Metolius River Camping in Oregon

I was having a conversation recently with a friend which brought up the subject of  RVing. She asked me if I would ever prefer to leave the RV or Tent parked at home and go on a road trip staying in a B & B, hotel, motel etc!  Admitattley I answered NO. So in my long winded way I explained why. I know my husband and I are not the only ones that feel this way as we have met many RVrs and snow birds experiencing the same journey.

There is nothing like having your home (comfort zone) with you, I personally love the fact I can cook healthy fresh food and not break the bank. We also love our own comfy bed and concealed weapons (just kidding).

This is the Metolius River camping part. For the past seven days we have been camped at Smiling River Campground site #22, less than 100 feet from the most glorious, pure flowing river, we have ever experienced.  We do this every spring and fall at a mere $7.00 a night.. This is why we dont stay at B & B’s, hotels etc. Settled in acampground there is a campfire feel of calmness, the tranquille sounds of the river flowing over rocks and its many changing sounds.  Then there is many mixed aromas, grilled trout someone just caught, steaks BBQing and grilled veggies . But it’s the campfire thats the real star, you cannot sit around a campfire telling stories and roasting smores with your grandchildren in a hotel room. We look up at the stars at night and feel such a part of this earth, this is pure relaxation and what its all about.

Lots To Do

The beautifully groomed trails along the metolious wind along the river for miles.

The head of The Metolius has a paved 1/4 mile walkway-to view the beginning of the river-a must to witness

Wizard Falls Fish hatchery-so fun

Camp Sherman General Store is a fun experience with a state of the art fly fishing dept.

Fly Fishing

Kayacking

Birding

Mushrooming

Geo Caching

Fine Lodging and dining

ATV Opportunities and hunting

Hope you enjoy my pictures and maybe someday you can experience the RV life.

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Catalina State Park Arizona

Sometimes I’m not sure when we are headed to a new destination what’s ahead. I get anxious,wondering will the park be nice, comfortable, amenities that we enjoy, things to do and explore. Not to worry at Catalina State Park out of Tucson Arizona. Actually I should play this park down and really not tell you the truth as this is a true gem nestled at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The park is a haven for desert plants and wildlife with nearly 5,000 saguaros. I would highly advise staying at least 2 weeks as when you are finished hiking, biking, visiting the ruins,attending the free concerts and Saturday wildlife exhibits you still need to explore what Tucson has to offer.
The campground itself has 120 sites, which are strategically arranged to give you much privacy yet an amazing view of the Catalinas. Campground slips are paved including picnic tables, bbq grills water and electric.Campgrounds have modern flush restrooms with free hot showers. RV dump stations are available in the park with no limit on RV length. Campground is open year round. The fee is $30.00 a night with a 14 day limit.
This is one time we both did not want to leave, we were so comfortable in our site with a spectacular view of the Catalinas and so much to do the time just flew. We will return.

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CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND♥♥♥♥

Sorry most of our pictures of this camping visit are MIA, if they show up I will re post. I did re cover a few enjoy and join me on our next adventure at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

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Canyon De Chelly National Park

Canyon De Chelly

Cottonwood campground is located at the entrance of Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The campground consists of 92 sites, two group sites. All campsites are paved, no electric or water or sewer, its dry camping all of the way.  The campsite has three restrooms no showers, water station and dump facility. The campground is first come first serve, No reservations and cash only for payment, which is $14.00 a night. Park is open year round popular during October to April. www.navajonationparks.org

Now that we have  our trailer settled in our camping site it was time to make reservations for a jeep tour of the canyon.  We contacted Arizona Jeep Tours, spoke with Oscar Yazzie, 928-781-2113 and yay we had a tour at 9 am the next morning. Oscar advised us to dress warm, bring water and snacks and a personal guide would pick us up at our trailer. Sure enough, our guide was spot on time and arrived at 9 am sharp, in an open blue jeep wrangler, hence the dress warm.  Our guides name was JJ and he is pure Tseyi’ Dine’, not Navajo he assured us. Per JJ our guide Navaho means STUPID. We rode off towards the entrance to Canyon De Chelly; you cannot enter this Heritage area without a guide. The four hour and 30 mile round trip tour was very informative; we learned much about the people and their beliefs.  The ruins were highly historical yet slowly deteriorating due to the hands of man and Mother Nature. Many petroglyphs and pictographs remain in amazing condition. Be sure to bring cash because every time you stop along the tour there are many Dine’  (Indians) selling their goods and wares. If you are on a quest for history of the Navajo/Dine’ people, the jeep tour is highly recommended.

Later in the day, we took the scenic roadway that takes you on the south upper rim along the canyon with outlets to observe the canyon. Again – Bring cash because every time you stop along the tour there are many Dine’  (Indians) selling their goods and wares in the parking areas.

CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND 

 

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Join us next time at Walnut Canyon for more Indian Ruins

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Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde is truly the Land Of The Ancients. Accessing Mesa Verdes premier sites is physically challenging. Most cliff dwelling trails are steep, uneven, with numerous steps, ladders, cliff edges and tight passages. The 7500 elevation and very dry windy hot climate can drain you fast if you are not properly prepared. Luckily, we arrived at the end of the season; temperatures were in the 70’s and nights 30ish. We found a lovely camp spot at Morefield inside the park, an seven-mile drive from the entrance, with a beautiful panorama. Being it is at the end of the season, no frills here, no, water, electric or sewer, pure dry camping-we did get a fire pit and very nice picnic table. This was a true test for our Solar and its working perfectly, I can blow dry my hair, vacuum, we even made sweet potato smoothies in the bullet. The park fee with The Senior America the Beautiful pass was $10.00 a night.
The first day we headed to visit Longhouse, we couldn’t get tickets as it was closing for the season so we opted to walk to the viewing platform, a 3 ½ mile loop, partially paved, with 4 additional Pithouse sites along the way named Badger House. The drive from our campsite to Longhouse parking was 23 miles of twisting, winding, curvy and a very steep roadway. Warnings along the way advising you cannot be over 25 feet long to drive this roadway, glad Julie was not on this road trip. The walk to see the ruins is worth it, unlike anything we have ever seen, the preservation, building skills and humans’ being able to survive in a bleak and harsh environment was astounding.
Our Next day’s adventure we were able to purchase tickets for a park ranger tour of Balcony House, $10.00 for two, named the most adventurous cliff dwelling tour. We met at the trailhead, approx. thirty of us in all and proceeded down a 150 ft. decent straight down, very, very steep steps. Then straight back up a huge ladder 32 steps to be exact to a ledge overlooking the vast Ancestral Pueblo Valley. If you happen to be claustrophobic, I would advise do not do this tour. We spent most of the tour on the ledge of an open cliff face with stone steps and tiny crawl spaces through rock tunnels. It is exhilarating, our Park Ranger was outstanding being an anthropologist he was informative and entertaining. The rest of the day, we spent self-touring other cliff dwelling and ended up at The Chapin Mesa Museum. The park is well marked with informative signage and easy to follow directions. There are a lot of dwelling you can visit, with wheel chair access and easy paved walking trails.

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NEXT ADVENTURE CANYON DE CHELLY
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Moab Utah – Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park

Two National Parks – One Extraordinary Destination!

Less than an hour’s drive from Moab will put you atop the mythical sounding Island in the Sky, a remarkable district of Canyonlands National Park that makes you feel  as if you are on top of the world. The views from the Island encompass thousands of square miles of colorful canyons, mesas and buttes. America Beautiful Pass will get you for free, otherwise a $25.00 fee is required. y, however, doesn’t end with our National Parks. Dead Horse Point State Park is a short drive from Moab and offers visitors amazing views of the snaking meanders of the Colorado River 2,000 feet below. Just 20 miles south of Moab are the La Sal Mountains, which are part of Manti-La Sal National Forest.  Attaining heights of nearly 13,000 feet, these alpine mountains are the second highest mountain range in Utah. All of the amazing scenery in this part of the world is why Moab has such a rich history of filmmaking. However, seeing it on the big screen is one thing, experiencing it for yourself will fill you with enough memories to last a lifetime.

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Next Stop Mesa Verde Colorado

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Arches National Park Utah

The Adventure Begins
We are new snowbirds, very new, as this is our first time to say good-by to our home and not return for 5 months. In the past the longest we have been gone is around 32 days and that was in Canada. Setting off when the fall leaves are at their prime, saying good-by to our friends and neighbors was a very heartwarming for me. We tried to remember everything we thought we needed-ha, I’m sure we way over packed!! We winterized our house and yard, set the alarm, closed our eyes and drove away. We have a full agenda planned with memories and explorations to be made. Follow us as we head out to the daily unknown with the first Thompson Snow Bird Adventure.
Day 1 – Driving, Driving, Driving, left home with a snow storm and 28 degrees – burr, drove until 3pm when we arrived at the elks lodge in Caldwell, Idaho, $15.00 for overnight, included water and electric.
Day 2 – Caldwell Idaho to Mona, Utah, drove most of the day, decided to fill up with fuel and stay overnight at a truck stop-Free.
Note: This was our very first truck stop experience, actually not bad.
Day 3 – Up at 5 am – yikes, where is a Starbucks. We realized (our navigator GPS – Phoebe) took us a little past our turn off, we turned around and headed back to Spanish Fork (20 mile detour) oops. Then it was on to Moab, that’s when the landscape started to get amazing. Around every corner was a new surprise, beautiful this time of year with the landscape slowly changing into its fall colors and massive red rock canyons. This is when it gets difficult to drive, so much beauty to look you need to pull off often. We arrived in Moab at around 10 am heading to Goose Island, hoping and praying there was a site available. We lucked out, as this is a BLM first come first serve facility (no reservations) and luckily, as we arrived, someone pulled out-yay-we got a spot. This is pure dry camping, no water, sewer or electric. They do have very nice vault toilets, garbage, very nice picnic tables and fire pits. Sometimes it pays to be a senior as the fee for us was $7.50 a night, thank You America the Beautiful Pass.
Here we are settled in our camping spot Litterly on the Colorado River, looking up at Arches National Park. There are no words to describe the majestic beauty and serenity of the Moab area.
Day 4 – Off to explore Arches national Park, the entrance fee is $25.00 a vehicle, with an America the Beautiful Pass it is free. Leave super early as its crowded and limited parking. Touring this park, you need good hiking boots, 2 quarts of water each and a sun hat, walking sticks help on some of the dicer trails and Shade is limited. Even though this is the end of the tourist season, you need patience, as it is crowded and snowbirds move slowly.
NOTE: Summer daytime temperatures can reach 110 degrees, heat and dehydration can be fatal – advised 1 gallon of water per person per day.
We stopped at every turn out and vista view area working our way to Landscape Arch a 1.6-mile moderate walk located at the Devils Garden trailhead. A hidden gem just off the roadway was Sand Dune Arch (0.3mi) an easy sandy walk and great for kids as it is a huge natural sandbox with narrow partition rocks to climb through and at the end a hidden arch. Of all of the National parks we have visited in our lifetime, I have to say Arches is the most spectacular. Every corner you hike around is another wow!
Day 5 – Boy are we out of shape! Today we visit Balanced Rock (0.3mi) beautiful paved trail, wheelchair accessible. Double Arch (0.5 mi) Easy trail through some loose sand, spectacular arch. Delicate Arch (3mi) round trip – Difficult trail with elevation gains, no shade, at the end open slickrock with close exposure to heights-not for faint of heart, but worth it.
Day 6 – We are going to stay around camp today, catch up on laundry-walk the beautiful bike trail that leads to Downtown Moab that just happens to be 200 feet from our campsite. Does it sound like we are resting today, ha not us as we have 6 Geocaches calling our name along the new bike trail!!!

Don’t forget your America the Beautiful Pass
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Cheers From Just Around the Bend♥♥♥♥

Next Adventure we are off to Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point

 

Fort Stevens State Park – Oregon

Fort Stevens State Park in the fall is another 10 experience. The weather has been perfect with 72 degree days and 60 degree nights. Wind, none-that’s unheard of at the beach-right. Even though the park is literally packed with snow-birds, you would never know it. You practically have the most pristine paved trails to yourself and once you are back in  camp, it’s quiet and so relaxing. The campsites are situated so you have ample privacy, lots of trees and vegetation separating you from your neighbor. All sites have fire pits, tables, water and electric. Two larger loops have full hookups. Restrooms are clean, pretty modern with token paid showers. Full hookup for us was $32,00 a night, well worth it.

Our first day we were so excited to explore the many bikes trails, we actually got up early, packed snacks, water and off we biked hoping to end up at the beach. We geocached along the way and found many, ending up at the beach and exploring  a wrecked cargo ship named The Peter Iredale . Well what’s left of it.

Second Day was exploring bunkers, watching ships come in and out of the mouth of the Columbia River and more biking. This particular bike exploration brought us to a new trail which led to a very pregnant very large elk just grazing in a marsh right next to the trail. Wow are they big! The last day of our time here we are going to spend at the beach and yes probably get there by bicycles. What a fun, relaxing and memorable time this has been.

 

 

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What To Do Here:

First thing we did was get our bikes unloaded and hit the many miles of beautiful trails.

Find the beach – yes we rode our bikes directly to the beach- You can drive there also.

Tour the many bunkers

Geocache – So many very creative caches to be found, most you can find on your bikes or by walking, we found many!!!

Start a fire in your fire pit  and relax

Explore The City Of Astoria and be sure to ride the train

Visit The  Peter Iredale a wrecked cargo ship

See you next time from Just Around The Bend♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

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