Oregon/Washington October 2021 Trip Part 1

On October 6, 2021 we left to explore Oregon and Washington.  Along with it being a new camping adventure we also wanted to look for possible locations to move to.  The fires and smoke and drought are becoming very troublesome here in Northern California so we are open to the possibility of a new home elsewhere,  if the right one presents itself.  The trip took two weeks and we traveled almost 2,000 miles.  We need to do it again and spend more time.  Too much to see in that short time.

The first day we drove north on I-5, 330 miles to Valley of the Rogue SP, just north of Grants Pass, OR.  This was our first time hooking up to electric and what a treat that was.  Turns out most all Oregon and Washington SPs have full hookups, a luxury for us.  This particular campground was so convenient being just off the highway, but with that there was the freeway white noise.  Along with water and electric there were free showers and a free dump.

The next day we drove to Champoeg SP, about 250  miles further  north.  We really just parked the RV there, then drove to Lake Oswego to spend the night with Joe, Nat and the kids.  It was my first time there and I just loved their beautiful old home situated right on the lake.

The next morning we headed back to pick up the RV and then headed toward the coast and our next stop, Ft. Stevens SP, which is located near Astoria.  It was a four day holiday weekend in Oregon so the campground (which is huge) was packed.  The loop we were in “N”, had 120 campsites with just one bathroom.  Luckily the morning rush to the head only had a small line.

We were only five minutes walk to Lake Coffenbury which had a nice two mile walking trail around it.  Charlie and I went to the big beach where he ran around like a crazed dog and rolled in the sand.  His favorite.  I even drove the jeep out to the hard sand which was kinda cool.  We stayed here for three nights.  The day we left we found Bull Winkle, a huge bull elk, eating his breakfast just about 10 yards from our RV.  What a beautiful creature he was and a highlight of the trip.

We lunched in Astoria which is a charming town.  It would be a nice place to live but definitly city life versus a more rural setting we are used to.  The Astoria-Megler Bridge connecting Oregon to Washington is quite long (4.1 miles) and a wee bit unnerving to drive over.  Kind of fun but a bit scary too.  Anyway, we crossed it and began our journey north into Washington.

After driving 180 miles north along the Olympic coast we found a terrific private land boondocking campsite along the Hoh River.  Allen Bar Campground, $5/night.  16 miles south of Forks.  Beautiful spot for a one night stay.  Very private until the next morning when I heard trucks crunching on the rocks near me around 5am.  It was a bunch of guys launching four drift boats to float fish 13 miles downstream.  Very cool sight with the sun rising as they drifted away.  I flew the drone here and got some nice shots and views from above.

Our next stop was Fort Worden in Port Townsend.   It was cold and rainy.  We booked our site there just days before so we didn’t get a great one but it was ok.  They were doing some renovations in that loop so there were no showers nearby and we had to use porta-potties.  The fort grounds were quite interesting and I wish we had more time to explore it.  Port Townsend is a great historical town that I have always had a fondness for.  However, prices for homes there are quite expensive.

We noticed the first night there that our water pump was cycling too often.  So the next day I looked all over for a leak.  Finally I found the drain plug in the hot water heater was leaking water out.  I went to tighten the plug and the darn, plastic thing broke apart.  Luckily there was an RV  place nearby that Kate found on her phone.  I raced over there arriving about 5 minutes before they closed. The owner knew exactly what I needed and I was on my way home with a new plug. I  had it  installed and not leaking before it got dark.  Phew!  Would have been a bit of an inconvenience to go without any hot water or faucet and toilet water overnight.

After two nights in Port Townsend we had to start heading back south and plan the rest of our overnight stops so we would arrive home just in time for prior commitments.  We really wanted to spend time exploring the coastal towns of Oregon.   Here is part two of this trip.


Author: Geoff

Quick rundown: Grew up in Lombard, Illinois, went to Arizona State University, worked as a CPA with Arthur Andersen & Co, then Laventhal and Horwath, then Rolling Stones, then Heron International, then Goodby Berlin and Silverstein in San Francisco. Moved to the foothills in 1990 and traded futures and designed websites. Married to Kate Stewart, now living in Colfax, CA. We have six grandchildren. I enjoy camping in our RV, hiking, kayaking, fishing, droning and cross country skiing Also conga drumming, photography and dogs.