Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pioneer Park - 01/03/17 - Zolfo Springs, FL

Tuesday – January 3, 2017
Pioneer Park
Zolfo Springs, Florida

We spent Christmas through the New Year at the Ocean Pond Campground in the Osceola National Forest in northern Florida. Cooler weather is forecast for this section of Florida so we decided to move south to central Florida where warmer weather will prevail. We will spend two weeks at Pioneer Park in Zolfo Springs, Florida. This is a county park located 73 miles southwest of Tampa. Our last visit to Pioneer Park was in January 2014.

Pioneer Park is a 115-acre county owned park that offers 65 grassy campsites with electric and water hookups and 25 campsites without electric and water hookups. There are three restroom facilities with flush toilets and hot water showers. There is a museum, wildlife refuge, hiking trails, a boat ramp to the Peace River, and fishing.

Every year, during the last week in February, The Annual Pioneer Park Days takes place. Pioneer Park Days is one of the largest, and is the oldest antique tractor, steam engine and farm equipment shows in the southeast. Some of the highlights include over 400 exhibits of tractors, steam engines and farm equipment.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Campground: Pioneer Park
Type: County
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 27.49091
Longitude: W 081.79493
Camping Fee: See Camping Rates
Campsite: A49
Campsite Hookups: Electric and Water
Campground Amenities: Flush Toilets, Hot Showers, Trash Dumpsters, Dump Station
Total Campsites: 90 (65 with Hookups, 25 without Hookups)

Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G-3 Bars
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 5 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent Service

Total miles traveled today: 227
Route Traveled:
West on US-90
South on I-75 to Exit 289
South on US-27
South on FL-33
West on FL-570
East on FL-540
South on US-17 to FL-64
One entrance on US-17, north of FL-64
One entrance on FL-64, west of US-17

Camping Rates:

Per Night
$20.00 + tax ($21.40) w/electric ($3.00 + Tax for 50 amp Service)
$15.00 + tax ($16.05) w/o electric

Per Week
$100.00 + tax ($107.00) w/electric ($15.00 + Tax for 50 amp Service)
$69.00 + tax ($73.83) w/o electric

Per Month
$300.00 + tax ($321.00) per month w/electric ($45.00 + Tax for 50 amp Service)
$250.00 + tax ($267.50) per month w/o electric

(Above rates are based on one (1) or two (2) persons per campsite.)

Additional Guests
$2.00 + tax ($2.14) additional guest-per night, per person (ages 10 & up)
$10.00 + tax (10.70) additional guests per week, per person (ages 10 & up)
$25.00 + tax (26.75) additional guests per month, per person (ages 10 & up)
$1.00 per person, per night, Boy Scout Groups.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Shirley's Tippy Canoe - 08/01/16 - Troutdale, OR

Monday – August 1, 2016
Shirley’s Tippy Canoe
Troutdale, Oregon

On this segment of our travel we bid a fond farewell to Bend, Oregon and head north on US-97, then continue north onto US-26. Our destination today is Shirely’s Tippy Canoe restaurant in Troutdale, Oregon. This restaurant was featured on a segment of Diners, Drive Ins and Dives (DDD) that we viewed while spending the winter in Yuma, Arizona. Two of their specialties featured on the program were a Sloppy Joe and a Polish Dip. Since we were planning to visit Oregon during the summer of 2016, we put this restaurant on our places to visit.

There is a point on northbound US-26 that evokes an overwhelming sense of wonder. In the far distance suddenly appears the most famous snow-capped, iconic peak, of the tallest mountain in the Oregon Cascade Mountain Range: Mt. Hood (elevation 11,249 feet). With its snow-capped peak, it is a most humbling experience to personally witness the majestic splendor of this evolving, geologic structure of nature.

As we continued our journey northbound on US-26 we went to check out the Oxbow County Park Campground in Troutdale as a possible place to stay for the night. After a quick tour of the campground we decided it was too congested for our preferences. We decided we would stay at the Mt. Hood Ski Bowl Sno-Park that we had passed on US-26 while traveling to Troutdale.

With our accommodations for the night decided, we continued on our journey to Shirley’s Tippy Canoe Restaurant.

The restaurant is located on the Historic Columbia Highway. Constructed between 1913 and 1922, this was America’s first scenic highway, taking full advantage of the Columbia River Gorge’s natural beauty. Upon completion it was referred to as the "King of Roads." This was the historical significance we basked in while dining at Shirley’s Tippy Canoe. It was such a pleasant evening we chose to dine outside. We ordered their specialties featured on "DDD:" the Sloppy Joe and the Polish Dip. Both selections were excellent; and quite filling!

We retreated to the Mt. Hood SkiBowl and settled in for a restful night along with one other RV.

The Mount Hood SkiBowl is a recreation area on Mount Hood located near Government Camp, Oregon. It is the largest night ski area in the United States. The resort is the closest ski venue to Portland, with an elevation of 3,600 feet at the lodge, rising to just over 5,000 feet at the summit. The average snowfall at the area is 300 inches and 65 marked trails. The area is also popular for summer recreation with mountain bikers. An adventure park in the area includes alpine slides, zip-line, and bungee jumping.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: Bend, Oregon
Departure Time: 10:35 A.M.
Arrived: Troutdale, Oregon
Arrival Time: 3:35 P.M.

Campground: Mount Hood Ski Bowl
Type: National Forest
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 45.30242
Longitude: W 121.77385
Elevation: 3685 Feet
Camping Fee: Free
Campsite: Parking Lot
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: None
Total Campsites: Several

Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G-3 Bars
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 5 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent Service

Total miles traveled today: 215
Route Traveled:
North on US-97
North on US-26

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Cascade Lakes Relay - 07/30/16 - Bend, OR

Saturday – July 30, 2016
Cascade Lakes Relay
Bend, Oregon

We enjoyed a leisurely auto tour of the Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway today. While traveling on the Century Drive Highway leg of this trip we encountered the Cascades Lakes Relay event. There were 203 teams, comprised of Running and Walking teams, that competed in this relay from Diamond Lake to Bend. The stamina exhibited by these competitors traversing the steep elevations of the relay route was absolutely amazing.

The Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway is a National Scenic Byway in central Oregon. It runs for 66 miles in the rugged country of Deschutes and Klamath counties on the east side of the Cascade Range. It offers particularly good views of Mount Bachelor and provides access to many recreational facilities in central Oregon. The route is so named because it weaves past a number of small natural lakes along the Cascades, as well as several reservoirs on the upper Deschutes River.

The Century Drive Highway begins at an interchange with US-97 (the Bend Parkway) in Bend. It heads west along Colorado Avenue and Century Drive, which it follows to the entrance to the Mount Bachelor Ski Resort, where Century Drive Highway ends.

A turnoff on the Century Drive Highway leads to the Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort. With nearly 3,700 acres of lift-served terrain and a 3,365-foot vertical drop, it’s the largest ski area in Oregon, with deep dry snow that often last into June. In summer, hikers and sightseers can ride the chairlift to the Pine Marten Lodge at an elevation of 7,775 feet for views that stretch from Washington to California.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Downtown Tour - 07/29/16 - Bend, OR

Friday – July 29, 2016
Downtown Walking Tour
Bend, Oregon

We awake to another beautiful, sunny day, at our dispersed campsite, nestled deep within the Deschutes National Forest. The temperature will be in the middle 80’s with low humidity (Dew Point in the 20’s) making for a perfect day to do a walking tour of the downtown area.

As we crossed the Deschutes River, on our way to town, "tubers" were leisurely floating down the river. The more adventurous "tubers" were running the man-made rapids. Several years ago, the city of Bend developed the rapids so residents, young and old, could enjoy the experience of "riding the rapids." This is probably one of the most popular areas during the summer months.

Downtown Bend is just a "cool" place to visit. People are friendly, the town is clean and thriving with all kinds of boutique shops, general merchandise stores, cafĂ©’s, breweries and street performers. One elderly cowboy had a lasso and was roping a man-made steer head mounted to a saddle. He was quite good. He never missed, while we were watching. Another young man with a guitar was dozing off, with his back propped up against the wall of a store. Probably partied too much the previous night! Ahaaa… to be young again! Well… upon further reflection, maybe not!

Bend, Oregon Facts
Incorporated: January 4, 1905
Elevation: 3,623 feet
Population: 76,639 (2010)
Annual precipitation: 11 inches – most of it during winter.

Bend is Central Oregon's largest city, and despite its modest size, is the de facto metropolis of the region, owing to the low population density of that area. Bend recorded a population of 76,693 at the time of the 2010 US Census, up from 52,029 at the 2000 census. The estimated population of the city as of 2013 is 81,236. Bend's metro population was estimated at 165,954 as of July 1, 2013.

The name Bend was derived from "Farewell Bend", the designation used by early pioneers to refer to the location along the Deschutes River where the town was eventually platted, one of the few fordable points along the river.

Bend is located on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range along the Deschutes River. Here the Ponderosa Pine forest transitions into the high desert, characterized by arid land, junipers, sagebrush, and bitter-brush. Originally a crossing point on the river, settlement began in the early 1900s. Bend was incorporated as a city in 1905. Economically, it started as a logging town but is now identified as a gateway for many outdoor sports.

Tourism is one of Bend's largest sectors. The Mount Bachelor ski resort brings in tourists from all over Oregon, Washington, and California. The nearby Cascade Lakes are also a large draw for tourists. Recreational activities include downhill and cross country skiing, hiking, biking, rafting, golfing, camping, fishing, picnicking, rock climbing, and general sightseeing. Men's Journal ranked Bend as one of The 10 Best Places to Live. Much of Bend's rapid growth in recent years is due to its attraction as a retirement destination.

Bend is home to the Deschutes Brewery, the 6th largest craft brewery in the nation and the largest of over a dozen microbreweries in the city. Each year the city hosts many events celebrating its brewing culture including: The Bend Oktoberfest, The Little Woody Barrel Aged Brew and Whiskey Fest, Bend Brewfest, and Central Oregon Beer Week. Beer aficionados can also visit many of the breweries along the Bend Ale Trail. Since 2004, Bend has also hosted one of the top indie film festivals in the nation: The Bend Film Festival.

Bend's climate is typical of the high desert with cool nights and sunny days, classified as semi-arid. Annual precipitation averages 11.2 inches, with an annual average snowfall of 23.8 inches. The winter season in Bend provides a mean temperature of 31.1 °F in December. Nighttime temperatures are not much lower than daytime highs during the winter.

Central Oregon summers are marked by their very large diurnal temperature ranges, with a July daily average of 64.5 °F, and an average diurnal temperature variation approaching 35 °F. Hard frosts are not unheard of during the summer months. Autumn usually brings warm, dry days and cooler nights, and Bend is known for its annual Indian summer.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

High Desert Museum - 07/28/16 - Bend, OR

Thursday – July 28, 2016
High Desert Museum
U.S. Highway 97
Bend, Oregon

PICTURES AND VIDEO TO BE ADDED SOON

We spent the day visiting the High Desert Museum.

High Desert Museum Facts:
Established: 1982
Location: Bend, Oregon
Type: Natural history
Visitors: 150,000 per year

The High Desert Museum sits on 135 acres of pine covered forest land in Central Oregon. South of Bend on U.S. Route 97, the museum includes various indoor and outdoor exhibits, wildlife in natural-like habitats, living history demonstrations, a library, a desertarium, and a cafe. Opened in 1982, it brings regional wildlife, culture, art and natural resources together to promote an understanding of natural and cultural heritage of North America's high desert country.

The museum was founded by Donald M. Kerr, a native of Portland, Oregon. Kerr had a passion for natural history that inspired a lifelong interest in environmental issues, especially the protection of native animals. In 1974, Kerr established the Western Natural History Institute, and the High Desert Museum was an outgrowth of the institute opening in 1982. The museum was originally called the Oregon High Desert Museum; however, the name was later changed to recognize the regional nature of the high desert environment it highlights.

The High Desert Museum has a 53,000-square-foot main building. Exhibits include a Forest Service fire truck, a stagecoach, and a number of Native American history displays. The Native American exhibit covers life on the land before the white man, and life on a reservation.

The museum's Hall of Exploration and Settlement has displays highlighting a hundred years of high desert history. Scenes include a trapper's camp, survey party's camp, pioneer wagon train, a mining claim, an early western boomtown, and a high desert buckaroo camp.

Outside the museum building a quarter-mile trail follows a forest stream lined with aspens and ponderosa pines. Along the way visitors can stop at a number of exhibits and animal habitats. The popular outdoor exhibits feature a river otter, a porcupine, sheep, gray fox, and birds of prey.

There is also a Native American encampment, a start-of-the-20th-century sawmill, logging equipment, homesteaders cabin, and a forestry pavilion. A visitor can actually walk through an early 1860s town complete with blacksmith shop, Chinese mercantile, and stagecoach stop.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dispersed Camping - 07/26//16 - Bend, OR

Tuesday – July 26, 2016
Deschutes National Forest
Dispersed Camping – Forest Road 41
Bend, Oregon

We spent a restful night a the Sno-Park at mile marker 14 on the Century Drive Highway, along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. During the night two other campers in Class B RV’s had joined us to spend the night.

We passed a Forest Ranger Station on our way to the Sno-Park yesterday. It was closed for the day. We returned today to get information and maps on dispersed camping within the Deschutes National Forest. The ranger provided us five maps and basic rules for dispersed camping. So off we go on Forest Road 41 in search of a campsite.

We find a temporary spot on the river side of Forest Road 41 to unhitch the trailer while we search for a suitable campsite. About 1.5 miles east of the Century Drive Highway on Forest Road 41 we find a rutted dirt road leading into the forest. We subsequently see log trucks hauling logs on this road from the interior of the forest. An adjacent road leads up a hill and forms a circular route back to the logging road. There are a few very nice campsites within this section, but unfortunately all of them are occupied. There are about 50 yards of forest separating the campsites. We return to the logging road and find four more campsites that are also occupied. We find another dirt road that splits off from the logging road. We follow this road for one mile and success! We find the perfect campsite. The campsite is quite large and totally isolated from civilization. We have secured a home base while we explore the Bend, Oregon area.

The Deschutes National Forest is located in central Oregon. It comprises 1.8 million acres along the east side of the Cascade Mountain Range. Within the boundaries of the Deschutes National Forest is the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, containing cinder cones, lava flows, and lava tubes. The Deschutes National Forest as a whole contains in excess of 250 known caves. The forest also contains five wilderness areas, six National Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Oregon Cascade Recreation Area, and the Metolius Conservation Area.

Recreational activities in Deschutes National Forest include boating, fishing, wildlife watching, and hiking, as well as mountain biking on an extensive system of trails. Hiking and skiing can be done on Mount Bachelor, a stratovolcano in the Cascade Range.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: Snow Park – Forest Road 46 – Mile Marker 14
Departure Time: 9:30 A.M.
Arrived: Deschutes National Forest Ranger Station
Arrival Time: 9:50 A.M.

Campground Name: Dispersed Camping – Forest Road #41
Type: Deschutes National Forest
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 43.98896
Longitude: W 121.40256
Elevation: 3,969 Feet
Camping Fee: Free
Campsite: See GPS Coordinates
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: None
Total Campsites: Several in area.

Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G-1 Bar
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 5 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: Takes 25 minutes to download service - many trees blocking antenna

Total miles traveled today: 8
Route Traveled:
North on Century Drive Highway
East on Forest Road 41 to Dispersed Campsite

Monday, July 25, 2016

Deschutes NF - 07/26/16 - Bend, OR

Monday – July 25, 2016
Deschutes National Forest
Forest Road 46 – Century Drive Highway
Bend, Oregon

PICTURES AND VIDEO TO BE ADDED SOON

As we passed through Sisters, Oregon, on OR-20, we were surprised to find such a quaint town. The town features boutique shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Numerous visitors were touring the town as we passed through. We decided we would come back to visit on our next visit to Oregon.

Upon our arrival in Bend we visited the Tumalo State Park. The purpose of our visit was to check out the campground. As we expected, the campground was full (typical during summer season – Oregon State Parks are very popular). Some of the campsites have full hookups (electric, water and sewer). Of interest, this state park campground does not have a dump station. Those campers that do not have a campsite with full hookups, and need to dump their tanks, must do so at a fee-based dump station facility in the Bend area or for free at the La Pine State Park in La Pine, Oregon. We were not impressed with the campsites at Tumalo State Park. The campsites were too close together for our preference.

We continued on our way through the town of Bend on our way to National Forest Highway 46. This route will take us to the Lava Rocks Campground, a national forest campground, located within the Deschutes National Forest. The campground is about 30 miles south of Bend. We had planned to set up our home base here while exploring Bend and the surrounding area. At mile marker 14, we spotted a Sno-Park. Perfect! Fee Camping! We will spend the night here.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: Sisters, Oregon
Departure Time: 11:30 A.M.
Arrived: Sno-Park - Bend, Oregon
Arrival Time: 5:45 P.M.

Campground Name: Sno-Park
Type: Overnight Camping
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 43.98471
Longitude: W 121.40256
Elevation: 5,500 Feet
Camping Fee: Free
Campsite: large Parking Lot
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: Vault Toilets
Total Campsites: Several

Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G-2 Bars
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 5 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent Service

Total miles traveled today: 136
Route Traveled:
East on OR-242
East on US-20
South on US-97
West on Colorado Ave. (follow signs to Mt. Bachelor)
South on Century Drive
South on Forest Road 46 (Century Drive Highway) to MM-14