Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Back to the mountains-a very special camping area

We've spent quite a bit of time on the coast so decided to head back into the Cascades. We drove the "old" McKenzie Highway (SR 242) which runs from the McKenzie Bridge area east to Sisters. There is a restriction of 35' total vehicle length to drive this road and it seems to be enforced and for good reason. I've driven a lot of narrow, twisty, turney roads over the years, but this just might take the prize. If your driving from the west entry, the McKenzie Bridge side, you're on the inside of the road. That way, if it get really tight, it's the other guy that falls off the cliff and not you.
 Mostly we drove it so we could return to one of our major camping discoveries of our 2008 trip.  It's a disbursed site right on  beautiful, spring fed, Craig Lake. The last time it was just the three of us. This time we shared the spot with a couple tent camping. (44.24950  -121.83721)
The lake from our campsite

Right across the street is this meadow and then miles of lava field.

This goes down as one of our all time favorites.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Florence, Reedsport & Winchester Bay

We headed south about 9:30. Spent some time around the beautiful Cape Perpetua area then continued to Florence. Drove through the USFS Baker Beach Recreation Area. (44.08746 -124.11787)  It was nice but nothing special enough to make us want to stay the night.  There is a very nice State day-use park called North Jetty. We spent most of the day there, then went grocery shopping then to the Three Rivers Casino parking lot for the night. It's us and perhaps thirty more RV's.  This is an upscale parking lot. Two almost new Foretravels pulled in. There is well over a million dollars there.  Years ago on I-95 near Miami, I saw a Prevost towing a Class C motorhome with the same paint scheme. If we win the Lotto, a 24' Lazy Daze would make a very nice towed vehicle.

Monday and Tuesday
Continued south through the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (ODNRA) driving through some of the USFS campgrounds just to take a look. Most of the campgrounds appeal to the ORV crowd because of the access to the dune riding areas. We wound up at the USFS Carter Lake campground (43.85716  -124.14590). It's Monday morning so we had a choice of any site. There are a few sites directly on the lake but they are strictly for tents. We have a site, #6,  next to the boat ramp that affords us a very nice, but limited, view of the water. Like most FS campgrounds, 80% of the sites are reservable. The best of the reservable sites are 6 and 7.

Carter Lake
  Gopher finally got rinse off the salt by swimming  in some fresh water.
 Of course, is you roll in the dirt while wet, the swim doesn't accomplish a whole lot.

The sites, and interior roads, are paved so Carol has been getting more exercise by walking around. She's determined to lose that five pounds.

Carter Lake formed in what's called the Deflation Plain of the dune system. The Foredune is a low hill parallel to the ocean. It exists because the European beachgrass slows the wind, causing sand to drop and pile up. Behind the foredune, the wind scours out the deflation plain all the way down to the water table and provides a place for plants to thrive and for lakes to form.

I climbed to the top of a dune that's just west of the campground to take this picture. The ocean is perhaps two miles to the west.


We drove to the Reedsport and Winchester Area. There are several camping choices in the Winchester Bay area ranging from resorts to the pier at the Salmon River Marina. That's where we are. It's similar to the setup at the Newport Marina. $11/night for a patch of asphalt overlooking the marina.  Nothing special but a decent place for a night. We prefer that to $45/night overlooking your neighbor. We spent the day driving around exploring this and that and treated ourselves to lunch.

The view

The "campground"

We visited the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area. It's home to a large herd of Roosevelt Elk. They were cooperating this morning and roamed around close to the parking area so Carol got a good look.

We continued on looking at the FS campgrounds south of Winchester Bay.  The next two days we're staying at the USFS Horsfall Beach  campground which is just north of North Bend. (43.45395  -124.27624)  This is one of the many campgrounds that are a part of the Oregon Dunes NRA. With one exception, we're surrounded by ORV campers. We have a nice site right next to the dune and the ORV dune access road. There is an accessible walkway to a very nice beach overlook that is adjacent to our site. Very nice for Carol. On the other hand, if you're looking for peace and quiet, don't stay here. :-)  The ORV's get fired up right after sunrise. The Bluebill campground, which is nearby, is a better choice for quiet. We're enjoying all the activity and beach overlook. The ATV riders range in age from about six years old to well over 70.
The eternally happy camper

Our view