Dirty Toad, Oregon Trail and the Liberty Bell

September 1-7, 2018 — The first week of September and Labor Day Weekend signify the end of the summer vacation season for many travelers. With the big rush being over opportunities to visit popular locations with less crowds are possible for full-time travelers like ourselves.

We’re not huge fans of traveling on high traffic days like Labor Day so we decided to hole up at a campground until the weekend rush was over. It was a good thought but the park we stayed at was extremely crowded with huge groups gathering at each site. What we hoped to be a quiet, relaxing few days turned into constant noise and activity. Being empty nesters that boondock frequently, we aren’t used to the hustle and bustle of a full campground and found ourselves out for scenic drives to escape to commotion. 

We spent two nights at Hood park COE ($13/night) and the remaining five nights at free sites including one night at a casino, two nights at Harvest Hosts locations, and two nights at a Boondockers Welcome host site. 


Mile Driven - RV
Miles Driven - Car

The Ed Hendler cable-stayed bridge in Kennewick, Washington spans the Columbia River. One of several bridges in the tri-city area of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland that cross the Columbia River. 

Harvest Hosts is a network of wineries, farms and attractions that invite self-contained RVers to visit and stay overnight. Since starting our journey we have enjoyed the hospitality of many of these locations.  Receive a 10% discount by using Off Our Rocker RV as a referral and we also are rewarded as an affiliate.

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Goodbye Washington, hello Oregon. A short but memorable visit to the state as it was our first time in Oregon. Looking forward to returning another time to explore and discover more. 

A Tesla charging station at Wild Horse Resort and Casino, Pendleton, Oregon. We’re seeing more and more Teslas on the road everyday. 

Wildhorse Resort and Casino in Pendleton, Oregon is a great overnight spot. Very RV friendly with a large level parking lot and security presence. There is a separate area for semi trucks as well. 

A display inside the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, Oregon. This Interpretive Center is excellent and a must-stop when in the area. Plan on spending at least two hours taking it all in;  more if you hike the 4+ miles of interpretive trails outside. 

Imagine traveling 2,000 miles along the Oregon Trail in a wagon like this replica one on display at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, Oregon. The hardships these pioneers endured are unfathomable. 

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This is what a tow car (toad) looks like after being on a dirt road for four miles. What a mess! The trip was worth it, though, as it led us to a Harvest Hosts winery where we enjoyed a quiet, peaceful night. 

Fresh picked peaches right from the RV door. How amazing is that! Thanks to the Harvest Hosts program and host site for this great opportuity. 

The Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise, Idaho opened in 1872 housed criminals for over 100 years. During this time the prison received more than 13,000 inmates and had a capacity for just over 600. A riot in 1973 over living conditions resulted in the prison being closed after several buildings were destroyed by fire. The prison is open daily for tours. 

The Idaho State Capital in Boise. It is the only state capital in the United States that is heated with geothermal energy. A 3,000 foot deep well pumps 170 degree water throughout the building saving the state thousands of dollars compared to more traditional heating methods. 

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A full-size replica of the Liberty Bell sans the crack makes its home at the Idaho State Capital in Boise. 

A fountain at the Julia Davis Park in downtown Boise, Idaho. During our visit to Boise the park hosted Art in the Park, an annual event presented by the Boise Art Museum that featured 260 artists, live entertainment and food trucks. What a great event!

We stopped at Boise State University to get a look at the “Smurf Turf” football field. The field features bright blue artificial turf instead of the traditional grass green color. The stadium was closed off for visitors as they were busy with preparations for a game so we weren’t able to see it in person. 

Keep Your Forests Green. Fire danger remains very high in the dry northwest. Even with the fires still blazing the intense smoke did clear up this week.  

We would have loved to spend more time in Oregon this past week but there are several locations on our agenda that are time sensitive with the upcoming cool and snowy weather that we want to visit this fall. It is difficult to skip areas of interest but choices do have to be made and locations prioritized. Follow along next week as we continue with our exploration of Idaho. See you then!

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6 thoughts on “Dirty Toad, Oregon Trail and the Liberty Bell”

  1. 1

    Oregon is definitely on my places to visit list. The kids would love learning about the trail and exploring. Also off roading is always a big hit with everyone.

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