Category Archives: Trip Reports

Good camping in Oregon and Washington

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Camping on the south side of the Snake river is easy and nice thanks to several of the Army Corps of Engineers camp ground facilities. We ended up staying at the fishhook campground. If you get a chance and can make a reservation I recommend camp site number 16.

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The Cove Palisades state park in Oregon has an awesome huge camp ground and is in some kind of cool canyon full of cliffs that drop your jaw and petroglyphs from Indians hundreds if years ago. We happened upon this camp ground by chance, just looking for a place to stay in central Oregon, but luckily we found this little gem.

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Road trip progress report

Montana is beautiful country. That’s all there is to it. With that beauty comes the realities, it’s harsh up here. Out of the five days we have been here it’s rained most of them, and today was relentless. We can shrug off a little shower with ease, but a solid day of torrential downpour had us heading south. Tonight we are holed up in Kalispell, drying out and reorganizing.

The trip up was nice and uneventful. We stayed at a little lake off the beaten path called Dog Lake just north of the Oregon border the first night, which was awesome backcountry camping, then the second night we camped outside of Hermiston on the Columbia River. We got a chance to show the kids the McNary dam and the lock that we drive the ship through every fall. We plan on another camping night at the Columbia river somewhere on the southbound leg.

Glacier National Park was incredible and really very impressive, but snow still had the “Going to the sun road” closed over the top. It didn’t stop us from going everywhere in the park we could get to, and we had a great time. The highlight was the hike up to Avalanche Lake, it was gorgeous. I snapped quite a few pictures of that one. We all really liked the red buses that the park runs for tours, as well. The throw back ford’s were pretty cool to look at.

Now we are making our way back south, hoping to make it over to the Palouse Falls tomorrow night. I’ve been over there a couple times, but no one else has, so it’s time to share.

Black Rock Desert

Camping at Trego Hot Springs is a treat, and the wake up bath is the cherry on top. Black Rock is one of my favorite places to visit, and I doubt that will change any time soon. The place is huge and even though I’ve been there a few times now I haven’t seen much of it at all.

We were lucky enough to have a little storm roll through in out presence. It was quite a sight to see. First came the sand storm, and winds up to 30 mph, then the rain came. It’s was a show that no man could duplicate.

This website is a great resource for anyone heading out to play. There are a few others, but this one is so extensive you probably don’t need the others.

Joshua Tree National Park



When I realized that I would have a couple of days off in the middle of a week-long class in LA, I decided to go do some exploring in the desert. The three obvious choices were the Mojave desert, Joshua Tree National Park and Anza Borego State Park. Since both Mojave and Anza Borego are so big, I decided that the two days off I had would be better off spent at the smaller Joshua Tree.


Luckily for me, the park is a total gem. I ended up getting a camping spot in what I think is the best campground in the park, White Tank, mostly because of getting there early in the day. Campgrounds fill up fast! This one is a dirt road and no RV type, which suits me more than fine.

After checking out the forests and rock formations in total awe I drove down the “Geology Tour Road” and did a self-guided tour. Winding through trees and rock formations, then down into a dry lake bed, this road and tour had a great view of the best parts of the park.


Back at camp, as the sun went down the tripod and shutter release came out. The rocks and Joshua Trees are even better under the stars, and I believe that some of the best pictures I took were at this time.

Wildlife was pretty scarce on this trip, about the coolest animal that crossed the path was a kangaroo mouse, followed by a cactus wren. The wildflowers were still blooming and bright, which was a nice surprise. Mostly yellow and blue but I think the red flowers on the cactus bushes along the way were by far the prettiest.

I didn’t get a chance to make it up to any of the abandoned mines on this trip, so I guess that means I’ll just have to come back again. If I do, it’ll probably be the same time if year, because the weather was perfect.

Palouse River, WA

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The Palouse Hills are a beautiful part of the countryside north of the Snake River. As you can tell by the picture above, the Palouse River has cut a picturesque swath through the hills that is definitely worth checking out. I made my way up to the falls the other day, and while I didn’t end up with the picture I was hoping to get, I managed to snap a couple pretty decent shots. This is one of my favorite places in the area, so I’m sure I’ll be back in an effort to finally capture the falls how I would like it.

Camping is good for the soul

There are many books written on the subject of what and what is not good for your soul, but I’m sure that I could write one on why camping is the best thing ever.

Whenever life is a little bit stressful, or things aren’t going too good, taking a trip that involves sleeping outside is the thing that cures what ails me. Having to worry about things that are so simple at home, like cooking and going to the bathroom keeps my mind occupied and off of whatever else is happening back in reality. Breathing some fresh air and returning to the simple things in life, now that is what we as humans need to do, it’s our life check and it helps keep balance in our world.

I took the kids up the mountain for a camp out this weekend, and it was the best kind there is. Simple, easy and fun. No worries, no problems and no issues. My camping kit is working pretty good nowadays, and the kids are starting to get trained, so it only gets easier from here.

Greenhorn Creek

Greenhorn creek is a place where many people in Nevada County take their 4×4’s, motorcycles and ATV’s to play. I hadn’t been to the psuedo offroad park in several years, so I decided to take the kids down to check it out in the new 4runner. The 4runner did well, as expected, and the kids had a great time.

It’s really interesting to see how much the place has changed over the years. When I first went there as a kid it looked considerably different. Every winter with the rains the water takes more and more gravel down stream, and the changes can be pretty significant. This place is a pretty good account of just how powerful erosion can be, considering the river bottom is now easily 20 feet lower than it was 20 years ago. The shear volume of gravel that is taken downstream has to be an astounding number.

The reason why Greenhorn is so good for off road vehicles, is because the gravel pits are fun to drive over, and there are many challenging hill climbs as well. The best part is that it’s constantly changing, so it’s always something different.

Access to Greenhorn creek is from Youbet road off of Highway 174 about half way between Colfax, CA and Grass Valley, CA. If you take this road around 15 miles out it turns to dirt and then drops down into the canyon. At some point in the middle it turns into Red Dog Road, which is the road that transits the creek and leads back into Nevada City, CA eventually.




Kuwait City day 5

Today has been pretty awesome. I made it to a few of the best museums in town and had a really good time checking them out. No crazy taxi rides either!

First I went down to the Grand Mosque of Kuwait for a tour. It’s simply incredible inside. The said no pictures, so I can’t show you, but trust me when I say it was one of the most picturesque buildings I’ve ever been in before. The nice man who was a tour guide told me all about it’s history and some of the finer points of the architecture. He also told me a little bit about Islam and the times of the prayers. I very much appreciate the open nice people that I met here. There was no preaching and I never felt lower than them at any time. I appreciated this place very much.

After the Grand Mosque I went over to the Maritime Museum that I talked about earlier. When I saw it last it was closed, but this time I got to take a look. The museum in great shape and does a very good job of explaining the different types of ships and equipment that were used for pearling and also supplying the town with fresh water for drinking and cooking. It also had some really interesting pictures of the city from a hundred years ago, and my how it’s changed! This was my second favorite place in the city.

The last place I made it to was the Sadu house, a kind of museum that talks about the history of the Bedouin art in the country. There were displays of typical basket weaving and what not. It wasn’t extremely interesting, but it was a very nice building and nice people.

So, I fly back home tonight. My flight leaves here at 0345 (UGH!) and I should be back in California by 1700 on the 12th. Of course I’ve come up with my own opinions on travel in general to this place, so I’ll do a little write up on that when I get home, and I’ll also show off some of the other pictures I created along the way.

Wish me luck on my flight!

Kuwait City day 4

Today has been…. very interesting.

I woke up and went for a nice long swim in the Persian Gulf. The water was a little different than I thought it would be. It’s not very salty, brackish almost actually. It’s also very silty and not very clear. From what I understand all this happens because there is a counter-clockwise current in the gulf and all the water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers goes directly into Kuwait Bay. The water temperature was about what I would have expected, maybe 80 degrees or so.

After my swim I made it back over to the “Old Souq” area and did a little bit of looking around. I really want to get a gift for each of my kids, but I don’t know what. I’ll probably stop back in once more and grab a few trinkets or something. It’s not so easy sometimes! I did take a few good pictures there though.

From the Souq I hoped in a taxi and asked to be taken to the Kuwait war museum, and this was the beginning of the end. The nice Pakistani man had no idea where he was going. I had been told it was a ways out of town, so I didn’t really say anything. Then I knew we had gone too far when I saw a sign for the city of South Doha. I asked nicely if he would turn around and take me back, and that’s when it happened. He ran out of gas! I said, “OK!!! What now?” He replied, “This is where I am taking you, that will be 3 dinars please!”

So I told him “I DON’T THINK SO!” and started walking back. I looked on my phone and it’s…. 18 kilometers! Now I wasn’t too happy, but what can you do? So I walked. I passed a sign that said 41 degrees.

“Let’s try not to that again!” I say to myself. I figure I’ll stop along the way and check out the Kuwait National Museum. Closed.

I got into a taxi with a carefully selected Indian driver and went back to the hotel for a nap.

After a bit of rest, my friend was off work and decided to buy me dinner. It was a pretty good deal, and it was nice to see him. We decided to avoid adventure for the evening and eat at Chili’s to be safe. I was fine with that.

Kuwait City day 3

Today i made my way south to a suburb called Salmiya, which is about ten miles down the coast. Salmiya is mostly what I would call a typical “suburb” or a major city. It’s where the people live, or so it seems.

I went down that way to check out the Scientific Center of Kuwait. I was a little disappointed, actually. It wasn’t that it was bad, but I am just so very spoiled by the Monterrey Bay Aquarium trip I did recently. That place is the standard in my mind for all Aquariums, and while this one wasn’t as good, I can honestly say that if I was a Bedouin from the desert and never saw an Aquarium before I would probably lose my mind.


The coolest thing that I saw in Salmiya was that they had a little area with several “Dhows”, which are the old pearling boats that were used for some time in the history of the area. The quality and craftmanship is just completely top notch. The picture above is of the a couple of these ships.

In the evening I went around and tried to sneak my way into a couple of the buildings to get up high and take some pictures. FAIL! Oh well. Tomorrow is plan b for that, stay tuned!