It was killing me to drive by the turn-offs to so many beautiful National Parks on the way through Southern Utah. Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase Escalante, etc. are destinations that we have (mostly) been to and loved. There is no time for those detours today.
Seems like only moments ago, our nephew, Colin was a kindergartner just learning to play soccer and skiing past me on the slopes. Now he is all grown up and just relocated to Provo, Utah for a great job opportunity, over 800 miles away from his parents. Colin’s home is located on our route from Tempe to Oregon so we stopped to visit the area for a few days starting May 15th.
Deer Creek State Park is located at the top of the picturesque Provo Canyon on the reservoir in Wallsburg, which is about 25 minutes from Colin’s apartment.
A tiered hillside of campsites provide each one with wonderful views of the lake. The snow capped peaks around us got a fresh dusting of snow as we weathered a rainstorm at the park the first day.
Colin showed us around his new apartment and we got some lunch at a nice place in vibrant old-town Provo before going on a hike.
Bridal Veil Falls & Upper Falls in Provo Canyon
A short and sunny hike along a paved path to see Bridal Veil Falls on the way up the canyon to hang out with Colin at our house ended up being a 4-mile hike because we passed the turnoff to see the Upper Falls. The falls are near the Sundance Mountain Resort ski area. Skiing areas only a few minutes away from home is good news for Colin who is a high-school ski champion and loves the sport.
Back at the RV visiting and playing Dragon Farkle, a dice game which Colin won in record time! Who conquers the dragon that fast? We made some honey-pecan chicken tenders and oven fries for dinner and played some more dice games before calling it a day.
We enjoyed spending the day with Colin! I could have stayed longer in this gorgeous place, there is so much more to explore but we continued moving Northward a day at a time. What a nice change to spend a couple of days in the area instead of just powering through Salt Lake City traffic on this route!
Stops along the road
A day at Mountain Home RV Resort in Idaho is a favorite stop-over between Arizona and Oregon. It is refreshing to have wide, level, paved pull-through sites. They have finished a large expansion and upgraded the sites, adding privacy fences and rock landscaping around the utility hook-ups since we were last there. It allows for easy access to RV compartments and maintenance without walking into the neighbor’s picnic area. I wish more parks would do that. The park staff seemed to have upgraded their customer service since our last visit too.
The Pilot RV Park near Echo Oregon is a new place for us that was literally a fence away from the truck stop. We actually slept ok, even with the trucks idling all night but I wouldn’t recommend it for light sleepers. I think there were only 3 sites that weren’t long term. The park was being upgraded to add an office, the landscaping was ok and some sites were pull-through with full-hookups so it met our needs for a stop along the road, and bonus, it wasn’t gravel!
From there, we stopped to get our mail and packages from Bruce’s parents in Beaverton, Oregon. Never having taken the RV to their house, it was a little tricky to decide which street to enter the neighborhood, especially with the repaving project that was underway.
That afternoon, we got situated at our friend’s farm in Newberg, Oregon May 21st where we mostly boondock or more accurately, driveway surf. It feels so good there, with a park-like setting above the vineyards, and our friends just on the other side of the barn!
Along with the Parkers, we helped the Styrings during the Memorial Day open house by pouring wine tastings of their highly-rated wines. Pouring at Memorial Day and sharing a pot-luck meal in the winery has become a beautiful tradition over the years. Good food, good company and the best location made a really nice holiday weekend!
Seemed like we were running back and forth into Portland most of the two weeks that we stayed at Styrings. Routine doctor visits, family visits and running errands meant a lot of driving from the country setting.
Hiking, lunch and some wine tasting with Kelley entertained us one afternoon. Just before we left, we met Jo Jo, the Styring’s new chocolate lab and I am totally in love with her. My “no more animals” mantra is really starting to erode.
FMCA Rally in Albany
The Western Area FMCA rally was held in Albany, Oregon at the fair grounds where we had water and electric service in the regular RV park area. Bruce was thrilled to be parked right next to the Albany Municipal Airport. As a pilot, Bruce loves watching airplanes coming and going between the rally events.
This rally is the smallest FMCA rally that we have attended but it was fun. I think most people belong to a smaller chapter and they attend together and sit together as a club. For people like us that are not affiliated with a chapter, we didn’t get as much chance to mingle. I have to admit, we didn’t try very hard since we are mostly introverted!
Some connections with vendors got some things done at no additional charge: One of the turn-signal cameras was fixed, the tow hitch gear was inspected and lubricated as they always do at rallies, what a great service! They just leave a note on the door that they have completed it! A quick trip into Les Schwab to repair a nail in a Jeep tire was complimentary.
FMCA officers and dignitaries were serving up dinner followed by professional entertainment. RVs were available to tour with special show pricing. This time, most of the RVs were towables to honor the newly revised charter of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) membership, previously only open to motor coaches. It’s always nice to compare the floorplans and updates on the newer coaches, but overall, we are still very happy with our home!
Historic Carousel & Museum of Albany
On a break in the rally schedule, we visited the Historic Carousel and Museum of Albany, Oregon in the cute little old town area. The carousel animals and gargoyles are hand-carved wooden masterpieces that have hundreds of hours of labor invested in each one. Besides a ride on the carousel, visitors can see the carving and painting currently underway by the volunteers.
It was an art gallery, museum and theme park ride all in one. Our cameras were clicking away during that visit. Instead of picking my steed for the carousel ride right away, I messed around taking photos on deck before the carousel started up which left me with one of the smallest animals on the carousel available to ride. I felt a little like I was sitting on a child sized hobby horse! But I got some fun shots!
Following the rally, we moved to State and County parks for a couple of weeks.