We left Portland Thursday morning, and although we really enjoyed our two weeks there we were both ready to get to a quieter, less populous place. We split up the 327 miles from Portland to Joseph over three days, driving 190 miles the first day to Plymouth Park, an Army Corps of Engineers campground on the Washington side of the Columbia River across from Hermiston, OR. Having spent three months volunteering with the COE at Bonneville Lock and Dam in 2009, we explored much of the Columbia Gorge from Portland to Hood River, but had forgotten how scenic it is along there. It was a nice drive.
Our site at Plymouth Park. We could barely get a glimpse of the Columbia River through the trees.
Our pull-through site had water and electric for $12 with Jim’s senior pass. Since it was 90 degrees we appreciated the shade and the air conditioning.
An inlet of the Columbia behind our site and the trees. Across is an island and the day use area, beach and boat ramp, where we walked the next morning. It’s about a mile and a half from the campground.
Since it was so pleasant there and with a 2 o’clock check-out, we decided to stay until after lunch. Had it not been Friday with all the sites reserved for the weekend, we would have probably spent another night. But instead we drove about 80 miles to a boondock spot about a half mile south of I-84, 12 miles west of La Grande on Forest Road 21. I knew that Paul and Nina (Wheeling It) had recently spent a couple nights at Hilgard Junction State Park and that was where we were planning to stay, when I read a comment on her blog from someone who mentioned this boondock site. The internet is a wonderful thing!
This was fine for an overnight, and we had a couple bars of 4G Verizon, while the state park is a dead zone. But being Friday evening we had lots of traffic throwing up dust on their way into the forest. I found out there is a small campground another couple miles down the road.
Too bad they even have to put up signs like these.
Yesterday was another 90 miles or so to Joseph and what a beautiful drive! The road passes through lush farmland, up and down forested hills, dips into canyons, and follows and crosses both the Grande Ronde and Wallowa rivers.
Our home for the next week is Five Peaks RV Park, just a block off Main Street in downtown Joseph.
This is a five site RV park with full hookups, cable and wi-fi that actually works. The nightly rate is $35 but they give you a free night if you book a week, which brings it down to $30. Not bad for the location. The vegetation gives us a private little yard.
After arriving we walked a few blocks to the farmers market, one of the smallest I’ve ever seen, and it was about to close so there was not much left. We walked along Main Street and like what we’ve seen of Joseph so far.
Later yesterday afternoon we took a drive to Wallowa Lake for a little hike. We wanted to check out the state park campground and were so glad we chose the private RV park instead. It was packed with RVs, tents and people, and at 6 pm the sky was already full of campfire smoke. Not our idea of fun.
Wallowa Lake is lovely when you get away from the crowded state park.
We hiked up the West Fork trail to the Chief Joseph trail about 1.3 miles to a view of the lake.
Lots of little falls on the West Fork of the Wallowa River.
View of Wallowa Lake and our turn around point. I think it will be a good week here.