On Monday, June 29, we got up without a plan. We thought about staying at Sun Desert for another night or two, but that would leave a 250 mile drive in one day to our site near Portland. After some discussion, we decided to head out. I had found a place along the Columbia River called Le Page Park. It is a COE park and sounded pretty good.
From the time we made the decision to leave, it was about a half hour and we were ready to go. We headed south across the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge. it is very beautiful and desolate land.
There are a few small lakes that create a little oasis in this desert.
After we left the wildlife refuge, the land turned to irrigated farm land. We were going through some rolling hills and then we started to go down into the Columbia River Valley and the Tri Cities. The Tri Cities are made up of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland. I was born in Richland. Kim asked if I wanted to visit Richland. It occurred to me that I don’t know anyone in that town. I had no one to visit. I decided then that my home town is Ozark, Missouri. Why? Because that is where much of my family lives. Richland will always be my place of birth, but Ozark is my home town for now. I plan to go back and visit Richland later in this trip. Today we were towing and it was just easier to keep moving.
After leaving the Tri Cities we started up a steep and long hill. I think this is what my Dad calls the Horse Heavens. I will have to ask him if that is correct. I think we gained a couple of thousand feet in elevation. I knew it was coming because of a new feature on Google maps. The new version has a bicycle icon at the top of the screen. If you click on it, it will give you an elevation profile of your route you have selected. I use it all the time.
After reaching the top of the climb, we immediately started back down. I think I coasted for about 5 miles without exceeding the speed limit. We crossed the River again and picked up I-82 and headed down the Columbia. It was very hot and dry, but all down hill. It was a nice drive.
We arrived at Le Page Park and I was happy to hear they had a perfect spot for us and they would accept our Interagency pass. Two nights please at $12.50 per night with 50 Amp and water. We stayed in site 8 overlooking the swimming area.
The surrounding hills are dry and desolate, but are beautiful contrasted against the blue river. We are actually on the John Hay river that joins the Columbia just beyond the park. We were concerned about noise from the Interstate and the train tracks, but with the AC on, we could not hear them.
We took a walk in the evening to take a few pictures. The ridges are really interesting.
I tried to get a shot of Mt. Hood down the valley.
Here is another shot of our campsite from across the park.
We swam each day and really enjoyed watching the kids enjoying the swimming area. It was very hot, but the water made it nice.
There are some members of a local tribe with a permanent camp in the state park. I did not ask, but I think they are allowed to stay here to fish the river. They sell fresh fish, but I did not see anyone around to sell me some.
Le Page park is a great stopover point. We now have 80 miles to our destination. We have reservations at Ainsworth State Park for July 1-6. Our Daughter Shannon and her husband Brian will join us on July 4th and stay a week. July 4th is Shannon’s birthday, so we always do fireworks and have a big celebration. Come back to see what we find at Ainsworth. I will say that very tall waterfalls are the theme of some future entries.