Friday, November 20, 2015

The Road to Utah

       Leaving Tumwater, WA we headed south to the Columbia River Gorge then east along it's length to the town of Pendleton, Oregon.  This was to be Stop #1 for us enroute to Utah.  It was an easy drive, but the gas mileage suffered a bit as the drive through this area is often home to some winds as well.  We spent our time hooked up in Pendleton at the Wildhorse Casino Resort where full hookups with Good Sam discount came to a decent $26/night.  They have great bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities, and of course the casino offers a free shuttle, but we did not avail ourselves of this feature this trip.  We had only planned on staying a single night, but with the arrival of gusty winds up to 60 mph and plenty of snow on the coming mountain pass we thought better of staying an extra night.  Who's in a hurry?  I was quite pleased to find the price of diesel at a 'trip low' of $2.21 which was a welcome sight. 

      Pendleton is the home to the world famous Pendleton Round Up, one of the top 10 rodeos in the country held each year the 2nd full week in September.  It is also the home to the world famous Pendleton Woolen Mills, makers of the finest virgin wool materials known.  We did tour the mill and then of course hit the Mill and Outlet Store.

      Prices here can easily shock the average person into defibrillation.  The average men's and women's sweaters here can run in the neighborhood of $200 and a wool blanket upwards of nearly $300!  Barb was fortunate enough to find a very nice quilt for our RV bed that was actually pretty reasonably priced.   She got a nice discount cause it was on sale, a senior's discount, and another discount cause her husband is so damned charming and good looking.  Most of this is true. 

      Leaving Pendleton we headed over Deadman's Pass and along the eastern edge of Oregon crossing into Idaho west of Boise.  The pass just east of Pendleton is especially treacherous due to double hairpin turns and a steep downgrade.  Weather can add extra challenges.  We waited the extra day in Pendleton just because of the snow and wind on this road. 
      We arrived in the town of Jerome, ID our next night and had planned to stay at the Fairgrounds, but this was not to be.  The campground is advertised as being open year around, but we found it empty with power/water shut off, presumably for the winter.  We were able to water up at a local truck stop and then found a nice, quiet corner of the local WalMart to settle down for the night. 

      Our next stop was in Odgen, UT to visit another old high school friend, Chuck Frady.   We hadn't seen other in 44 years, but we decided we were both still as handsome as ever!  He is still the same laid back, friendly, golf nut I remember from 'way back when'.  Chuck also spent 20 years in the Air Force and is finishing up another career at Hill AFB, UT as a Airfield Heavy Equipment Supervisor.  We did tour his shop and I found the airfield snowplow equipment to be pretty damned impressive.......definitely a MAN SHOP!  He and his wife Nettie were wonderful hosts and they love the area.  Nettie was incredibly helpful as she guided us around the general Odgen area and Hill AFB so we could get restocked, mail packages, and pick up prescriptions before heading further south.  We found Ogden to be a beautiful city with so much to offer.  We had a very nice visit.  There is a 3 lane FREE RV dump station on the north side of the Clinton City Maintenance Bldg just off 1750 West behind the Wal Mart.  Easy in and easy out to get back out the Interstate from here. 
      Next up for us is Southern Utah which has a wealth of incredible and national parks.  It would probably take the better part of 2 months to visit them all.  We will spend the next several weeks, including our Thanksgiving visiting Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks. 

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