We've been unsuccessfully trying for the past week to locate a spot where the temperatures won't exceed 90+ degrees during the daylight hours. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Eureka, Montana and now Whitefish, Montana have all been unseasonably hot by about 10+ degrees. Lucky us.
While it's true the low humidity of this region of the country helps with high temps compared to, for example, the southeast, and being outside isn't necessarily as oppressive, we still must run our air conditioner during the middle to later portions of the afternoon, if we are inside the van. That means either being plugged into a power source or running our generator. Either is okay, just not necessarily our preference. I'm writing this parked on the street in downtown Whitefish, Montana, generator running, current temp, 92 degrees, humidity 33%, and a heat advisory out.
We had discussed trying to camp in Glacier National Park, but after some cursory research, knew, mostly due to COVID-19 restrictions in place, that was unlikely. Here's the latest on what's happening in Glacier.
After a few days in Eureka, Montana where we traveled to check out a future approach to Canadian and possible future Alaskan adventures, we decided to move south and east towards Glacier. It's beautiful and very remote in Eureka and our drive up Montana Highway 37 from Coeur d'Alene along Lake Koocanusa is not to be missed.
Just an aside, there are Forest Service campgrounds along Highway 37 approaching Eureka, but given they are (mostly) dry camping and again, the weather's hot, we opted not to use them. I'm pretty sure those campgrounds, mostly uninhabited when we drove through, would have been busy this time of year, but for the Canadian Border being closed. As such, we saw very few campers and very few vehicles on the road after Jennings, Montana.
Our approach to seeing Glacier, given COVID-19 restrictions and the day-use crowds we anticipated, was to get up early, leave Eureka, Montana and get there around 7:30-8:00 a.m. It was a good choice. There was a small line of cars in front of us as we arrived, but we were able to access the west-side visitor center easily, get information and a map, and spend a few hours checking out a brief portion of Going-to-the-sun-road at our leisure.
While not optimal, we nevertheless had great fun and look forward to returning when conditions are better.
We've been in Coeur d'Alene for nearly three days. It's beautiful here. We've had good eats, enjoyed the extensive bike trails that connect much of the city and the setting on Lake Coeur d'Alene is amazing. It's worth a visit, but you should know like many red state places there's a large faction of people who fancy themselves "patriots" and there's much freedumb to go around. In the time of pandemic they deny the science and, as a result, put all of us in danger.
To the panhandle's credit, the Kootenai County Health Board passed a mandatory mask ordinance on the 23rd of July resulting in demonstrations around Coeur d'Alene with strong currents of white supremacy. I saw my first confederate flag being driven around in the bed of a pickup with a Trump 2020 flag beside it on my way to dinner this evening.
We happened on a demonstration Saturday past complete with many carrying side arms. Peaceful intimidation.
Since beginning our travels again, we're increasingly finding some great outdoor venues opening where physical distancing is not a problem, Portland's Japanese Garden is no different. The garden landscape is all about colors and shapes and textures, beautifully choreographed.
They've arranged your tour to flow in one direction so everyone can keep the proper distances.
Check it out when you're in Portland.
A few miles off I-5 in Woodland, Washington and about 25 miles north of Portland, Oregon, Columbia Riverfront RV Park is a nicely kept park on the Columbia River. We spent a night there on our way from Northern Washington to Portland.
One of the great treats about full-time travel is all the new places we travel to, through and that we visit, but more importantly the new friends we make.
A friend from of ours from Birmingham and I have shared a Facebook friend who lives in La Conner with her husband for a while. My Birmingham friend went to college with her and has known her for years. We were introduced by him via Facebook because we share a love of photography and, as a bonus, we have the same politics. She also hails from the South. We conversed via Facebook and via private messages for years. I was very happy when she invited Melanie and me to come and visit with she and her husband in La Conner.
Like many communities, La Conner has its own struggle with COVID. When we were there restaurants and shops were just opening back up and people were (mostly) wearing masks. We were able to park Miranda across from her home in a friend's business parking lot for a few restful and enjoyable days.
From the website:
There’s a reason why we are so often voted the most perfect Washington state weekend getaway destination and land on top of the romantic getaways Washington state lists– it’s the same reason we love living and working here. Plain and simple … not only is it beautiful, but our community is full of genuinely warm and friendly folks.
We'll be back for a visit with our new friends our next time through Washington.
Images from a couple of our recent travel days in Oregon. From Florence to Lincoln City, Oregon and some from our stop in Astoria, Oregon.
Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park is our first Oregon State Park.
Because of COVID-19, camping in Honeyman is currently by reservation only. Services are limited and the bathhouses are not available for showers. The campground is convenient to Florence, Oregon. We rode our bikes into town on several occasions.
Great campground. We'll be back.
We've been traveling again (after quarantine in Sisters, Oregon) for over two weeks. We've stayed at six different campgrounds, all of them commercial campgrounds. While Oregon is slowly opening up, most Oregon State Park Campgrounds are closed or offering limited services.
Case in point, we were scheduled to camp just north of Crater Lake at Diamond Lake Campground (National Park Campground) on the 8th of June. We made a reservation for 4 days. About a week after getting confirmation, the National Park Service notified us we'd been cancelled due to continuing concerns by Oregon of COVID-19. After receiving notice of cancellation, we decided to make our way back towards the coast, stopping over again in Eugene, Oregon for three days.
Deerwood RV Park is located just off the Williamette Highway and Interstate 5 southeast of Eugene.
It's is a nicely kept park in a good location to explore Eugene. They provide nice and spacious private showers and have a nice laundry room.
Melanie and I rode our bikes from Deerwood over to Island Park about 6 miles away and picked up the greenway that runs along the Williamette River. We rode to Owen Rose Garden and then on into downtown Eugene where we picked up groceries and got a beer at a downtown bar on the way back to Deerwood.
We'd stay here again.
Crater Lake National Park was an easy drive from our spot at Rocky Point Resort in Klamath, Oregon. While the park is currently open, none of the facilities are and the East Rim Drive is currently closed. We arrived at about 9:30 a.m. and found very few people around. We basically had the West Rim Drive to ourselves. Looking at the park map, there's plenty for us to explore next time around.
Melanie and I left our great quarantine spot in Sisters, Oregon less than a week ago. We were in Eugene, Oregon for a few days then, on the advice of John and Susan, who I met at Windy Gap along the Mckenzie Scenic Highway while in Sisters, we made reservations in Bandon at Bandon Wayside, a spot recommended most recently with 5 stars on the Campendium website.
The RV park is small, they refer to it as "Micro," with 8 full-hook up sites located behind the motel. A privacy fence surrounds the property and for those of you who enjoy a hippie cocktail:
Guests are invited to walk around and relax around the property. Enjoy a self-made happy hour at one of our sunny picnic tables. For folks who enjoy cannabis have a seat in our open air Cannabis Cabin or if you are a tobacco smoker we have a open air covered seating area for you too. Please note that smoking and vaping are only permitted in designated areas. All rooms and the RV park are smoke and vape free.
RV guests have the use of two well-appointed bathrooms, both with a washer and dryer. They've thought of everything you may need, individual face cloths, facial tissues, Myers hand soap, individual bath mats, etc. In the time of pandemic I should add, they are very well-kept and cleaned regularly with sanitizer available for wiping surfaces.
The park is located within walking distance of a food market and we easily biked into old town Bandon and down the coast to Bandon South Jetty Park and Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge among other places.
David and Nicole are great hosts and made sure we had everything we needed for a great stay.
Nicole suggested a local favorite restaurant, Alloro Wine Bar & Restaurant, for take-out dinner since they are not yet open for dine-in service. They're offering 30% off in May and they deliver. We await dinner as I type.
Check Wayside out when in Bandon. We'll be back.
Steven and Melanie