Casey’s Riverside RV Park, Westfir, OR

This is a great park.  Out in the hinderlands, next to where 3 rivers come together.  Great amenities, only downside is it use Tengonet for wi-fi and that usually is not too good. Lots are nicely spaced, we had a pull thru on the river.  Nice club house and an outdoor shelter that is huge and has tv, refrig, bbq, and soft server ice cream. Well maintained.  It is rated 10/10 by Trailer Life and deserves the rating.

Good fishing area, small golf course in town, scenic drive up Forest Road 19 which connects right at the park.

Columbia River RV Park, Portland, OR

My word for this park is “noisy”. Nice park with good amenities, best wi-fi I have ever had in an RV park. A little close, room to maneuver, but lots are lose together.  But its on the flight path for Portland Airport, and they let people put their dogs out on a leash and leave them, so barking dogs a lot. We’ll stay somewhere else when we visit Portland.

2014 Open Range Light 274RLS

This is our latest RV.  We did a lot of research prior to ordering and purchasing this as we expect it to be our final RV. We had decided to get a larger RV after a long trip in the R-Vision TC-23SB, worked fine, but a little more luxury was definitely desired.

Janet wanted something with large windows to get as much sun as possible, a walk around bed, king preferred, queen minimum, and not longer than 30 feet.  I wanted something that was towable by a 1/2 ton pickup, so less than 10,000 lbs gross weight, preferred less than 9,000 GWV for a margin, plus as much electric jacks and such outside as I could get.

In looking, we had decided on either a Jayco or Arctic Fox, but were having trouble finding a floor plan we both liked.  While putting my RV in storage in Phoenix, I saw an Open Range right across from me, upon closer review, it was very impressive.  So we started researching Open Range RVs.  Then while on the trip to AR in 2012, we stopped at a few OR dealers along the way and looked at different models. Once Janet saw the 274RLS, that was it, she was hooked. So then we started looking for who to get it from and trying to make a deal… The dealer in Phoenix would not come down to my price, so we shopped in TX, OK, and WA.. finally got the deal I wanted in WA.  We ordered it from the factory with everything we wanted on it and I picked it up a week after arrival.

It is a little over 30 feet (31’5”) and has dual slide outs in the living area, this makes for a very large and comfortable living space. We got the larger A/C, larger refrigerator, all dark work interior, entertainment center (32” tv), fireplace, electric awning, electric jacks all around, and a few other options I can’t remember.


Here is a shot of it while camped at Ft Knox, KY on our trip from WA to Savannah, GA.

Pulling it with a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500, 5.9 Cummins Diesel, and its great.  Getting about 13-14 mpg when towing.

Specific Sheet and Floor Plan

North to South – Highway 395 OR, CA, NV

Took a little different route to get from Olympia to Chandler this year.  Through eastern Oregon, across northern California, briefly into Nevada, then through eastern California, mostly down US 395. Very enjoyable drive.

First we went through Bend, OR, but decided it was too early in the day to stop, so continued south to the Collier Memorial State Park, a very nice state park located on the Williamson River. The Williamson River runs along the boundary and Silver Creek runs through the middle of the park.  The Williamson is known for its trophy sized trout, both rainbow and brown.  Silver Creek is a spring fed creek known for its trout fishing also, very beautiful, water looks like it just came out of the tap.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to get rigged and do any fishing prior to dark, but this is a for sure stop on the return trip. Drove down the road to the casino for dinner and was pleasantly surprised, it was very good and had organic salads…

Next day we cut across to US 395, via OR 139, beautiful drive through a lot of lava beds and Modoc country. Then continued on US395 into Carson City, NV. This is a nice drive, with surprisingly little traffic, especially 18 wheeler traffic. Carson City is a nice small city with all amenities, we spent an extra day here to refresh ourselves and do some shopping. Had lunch at Schaf’s Bakery, a great place for lunch. Next time we will go just a little farther south, the next town, Minden.  They have a few better RV Parks in this area.  All located next to a casino, but better than the one in Carson City.

Then it was off on US395 south through California.  We had never been this way before and it as a very pleasant drive.  This is listed as one of California’s scenic drives and it lives up to its name.  Through some beautiful mountain country, road follows streams and rivers, great scenery. We stopped for the night at Boulder Creek RV Resort in Lone Pine, CA.  This is a nice RV park with plenty of amenities, store, etc. Mostly sandy desert style pads, but nice never the less.  The area has a ton f stuff to see, but we didn’t do any touring.  Think we’ll go back and spend a few days there later.

We were planning on going through Death Valley, but the temperatures were in the high 90’s low 100’s, so we decided to pass and continue south on 395 to Needles, CA.  This drive while not pretty (desert landscape most of the way) was pleasant in that there wasn’t a lot of traffic until we got to I-15/40. Stayed at Desert View RV Resort, nice park.

From Needles, we went US95 to I-10, then home to Chandler.  Just flatlands and desert al the way so not much scenery.  US95 was pretty busy with big truck traffic until we reached the Parker cut-off, then not too much after that.  Not sure we’ll do that again, my just cut across at Parker and through that way.

Anyway, we’re in Chandler for the winter, or at least until we decide on our trip to AR. It was a nice drive down and maybe the most relaxing trip we have had.  The new truck made a lot of difference I think, it is very comfortable for both driver and passenger. I highly recommend using US395, especially through California, beautiful drive.

In the Beginning

….in the beginning there was a desire to do some adventuring once the kids were grown up and out of the house.  Two years ago, when we started talking about this trip, everybody thought we were crazy.

The particulars: Vince McCargar, 38 yrs / Melissa Martin, 42 yrs  Married for 10 years; 5 children (Jessica, 22; Missy, 21; Lindsay, 19; Andrew, 18; and Danielle, 17); and one grandaughter, Jillian Kay, 22 months.

Two years ago, when we started talking about this trip, everybody thought we were crazy. Maybe they thought we were full of hot air, but we kept talking, and along with the talking we were planning and saving $ and preparing. We are now 24 hours from departure, unless we’re both too hung-over from the Bon Voyage party tonight to get out of bed and hit the road Saturday morning. I doubt that even a quite wicked hang-over would keep us from our departure, though.  We will be spending 12 weeks on the road, traveling from Phoenix, Arizona to Anchorage, Alaska. Transportation is a 2008 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 5.7 liter V8 and our living quarters will be a 2005 Komfort Trailblazer T25S Travel Trailer.

We had no experience towing or camping in an RV, so we purchased both a year ago in order to give ourselves plenty of practice time, and get the ‘kinks’ worked out.  One of my first driving experiences I managed to put a large hole in the side of the trailer and do some damage to another one pulling out of our storage lot. Vince and Dad managed to patch it up good as new. Amazingly, I’m still allowed to drive it!

The trip itself is loosely planned, we leave for our first stop Saturday at Zion National Park, and will most likely boondock in Dixie National Forest or BLM lands nearby.  (Boondocking definition: to camp in remote areas such as deep woods or desert locations without power, sewer or water hook-ups.) We don’t have a planned number of days for our stay, and only have to get to Yellowstone by July 6th, since we had to make a reservation there in order to get into the park. We have some ideas about other places to stop along the way, one being Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the Grand Tetons. After Yellowstone we will head into Montana and Glacier National Park, crossing the border into Canada from there. We have no plans at all going through Canada, except that we are heading for the start of the Alcan at Dawson Creek, BC. We know we have to be in Anchorage by August 17th, since all 5 of our children and our grandaughter are flying in to spend a week with us there.  For the return route we are putting the vehicles on a cargo ship in Anchorage, which will take them to Seattle, while we follow on a Holland America Inside Passage cruise that will take us from Seward to Vancouver beginning Sept. 4th, then it’s home along the coast visiting family and friends in Washington and California along the way.

Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

Silver Falls is located 25 miles from Salem and 15 miles from Silverton.  Like most other Oregon State Parks, in the summer it is usually full, so plan ahead.  Also like other Oregon State Parks in the summer, it can be crowded and noisy.  But during our stay, things were fine.  We were very close to the playground, so during the day, it could be noisy, but as night fell and got closer to quiet hour, things were very peaceful. Since we stay on the go a lot, it was not an issue.

Silver falls has over 8 miles of hiking trails (no bikes) and 25 miles of bicycle trails within the 9,000 acre park, this includes 4 miles of paved bike trail.  Along the 8 mile hiking trail are 10 waterfalls.  There are numerous trailheads, so you don’t have to hike the entire 8 miles to view the falls, but park at an appropriate location and a hike to .5 to 1 mile will get you to 2 or 3 waterfalls.

2011-08-15 nortfalls

We hiked the North Falls Trail the first day.  Its .4 miles up to the Upper North Waterfall, then 1 mile to the Lower North Falls Waterfall. You then go behind the waterfall to a trail on the other side and another mile to the Twin Falls waterfall.  Problem is, its all downhill going and all uphill coming back.  This includes a long climb of about a hundred concrete steps up the mountain side.  Beautiful scenery, but it was a hard couple of miles coming back.

The park has a swimming area, although I bet its cold, it’s a spring feed mountain stream, an historic lodge built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, a large day use area with a snack shack, and small cabins to rent.

Took the bicycle trail this morning.  It is a 4 mile paved path running through the park.  From our campsite around the loop and return was 6.0 miles.  While it is paved, its not in the greatest of shape, lots of frost heaves, root bumps, and potholes, so you need to go slow and watch your path.  It’s what I would consider moderate to hard, lots of small hills to climb, great coming down, except its curvy and with all the bumps, caution is key. But it was a good ride on the trike and I enjoyed it.

2011-08-17 sotuhfalls

Above is a collage of the South Falls, Lodge, and Swimming Hole.  All are located near the Day Use area of the park.  You can also catch the Ten Falls Trail here.  The Lodge has a small Café (Snack Bar), and there  is a Nature Store with gifts for sale.

I have been riding the bike trail each morning, but coming back via the road.  Road is much smoother and allows me to go faster, averaging 10 mph with top speed of 16-17 mph. Very little traffic and its moving slow…

Olde Stone Village, McMinnville, OR

This is a really nice RV Park, located next to the Evergreen Air and Space Museum.  It has all the facilities, pool, restrooms, wash room, club house, etc.  Most lots are pull throughs and not too close together. At $31 a night it’s a really good deal.

The Evergreen Air and Space Museum

Plus McMinnville is located in the middle of Oregon wine country.  Plenty to do in McMinnville and the other towns in the area.  For bike riding, take the trail to the Museum and around the large parking area, plus they have a nature trail around the museum, through the vineyards.

Armitage County Park, Eugene, Oregon

This park is part of the Lance County Oregon park system and is located north of Eugene (Coburg) Oregon along the I-5 corridor.  It is located at eh junction of the McKenzie River and I-5.

Park Location & Description:
90064 Coburg Road
Eugene, OR 97408

Armitage Park includes 57 acres located 5 miles north of Eugene, Oregon, on the banks of the beautiful McKenzie River.

We had a full hookup site, most sites are large (58’X15’) with paved drives and full hookups.  There are some pull through sites, but most are back-ins.  Was a nice park, especially if you like to fish, the river is right there and fishing can be good, depending on river levels.

Armitage Park

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The McKenzie River adjacent to the park.

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Arches National Park, Moab, UT

About the only thing I can say for this is WOW! You won’t see scenery like this anywhere else in the world.  While not a large park, it is filled with interesting and unique landscapes and features. There are numerous easy and moderate hikes to the various terrain features, with most viewable from the roadway.

We took a lot of the hikes, until we ran out of steam. Although we walk 3-4 miles daily, its on level sidewalks and a mile lower elevation than at Arches, so we got pooped before we saw it all. But we may go back day after tomorrow, will just have to see how Canyon Lands goes.

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This is a shot of Landscape Arch in the background. Easy walk in, they were in the process of improving the trail as we walked in.  There are also a few more side trips to other arches, but we were losing steam by this point.

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The Arches Collage

Day 2.. we had to go back and finish what we didn’t catch the first day.  This is all of the Windows area of the park.

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Dead Horse Point State Park, Moab, Utah

Dead Horse State Park is located about 30 miles north of Moab, UT.  It is on a high mesa about 2000 feet above the Colorado River with large canyons surrounding it on 3 sides.  The name comes because cowboys used to herd horses out to the point via a narrow isthmus and then block it off to capture them. One year they forgot to remove the barrier and the horse died of dehydration, since there is no water on the mesa.  There still isn’t any water here, the park has to have it hauled in, so the campsites come with electric, but no water or sewer. There is running water in the bathrooms, but no showers, an RV dump, but no water to flush out the system, so bring your own or go dry…

About 20 campsites, each with its own cover picnic table, electric, and usually a couple of tent sites close to each pad.  There are some pull thrus and maneuvering is easy, paved roads and pads. Lots to do here, plenty of beautiful scenery, some very good bike trails and of course plenty of hiking trails.  Moab is just a short scenic drive away and there are lots of outdoor activities around Moab, to include jeep rides, whitewater rafting, and some wonderful bike trails.

We are close to Arches and Canyon Lands National Parks and will be visiting them during our stay here, see other posts for any information.

2011-03-31 canyonlands