Heading To The PNW (Pacific North West)

We’re venturing to Alaska for the summer of 2024. It’s the only state neither of us have been to yet. In order to reduce the number of miles we’ll have to tow, we decided to winter in Washington. But even with that, we’ll still be 2,158 miles from Fairbanks. I’m estimating the drive will take the entire month of June, or in camping calculations: 10 stops, each for no less than 3 days.

I started researching PNW winter campgrounds at the end of August, and quickly narrowed our choices to two near Seattle, WA. Six weeks later, we signed an agreement with Blue Sky RV Park in Issaquah, WA for a 6-month stay beginning November 1st. From Carrollton, TX it was 2,060 miles to Issaquah, so I planned a 7-stop, 8-leg drive to get us there on time. As a result, we traveled through parts of 8 states and saw some incredible scenery. The purpose of this blog is to share that journey with you.

Stop 1 – Olde Town Cotton Gin RV Park, Quanah, TX. 212-mile leg. Crossed the southern great plains (not very scenic). This RV park sounded cool but turned out to be remote from Quanah and not what we expected. I had hoped for an old town cotton museum…nope. Couldn’t even see through the barn windows. No nearby breakfast or coffee joints either, but we made it work.

Stop 2 – Clayton RV Park, Clayton NM. 268-mile leg. Crossed the Llano Estacado (Staked Plains), which unsurprisingly looked like the rest of the southwestern high plains. As a part of the high plains, the Llano Estacado is one of North America’s largest mesas climbing consistently at 10′ per mile from 3000′ in Texas to 5000′ in New Mexico. Mediocre RV park in another very small town, but enjoyed breakfast, coffee, and friendly wait-staff at the 87 Restaurant. Highlight of this stop though, was being in the 80% zone for a solar eclipse. Nailed the photo!

Stop 3 – Silver Thread Basecamp, South Fork, CO. 257-mile leg. Traversed the northeast corner of New Mexico and drove through the scenic foothills and lower mountains of the Rockies. Stayed adjacent to the Colorado River at a beautiful time of year. Added a very cool and well-designed Solo Stove (fire pit) to our camping equipment. Limited breakfast and coffee available in nearby Del Norte.

Stop 4 – OK RV Park, Moab, UT. 262-mile leg. We crossed the Rockies and entered the crazy beautiful and other-worldly landscapes of Utah. Campground was a bit strange but overall “okay” as its name stated. I took two incredibly scenic hikes, which I’ll cover in a separate blog. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time this trip to visit any of the surrounding State or National Parks, but we’ll be back!

Stop 5 – Hill AFB FamCamp, Hill AFB, UT. 263-mile leg. We crossed the Colorado River yet again, followed the Green River Valley north, and turned west over the southern end of the Wasatch Mountains. Main reason for this stop was to visit our dear friends Frank and Alma Welde. We served and skied with them while in the Air Force in Germany 41 years ago. We reminisced over dinner for two nights and really could have talked for several more days. As a result, we recommend University Broiler and Grill for greek cuisine and Rooster’s Brewing and Eatery in Ogden’s historic downtown.

Stop 6 – Mt Home RV Park, Mt Home, ID. 271-mile leg. We traversed a corner of the Great Basin Desert, drove into what I call “big sky” country, and got our first major exposure to mountain snow. Our park had nothing to do with Mountain Home AFB, and because of its distance out of town, not to mention a closed main gate, we didn’t visit the base. We did vote this the “best park” we’ve stayed in this year. It was superbly designed, extremely well orgainzed and maintained, and operated by a very competent and caring staff. Visited Bruneau Dunes State Park while there, where I took a fascinating hike, to be covered in a separate blog.

Stop 7 – Pilot RV Park, Stanfield, OR. 285-mile leg. We followed the Snake River out of Idaho and into Oregon. The scenery continued to be breath-taking, and we encountered more snow. Despite the park name, it was not in any way affiliated with the Pilot Gas Station (national chain) we had to drive through to enter. Quite strange! Nearby Stanfield, population 2,153, had no breakfast or coffee joints, so we found our morning sustenance in Hermiston, population 19,455.

Arrived 1 November – Blue Sky RV Park, Issaquah, WA. 242-mile leg. We crossed the Columbia River and passed through vineyards in Washington’s Yakima Valley. Our last stretch took as over the Wenatchee Mountains (southern part of the Cascades), through the Snoqualmie Pass, and down to our park nestled in the mountain foothills.

This trek lasted 21 days. We took our time, drove only reasonable daily distances, and enjoyed the diverse scenery across the western third of the US. Nonetheless, we shared a huge sigh of relief and a huge glass of spirits once we finally stopped. Hope you enjoyed the journey.

Male member of the BunMack team. Happy to be Ms Fix It's lovely assistant on past and future projects. Maybe I'll learn some skills along the way. 69 years old when this adventure began, with expectations to help family and friends with their projects, see great sights along the way, and enjoy our life together.

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