: Tamarack RV Park, Coeur D'Alene, ID
Our main purpose in traveling here was to visit with my wife's sister and brother-in-law, who just purchased a condo here a couple of years ago.

Coeur D'Alene, as I'm sure you're aware, is a very touristy town. The RV park is a ways off the beaten path, and there are some pretty good shade trees around. It is an older park and, as such, the spaces are pretty narrow. Hopefully you'll get along with your neighbor, as you are going to be bumping elbows quite a bit. Fortunately for us, the space next to us (on the camp side) was unoccupied the first night, so we had quite a bit of "breathing room".

The park has great facilities, and the workers are super helpful. Most every spot has at least a patch of grass, so we didn't need to roll out the astroturf® for our dogs.

We had some delicious pizza one night (apricot and speck, with a balsamic reduction for the sauce) and had a great time visiting with sister and BIL. We did a bit of hiking, although our 13 year old Aussie isn't getting around like he used to. The city did have an amazing fenced in dog beach/park, which our two guys absolutely loved! My wife was able to stand up paddleboard around an entire island here, about an hour in total.

Overall, we had a great time, and although we would probably look for another RV park, we had a great time here.

Off to Montana and Glacier National Park.

note: these aren't my pictures. I didn't really take any pictures here, so these are from a Google search.
 

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nancylc

New Member
Jul 5, 2021
7
Backstory: we've had our PUP for just over a year. DW wasn't sure we'd get enough use out of it to justify the cost. 2021 we camped about 40 nights, including an 18 day summer trip. So far, it has been well worth it. So much so, that we are thinking when we retire in four years, we'll buy a 30' fifth wheel and spend 6-9 months on a retirement trip.

Since we're both employed by the same school district, we have about 7 weeks off in the summer. We decided to "test the waters" of a longer time out, and we're currently on day three of a 30 day trip through Northern CA, OR, WA, MN and ID.

Rather than wait until the end, I thought I would update our travels on the road.

1st stop: McCloud RV Park, McCloud, CA
We've been here once before, so I knew we would find a beautiful, grass covered park right near the Siskiyou forest. Of course, Mt. Shasta looms gracefully looms over this sleepy little former mill town.

This park is medium sized, but most sites are well shaded, and almost all are covered in lawn. They are pretty particular about their lawn, which I completely understand and admire: our two border collie companions love having natural grass outside our PUP.

Highway 89 is close by, and the noise briefly bothered my wife at night. I slept right through it.

There's not much to do in the town, other than walk around and enjoy the friendliness of the people there. We stopped in for coffee and a scone, and ended up speaking for close to half an hour with some of the regulars there. We learned all about the mill, how McCloud was the quintessential "company town", why the mill closed down, etc.

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Next stop: Rising River RV Park, Roseburg, OR
Here now, can’t wait to get home. This trip has been one disaster after another. Check your tires if you think bad or won’t last, change them both. Buy a 5 gallon gas container, check your credit cards, gas stations are now holding up to $175 for deposit, most out west wouldn’t take American Express card. Some wouldn’t take Discover, nor will some take cash. The world has changed. While out we were vandalized badly. Insurance won’t pay for all of it. We’re having to stay in motels for the rest of the trip.
 

Arruba

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 28, 2014
863
Central Oregon
If you find yourself on the west side of Glacier Park. A trip up to Polebridge IMO is pretty neat. It’s just outside the park a little ways on the North Fork of the Flathead River. The Bakery is something else. There are a few USFS campgrounds along the North Fork road right along the River. This time of year wildlife sightings are quite possible there. Heck, If you want to take a big detour, keep driving north of Polebridge clear into Canada. The following is a link if you’re curious:


Hope your trip is going well.
 

Musictom

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2021
97
Here now, can’t wait to get home. This trip has been one disaster after another. Check your tires if you think bad or won’t last, change them both. Buy a 5 gallon gas container, check your credit cards, gas stations are now holding up to $175 for deposit, most out west wouldn’t take American Express card. Some wouldn’t take Discover, nor will some take cash. The world has changed. While out we were vandalized badly. Insurance won’t pay for all of it. We’re having to stay in motels for the rest of the trip.
Ugh, so sorry to hear that! We had some mechanical issues today that I'll post about, but overall it's been smooth sailing for us.
Again, sorry to hear about your troubles.
 




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