Sunset at Hood Park, Snake River

Two parks and a forest

In the last two weeks, we have stayed in two parks and now a forest. We have gone from the middle of Oregon to the middle of Washington. Our trip has taken us north from Crooked River to Deschutes River Oregon State Recreation Area and then Hood Park, in Burbank Washington, and now we are at Nason Creek Campground near Leavenworth Washington.  We have been in a golf course — park-like settings for almost two weeks and this week we are in a tree-covered forest right next to Lake Wenatchee.  The official street address is in Leavenworth Washington, but really the town is about 15 miles down the road. 

Deschutes River Recreation Area

Deschutes River Recreation Area is right where the Deschutes River flows into the Columbia River. The same Deschutes River is where we camped at LaPine State Park (two hundred miles south) two years ago and also flows through Bend Oregon. Here is a link to our post about LaPine State Park and Bend The same river produced the waterfall in our photos at Crooked River in our last post.

Campsite at Deschutes River Recreation Area
Campsite at Deschutes River Recreation Area

The Deschutes River is pretty along its entire length. Deschutes River Recreation Area is a grassy park with RV and tent camping. Our site was at the north end and was so lush.  From our campsite, we could wander up and down the river. Unlike Lepage Park, just a few miles east of Deschutes, we would stay there again.  The only downside was the train tracks… on two sides. The train noise at Deschutes was better than the road noise at LePage. Here is our post about LePage.

Here is our Campsite Review of Deschutes River Recreation Area.

Hood Park

Hood Park is in Burbank Washington at the convergence of the Snake River and the Columbia River. We also stayed there two summers ago when we were trying to find clean air.  Two years ago we were moving south because Canada, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho were all having a very bad forest fire season. The smoke started as soon as we crossed the North Cascade Range into eastern Washington and choked the entire northwest – so since we had wheels, we used them. Here is the post about the 2018 visit to Hood Park.

Two years ago we couldn’t stay at Hood Park for more than a couple of days because we didn’t have reservations. Two days is not nearly long enough and since it was so nice, we went back for the entire last week. Again, Hood Park was nearly a golf course without the golf ball hazard.

Stream near Hidden Lake
Stream near Hidden Lake

At Hood Park, we got the bikes out and twenty minutes later, we both had flat tires.  Flat tires were something I didn’t anticipate given that these are mountain bikes with big knobby tires. On my previous mountain bike, I had replaced the tires with tires that included Kevlar bands – so that thorns wouldn’t make it through. This time, looking for a quick fix, and not worried about the weight, I replaced the tubes with real thick tubes with slime inside, so that if a thorn goes into the tube, the slime will repair the leak.  Time will tell if this is a good fix.

Here is our Campsite Review of Hood Park

Nason Creek

One hundred and sixty miles across plenty of eastern Washington farm country and the climbing almost 1000 feet in elevation, we are now in a pine forest with Lake Wenatchee just down the street. In this area of the northwest, conifer trees start about 1000 feet elevation. Our campground is a little less than 2000 feet in elevation and pine trees dominate. I love trees, but I am not very knowledgeable on the subject. It is interesting that in Colorado the conifer trees start about 5500 feet, here about 1000 feet.  I’m guessing that it is a question of available moisture. Obviously there is lots of moisture in the northwest.

Campsite at Nason Creek
Campsite at Nason Creek

Nason Creek Campground is next door to Lake Wenatchee State Park which is on the southeast shoreline of Lake Wenatchee. The state park even has a beach. Both Nason Creek Campground and Lake Wenatchee are 100% full this father’s day weekend.  As for Nason Creek, it is a Forest Service Campground and does not have any electric or other services and this makes it a good place to test our new battery system.

Here is our campsite review of Nason Creek

Friends here

The reason we are at Nason Creek is we have friends that are spending the summer here as campground hosts. It is really nice to have them already in the campground to figure out which sites would fit our RV and make for the nicest stay. Multiple sites would fit our RV but most would not. Our friends picked a wide-open spot for us – right next door to them.  When I looked at the campsite on the satellite view, the shadows obscured the campsite to the point that I couldn’t tell if it was a good spot for us or not. Obviously boots on the ground and recommendations fix all that uncertainty.

Glacier View Lake Wenatchee
Glacier View Lake Wenatchee

We have now seen these friends five times in two and a half years, all in five different states. Three different times we were parked right next door. This time it was planned that way. One of the things we were worried about was establishing and maintaining a network of friends – since we are wandering around so aimlessly. It seems not to be as big a problem as I anticipated. Seeing our friends along the road is so rewarding.

Lake Wenatchee and Hidden Lake

While here at Nason Creek we have taken a hike up to Hidden Lake and soon will take a kayak paddle on Lake Wenatchee.  The waterfall pictured above is the stream flowing out of Hidden Lake.  The picture of the kayak and glacier is of Lake Wenatchee. Everything is so pretty here.

Hidden Lake
Hidden Lake

Battery testing

This is the first real test of our newly installed battery system. Our massive batteries have been installed exactly one week starting today.  Since Thursday we have been without any outside electricity, using only the generator to recharge the batteries. The new lithium battery bank is working great, but as I have complained before, our RV is very power-hungry.  I will tell you more about the batteries in the future. Right now it is enough to say I am happy.

Solar nada

Another thing we have learned is that our solar collectors (installed at the factory in 2008) have zero function except to shade the roof. I have mentioned several times that I couldn’t tell if they were working and they are not. I guess that is why I couldn’t tell.  Given how power-hungry our RV is, for us solar is not optional. I will have to fix that before winter.

Here is a link to the google map for Deschutes Recreation Area.

Here is a link to the google map for Hood Park.

Here is a link to the google map for Nason Creek Campground.

3 thoughts on “Two parks and a forest”

  1. This is a perfectly timed post as I have just recently been looking at our Fall route and am thinking we’ll head to some of these same places (LaPine was already on the list). Last I checked though, the Oregon state parks were only opening reservations up two weeks out. I think they’re worried they’ll have to shut everything down again, so they don’t want people making reservations for September or October when there’s so much uncertainty between now and then. We’ll see how it all shakes out, but these places all look great! You’ve given me several more places to check out, so thank you!

    You’re right about hanging out with friends on the road. Up until this whole pandemic knocked us off course, we’ve rarely gone more than a month or six weeks without crossing paths with someone we knew. It’s been one of the best, and most surprising, parts of this lifestyle!

    Safe travels!

    1. We hope to soon cross paths with you, somewhere on the road. Until then I am thrilled that you are finding value in our stories.

      My number one, don’t miss location in Oregon is Crater Lake. We also loved our drive south on the Oregon and California Coast.

      If you have any questions or just want to discuss something we are available, pretty much anytime, although sometimes cell service can be lacking when we get to the special places — and don’t want to leave.

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