Besides the previously-reported interior modifications, we had done to our coach at Dave and LJ’s Interior Design, some other mundane mechanical issues needed to be addressed as well. Southern Oregon seems to be a mecca for quality RV maintenance and repair shops, perhaps because it’s an area where several RV manufacturers reside. We took a tour of the Marathon Coach factory in Eugene, which is where “high-end” coaches are built at $1,000,000+ per unit. But some other manufacturers either used to or continue to build coaches here. The result is that there are several shops around with highly-qualified mechanics to perform engine, chassis and coach repairs. Continue reading Health Checks for Betsy at Harrisburg and Grants Pass, Oregon
After our week at the Columbia Gorge, it was time to take care of some “business” stuff. This allowed us to be in three states and two countries in just a week – South Dakota, Oregon, Washington and back to BC, Canada!
When we embarked on our full-time RV lifestyle, we had the opportunity to choose any state to call “home.” Of course, we cannot escape the realities of paying taxes and other financial matters. In our research we found that South Dakota is an RV-friendly state where vehicle registration and taxes are not sky-high like California where we resided previously. So, after dropping Betsy off at Dave and LJ’s RV Interior Design in Woodland, WA to have the modifications installed that we measured with them in May (new recliners and a mini-office for the blogmaster), we caught a flight out of Portland to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This was for the sole purpose of getting our SD driver’s licenses and finalizing our residency there. Our CA licenses would have expired in February, but we sure as heck didn’t want to go to SD in the middle of winter. By 8:00am the next morning we had our new licenses, and after a late breakfast we were able to catch early flights back to Portland and made it before sunset. Mission accomplished!
We picked Betsy up the next day, thrilled with our new recliners and beautiful woodwork installed by LJ. We drove to a nearby RV park (Columbia River Front RV Park) and went to bed early so we could get up at 3:30am for our drive to Seattle. You see, we were bummed that we had not had a chance to visit Victoria, BC on our trip through Vancouver in June, so Steve threw together a 2-day trip up there via the fast-ferry out of Seattle. We will talk about our trip there in a future blog, but suffice to say it is a beautiful city and we had a great time there and enjoyed fantastic weather!
So that was the Lowe’s jet-set week. Next we move on to Harrisburg, OR for a repair of the RV’s pneumatic system and then to Grants Pass for a check of the suspension upgrades to make sure everything is OK after our rough drive over the Canadian and Alaskan roads.
Interspersed with our scenic drives were outdoor activities that we like to do when available in areas we visited. Indeed there is an abundance of recreation opportunities at the gorgeous Gorge that should not be missed. The Gorge is the playground for windsurfers, white-water rafters, and hikers from all over the world. It also happens to be one of the nation’s premier road biking destinations. We got it made! We are so thrilled that we can do our favorite outdoor activities with sunny days and awesome weather to boot. So what did we do? We hiked, we biked, we went wine and beer tours. How about that! Continue reading Invigorating Outdoor Fun – Columbia River Gorge part 3
Traveling through and around the Gorge is easy, and to really experience the Gorge is to drive from east to west or vice versa depending on where you originate from. It should also be driven following State Route 14 on the Washington side and the busier highway 84 on the Oregon side, or much will be missed. The breathtaking beauty of the Gorge and surrounding areas are full of remarkable views depending on your direction, time of day and weather. State Route 14 (a.k.a Lewis and Clark highway ) and I-84 are both scenic highways, and driving them completes the Gorge Loop and one must stop along the way to take in the various sights and towns.
We arrived at the Gorge from the east, Washington side on State Route 14, and what we saw from there were sweeping views of the Gorge, gigantic rock formations, quaint towns, vineyards and Mt Hood.
The Historical Columbia River Highway (Oregon) is another option to travel back in time circa 1913, a winding road amidst lush green trees and stonework construction. On the east end we took the 9 mile scenic route paralleling I-84, climbing to the Rowena Plateau and stopping at the Rowena Crest Overlook which is the eastern companion to the Crown Point Overlook on the west. The dramatic views of the Rowena Loops and the dry eastern landscape are not to be missed.
On the west end of the Historical Columbia River Highway, our drive took us to the many beautiful cascading waterfalls and lush greenery that we described in part 1 of this post. We began the drive at Chanticleer Point which has astounding views of the river and the Gorge that can be seen from the tops of cliffs.
Continuing down the Byway, we arrived at the Vista House at Crown Point, one of the most photographed sites along the Historic Columbia River Highway. In 1913 Samuel Lancaster, the highway’s chief engineer, believed that this outcropping of land located atop a 733-foot sheer cliff overlooking the Columbia River was one of the most spectacular vistas in the world. We agreed. It was a view to behold.
On another day we drove the Mt Hood Scenic Byway (approx. 145 miles) and the entire trip is picturesque with Mt Hood as the focal point. At 11,245 feet, Mt. Hood is the highest point in Oregon, the fourth highest peak in the Cascade Range and one of the state’s most recognizable landmarks. Starting from the west we came into the timberline and this byway lead us through classic Oregon scenery. At the end of this drive we made several stops in the Hood River Fruit Loop, a scenic driving route that takes you around to several local farms where you can pay a small amount for U-pick fruits and other goodies.
We took a quick detour from SR 14 (WA) and drove up Old Highway 8 where we enjoyed more outstanding views of the Gorge and some good wines at the local wineries. Oh yeah, we bought a few bottles too!
We were advised that this area is beset by mountain fires this time of the year.
So have we covered and seen everything? Despite a week stay here, there are still nooks and crannies in the gorgeous Gorge to be explored.