Our new backyard at Memaloose State Park, OR

Our new backyard at Memaloose State Park, OR

Believe it or not we’ve made it all the way to the Columbia River Gorge, the very tip of northern Oregon, and the banks of the massive estuary that divides Oregon from Washington. During our trip north we’ve followed I-84 and the footsteps of emigrants who bravely forged their way west along this very trail in the mid-1800′s. Pretty cool stuff!

The 1843 Oregon Trail

The 1843 Oregon Trail Map

For those not in the know, the ~2,000-mile (3,200 km) Oregon trail was a historic migration trail that started in Missouri and led west to the “Garden Of the World” (or so it was rumored). The first big migration happened in 1843 and by 1869 over 400,000 settlers, ranchers, farmers, miners and their families had made the trip, most of them walking all the way next to their oxen-driven carts. Now, that’s what I call a hike! This year we picked up our first taste of the trail at Three Island Crossing State Park, ID and have followed it ever since (one day I’d love to follow the whole thing).

It’s a tad easier to drive the thing in an RV, I tell ‘ya

The East end of the Columbia River Gorge

The East end of the Columbia River Gorge

And getting towards the middle...prettier and prettier

And getting towards the middle…prettier and prettier

Our tire delay in Boise put us few days behind schedule. Originally I’d planned several additional stops on I-84, including some boondocking at John Day Dam (a fabulous boondocking spot, by the way), but we decided to shorten our stops and get to the middle of the Gorge as soon as we could so we could stay on-track for our June bookings on the coast.

We did a quick lay-over in Emigrant Springs State Park (review coming) and then hightailed it up the road to Memaloose State Park where we are currently nestled in an awesome waterfront site. The forecast calls for a mixed bag of grey, rain & sunny weather over the next few days (pretty typical for this time of year), but we can watch the boats on the river from our window when it drizzles and lounge on the lawn with our cocktails when the sun comes out. Not too shabby!

I'll be getting more of this ALL summer!

I’ll be getting more of this ALL summer!

And you know what…we’re in OREGON!! Can’t tell you how darn excited we are to be back here. It’s actually funny to recollect that Oregon was never one of the states we planned on visiting in the RV when we started this fulltime journey. Can’t exactly say why, but it just didn’t make “the list”. The only reason we ended up here was because of our slide troubles in 2011 which started a mad 1,000 mile dash to Eugene. In a way, it was the start of our own migration to the “Garden of  The World” and the whole state turned out to be a totally unexpected, totally wonderful surprise that’s kept us coming back ever since.

With the heat creeping up down south and fire-season starting elsewhere, we’re gonna be looking forward to yet another cool, relaxing summer in wonderful Oregon. Let the adventures begin….

Gorgeous spring buds

Gorgeous spring buds

And pine...wonderful pine!

And pine…wonderful pine!

47 Responses to Migrating To the “Garden Of The World” -> Memaloose State Park, OR

  1. mary barton says:

    So envious right now :)

  2. Sue says:

    We’re in Oregon too, and have the same reaction as you did, Ahhhhh. Glad to be back.
    The weather is similar too, rain, drizzle, dazzling sunshine and very cool. Dave doesn’t like the cool part. Beluga is on the shores of the Lake of the Woods between Medford and Klamath Falls. We”ll head to the coast via Crescent City, CA, then up 101 to Bandon. We miss talking with you.
    Sue

    • libertatemamo says:

      Outstanding! You’ll be happy to know we thought of you two today. We braved the morning drizzle to a Mexican restaurant in Hood River with head-sized margaritas. Now what is it about that situation that makes me think of you two…hmmmm.. As we clicked our glasses, we toasted to both of you!
      Nina

  3. lance says:

    just completed a whirlwind tour of Oregon. Melamoose was the “perfect” scenery, climate and location. Tried to find somewhere better but didn’t. Great choice. Be sure to tour the road to Mt Hood and the lodge; perhaps the most scenic drive I’ve experienced with the blossoms .this time of year. Super smart eng couple like you retired early and bought a pear farm there. “pruning can be fun” :-) ??.

    • keepinontruckin says:

      I suspect that the blossoms that lance mentions are probably gone by now, but a detour to Mt. Hood would be worth a day trip. Timberline Lodge is awesome, and there will still be plenty of snow up there.
      Paul

      • libertatemamo says:

        We did a fabulous wildflower hike this AM. They are bursting all over the Memaloose hills. Just gorgeous out here right now!
        Nina

    • libertatemamo says:

      Wow! A pear farm!! Now, that’s what I call a change of career. Would love to hear more of that story sometime.
      I think we’re gonna try to hit the Mt.Hood drive tomorrow. We seem to be getting a streak of good luck weather, so I’m hoping it lasts!
      Nina

  4. Mark Gehring says:

    I used to camp at Memaloose almost every summer weekend back in 1986 to 1990 after I moved to PDX from ORD, as I was an avid windsurfer. After all these years I now find myself in the situation that I need to turn in my old gear to charity, so I was hoping to head out to Hood River in the next week or two, so maybe I could stop by and say hi if you’re still around. Presently we are on a road trip with our TT at Ashland ( highly recommend King Lear ! ) , then on to Brookings for a few days then Back to our home in Portland.

    • libertatemamo says:

      You know I had no idea the Gorge was such a windsurfing Mecca until we got here. I can see why now! The wind is constant and strong. We’ll be here in Memaloose until Tues and then will try and get a spot in Ainsworth SP for the next 4 nights after that, just so we can be closer to all the waterfall hikes. If you fancy a visit, just let us know!
      Nina

  5. Laurel says:

    Yay!! You’re in our adopted home state! We love Oregon — even though we’re taking off as of June 1st to full-time (we’re renting our home in Ashland, planning to return at some point because in all of our travels we’ve yet to find anywhere we’d rather live). We enjoy your wonderful blog and hope to meet up somewhere on the road. ~ Laurel

    • libertatemamo says:

      Hey I get you. I could see ourselves part-time settling in OR at some point. We totally enjoyed Ashland when we passed through last year. I’m a theatre buff, so it was a royal treat. Hope to go back and see more plays there in the future.
      Nina

  6. Sue says:

    Margaritas for breakfast! You’ve got one up on us now!
    Sue

  7. Gaelyn says:

    I fell in love with Oregon a while back. Lived for a while along the Gorge and SW at Oregon Caves. Lots to see and do in this beautiful state with moderate climate.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Oh my, you’ve managed to live in some pretty spots! Have yet to hit the Oregon caves area, but it’s one of the many spots we’d like to see.
      Nina

  8. Gunta says:

    Shhh… don’t tell everyone or we’ll fill up like some other states I could mention. Oregon is definitely unique.

  9. Dave & Diane says:

    We lived in Oregon until we hit the road in Nov. It almost seemed wrong to leave such a great place. I’m missing it a little I must admit. Enjoy it for us!!

  10. Sue Malone says:

    I love you, Sweet Nina, but those are Douglas-fir cones. Welcome home to Oregon!

  11. Sherry says:

    I’m still trying to get all the way out there to Oregon. So I’m going to love being with you this summer. Sounds like I may not want to leave once I make it. Long way from the Atlantic Seaboard but we’re still hoping.

  12. Janna says:

    Looking forward to a summer of beautiful photos from you guys! We’ve had wonderful, blessed rain all night–maybe Montana won’t burn up in a forest fire this summer!!!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Sometimes rain is a beautiful thing. We’ve had a few light showers, but otherwise wonderful temps and weather so far.
      Nina

  13. Charlotte says:

    Love your pictures. Oregon is one of the states at the top of my bucket list, so I’m looking forward to more great places and stories of your adventures in Oregon. Memaloose SP really looks like a nice one. I put it on my campground list.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Oh goodness, there is SO much to see and do here. I have tons of OR posts in my travel tales from our past 2 years visiting the state, and expect to add quite a few more this summer.
      Nina

  14. Rick Garboden says:

    Welcome back to Oregon. We live in Eugene and think this is the most wonderful place. I have always said that we are onlty an hour from the Pacific Ocean, The Cascades, or from Portland for a bigger city.

    • libertatemamo says:

      We really, really like Eugene…and not just because it has fabulous RV service! Just a great little city. Not too big, not too small, good University vibe, great biking etc. I can totally see why you live there.
      Nina

  15. Ralph says:

    Nina……..Were you able to see the bighorns along I-84??? Speaking of “Big”…where did you have those margaritas in Hood River?? When anyone says “margaritas” my ears perk up and I start salivating!

    • libertatemamo says:

      We did, we did! It was only in passing and I didn’t get a shot, but we saw a fine fellow hanging on the cliffs as we drove past. Thanks for tipping us off to look out for them!

      The restaurant we ate at was Hood River Taqueria. Excellent, fresh fare…lovely outdoor seating..and good margaritas. Paul had a kiwi margarita, while I enjoyed one of the classics. I got a pic so that will be in the next post.

      Nina

  16. Welcome back to Oregon! We know you will enjoy yourselves here, once again. Thanks for sharing all of your travels this year with us, it was great! Looking forward to more of your fabulous photos!!!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Russ,
      Cheers for the welcome! Don’t know if we’ll make it to Eugene this year, but if you happen to come to the coast on one of your weekend trips, do look us up.
      Nina

  17. LuAnn says:

    We are green with envy! Enjoy your summer in OR. :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks Lu! I hope you guys manage to get out for a few outings on your side too this summer. Lots of great COE campgrounds around your way which make for easy week-end getaways.
      Nina

  18. jil mohr says:

    We think Oregon is one of the most under appreciated and visited states…and when people do it is mostly the western part…you must put the eastern part on your list of a some day especially in the fall…it is just gorgeous….I will miss going out there this year and I anxiously await the pics of those wildflowers….

    • libertatemamo says:

      We’ve had a few outings on the East side, but haven’t explored it nearly as much as we could. Definitely a lot more stuff to discover here in OR.
      LOTS of wildflower pics coming!!
      Nina

  19. I love Oregon! My brother lives in Portland, and we are actually headed there ourselves for his wedding this July. We’re planning to spend 2-3 weeks there this time. Memaloose is on our list – I can’t wait to see where you go on the coast!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Awesome! I think you guys will LOVE Memaloose. Book one of the water-front sites if you can. They are simply fabulous! Plus you’ll be right, smack in the middle of fruit season in July. Highly recommend the “fruit loop” which takes you around a bunch of growers (and wineries) just south of Hood River. We drove part of it today, but many stores were closed. Most are opening around June 1st…drool!
      Nina

  20. Diane says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these posts! ONLY wish I was going along with ya’ll. Hubby just isn’t that adventursome. I keep telling him time is short and we need to do it NOW while we can WALK without canes and pulling oxygen behind us!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Well, I’m glad you’re along even if it’s just in spirit. Maybe if hubby reads the blog I can convince him to go? :)
      Nina

  21. Charlie says:

    The waterfall hikes are the most popular, but if you have time and have not yet done it, do the Dog Mountain hike. Amazing views and open fields of wildflowers. Being serious hikers, the 2800 feet of vertical should not be a problem for you. It is about 7 miles west of Hood River on the Washington side. Google it for a zillion hits. Perfect time of year for this hike so avoid on weekends. We have done all the gorge hikes many times and this is one of our favorites. Just got back from doing it today.

    My wife and I did our first camping/windsurfing trip together at Memaloose back in 1990.

  22. Joe says:

    Nina, we’ve been following your blog for quite some time now, love your lifestyle and can’t wait to fulltime. Could you live your lifestyle (the boondocking thing, etc) in a 43ft model A with a tag? Do you think it’s important to have an SUV like your CR-V with all wheel drive? Would we get stuck w/o AWD? We like the idea of a car with out AWD and better gas mileage.

    • libertatemamo says:

      The bigger you get, the more difficult it becomes to boondock and dry-camp. Yes, you can do it, especially in the open desert (SW in winter has a lot of space) but you’ll be more limited in choice than we are, and you’ll find it next to impossible to find sites in the mountains in summer. So, I guess it all depends how keen you are on boondocking? In our case I kinda wish we’d gone smaller so we could get more places, but I didn’t know how much I’d like boondocking until we started (hindsight is 20/20). In your case if boondocking is only something you want to do occasionally, then size is not so important, but if it’s something you’re committed to then I say go as small as you can live with.

      As for the toad, again it totally depends on the lifestyle you want. For city driving a regular AWD is perfectly fine, but if you like to boondock and drive some of the backroads (dirt roads etc.) then you need the clearance. Again, you can do it with an AWD, but you will just be more limited. Many of the places we’ve visited (Utah, Arizona, California) we’ve really benefitted from the extra clearance on our CR-V, especially in the boonies. So many interesting dirt roads out there.

      Nina

  23. kendracha says:

    Hi Nina, Have been periodically following your blog for some time and love the places you are going. We began our full time journey last November in a 30ft Allegro Breeze towing a Honda Fit (actually began in a Winnebego View but soon discovered it was way too small). We plan to leave for the west coast in early 2014 since it is where our hearts are. Have to spend the summer in the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia then back to Florida for the winter. Can’t wait to head west.
    Kendra

    • libertatemamo says:

      Awesome! You know we love the West Coast so I’ll be crossing paws you get here in 2014 as planned. It’s a gorgeous place!
      Nina

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