Oregon Trip Tall Tales

June 20, 2015  •  2 Comments

As all of my loyal blog readers know this was the first big trip alone with the new trailer and all the dogs.   An adventure to be sure and I am so glad I did it.   I learned a lot about the trailer, the truck, me and the dogs!   So this post is really kind of a bunch of randomness that happened during the trip that I didn't want to forget and did want to share.  I'll throw in some photos here and there that I didn't really have another post to put them in and some will be repeats.   Hopefully it won't bore you to tears!  LOL

I am happy to report the truck pulled the trailer like a champ.  In fact it did way better on the roads than the motorhome ever did.    We chugged up most of the big mountain passes at about 40 mph and the truck seemed happiest about 60-65 on the freeways.  The only reason I was able to do the 525 mile trip home was that I'm able to use the cruise control part time giving my bum and my leg a break.   Makes a HUGE difference.   I will say though, the small truck and gas tank does mean I have to stop for gas at least every 200 miles. 

The trailer hitch and I are still having some hmmm, discussions.    The Equalizer hitch and I have come to agreement that I just have to find the sweet spot in raising and lowering the trailer to get the bars on their supports.   The coupler hitch and I however still seem to have difficulty opening and closing onto the ball of the hitch.   I may have a discussion with my trailer guy and see why that is - and it was REALLY  a pain in the butt when the truck was at a little bit of an angle either up or downhill!   Some curse words were said.    I did however remember how to situate things to line up to hitch up but was ever grateful for my girlfriends that stopped to visit at Champoeg for helping me get lined up my last day there.    I knew I'd done it by myself easier before than I was doing it on the trip, last hitch up I remembered - open the tailgate of the truck, put the handle of the tongue jack in the up position and line up using that.   Cuts the attempts by about 1/2!   :)

My dogs traveled really well.   Stopping and staying the the trailer took us about a week to get worked out.    For travel they all go in the truck.  Paqui and Epic have crates in the back and Sterling rides back there with them.   When we left I had some little dogs in the tube crate in the back seat, Dot in her little crate on one end of that seat and Magic in the front seat.   On the way home I tried adding Magic to the tube crate and extended it full length in the back seat for a bit more space.   He did great there.  I put Dot in his bigger crate up front.   What I've found is that the front seat with the windshield just gets too hot.  I either need to put the reflective window shield up over that crate or shorten up what the boys have in the back seat and put her crate back there again.   Not sure what I'll do yet for that.   

I did certainly realize with my 3 oldest though just how fragile and old they are and how hard traveling like this is.  In all honesty I'm not sure if Paqui will be with us by the time our fall trip rolls around or if he is if he'll be going.   Spending 24/7 with them really showed me how bad his aggression/crankiness with the other dogs really is.  Especially with everything being new.   We didn't really have a routine for when we just stopped for one night and I found that all the dogs were confused and not very well behaved when I was discombobulated in what I was doing.  By the time we headed home I had a setup and take down routine for those one nighters that seemed to work better.     Pull in, open all the doors and the topper for ventilation.    Plug in the trailer, start fridge and a/c if needed.   Open up the back and pull out and set up the xpens around the trailer door.   Close the back and start unloading dogs into the xpens.    All in all takes about 1/2 hour.  In the morning do it all in reverse.    Even better if we are staying somewhere for a few days of course and once at Champoeg they all settled in about the second day and they were thrilled when I had the day just to stick around and kick back and they could lounge out in the pens in the sun!

 They were pretty good about the barking/singing and I felt comfortable enough leaving the littles (with a bone for Teddy and one for Elliott) to curb the singing if I left for the day.   I also had power at all my sites so I always left the TV going with either a DVD or TV show where I could if I had to leave.  I was very glad for that.    We eventually figured out a way to feed everyone and after finding that the short little dog gate I had didn't work and found a better gate to use and keep them in the back while I fixed food, feeding time went better.    Five little dog crates and spots to put the others separated and we finally had less chaotic feeding times.     Bed time worked well once I kicked the poodles out of my bed and made them sleep under with Paqui.  Teddy was the only one sharing with me and we ALL slept better!  LOL   Dot and Magic got the bottom crate on the shelves so they could have access to the pee pad out by the door (Dot can't make it all night).

Still - we had to work more on where *I* got to sit!  I did find that in the small space with the poodles the little dogs really want to be up off the floor so then all the sitting spots were taken.  I ended up rearranging the storage ottomans and also using my chair at times and that worked much better.   Poodles and Paqui were told to stay on the floor and each got their own bed.    Again, that took about a week to work out since it is all new to them and they just aren't used to the small quarters.

Never without a challenge when traveling with a trailer for the first time.   The first back in spot I had was a bit tight to get into and I find I just need to be left to do it in my own time.  Rushing is B.A.D. but alas there was an old guy in the spot across the way that couldn't resist helping (and honestly just confused me more than not).    I figured I'd just shut up and let him rather than have him sit there and stare and point while I backed in (which is what the two lesbian ladies did the second time I was there).     The rest of my backing experiences weren't bad with the exception of Cape Lookout and the generally uneven site there.    

I arrived at Champoeg only to get all backed in, leveled side to side (oh yeah, you can't put those leveling blocks under your trailer tires and back on without someone to hold them!) and unhitched only to find that my 30amp cord was 6" too short.  No worries I had my 120 and a long cord.   So I plugged in and fired up the a/c (it was HOT and HUMID).   Click.   Shut off.   Tried again.  Click and it popped off.  Around the corner comes the camp host in his cart just as I'm getting ready to drive down there to find him.   He fusses with the whole deal and the breaker switches.  We get the a/c going, he leaves and click - off.   By then I'm hot, tired, dogs are hungry and hot and want OUT of the truck.   (Nope didn't have my setup strategy in place yet).  Around the bend he comes again and I tell him the problem and he heads out to find a ranger.   Back he comes - "The ranger says those 120 outlets are only 15 amp so your a/c won't run."   Well THAT won't work.  "Don't you have a 30 amp cord?"   Why yes I do but it is too short (which he had to prove to himself).   I have a 50 amp long cord but no adapter to take it down - well bless his heart of hearts, he has one and he'll bring it by.  PRAISE THE LORD FOR CAMP HOSTS!    I thank him and say I'll find the Campingworld back that I saw off I-5 and return it when I get my own.  No problemo he tells me just return it when I leave if nothing else and try Fred Meyer in Newburg - they'll be cheaper.

Oh and note - there is no cell service (maybe one bar now and then) at this campground until you get up to the highway.   The next day (my "day off" I head to town with my navigation and to Fred Meyer.   I find a few other items but no connectors.   I ask around but oh gee, they are remodeling and they have all that packed up ask for a phone book at the service desk and see if there might be another local RV place that would have them.   No phone book either - it's packed up!   LORDIE!   So into my phone I put Campingworld - oh it wants me to go to Hillsboro - what????    So I try the exit number I knew was close to the one I saw and low and behold through the back roads we go and I discover Campingworld.   PRAISE BE and I'm a huge fan!  I've never been in one before but I found great stuff to get me by (3 days on the road pointed out some big holes in my planning).    

First was the connector (yes I remembered it).  Next was a better pet gate (the short one is history) that I could use in more than one spot.  Next was a fridge fan as my fridge was not staying as cold as it should even on high.   Then a new collapsing dish pan that fits my sink way better than what I was using.   All in all I found great stuff and also ended up as a Good Sam member because I paid for the membership with the discounts I got on what I bought!   

My trailer inside has had some transformations.   The shoe bags I got at home were canvas and I hung them on the bathroom door.   Was always running into them and couldn't see what was in them - back to the clear cheap ones and hung it in a better location in the bathroom.   I of course overpacked!  I was finding that the number of storage cubes was really kind of in the way, so I reorganized and repacked and was able to empty and flatten out 2.   I'll keep them in there but not break them out unless needed.   I also found they aren't always comfy to sit on.   The portable DVD player worked well and I found it fit into the magazine holder I had on the wall by the TV.   It is however a pain in the rear to load and unload and start and stop.  Will be replacing it especially when we have power....we used it a LOT!    Rain will do that.   The Oregon Splendor DVD was my most favorite and the 3 movies I watched were BAD and are off to Goodwill.    The pretty rug I had in the back was just that - until Dot got sick and pooped on it.   Rolled it up and it will stay home till I have less pooches to travel with.   Roller cart to put the expens and chairs on - takes too much space when I don't unload for overnights.   It's out!   The pens will stand behind the storage cubes and the chair fits over on a wall.   The folding table will stay home too - most sites have picnic tables and I'll take it when I know we'll need it.   The shower curtain cover needed hemming up.  It annoyed me hanging on the floor.   The shower head I think needs the actual hose that came with it but regardless I used my shower a lot and was thrilled to have it!     The sun shades need to ride in the truck and not take space in the trailer.    Oh I have a whole list but that is most of it.   I truly am glad I can pack as well as I can though!

The gas grill ROCKED THE HOUSE errr trailer!    I cooked Lori burgers one night (and did my supper on it other nights too) and the second night after hiking she made me a "30 dollar steak dinner"!   Garlic bread, corn on the cob and some of their yummy steaks all on the grill.  It was heavenly!  

The best part of the trip had to be seeing my girlfriends though oh yes, and meeting Lori's new hubby Mike who came over and spent a few hours visiting after we hiked that Saturday.   On Sunday 2 other girlfriends came to visit as well.    Lisa had visited last May and we'd gone to see the carnivorous plants.   She joined mutual friend Barbara and her new coated xolo boy this time and they came to visit at our campsite and also brought lunch!  Bonus!   We had such a lovely afternoon and I so so so love my friends!!!    We even got to meet this little 4 month old clown when she walked by with her parents.

As with many travels one is often amazed at how small the world is we live in.  There I was parked at an off the beaten path park in Oregon and the second night next site over comes an almost brand new Airstream and with MT plates.  What?   So when I walked the spoos I went over and said hello an asked where in Gallatin county he was from.   Of all the sites in that park in all the OR parks he landed there from Big Sky, trailer is a year old and he was going to Seattle to pick up his daughter who was in school up there but who was playing in a golf tournament near by which was a qualifier for the US Open!   Cool!  :)

Oh wait - it gets better.   On Saturday Lori and I head out for our hikes but she discovers she forgot her breakfast stuff so she requested we go through Woodburn and stop at McDonalds so she can grab something for breakfast.   No problem, I needed to get gas anyway.   We go through the drive through and are waiting our turn to pay.   The lady in the window is in her 60s and hanging out the window looking at us curiously.    When we pull up she says she was looking at my plates trying to figure out where I was from.   I tell her I'm from Helena and she says "Oh really!   I have a sister in Helena and a sister out here."   I asked the name of her sister and she tells me - hmmm not ringing any bells.   So I ask if her sister worked somewhere here.  Yup - "She worked for the State doing something with computers.  She's retired now with her husband who also did worked there."     I ask the name again and BINGO - I worked with her sister for 16 years at the State of MT!   Absolutely amazing!  Her sister worked down in the computer room and I remember when she married her husband too!    What are the chances??????    

I also was blessed by hitting the high point of the strawberry harvest and while at Champoeg I stopped at one of the farm stands and got the BEST berries.  So different than the flavorless ones we get here in the stores to be sure.    I also scored some fresh out of the field amazing spinach which I munched on till I got home!

I enjoy driving through all the crop lands in Oregon.  They grow so much - and I see just how much field work has to happen to grow some of it.   Many vineyards and I also learned they put the raspberries up on climbing strings.   When I saw this though I was perplexed.

Hops fieldHops field

My friend and local source told me these really tall (like 12-15') strings are for hops!    Apparently there is also a specialized machine they use to harvest them and Lori said that even her Mom remembers harvesting hops as a kid.   Go figure....


I really enjoyed the time driving and camping along the Columbia River as well.   That river has always captured my heart and this was no exception.   I was able to see the vineyards and fields of the Washington side, see a paddle boat, watch barges and storms.    Of course we fought the wind all the way to Portland but was blessed with a tailwind all the way from Portland back to Boardman.    After reading the book Wild I also made note of the Bridge of the Gods as I passed.


It was a lovely trip and it was just as lovely to get home.    Elliott's neck is still out but he did well with some meds and massage while we are gone.   I have hopes we'll have it back on straight soon.   It is much better though and he was sick on the coast because his tummy had enough of the antibiotics for his ear infection.    There were upset tummies here and there most of the trip and oh yes, found out that Sterling really does prefer to NOT potty at all in the pen so I have to make sure to take him out on a leash to potty.   Prissy spoo!   

The trailer is unloaded, the laundry is done, my 10" tall grass is all mowed and I'm back to work.    I also found it is very beneficial to have one or two days off before I go on a trip this long and equally as important to have two days after to get caught up at home.   Makes the transition much smoother.   Weekend trips not as big a deal but the long ones I need to plan extra days on the ends I think.  


Far Side(non-registered)
Yeah! It all worked out and you got to see some wonderful sights while the dogs all got to go. I find traveling with one dog is difficult...so I suppose I am overreacting! I love the Oregon Coast, we had hoped to go there for the month of July but with this latest health hiccup with the weekly infusions, It was just not possible.
Sounds like you learnt a lot about doing long trips with a big family. I'm sure you would need a few days to recuperate and sort out after a trip like that. You are a brave lady to try to do all this by yourself.
No comments posted.

January February March April May June July August (25) September (23) October (20) November (16) December (14)
January February March April May June July (12) August (6) September (9) October November (6) December (11)
January (2) February (5) March (2) April May June July (3) August September October November December
January February March April May (5) June (4) July (4) August September (1) October (2) November (1) December (1)
January (3) February (1) March April May June July August September October November December