7-10 May, 2015; Into the Gorge! And Happy Mother’s Day!

As I sit here looking out over the Columbia River on an awesome Sunday afternoon, I can’t help but count my blessings…especially thankful for my mother who I got to talk to today, and for my wonderful wife and mother of three great kids that are doing fantastic due to the time and love their mother poured into their upbringing!

The hottest Mom I know!  At the Stonhenge in Washington State near Maryhill State Park!

The hottest Mom I know! At the Stonehenge in Washington State near Maryhill State Park!

Back to travels…we were up real early on the 7th.  For some reason I awoke around 0530, only to find Terri on the couch reading.  It was quite cool overnight in LaGrande, so we had the heat pumps on.  I noted they were doing their job, but something up front caught my eye…the system was inverting, meaning I was running on battery for some reason!  What the heck??  We were hooked up to 50 AMP, and everything seemed to be working well when we went to bed.  The sun was already up, so I donned some shoes and headed out to check the power pole.  All appeared to be OK, so I went inside, and noted we were still on battery power, and I was down to 30% charge.  Our generator is set to automatically come on if we drop to 25%, but I was not about to leave it to chance, so I fired up ole’ Genny, and got the batteries starting to charge.  I thought there may have been a power spike or something overnight, as it had rained, and possibly the coach energy management system blocked out some power spikes or something.  Terri grabbed the volt meter, and we headed out to the power pole to test the 50 Amp supply.

Tech Tip:  Any correctly wired 50 Amp plug-in for RVs should have 4 inlets.  One each 120 volt leg, a ground, and a neutral.  The way you test this is to put your probe into one hot and the neutral, which should read 120…it did.  Tested the other one, 120 as well.  Hot to hot should be 240…check.  Neutral to ground should be zero…check.  Crap…I was hoping it was a power pole issue.  I grabbed my dog bone to hook into the 30 Amp connection, and it was good, so I shut down the generator (likely to the thanks of my neighbors) and let the Coach charge.  We can operate most things on 30 Amp.  We busied ourselves getting everything else ready to roll, and I decided to check the 50 Amp connection once again…good to go!  I still have no idea what happened.  We have been plugged into 50 Amp at the park we are in now with no issues at all.

Tech Tip:  You should always check the power before you plug your Coach in, just to make sure everything is wired correctly…this can prevent costly repairs, or replacement of your surge protector or energy management system components…and worse yet, if those systems get bypassed for some reason, and the power is hooked up incorrectly, you could wind up replacing every electrical component in your Coach, or worse yet…fire!

Before I forget, here is a shot of the final product of Terri’s awesome work under the sink:

What a professional job!  Everything back in its correct place, and looks factory done.

What a professional job! Everything back in its correct place, and looks factory done.

We were on the road real early and had a great trip into the Gorge.  This country changes a lot in a few miles!  From steep grades and descents, to arid plains, to high desert, to fertile agricultural lands…gorgeous!  Terri found a great state park on the Washington side of the river at the eastern end of the Gorge called Maryhill State Park  what a gem!!  If traveling west on I-84, you take highway 97 across the bridge, and there you are!  We essentially had our pick of spots, and needed up with a real spacious pull-through right on the river.

Cannot beat the location!

Cannot beat the location!

Looking back at the Coach from the river.

Looking back at the Coach from the river.

Some of the best skipping stones I’ve ever seen.  I likely threw my arm out the other night…what a blast though!

Terri read ahead again…love it when she does that!  There is a place called Stonehenge about two miles from here…almost straight up!  It is actually a Veterans Memorial, and is claimed to be an exact replica of the original Stonehenge.  What a neat find!

You saw the earlier pic of Terri trying to find the correct stone to make her "Outlander" dissappearance.  This is a shot from just down the hill a bit looking back.

You saw the earlier pic of Terri trying to find the correct stone to make her “Outlander” disappearance. This is a shot from just down the hill a bit looking back.  She’s gone?!?!

The views were awe inspiring!  Mount Hood is in the distance.

The views were awe-inspiring! Mount Hood is in the distance.

Guess what?  You cannot go anywhere on either side of the river without running into a winery or a micro-brewery.  They have done a fantastic job in these two states.  Apparently the Yakima Valley grows over 90% of all the hops used in this country!

The Maryhill Winery.  What a great time, and awesome views.

The Maryhill Winery. What a great time, and awesome views.

We got back to the Coach for a nice dinner, a walk, skipped some more rocks, and enjoyed the beautiful sunset!

No words...

No words…

On Friday we were up at 0700! (EST) 🙂  We decided to head into Goldendale, WA which is about 19 miles from here and check out where they were supposed to be having a farmers market on Saturday morning.  After that was done, we decided to take some back roads to get back to highway 14 which goes along the Washington side of the river.  Terri navigated us to an old country road that would take us from the valley we were in, up and over the Dalles mountain and back to 14.  There were numerous warning signs about the road not being maintained, and do not attempt in wet weather…sounds perfect, and glad we have the truck!  What a great ride, great vistas, and an awesome time.  It took us about two hours to go 15 or so miles, but it was well worth it!

The ground is so rocky here, they build boxes of wood and fill them with rocks for corner posts.

The ground is so rocky here, they build boxes of wood and fill them with rocks for corner posts.

We saw tons of explosively colored wild flowers, deer and a lot of cattle.

We saw tons of explosively colored wild flowers, deer and a lot of cattle.

We then headed to the Columbia River State Park, which was supposed to have some petroglyphs on display…they did.  Apparently, prior to the Dalles Dam being built, several hundred petroglyphs were discovered in the area that would be flooded by the dam.  Our government at the time, got together with the Native Americans in the area and selected several that are now on display at this state park.  Also…we found out that the dams on the Columbia nearly wiped out the Salmon population due to no fish ladders, and…the Columbia used to be one of the highest radiated waterways in the U.S. due to the nuclear reactors upstream at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia.  Sheesh…we sure have seemed to screw things up in this world.  We are happy that cooler heads have prevailed, and this area is thriving once again.

We continued downstream about 30 miles, and crossed the Hood River Bridge into Hood River, OR.  We stopped at the highest rated micro-brewery for lunch.

Fantastic end to a great Friday!

Fantastic end to a great Friday!

We also took a stroll around town, and I ended up picking up a pair of Teva Churn water and land  shoes.  I’ve been looking for a good pair of everyday shoes for any purpose, and these are great!  Can lace them up, or slip them on, as the back of the shoe has a pad for wearing them as slip ons.

Saturday, as promised, we headed to the farmers market in Goldendale, and walked away with some farm fresh eggs for $2 per dozen and a home-made apple pie!  After a quick trip back to the Coach to drop things off, we headed west on 84 until we could pick up the old Columbia river highway.

Breathtaking views!

Breathtaking views!

The Garnier Winery in Mosier, OR. What a great place...and we were the only ones there!

The Garnier Winery in Mosier, OR. What a great place…and we were the only ones there!

We continued on downstream, and quickly realized that at this point in the day, every living and breathing soul from Portland must be in the Gorge visiting this awesome land!  We couldn’t find a parking place on this narrow two-laned road for the most part.  We quickly surmised that we would not venture out of the campground on Mother’s Day, as WA had a free state park entry day, the weather was going to be awesome, and there was no way we wanted to deal with all those people!  What we did see, was as always, awesome however.

Horse Tail Falls.

Horse Tail Falls.

Another great shot of the falls.

Another great shot of the falls.

Another popular spot to hike just up from the falls.

Another popular spot to hike just up from the falls.

At this point, we realized we had ventured quite a ways west, and were real close to the RV park that we want to stay in on Monday and Tuesday nights.  I wanted to check it out, as they advertise that they usually don’t accept Coaches older than 10 years without prior approval…hmmm, wut up with that?  We got there and talked to the nice ladies in the office, and they made a reservation for us, even after I told them the age of the Coach…no questions at all.  We hope that holds true tomorrow when we trek that way.  We will spend a couple of days in the Portland area, then plan to head up to Astoria to start our journey down the Oregon Coast.

Today was a nice leisurely day in the park, watching most people pack up and head home after the weekend.  There are only a few sites occupied here presently, so it is very nice and peaceful.  Terri got calls from all of the kids today, and we were able to see Logan’s baby dedication at their church in MD via the web.  I was able to get the Coach cleaned up real nice, just in time for it to rain tomorrow!

Earlier this afternoon this rig pulled in:

What a neat deal...a small house on wheels.  Don't know what happened though.  They pulled in, set everything up, ate lunch, loaded up back packs, and about an hour later they hooked up and left???  Maybe the prices were not right...the state parks around here are expensive.  More so than we usually pay at independent parks, or maybe it was because they were from Illinoise, and all my Packer stuff scared them off...who knows?

What a neat deal…a small house on wheels. Don’t know what happened though. They pulled in, set everything up, ate lunch, loaded up back packs and headed out on foot, and about an hour later they hooked up and left??? Maybe the prices were not right…the state parks around here are expensive. More so than we usually pay at independent parks, or maybe it was because they were from Illinois, and all my Packer stuff scared them off…who knows?

Well, Happy Mothers Day once again!  Time for a walk, and then dinner.  As always, we hope this finds you Happy, Healthy, and Living your Dreams!!!

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