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Friday, July 21, 2017

Sand Dunes to More Central OR

So now that I got the Christmas Valley Sand Dunes off my list, next stop is the Crack in the Ground, Green Mountain CG, Hole in the Ground and to Les Schwabs for a Rim fix, yep, blew a rim, and tire of course and back to Green Mtn for the 4th of July.  Not a big fan of Fireworks and Green Mtn was a good choice.

Main Gallery Pics here
Crack in the Ground, Christmas Valley, OR
Green Mountain, Christmas Valley, OR
Hole in the Ground, Christmas Valley, OR

Who knew....
I didn't till I started looking around..

Crack in the Ground is a volcanic fissure over two miles (3 km) long and up to 70 feet (21 m) deep in central Oregon.

Short hike from the parking lot, and then down into the Abyss.. heheh,
No one has ever returned (jk)...

A little over the rocks, mostly it's a path and you can work around them.

It was a warm day, and dropping down into the Abyss, it was actually quite cool,  as nice change.

Blue sky above...

It was interesting to see/walk, fun eh?

I suppose if you heard a "Rumble" you might want to seek high ground ASAP??

A shaded table is nice, the entrance is right ahead, the dark spot in pic.  Gradual path downward.

So, that was interesting.  I didn't go all the way as it's pretty much the same, rock walled..

Next to find a campsite.
I read that a Green Mountain is nearby and it's also posted on the billboard in the Crack's parking lot.

So "Hi-Ho, Hi-ho, down the dirt road we go"..

Dirt road is good, watch for overhead branches but basically good to go.
Just stay on the main road until it (Nav) tells you to turn.  Head for the Look out station up on the hill.

As you approach, I got a little confused (and lost since I'm good at it) but you want to go to the Campground Look out view..

(Lost, went up the Lookout's road, luckily able to turn around)

I figured it was just a "Viewpoint" and not the campground proper, as, not a big surprise here, Ms Garmin said the CG was just around the corner, sort of.

Limited spots, apx 7 or so, Dry of course, but the price was right, Free.  I was the only one there for a few days which was nice.  Watch for low branches, I had to back up as they were a little too low.

(It's a small loop)

And I couldn't fit in, low branches, into the spot, luckily there was a space along the side what worked well.  Remember, Sun for Solar, Clear for 'The DISH'  and level, sorta.  Had Internet, so all was good.

(low branches)

Great views of the 'Ho-ho-ho, Green Valley' and nice breeze to keep bugs away.

A nice CG, and quiet.  I spent a few days there and then came back for the 4th, was filling up then so it's not completely isolated.

perfect spot for me...

and some good sunsets.  Would be kewl to watch a storm blow through.

.... and the Look Out tower is a short path up the hill.  I was told if the sign says open you can go to the top for views with the ranger there.  I didn't, but others did.

Onward to the "Hole in the Ground".

(It's steeper than it looks)

I was planning on staying a night here, reportedly there was some camping space a little further south of the Vista area.  There was a spot or two at the vista area that could be used, but watch out for the rocks and "Clearance, Clarence".

(Note big rock)
 I landed right on the rock and it carried the Differential and tires just spun. Front 4wd couldn't pull it off.  Luckily I had the Levelers and jammed them under the tire and was able to get off, so watch those rocks...

But Wait...., there's more...

Meanwhile at the vista, nice view and where camper is now could be considered a camping spot.

There are several ways to in there, Ms Garmin led me in and kept telling me to turn Left.. Right into a tree..  The problem is that there are so many offshoot roads, some ok, some overrun by brush that it's hard to tell.

Once at the vista, figured time to find/check out the Supposedly Camping site.
the road, or more like a Path, runs a little below the rim and on around the hole.

The "Path" was a narrow one for the rig, but just right along the edges of the road...  heheh, wait for it....

Rocks along the side... Wait for it...

(Front tires just along the edge, dually tires a little over the edge)
Coming into the camping area, only 1 spot that I might fit, unlevel and a little tricky to get into.  The others are low branches and wouldn't fit due to height.

Continuing along the narrow road.. to get outta here.  Ms Garmin indicated a road to lead back to the Hwy. (see below)

Do you see a road??? Looked like Turnaround.. so got out and walked it...
Sure enough, there's a road just this side of the tree... Score one for Ms Garmin.

and proceeded down.  Narrow road, too narrow and once in the woods, low branches and no place to turn around, sigh, not a good day.  But wait, there IS more...

Coming back down into the woods..

So I finally got back onto the Highway and just figured, to Hell with it all, go back to the Secret Camping spot on the river and hope I can find a place.  It's been crowded there.  So drove along the highway, so 30-40 miles, around the average 63 mph  (sweet spot for MPG) and then onto the 2 mile dirt road to the camping sites.

There was one, perfect.  Got out to figure the lay of the land, Solar, DISH, Levelness.  And then I saw it...  (This is the "Wait for It" moment)..

Holy Krap....
I'd been driving on that since the Hole.
Tire was flat, obviously, Well Duh!!!... next stop, Les Schwab's,  apx 10 miles, two back on dirt and it was, of course 4:30pm...

At first, I was afraid the tire would come off, and the rim would do something, no idea what, but then said to myself, "Self, you've been riding it from the Hole, so you're probably ok and the 3500 single wheels can carry the Fox's weight, so should be good to go." Just Cruised at apx 40mph, flashers on to Uncle Les's.

As I pulled into Schwab's just as were closing, asked to spend nice in back parking lot, ok.  I originally got a spare with the truck just couldn't carry it so I needed to "Drive" down to Storage apx 12mi, pick up the spare, drop some bins  to make room for it, drive back up and they would swap it out..  For Free, gotta luv Les Schwabs.  I added a tire rotation as they hadn't been rotated for some 40k miles, so $60 later, I'm outta there.  Could have been a lot worse, I was lucky.

Spent the night a Gordy's Truck Stop, good for One-Niters, till I could figure out where to next.  As it turned out, back to the River spot..

Till the next one.  Hanging out here till, I guess, WY for the Eclipse..

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Goose Lake, OR to Christmas Valley Sand Dunes, OR

Heading further NW to the PNW, not in any hurry, looking for stops along the way and off the beaten tracks.
(New project for a Map.  Show spots I've been to, click on the icon to bring up 4 pics, brief descriptions and links at the bottom of the popup box - still a work in progress  so might be a little confusing)

See full screen

Main Gallery Pics here.
East Bay, Thompson Res, Silver Lake, OR
Bend, OR Area
Sand Dunes, Xmas Valley, OR

Found several places along Hwy 31 that looked interesting and cheap.

Ended up at East Bay CG on the Thompson Reservoir for a few days.  NFS with the "Old Geezer Pass" it was like $5night, Dry, no hook ups.  It's paved all the way in, longer drive.

I was planning on staying at another CG, and drove right past the turnoff, thank you "Ms Garmin" my "Arch Nemesis" when out in the wilds.

I couldn't turn around so had to keep going and Voila', there was the turn off to the one I had originally looked at, East Bay.  I wanted a "Room with a View" and lucked out with a spot on the Lake front, sorta.. I could see the lake.

Sites a little uneven, but managed.  BKTs were starting up, Mosquitos, kids etc.. so looking like Summer as arrived.  They had the Yellow Jack Traps, luckily.. but still...

It's a nice park, mainly for Fisher Peeps...  boat launch and fishing from shore and launch area, backing up trailers etc.. not too bad.

I had to run the Generator as the trees were blocking the solar, so run it apx 2-hrs in the morning and 2-hr around 5-6pm or so, to lessen the noise level at nights.

The sunsets were nice at times.

After a few days, started getting antsy so time to head on out.  Just as I was packing up, a man came by asking for a "Jump" as his battery wasn't turning the truck over.

Finished packing and headed over to his place right outside of the campgrounds.  Had I know this spot was there, I'd have used it.

Nice and it was free.

Got my little battery pack out that rarely gets used, but like a fire extinguisher, it's "Not needed until it's needed"...  didn't do a thing, figured it was charged enough, although showing med charged, so he had some cables to hook up.

Got'em hooked up, Nada, nothing, just a click.

To make a Short Story Long, it was a fuse, so after experimenting, he under the truck hot wiring the starter, and then realizing it's electrical, move one 30 amp fuse from something else and popped it in.  Truck started and was good to go.

I asked if he would like me to hang around, 'No, not needed, still has to pull/load a boat..." so let him go.  My good deed for the day and help pay back/forward the help I got when stuck in sand over in Anvil, Flaming Gorge, WY ..

 Luckily, REAL lucky I was on that one that he was able to pull me out........

I really need to get a winch and self-rescue krap...

Then on to La Pine, OR, stayed a night a the "Gordy's Truck Stop.

Next day, headed out to my "Secret Spots" to see if they were occupied or not.

They were occupied so I ended up on a hill, not too bad, but like it a little closer to the water.

After staying a few days to let the weekend, End, and peeps move out, had to go into town for the basics and then check out the sites again.

All were occupied, so found another one that worked out well..

Stayed a week there, it's usually 7-days before I need to do Dump N Fills and makes for a good time to move.

Later, had laundry to do so stayed at La Pine, SP, which was FULL save 3 sites.  Bagged one, went to do laundry, came back and sign said it was FULL.. Yikes, thank Gawd I got my site earlier...

Stayed the night so I could dump n fill, then headed out to Christmas Valley Sand Dunes.

I've always wanted to check it out, when buggy riding so since I was in the area, thought WTF Over, check it out... so I did.. heheh, sigh, I need a life...

There are sorta, 3 main camping areas and the sand where I was, was hard packed.  I wouldn't venture too far off the beaten path, but it was fine.

Dirt road is fine, no problem-o, just be careful going down some of the off shoots.

Sand was getting a little too soft so turned around, but you can press on.

After exploring 2 of the 3 sites, came back to the middle one and parked it.

The dunes were perfect, only one or two drivers in the whole area.  Virgin Sand and a huge area to play around with .  A few steep ones but most were just fun "dunning"..

I hiked up to the top of this one to get a good view of the overall area.

... and goes beyond the first hill you see..

Virgin Sand, no Woops or Ruts.. Sweet...

Two guys were sand surfing... well, trying to, sand wasn't cooperating..

and then the sand sticks.. OOPS... heheh, that's about as far as they got.

and "I don't need no Stink'n Buggy..." to make tracks...

The Juniper Trees were really something to see..  sturdy they were.

So, it's a nice place, really need a buggy to enjoy it.  The winds will pick up and it's pretty much a dust/sand storm.  So headed  out after a few days, next stop, Crack in the ground after going by Fort Rock..
(actually, Ft Rock is after going west, of the sand dunes. No camping right there)

You can hike up and around