Boondocking on the Williamson River

After spending a couple of days scouting out boondocking locations in the Klamath Falls/Chiloquin, OR area we settled on a fabulous location 30 miles east of Chiloquin in the Winema National Forest.

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Head Of The River Campground is a National Forest rustic campground situated at the spring that feeds the Williamson River. A small campground with only 5 sites and only two that could accommodate a 30 foot (or less) rig.   The other three sites would only work for tent camping.

With no one there, we lucked out and got the bigger of the two which was right on the river. A large sight with a fire pit, picknick table and large grassy area.

Our site right on the Williamson River
Our site right on the Williamson River

We spent a peaceful 7 days with no one else around. We saw the ranger twice and had a few people drive by but we were the only campers.  There were hardly any mosquitos or bugs and the weather was absolutely perfect tho we did wake up one morning to 29 degrees!  Brrr!  But the days warmed up quickly and we had perfect amount of sun on the solar panels to keep us going every day.

There is a 14 day stay limit at this campground and absolutely no fee which made it perfect for us!

The Williamson River
The Williamson River
Looking down the Williamson River.  The water was COLD!!!
Looking down the Williamson River. The water was COLD!!!
The river right behind our rig
The river right behind our rig
A perfect evening sunset on the trees
A perfect evening sunset on the trees

After running out of beer (we still had plenty of water and food lol) we headed back to town to figure out where to go next.  We ended up going to Rocky Point Resort for a couple of days to sit by Klamath Lake and catch up on laundry and to restock. More on that place in the next post!

For now we are back on the road and headed to Lake Tahoe, Nevada side.  While we really enjoyed Oregon and would love to explore it more, Lake Tahoe is on Mark’s bucket list so off we go!

Thanks for stopping by!! 😊

Shelly & Mark

Crater Lake 

 
We took a quick drive up to Crater Lake while out scouting for boondocking locations in the Chiloquin, OR area. 

It was pretty crowded as the day was absolutely perfect but we were blown away with the beauty of this place. 

 
We took a few photos and then headed back into the Winema-Fremont National Forest to do our scouting. 

     

We found a great location to boondocking at a remote FREE location. We will not have cell reception and we plan on being there at least a week so we will post again when we get back to civilization! 😊 

Kla-Mo-Ya Casino Overnight Parking

Saturday – July 18, 2015 IMG_2504 We left Caldwell, Idaho Saturday morning with really no plans other than to make it to the Crater Lake area in Oregon.

After leaving Bend, OR we headed south on Hwy 97 towards Crater Lake. Not really knowing the area, we decided to just finding a place to park for the night.

Thanks to Nina of Wheeling It for her fantastic review of the Kla-Mo-Ya Casino, we decided that’s where we would head.  We pulled in and saw the designated area for RVs and found a spot along the perimeter that would work.

We enjoyed a nice meal at the casino resteraunt and then played a few slots before going back to our rig and relaxing outside with a drink. We met some of the other RVers parked here and found that one of them had been here for a week! Apparently there is no stay limit here.

We only stayed the one night before moving on, but for an overnight stop it can’t be beat.  And thanks to our handy dandy RV Solar and battery bank we enjoyed a wonderful evening at home!

Yeah!! We made it to Oregon!! Time to explore this beautiful state!
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Idaho City, Idaho

Tuesday – July 14, 2015

After a couple of days catching up on chores and rest at home, we ventured out to visit Idaho City.  From our location it was a 75 mile drive (one way).  Idaho City is located on Hwy 21 which runs through the Boise National Forest.  Highway 21 is considered the “Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway”.

Idaho City was founded in December 1862 as “Bannock” (sometimes given as “West Bannock”), amidst the Boise Basingold rush during the Civil War, the largest since the California gold rush a dozen years earlier. Near the confluence of Elk and Mores Creeks, its plentiful water supply allowed it to outgrow the other nearby camps in the basin.  (Source: Wikipedia)

At one time, Idaho City held 20,000 residents and it was said that you were more likely to die by murder than any other cause.  Out of the first 200 burials in the new founded cemetery, only 28 people died of natural causes!  It must have been a very rough and tumble place to live at its peak.

On the drive up Hwy 21 you will come to Lucky Peak Reservoir.  This beautiful lake and state park offers swimming, boating and fishing.  Located only 10 miles from Boise, ID it’s a great place to spend the day.

Lucky Peak Dam
Lucky Peak Dam
Lucky Peak Reservoir
Lucky Peak Reservoir

However, our destination was further up the road so we continued on.  We climbed the rolling hills and before we knew it there were big Ponderosa Pines looming over us, as well as a beautiful creek running along the highway.  We pulled over so I could get a few pictures.

More's Creek
More’s Creek
The Old Toll Road
The Old Toll Road
Beautiful valleys on the way up the mountain
Beautiful valleys on the way up the mountain

About 30 minutes later we arrived in Idaho City and we were starving!  So our first order of business was to get lunch.  We stopped at Trudy’s Kitchen and had one of the best burgers we’ve had in a long time!  It’s a quaint little place and had tons of antiques from the local area.  Definitely a recommended stop!

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Trudy’s Kitchen
Bacon cheeseburger.  To Die For!
Bacon cheeseburger. To Die For!

After lunch we decided some walking would do us good so we parked the truck and headed into the “living ghost town”.  It’s called such because as there are still 485 residents in the town living side by side by the old buildings (and some still being used).  20,000 residents at it’s peak and now only 485.  It’s lowest population at one time was 120 people.  Idaho City’s main source of income is hunting & fishing tourism.

Some of the buildings and sites we saw on our walk:

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The Sluice Box
Antique City
Antique City
Diamon Lil's
Diamon Lil’s
The Hide Out - one of many bars in the area
The Hide Out – one of many bars in the area

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Beautiful view
Beautiful view
Garden in the midst of the town
Garden in the midst of the town
more flowers
more flowers
Boise Basin Museum
Boise Basin Museum

After walking around for awhile we decided to try to find the place that I used to camp as a kid.  Located on Grimes Creek (just a little ways from Idaho City) in the Boise National Forest.  The last time I was there I think I was 13 or 14 so over 30 years ago (eek, telling my age!).  We had no idea if we would find it but we took the chance.  It’s about 15 miles off Hwy 21 on Grimes Creek Road.  The road starts off paved but after about 8 miles it turns to gravel.

Grimes Creek - lots of memories from here!
Grimes Creek – lots of memories from here!

As we headed along the road we saw lots of campsites.  Mark kept asking me if “this was it”.  I said “no, we went over a bridge and it was on the left.  So we kept driving.  At one point we thought we saw it but the bridge was blocked off and said “private property”.  We drove a little further before realizing that the blocked off bridge must have been it.  So we turned around and drove back.  Before we made it back we stopped at a campsite right on the creek and got out.  I just HAD to dip my toes in the water!  🙂

Toes in very cold water!
Toes in very cold water!

The water was very cold but SO refreshing!

So pretty!
So pretty!
Whatcha looking at?
Whatcha looking at?
Just stunning
Just stunning

After drying off we headed down the road and there it was!  The bridge marked “private property” with a gate across.  We got out and I looked around the gate and sure enough, it was the campsite we had used when I was growing up.  Located right on the creek.  So many wonderful memories!  In a way I’m glad it’s privately owned and won’t be destroyed now.  I hope they keep it just the way it is!

The old campsite... :)
The old campsite… 🙂

We headed home after that which was an hour and a half drive.  We did manage to get more pictures and I will put them in a gallery in the bottom of this post.  Feel free to browse!  It was so much fun there and very entertaining.  And I’m glad I got to relive some old memories.

We leave here on Sunday, July 19th and head to Oregon.  Our plans are to spend the next 6 weeks or so there.  At this time we are headed to the Crater Lake area.  We will post from there next!

Oh and before I forget – check out this awesome shirt I found at TARGET (it was in the men’s section)!!  I got the last one here locally so not sure they are anywhere else but I just HAD to have it!

Wanderlust!  Yeah, baby!
Wanderlust! Yeah, baby!

JP Thailand Express

While in Idaho we’ve been hard pressed to find any decent places to eat locally. It’s been such a desperate search we are afraid the locals have no idea what good food is – or perhaps we’ve been spoiled! 

As luck would have it, we stumbled upon a fantastic Thai place. JP Thailand Express is located in a little strip mall on the outskirts of Nampa, Idaho.  Don’t let the location foo you. The atmosphere was wonderful, the service was excellent and the food was to die for! We could eat here every day!  

Chips and dip! Spicy Thai chili sauce
  

Spring rolls & potstickers
  
Chicken Panang Curry – yum!!
  
Peking Duck – Chef specialty
 

Idaho Winery Tour

Saturday, July 11, 2015

After spending the week with my mom and getting caught up with family, Mark and I decided to take a day for ourselves and hit some of the local wineries that have popped up here in the last 30 years.

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The beautiful Snake River
The beautiful Snake River
Sunflowers and wheat
Sunflowers and wheat

Our first stop was at the beautiful Koenig Winery & Distillery.  Set up on a hill overlooking the beautiful Snake River Valley, this winery and distillery has been producing some of the top wines in the region.  It was established in 1996 by Andy & Greg Keonig, two brothers who learned the art of making wine and spirits in their fathers home country of Austria.

Koenig Tasting House (photo courtesy Koenig Winery)
Koenig Tasting House (photo courtesy Koenig Winery)
I think this says it all...
I think this says it all…

We sampled a variety of wonderful whites & reds, including an Ice Wine that blew my socks off!  Needless to say we left with a few bottles. 🙂  They also offer a wonderful selection of fruit brandies, vodka and whiskey!

Koenig award winning wines!
Koenig award winning wines!
Beautiful distilling equipment!
Beautiful distilling equipment!
Old fashioned wine press!
Old fashioned wine press!

Our next stop took us to a relatively new winery in the area – Hat Ranch Winery.  Established in 2014 by Tim Harless, Hat Ranch Winery is producing some outstanding young wines.  Their reds are fabulous and there is definitely great things in their future!  Tim is very knowledgable about his wines and was a fabulous host in the tasting room.  We purchased a wonderful bottle of red and we look forward to future wines from this up and coming vineyard.

The tasting room at Hat Ranch Winery (photo courtesy of Hat Ranch Winery)
The tasting room at Hat Ranch Winery (photo courtesy of Hat Ranch Winery)
Hat Ranch's vineyard - a storm was brewing
Hat Ranch’s vineyard – a storm was brewing

Up the road from Hat Ranch is the Bitner Vineyards.  Established in 1981 by Ron and Mary Bitner, this winery is producing some of the best Tempranillo wines in the area!  Spicy and herby, this wine pairs well with so many spicy food!  We left with a few of these bottles.  Another wine I loved from this vineyard was their High Desert White Blend. Perfect on a summers day!  There are so many exciting wines from this vineyard it would be too long to post how many we picked up! 🙂

Bitner Wines (photo courtesy of Bitner Winery)
Bitner Wines (photo courtesy of Bitner Winery)
Bitner Winery
Bitner Winery

On our way up to the last winery of the day, we were ran into a road block – of goats!  🙂  They were taking them down to another pasture and the only way was to herd them down the road.  We stopped and let them go by.  It was great seeing the kids out helping (human kids, not the goats).  Busy day for them!

Goats in the road!
Goats in the road!
The Snake River in the background
The Snake River in the background

And our final stop of the day was the Ste Chapelle Winery.  One of the oldest established wineries in the region (1976), Ste Chapelle is the largest producer of wines in the area with 130,000 cases a year.  Their Sauvignon Blanc was a huge hit with me!  A wonderful wrap up to the day.

The Tasting Room at Ste Chapelle (photo courtesy of Ste Chapelle Winery)
The Tasting Room at Ste Chapelle (photo courtesy of Ste Chapelle Winery)
Ste Chapelle Winery
Ste Chapelle Winery

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Complimentary glasses with the wine tasting
Complimentary glasses with the wine tasting

On our way back home I took Mark into some of the country side I grew up in.  Out driving around we ran into Chicken Dinner Road!  I had totally forgotten about the road but when I saw it I knew I had to snap a picture of it.  Only in Idaho! 🙂

Chicken Dinner Road - only in Idaho!
Chicken Dinner Road – only in Idaho!

It was a fabulous day, lots of delicious wine was had and bought and we came home and crashed!  But we were lucky that a nice Russian tourist was kind enough to take a picture of us both to commemorate the day.

Happy wine drinking day!
Happy wine drinking day!

Up next is our trip up to Idaho City!  It is a “living” ghost town and has a LOT of history from the Gold Rush.  We also found the camp site I used to camp at when I was a kid!  So much has changed in Idaho but so much has stayed the same.

Here are some other photos of highlights of our day!  Enjoy…

 

6 nights, 7 days, 2500 miles

And we are HERE!  We made it to Idaho! Yeah, we know it’s been over a week since we’ve been here but we’ve been busy! 🙂

Idaho or Bust!
Idaho or Bust!  We are finally here!!

We left South Carolina as originally planned on June 29, 2015 and arrived on July 5, 2015!  When we set off we had agreed to going about 300-350 miles a day, depending on traffic, road conditions, etc.  We managed to do about 360 miles per day (on average) and made it here in 7 days.  We stayed fairly close to the interstate every night to make it simple to get back on the road each day.  We stayed at a couple of decent RV parks but for the most part they were pretty crappy.  If it hadn’t been so hot we would have done the Walmart boondocking thing.  But seeing how it was 85+ each day I just couldn’t do it (I can’t deal with the heat when I sleep).

We were very pleased with how our truck pulled our new trailer.  We averaged about 10 MPG on the trip out here so all in all, that worked for us.  We had no troubles at all and it was really a great trip!  The gas did get more expensive the further west we went but other things got cheaper, so it averaged out, IMO.

I put together a list of the parks we stayed at and the price we paid, along with a little review of each.  Granted, these were not destination areas but just a place to lay our heads each night.  Photos of our travels out here are at the end of the post in a gallery!  We didn’t take a lot as we were in a mad dash to get here but there are some fun ones.

The parks we stayed at along the way and the price we paid each night:

1st stop:

  • Chattanooga, TN (382 mile drive)
  • RV Park:  Holiday Trav-L-Park
  • Price paid:  $35
  • Overall a decent park with easy access to the interstate.  The sites were decent with little grassy areas and picnic tables.  Nice trees and shady.

2nd stop:

  • Mt. Vernon, IL (375 mile drive)
  • RV Park:  Archway RV Park
  • Price paid:  $33
  • Pretty crappy park for the price.  Front desk people were clueless and there was a lot of road noise but not surprising considering the interstate is so close.  It was convenient and that’s all.

3rd stop:

  • St. Joseph, MO (387 mile drive)
  • RV Park:  AOK Campground
  • Price paid:  $27
  • Easy access to the interstate.  Very small park up a very steep gravel road.  They have a pond in the park that made the bugs really bad but as it was only an overnight we could live with it.  Would not stay long term.  Also, the sites were not level with all of them going downhill.

4th stop:

  • North Platte, NE (363 mile drive)
  • RV Park:  Holiday RV Park
  • Price paid: $35
  • Easy access to the interstate.  The bugs were HORRENDOUS!  Sites were very very close together.  But what made me mad is we were told one rate and I had to give a credit card over the phone to hold the spot (due to the holiday weekend traffic) and we were charged a lot more ($27 versus $35).  Would never recommend this park as I hate shady dealing.  Also, the water pressure was almost nil.

5th stop:

  • Rawlings, WY (376 mile drive)
  • RV Park:  RV World Campground
  • Price paid:  $27.50 (water & electric only)
  • Again, easy access to the interstate.  This place was nothing more than a gravel parking lot with hookups.  Spaces were so tight that the first spot they put us in we didn’t fit and our trailer is only 30′ with hitch.  But again, as we were only staying one night it worked.

6th and final stop:

  • Snowville, UT (358 mile drive)
  • RV Park:  Lottie-Dell Campground (no website) (435) 872-8273
  • Price paid: $26
  • Not far from I-84 right before the Idaho border.  This rustic campground reminds me of what it used to be like before “glamping” came along.  All grass spaces, very nice, wide and long with full hookups.  This place is done on the honor system if you come in late and the owner is very pleasant.  There is a driving range with golf clubs and balls located in the check in office!  Sweeping views of the mountain ranges and far enough from the interstate that it was a very pleasant evening to stay here.  By far my favorite spot of the cross country trip!  Not sure I would stay here long term but it was very relaxing after 6 days on the road.

On our last day we drove 268 miles to our final destination in Caldwell, Idaho.  We are currently at Country Corners RV Park and will be here another week before heading off to Oregon (I will do a review of the park when we leave).  We’ve had a lot of fun visiting my mom and checking out all the wineries that have sprung up here in the last 30 years.  It’s amazing how much this place has changed!  But the wind is already calling to us and we are keen to be off.  🙂

Enjoy some of the photos from our travels that week!