East of the Cascades in Oregon Catch Up

Peg and I have been having a great time in Eastern Oregon this summer. We left La Grande Hot Springs RV Resort and headed to Lake Simtustus in Madras, Oregon for a month long stay.

Lake Simtustus has been our first real miscue in 3 years of camping. Lake Simtustus RV Park is a unique place, just up from the dam on a remote hillside consisting of 3 levels twisting down to the lake. Unfortunately, communications broke down somewhere as to the length of our 5th wheel and the size of the campsites. There was no way we could fit into any of the available sites. The folks who run the park are really nice and mean well but left us in limbo. All our money was refunded on the spot (which was unexpected and very nice); however, finding another place at 5 pm on a Saturday night was a challenge. Mt. View RV Park in Metolius, Oregon took us in for four nights and the search was on.

On RV Trip Wizard (the best planning tool around), Grass Valley RV Park was available so I booked it for a couple of weeks and moved on. Peg, Scout and I took a couple of road trips to the surrounding area that included Lake Billy Chinook, Round Butte, Redmond, Bend and other spots. Great scenery, deep river canyons, rivers and lakes with the view of the Cascades always in the back ground. Of course we found a couple of excellent wineries. Margas has this wonderful Tempranillo of which we bought a few bottles along with some white wines for Peg. 

Wednesday evening we got a phone call from Grass Valley. The gentleman stated that they were under a level 2 evacuation order and we should check back in the morning to see if we could come into the campground. I thanked him and began to wonder about the fire and started researching what was by then named the “Substation Fire”. This fire did not look like anything I wanted to deal with so back to the search. Luckily, I found Crook County RV Park in Prineville, Oregon which had 2 open spots. We took one of them! Good choice, when I called Grass Valley to let them know we wouldn’t be coming, they were under a level 3 evacuation (get out now!!). We couldn’t have gotten there anyway as the only highway to them US97 was closed. 

The Substation fire grew to 80000 acres killing one man and leaving a lot of farmers without a wheat crop. Fire is a way of life here; however, this one was a month early and extremely large. The Deschutes river valley from the Columbia south was devastated with all the trees and structures except the campground and marina were burnt to the ground. It looks like the City of Grass Valley was spared so we may finish up our open time in August there. 

On the RV life side of things, we have had a failure of two of the slide toppers we had Pete’s install last fall. They were still under warranty and Pete’s was super in taking care of us. It took a couple of shipments of parts to be able to put the kitchen slide topper back together and it worked well until we got to Mt. View where it failed again. Fortunately, there were enough spare parts sent that I was able to replace all the broken components. I left the canopy off so we wouldn’t have to worry about it until we get back to Apache Junction in the fall. As these things happen, we ran into the Premier Disc Brake representative at La Grande during the Northwoods RV meet up. I had talked with him last winter at Quartzite about putting disc brakes on the RV; however, the timing and location was bad for both of us. It was a pleasant surprise to run into him and we quickly struck a good deal and now have upgraded bearings and new disc brakes. Wow do they stop the trailer! These things will not only stop the RV but will bring the Bronze Brute to a stop also. So the Montana perseveres and we motor on. 

Prineville is very pleasant. The campground is very nice. Good wifi, solid utilities and very nice staff. The Park is connected to the fairgrounds which has planned events every Friday and Saturday. There are two large dog parks across the highway, one grass and one dirt so Scout has had some off leash time. Scout and I have explored up the Crooked River some but haven’t found a good place for him to swim. Prineville is the home to two large data server farms, one for Apple and one for Facebook. There appears to be a lot of industry in the Bend – Redmond area to the point of there being unbelievable traffic on US 97!!

In summary, it has been a great summer so far and we are looking forward to our journey. The links to Flickr are for several albums relating to this area and the La Grande album has been updated with some more photos. Thanks for reading and enjoy!






About sjh1010

Retired full time RV living
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