Idaho and Oregon

11th - 26th October 2015

From Montana we were bound for Kellogg, Idaho to catch up with our friends the Fricks. Their ‘Rusty Cup’ coffee shop was now up and running, despite the traumas they had endured that year. It was great to see them well and happy despite there being less of Ryan than on our previous year, as he’d lost a leg in a nightmarish hiking accident.

We caught up for a few days and Robin took us on an exciting trip to Elsie Lake, way off the beaten track.

Robin at Elsie Lake

All too soon we were off towards Oregon. Our route took us almost due south, across the corner of Washington state and involved some challenging driving along winding, mountain roads. After a night recovering in the town of Enterprise, we made a beeline 377 miles for Salem, Oregon, where we would visit with distant family David and Shannon.

David was glad of an excuse to head out for a day of fishing. His boat was hitched up and we headed to Suttle Lake. Unfortunately the fishermen were to be frustrated but it was a gorgeous location.

Suttle Lake, OR

Launching the boat

In search of better fishing success, we headed to the famous Metollius River the next day and the Crooked River after that but the fish didn’t seem to be eager to take Phil’s flies. They were, however, two beautiful locations for camping.

Metollius River

Crooked River

We’d chosen our route to take us near to Smith Rocks State Park, where we enjoyed a stunning hike the following day. It was a spot popular with rock climbers but just the hike was challenging enough for us!

Smith Rocks State Park

Climbing over Smith Rocks

We camped for the night at East Lake before heading to one of our favourite spots in Oregon, Hosmer Lake. This beautiful lake high in the mountains had at some point been stocked with Atlantic Salmon. We inflated our canoe and enjoyed a paddle through the narrow channels lined with reeds, where the water was so clear that every fish was easily seen. Unfortunately this meant that the fish could see us too.

We made a stop at Diamond Lake, a huge lake with plenty of big trout in it. The wind was howling and it didn’t look like it would be much fun to take to the water in an inflatable craft, so instead we opted to take the eleven mile bike ride around the lake and enjoy the scenery whilst staying dry.

We were ready for a restful weekend and decided to head to the Rogue River in search of Steelhead. We set up camp and took a stroll, pondering how to hunt for the elusive sea-going trout. We had only walked a few hundred feet when Phil bumped into a fellow fisherman, also staying for the weekend.

This kindly Oregon fishing expert offered to take Phil to some good spots on the river the next day, gave him lots of advice and was rewarded by being skunked himself while Phil landed a couple of steelhead on their two days fishing together.

Diamond Lake

Oregon Steelhead

We wanted to visit a stretch of Oregon coast, where we’d never been before, so from the Rogue River we took another tortuous road to Bullards Beach State Park. The route was slow so it was too late to explore until the next morning, when we took a bike ride to the lighthouse.

Bullards Beach

As we headed south towards the California border we had to make a stop at one of Oregon’s famous dairies, to sample the local produce. Normally in the USA we don’t indulge in cheese, something that is not always easy when cheese is liberally applied to almost all meals, despite being relatively tasteless and characterless. This local cheddar proved delicious, so health concerns were put on the back burner.

Oregon Coast

We planned to spend another night in the state of Oregon and desperate for a chance to do some laundry, headed to a pricey coastal state park which boasted a laundry at Harris Beach. When we arrived, before checking in, we had the forethought to seek out the laundry facilities as this was such a high priority only to discover that the entire laundry had been removed. In that case we decided to head to a cheaper campground further south on the coast. This one we found had closed for the season the day before we arrived.

Never mind, we could fork out for a costly private campground right on the beach in the town of Brookings, where they were sure to have laundry facilities. We don’t spend too much time in private campgrounds and we now remembered why. Despite the campground being almost entirely empty, they still wanted to enforce their rule that only vehicles built in the 2000s were allowed. However when we pointed out that there was nobody there, the clerk did offer to take a photo of our motorhome to send to her boss and ask it we would be permitted to stay.

Insulted that our beloved Harvey was being disrespected in this way, we offered some suggestions about where they could keep their snobby campsite and decided to make for the border and spend our money in California instead!