August 2019 – Washington State has two climates, who knew?

We didn’t think Washington State and desert would ever be paired together, but during the short 2 hour drive toward Yakima we saw the landscape starting to change. We’d just left deeply wooded areas of National Forest and suddenly it turned to sagebrush and prairie grass. About 25 miles northwest of Yakima we began to see orchards, vineyards and fields of hops. Fruit stands selling peaches, apples, and pears were in abundance, there was no doubt that we were in Washington’s fruit region with craft beer and wineries very prevalent.

We had selected Yakima Sportsman State Park for a 4 day stay which turned out to be quite delightful. It was quiet and clean, expensive for us at $45, but full hook ups and free dry-camping either side of this stay which justified the cost.

We settled in among a row of fellow campers.

 

And then suddenly our friend Suzanne of Take To The Highway appeared. We knew she was traveling from NM to WA but it didn’t occur to us that we would be in her path

And after a few frantic texts, there she was, pulling into a spot right next to us.

Look who showed up!!!

We spent a lovely afternoon and evening together, Chris cooked dinner and we just caught up, it’d been several years since we’d waved her off in the Winnie in Atlanta and it was Suzanne who was the major inspiration for us taking on this new life and we have her to thank for giving us the courage to do this and showing us some cooking techniques.

The girls being shy

Steve took our stop here to get a haircut and it was an odd place but they did a good job

Chris spent time taste testing the 20 different varieties of peaches, plus the various Washington apples. We’d been sold a bill of goods that GA was the peach state, these were the best peaches we’d ever tasted.

Leaving Yakima we headed south to the Columbia River, a great first sight.

We had decided to stay at Avery Recreational Area c/o Army Corps of Engineers, just a dry camping spot on the north side with about 3 or 4 sites. Note Mt Hood in the background.

The afternoon of our arrival day, the winds kicked up to about 20 mph which helped keep the 80 degree temperature bearable, and it was beautiful watching the waves hit the shore.  We watched some kite-riders, flying over the water at amazing speeds This sport is really popular here and this river is perfect.

The following day the wind subsided and this turned out to be an idyllic spot, except of course for the trains. Unfortunately we were right by a railroad crossing, so every train going by did their mandatory 2 long, one short and one long toot. We got the pattern quite quickly as the trains ran 3 or 4 times daily and throughout the night and we were 50 yards from them.

We were talking about staying or going, weighing the good with the bad. How could we leave this free and wonderful view. The trains run parallel to the Columbia River on both sides, so we’d rather stay here free than pay for the view somewhere else.

Columbia River and Mt Hood

Another coach from South Carolina stayed one night and left. This was the view from the winery above.

Close by was a Stonehenge replica dedicated to war veterans, (wonder f they’d visited the real Stonehenge before they built it)

After two nights at our fabulous (or not) site, “should we stay or should we go” (Clash). We stopped across the tracks to the winery where Chris sampled the local wine still pondering the question. When we got back to the coach there was a citation warning stuck to the coach door, which indicated that we had to move as we were non-tribal members and the space was reserved for a few days for tribal members only.

So there you go, decision made. Thank you

Don’t know how they knew we weren’t tribal, we weren’t there at the time, but it made our decision for us, and we quickly moved on. It helped that we already had our next stop in mind and it was first come first served and what better day to go there but the Tuesday before Labor Day before it filled up.

So

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