White Salmon, Washington: Since I posted so early last night (trying to conserve energy while dry-camping) you missed all the excitement!

Our neighbor caught a steelhead in the Deschutes River! He brought the prize back to his family, who were tent camping next to us, only to learn they had forgotten a knife. RV Goddess to the rescue! Boy, oh, boy, do I have knives – and a sharpening steel. (Luckily for them, we also had Ziploc bags, garbage bags, flashlights and a lantern! I don’t think they had planned to catch a fish?) The 13-year-old son cleaned the fish on our picnic table – quite well, too – with the advice of his Dad. They offered us half of that lovely fish and it was all I could do to politely refuse. Maybe it is time for DT & I to find dust-off our fishing poles? We had to make-do with our steaks. (If you missed the late-night steak photo post… better check-out the bottom of yesterday’s column.)

This part of the campground has 30 amp service and water. No sewer; no dump.

We really enjoyed our over-night stay at Deschutes River State Recreation Area and are thinking of trying to find a time when we can return. There is some freeway noise and a train running along the Columbia (quite often), but on a sunny day all that can be forgotten. Especially if the fish are biting. Check-out time is an unusually-late one o’clock! Yes!

The view up (south) the Deschutes River at Deschutes River State Park

This must have been very similar to what the pioneers saw when they finally made it to this spot on the “Da Chutes” River. They knew this is where The Deschutes would meet the Mighty Columbia River, and where they would see the lush green valleys ready for their tills. Wrong. The green stuff was still thirty miles down the Columbia River. Not only were they crushed at not finding their Oregon Eden, they had to ford the Deschutes River! It was tough on the Oregon Trail.

No wifi hotspots either.

We were up early and DT went for a run on the mountain biking trails in the State Park. Five miler! The man is unstoppable. I stayed home and made my famous potato hash for My Runner because he loves it so much. Such a devoted wife.

After his run, DT “iced” his legs in the cold Deschutes River. After a while, he motioned for me to “bring my camera”. Dave was staring across the river at a fisherman in a drift boat.

Now that’s a drift boat!

You may have figured we are close enough to home that I could have driven home last night to fetch a knife for the fisherman if needed. All good RV trips must come to an end – but we still had one more day and we wanted to try a restaurant in Hood River again, so we called the Bridge RV Park in White Salmon, Washington (across the Columbia River from Hood River, Oregon) and booked for one night. One last night with full service, to could catch-up on dishes and laundry after our 24-hour boondock.

Great park, but we didn’t know/had forgotten the steel mesh toll bridge across the river is so narrow! And by narrow, I mean 9’10” lanes. Total freak-out. The lady taking the toll (75-cents for autos; $3.25 for our RV+car) asked My Driver, “How much do you suppose it would cost to replace one of your side mirrors?” The bridge is nearly a mile long – it spans the Columbia River! Longest mile ever. The bridge website advises large RV’s to cross at alternative bridges… but we didn’t read the website until after we crossed, and there are no restrictions posted before entering the bridge. (See photo below.)

Obviously not, because we met a massive log truck and a huge semi loaded-down with crates of fruit! Suck-in Magna Peregrinus! Goodness. That was an adventure I never wish to repeat. My Driver, so calm and cool, probably took it as a challenge. I don’t know. I didn’t ask him.

I had my eyes closed.

So we found ourselves on the “Washington side” of the Columbia in a full-service campsite for one night. Our bus is filthy. Our Honda is filthy.

How many nights do you suppose we have spent in our motorhome since November 2008? Plenty, right? Today was the first time we put propane in the tank! We couldn’t even remember where the valve for the propane tank was located! The only appliance using propane in our RV is the two-burner cook top. I guess we go out to eat too often. The RV park owner filled us up. Looks like I am going to have to budget $15 on propane every couple of years.

Besides being very friendly, the RV park owner has the coolest collection of vintage RV mini cars!

Good thing too, because this size of RV will easily fit on the bridge back to Oregon.

We had a relaxing afternoon. I found the White Salmon Post Office – up something called the Dock Grade – scary even in the Honda. (I’m telling you, driving is simply hazardous in this part of the Columbia Gorge.) Napping occurred. We chatted with our very friendly neighbors, and then dressed for our final dinner on the road – for this trip, anyway.

To get to the restaurant in Hood River, Oregon, we had to cross the (75-cent) toll bridge. In the Honda. As I said earlier, this bridge is 9′-10″ wide. Our bus is 8’6″ wide. In the Honda, we were fine. Maybe now you understand our dilemma earlier today.

Quite a while ago, we had lunch at Celilo in Hood River, Oregon. This restaurant is generally considered one of the best in our state. Tonight, we drove the very narrow bridge to give Celilo a try at dinner. Celilo (pronounced sah-lie-low) is named after the falls that once fell across the Columbia River near present-day Hood River, Oregon before The Dalles Dam (Dalles rhymes with gals) was constructed. The falls were a rich Native American fishing ground.

(Why do I always have to explain how Oregon place names are pronounced?)

This beautiful mural, in our State Capitol in Salem, depicts Lewis & Clark meeting with Native Americans at Celilo Falls on the Mighty Columbia in 1805 on their return trip east, after wintering on the Oregon coast. Oregon’s adopted daughter, Sacajawea, is also in the painting. Did you know her famous baby – Pomp, aka Jean Baptiste Charbonneau – lived quite an interesting life traveling the world and is buried in the middle of nowhere in Oregon?

With all this exciting history, why do we ever leave our own state?

Back to present time – we enjoyed perfectly delicious meals at Celilo and encourage you to try this Oregon treat if you are ever in the Columbia River Gorge. Everything is fresh, local and usually organic. We just love Celilo!

If you are not into RVing… just say goodnight and check this site tomorrow. I really opened a can of worms had a lot of emails this morning about the Silverleaf system I wrote about yesterday, so I am going to post photos of the rear Silverleaf panel.

As Jimmy Buffett says… My whole world lies waiting behind Door Number Three. Open a cabinet door next to the washer-dryer in the bath area of our RV and you will find “Control Central”. The top black panel is our solar monitor. When we are not plugged-into electricity or the engine/generator is not running, the solar panels on the roof sucks up free power from the sun. The next panel, with the fancy faux burl wood is the HWH system that controls the two slide rooms in the bedroom. (There is another in the kitchen area for the big living area slide room.) The two lower white switches are my favorite – they control the radiant heat in the tile floor. (Notice they both read OFF? That is because it is nearly 100 degrees outside today.)

The Silverleaf is the black panel above the radiant heat switches.

This is the “Home” screen. Wouldn’t you think, that after nearly two years in this RV, one of us would have removed the flimsy protective plastic screen cover on the monitor?

Anyway… this screen shows the date and time and gives us a basic idea about what is going on with our RV. We had just arrived at the campsite and we were plugged into 50 amp service. Our fresh water tank about one-quarter full – it holds 100 gallons. DT had just dumped the gray tank (water from the sinks, shower, dishwasher and laundry) and the black tank (toilet) is one-quarter full. Don’t you just love how the fresh water level is shown in blue and the black water tank is brown? Eww. Guess what? (The grey water level is shown in grey!) This “basic information” screen show the status of our batteries (full) and how much juice we are consuming.

Continuing on our tour:

AC Power (left): this screen goes into more detail about the electricity we are using on each leg and allows us to set the max amount of power going to charge the battery bank. (We have one set of batteries for the “house” and another set for the engine. Engine batteries are not monitored here.)

DC Power (right): This shows us the batteries are being charged through the inverter. (The inverter turns energy stored in the battery into 120v electricity.)

Water (left): Again, this monitors our tanks. This screen also shows our propane tank is full. We can turn our water pump on from this screen, or from 367 other places in the bus. The Auto Fill allows us fill the water tank without having to go outside and push any buttons or flip any switches.

Genset (right): We can start/stop the generator from this panel… or from several other places in the RV.

Temp (left): Obviously, the temp in the plumbing bay. (I told you it was hot today.) This reading isn’t important today. This reading is important when it is freezing outside. Our coach does come equipped with a heated plumbing bay… but it is always good to keep your eye on the temperature in really cold weather. Wouldn’t want to have to deal with a frozen/cracked/broken pipe.

Finally, the photo on the right is a full-view shot from the back-up camera when the “Camera” button is pushed. Don’t come messing around our bus! We will see you.

I hope you all enjoyed your tour of our Silverleaf system today. Please exit to your right and don’t forget to tip your driver.

Until my next update, from Taylor Manor, I remain your Oregon correspondent.

RV Park: 
Bridge RV Park
65271 HWY. 14
White Salmon, WA 98672
509.493.2222
GPS: N45° 43.361’/W121° 29.236′
Elevation: 144 feet
35 paved full hookup sites with 30/50 amps, 15 tent sites, bathhouse, laundry, free wifi, great dog walk area. Just across the (very, very, very) narrow bridge from Hood River, Oregon. Large RVs are advised to cross at Cascade Locks or The Dalles. The height restriction is 14 feet 7 inches.

Entering the Bridge RV Park in White Salmon, Washington

Beautiful tent/picnic area

Pet walk area – and the inevitable train tracks with the Columbia River below

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