This Weekend’s Adventure – 06/07/17

Wow, that was a really good weekend.

First, the shakedown cruise has been awesome. I am glad I brought the trailert out now so I can get used to this new way of travel before the hopeful big road trip in the Fall. I am making adjustments to storage, layout, and determining if I can leave anything else behind or need to bring something. I have had to fine tune a little but I think it’s almost done.

I think I have most everything that I need except a lawn chair (or two, when the time comes that I am not flying solo any longer) that I had on my list but forgot to grab. Luckily, where I have been staying had a picnic table with a pretty nice river view of the Columbia River. I need to remove a few cooking items that I want need right now, plus I have to make some room for my cast iron skillets and my soon-to-be-arriving Instant Pot.

Trying to figure out how to organize is a little bit of a challenge in this trailer. I don’t have a lot of storage right around the “kitchen area”. There is some, yes, but not enough to make the grocery storage sensible so I have to store groceries in a couple of different places. You also need to distribute the weight and that’s probably why they have the cabinets set up the way they do. Plus I’m still new to this so I am trying to figure it out from scratch.

I am also going to need to rethink my grocery purchasing. Bigger single boxes just aren’t going to work in here at all. I can buy in bulk, like the multi packages at Costco, and I can store the extra items in my storage unit. I need to get a small shelf or two and some storage containers to put in the cabinets to store rice, beans, cereal, etc. in. That might possibly even save me some money by doing it that way since nothing ever seems to get any cheaper. Since I don’t go through some things very fast, I’ll not need to buy stuff very often.

I have had to make a few changes on how my bedding is stored to make that more accessible. I don’t want to have to tear the trailer halfway apart to get the blankets out to make my bed every night. I also had a rolled up piece of egg crate foam that I cut into slabs so it will store easier since it now lays flat. There is even a leftover piece that I can get rid of so that will save some space as well. Taking out the bunk mattress helped with that.

I also see the potential for an interesting change for my storage but it would require some cutting on the cabinetry and that’s just not something I’m comfortable doing. If I would put in a couple of cabinet doors I would not have to take the trailer halfway apart to make my bed anymore. I think it would be a really nice improvement plus it would really help with storage access. I know someone that would be really good at it that I work with so I’ll have to talk to him.

At some point in the future I’m going to have to get new foam for the cushions. The foam in the cushions is pretty soft and I don’t think it will hold up very long under constant usage. They need a good closed-cell foam to offer better support, and I can probably ditch the egg crate foam after they are replaced, saving more storage space and a few pounds of weight.

So, on to the adventure!

I stayed in an RV park in Orondo, Washington. I nearly had the place to myself. There were only three other trailers there and they were on the other end of the row of trailer pads. I was over to the side by myself. They have no dump station or sewer hookups. It is right next to the highway so it’s a little noisy and the damn sprinkler system kept turning on; the last time I had the truck windows down and it got wet inside. I was not happy about the service there so no shoutout to them.

RV Park I Stayed At

RV Park I Stayed At

A Cocktail on the Columbia River at Sunset

A Cocktail on the Columbia River at Sunset

My Truck and Trailer

My Truck and Trailer

I found the park through an exchange I needed to make on Groupon. I got two nights for $29 and had electricity and water hookups. I have had a love/hate relationship with Groupon but I must say this was a hella deal even though there were some issues.

One thing I don’t like at all about Groupon is that merchants want to redeem your voucher when you make a reservation or take a credit card number for a deposit. That means it is redeemed before I get the services I paid for and that’s unacceptable to me as I have zero recourse if hat happens. This problem needs to be solved, and I will not buy many, if any, more services with that happening.

Wednesday I headed east on US Highway 2 – the very same highway to that I want to drive coast-to-coast on. I’ve been on the stretch before and that’s how I knew there were some places I wanted to go to. You can’t really tell by looking around you because it’s very dry and arid and I t’s kind of like the Great Plains. But I have been here before and I saw signs of places I wanted to go at that time. One of those was Grand Coulee Dam.  The others would be Sun Lakes State Park and Dry Falls state park.

I considered doing all three but I will have to come back – I just didn’t have the time to do it all. The State Parks are their own destination with campgrounds so that will be nice. I am doing my adventures more slowly to see more things along the way as opposed to marathon drives to get places as far as possible to work back towards home – wherever that was at the time.

Grand Coulee Dam is one of those places that we have always heard about but never remember why. It is a pretty impressive engineering work and the stats are really amazing – the damn sits ON the granite below, which is solid three to five miles thick. It is NOT attached. At all. The sheer weight of it holds it in place. It will outproduce any nuclear plant. It is the sixth biggest producer of power in the world, and first in North America. There is enough concrete in it to build a four-lane highway from Seattle to Miami. There are many other stats that will blow your mind.

The interconnection between dams up- and downstream is incredible. With high snowpack the lake is high but they can pump millions of water far downstream to make room for what’s coming down from upstream. In Canada upstream they are at 175% of normal snowpack. This damn was built for irrigation initially, but hydro power was added after WWII so it fills two roles.

I was on a short tour that was very informative but they were doing something and we did not get to actually get to go on the damn. We got to go into the pump house and did get to see the equipment running. If you are in the area it is definitely worth a stop. Be advised the security is like the airport. It is one of the very few that remain open somewhat to visitors after 9/11.

After that I was hungry so I got on Yelp and looked up someplace to eat. I decided on the Hi Dam Tavern. Five stars on Yelp so they must be doing it right.

Indeed they were.


Thew World’s Best French Fries next to a Morningburger

I asked what they were known for and she said “the Morningburger”, a handmade patty on top of a bottom bun with homefries on it. On top of those two was cheese, ham, bacon, an egg (which I left off since I’m on a diet 😬). The fries…damn, absolutely THE best fries I have ever eaten. Hand-cut fresh and fantastic, these make you never want to eat fries anyplace else and drive as far as you need to get these. These fries have now become the benchmark. A great dive bar and friendly people around the town, which I really, and sadly, didn’t meet many of as I drove around.

After a delicious lunch I had to think about where next. I have not been up in this area except for a trip many years ago. I finally decided I was going to go around the block and make the loop up across the reservation towards Omak, but then head south back to Orondo where the trailer was. Quite a scenic drive that had several different types of terrain. Rivers, forests quite similar to Colorado, dry, dusty plains, farmland, countless orchards. It is a great road trip for an adventure.

I’ll resume putting maps in my posts when I go somewhere, starting with this one. I think it is something easy to look at so you can look at the entire route at once on a separate page as well. I will not put beginning to end (because I know where I live and no one else needs to), but will make sure it has info on it that is usable. People will come from different directions so I will just do the local stuff and side trips around the area I am staying if that’s the case. For a long adventure I will be more thorough like I was in the first posts of my blog. I don’t really know why I stopped but I did.

I must say that I definitely see the fun in doing this trailer thing. I was apprehensive at first on how to approach it but I am just going for it and really having some fun. The convenience is very nice, and to have a familiar place to sleep and cook daily is a plus. It saves some money (figuring in the extra fuel, no hotels, not dining out, etc.). Boondocking it in the forest will save even more money, especially on a long adventure.

Anyway it was a great weekend and I was miles away from where I currently call home both literally and figuratively. It was nice to get away and decompress and do it in a place that I’ve never been. I will definitely come back to this area and visit again. There is much more to see and do.


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