THE ROADS CHRONICLE – A Traveler’s Diary [April 1, 2020]

The last week has been interesting! Heads up… a little bit of a longer post so I can catch everyone up. Now that I have the new interface set up on http://www.theroadsweroam.com, I will be posting more regularly again.

On my last post, we were planning to leave our site (see location info below) and find a place that Russ felt would be a little better for me to drive out of if his health continued to get worse.

We pulled in to a nearby state park where we were lucky enough to dump our garbage, dump our tanks and refill our water. The authorities in Washington had just put out a mandate to shut down all the parks, so we were lucky enough to get in there when we did.

Then we went about 70 miles east to the town of Hermiston to pick up our Walmart order as well as more dog food. I have to say, after being isolated for the last week, I was surprised at how many people were at Walmart – and doubly glad that we opted to put in the order online so we didn’t have to go in. We might have been a bit over-cautious, but we had the Walmart employee place all the bags on the ground outside, then while wearing gloves, we unloaded the groceries and disinfected and washed everything as it was put in the RV. We also spray down our shoes and leave them on the interior stairs.

Our mail wasn’t scheduled to arrive for a few more days, so the plan was to find another boondocking location closer to Hermiston to wait it out. Initially, that would have worked. However, as we started looking at the sites, they were all blocked off. At that point, we just decided to “go with what you know” and backtracked to the Army Corps of Engineers (A.C.E.) location where we had been staying.

Around 11am the next morning, a truck approached our rig. An A.C.E. employee informed us they were shutting all their properties down along the Columbia River and we had 24 hours to vacate the area….

As I started my research for available places to stay, I noticed everything was shutting down. Washington State’s Dept of Natural Resources closed off more than 6 million acres of land, Army Corps properties were out, and there weren’t a lot of BLM areas close by. So I noticed that Thousand Trails had a few properties back in the Portland area. There was only one that would accept a reservation, so I took it…just so we had a back-up. I scheduled our check-in for Friday, after our mail was supposed to arrive and figured we could just dry camp at a rest stop for a night.

Then I noticed online the Thousand Trails campgrounds in the Portland area were starting to close down and would only allow people to stay thought April 7. At this point, they could even change their minds again and just give 24 hours notice to vacate, just as a lot of other campgrounds are doing now. Because of this, we decided to cancel the reservation and push east and find BLM land as soon as we could get our mail.

Ahhh the mail…. of course it was delayed. We wound up spending Thursday night at a truck stop and Friday split between 2 highway rest areas (we could only stay 12 hours max at each rest area, so we spent 12 at the eastbound lot and 12 at the westbound).

BLM has recently shut down their campgrounds, but they have made sure to let people know their dispersed sites are still accessible and open. An impending winter storm system was moving in, so we pushed eastward until just near the Idaho border.

We found a spot that we think will work for us and our hope is to stay through next Monday. Russ is feeling much better and we’re starting to get back to a sense of normalcy. As much as anything can be “normal” during this period of time anyway.

I’ll plan on giving an update more about where we are soon 🙂

Kerry

For more information on future camping/recreation activities along the Columbia River, visit: https://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Columbia/

Here is where we were staying:

  1. A.C.E. boondocking location

2. Rest stop dry camp #1

3. Rest stop dry camp #2

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