And the road goes on forever...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

No Winners

Some you win, some you lose. Today wasn’t a winner. We started off fine, crossing the Columbia River with little wind on the bridge (don’t laugh; semi trucks have been literally blown off the sides of this bridge into the river) and then made the really slow uphill climb out the far side into the plains south of Goldendale. After our uphill/downhill through the pine covered mountains on the Yakima Nation Reservation we arrived in Toppenish and hit the two lane Hwy 97 into Yakima. We had hoped to find a nice fruit stand but they were all on the opposite side of the road so we finally dove off an exit advertising a Super WalMart. Cell signal was good there so we downloaded email; posted the first blog and went shopping.

Shortly after reentering the freeway we soon veered off onto Hwy. 12 with an intended boondock spot somewhere along the Naches River or around Rimrock Lake. Ha; little did I know. The highway climbed cleanly through a narrowing rimrock valley and oaks and willows gave way to more and more pines as we gained elevation. The road was winding but scenic. Heavy traffic would build up behind us requiring Marc to pull over frequently as there were no passing lanes. I saw numerous boondocking spots along the roadside, riverside, and very inviting but by the time we noted them, we were well past. Suddenly and unexpectedly we were committed to the long uphill grind to White Pass Summit with no chances of turning around. After a 6% grade of many miles Marc pulled over at the summit and said he wouldn’t backtrack and pull the trailer back up that hill willingly, so all previous opportunities vanished with the heights.

As many of you might know, the western side of the Cascades is entirely different from the eastern part. Forests become thicker, dirt road offerings non-existent unless owned by private logging companies and gated off. Forest service campgrounds don’t seem to allow for our turning trajectory even if the spaces accommodate our length. So…bitterly disappointed, downward we coasted until arriving in the small town of Packwood. Our lone opportunity presented itself, Deliverance style, with a smattering of 30 year old tin sided single-wide mobile homes and some RVs. For $65 for two days we get to enjoy 30 amp electric (our trailer is 50), no cable TV, no WIFI, and a shower house (not that we ever use one) that looks like a block house prison cell. For the first time ever in memory at an RV park the lady taking my information didn’t ask even what kind of rig we had, for a license plate number or anything beyond my payment. We do have a peek a boo view of Mt. Rainier. Yup, we’re stylin’ now.

Compare yesterday’s pictures to todays and ask yourself why we prefer to boondock? Tomorrow we’ll be $65 poorer; yesterday we came away with a history lesson for free and an entire spice jar full of sage. So for all of you too afraid to boondock—get out there and do it. You have nothing to lose; certainly not money spent for a dreary place to park.