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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Spring break camping in eastern Oregon. Trip report.

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insp1505

Oregon

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Joined: 06/11/2010

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Posted: 04/02/11 02:12am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I just got back from camping with my kids in southeast Oregon during their spring break. I don’t see them too often so we were really excited to go camping, rain or shine. We went to the Alvord desert area east of Steen’s Mountain for a few days then around to the west side of the Steen’s to Page springs campground near Frenchglen for a couple more days. It was the first road test for my "new to me" truck and it did better than I expected. I averaged 14 mpg for the entire 1100 trip with my Arctic Fox 1150, fuel prices (diesel) ranged from $3.99 in east Idaho to $4.25 in east Oregon.

I only had one scary moment the whole trip in Nampa Id. I was making room in front of me for a car to merge on to the two-lane, bumper to bumper, freeway traffic going about 60 mph when that car hit the brakes, I immediately punched it to get ahead of them and when I let off the pedal the truck kept accelerating. I was glad I had the camper on or the acceleration would have been even quicker. I had visions of runaway Toyota news clips in my head as I hit the brakes but nothing, besides this was a Dodge and I have never even owned a Toyota, so why me?!

The turbo-diesel had too much power for the brakes to do any good so I had to shift in to neutral to keep from hitting the cars in front of me. The engine hit red-line when I did that so I shut off the ignition. Luckily I was at the next exit by then so I pulled off and coasted up to the stop light. Very hard to turn a fully loaded truck and camper with no power steering by the way! I restarted the engine and it went to idle so I thought I was ok but I was still concerned why it would have done that. When the light changed green I pressed the accelerator so I could find a place to check things over but nothing happened. I floored it but all it would do was idle. Luckily the auto-tranny had enough friction to move so I just let it idle around the corner and down the street to a big pull off area.

I got out to check things over and what I discovered was that when I floored it to get past that car back on the freeway the pedal got stuck under the floor mat. When I shut it down and restarted it was in some kind of limp mode because the pedal was still being held down about half way by the mat and I didn’t notice it till I got out. Once I cleared the pedal and restarted it I was fine for the rest of the trip.

When I figured out what it was I felt really dumb because I had moved these floor mats over from my last truck and never imagined them causing any problems because I have had them in many trucks over the years. I am very happy that nothing bad happened and the rest of the trip was free from any other close-call disaster situations.

The weather wasn’t the greatest but the Arctic Fox kept us warm and dry and gave us a nice refuge from the wind which never stopped blowing. It would rain for a bit then the sun would come out, then it would snow, then sun, then hail, sun, rain etc. etc. but the one constant throughout the trip was the strong wind, it never let up.

We would go hiking and exploring for a while then come back to the camper and warm up while it rained, snowed, hailed, then back out for more playing. I had picked up some rockets to launch out in the desert flats but the wind never slowed down enough to do that. We had some kites but it was even too windy for that. The weather did make for some great clouds in the skies and the photography was great.

When we got to the Alvord desert we were searching for some hot springs I had been to many years ago when I was growing up in Eastern Oregon. Heading off the pavement and out through the desert made me a bit nervous. The ground was wet so I was worried about the truck sinking in and getting stuck. I was constantly getting out checking to see if we were sinking in but the ground was surprisingly hard even though there were many puddles to cross.

Here is a bit of a photo journal of our camping adventures. Enjoy.

[image]

We were going great and then we came across this sign.

[image]

After seeing that the muddy road didn’t seem as scary when compared to falling in to a hot springs so we carefully made our way through the desert until we found a suitable camp site.

These are some pictures of our campsite and the lake we parked by. The hot springs were just a few hundred yards in front of the truck.

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Out hiking around and the hot springs, there were several of them strung out across the desert.

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This is my son’s version of Kenny for those of you who watch South Park (and no I don’t let my kids watch it). This was his way of keeping his face warm when walking into the wind.

[image]

My son getting his daily dose of carbon monoxide poisoning.

[image]
And NO the truck isn’t running for anyone thinking of calling children services.


Our attempt at kite flying
[image]
It crashed into the lake shortly after this pic.

[image]
Too windy to fly a kite even, imagine that!


Some other random scenery pics around the lake.

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Here is the campground at Page Springs along the Blitzen River.

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The deer were all over the place and not worried the least bit that we were there.

[image]

There was only one other campsite in the whole campground being used with people tent camping. My daughter felt sorry for them because they didn’t have an RV to get in as it snowed about a half inch on us during our evening campfire. I explained to her they would be fine and they could get in their cars and leave if it got too cold. I also explained to her that tent camping was the way I use to camp but after spending many summers sleeping on the ground fighting wildfires I will never give up my RV for camping comfort now.

It got down to about 25 F that night and we stayed warm and cozy. +25 F is nothing compared to the -20 F we got in eastern Idaho this last winter and I did just fine in that with no freeze-ups. I am so thankful to have a nice 4-season camper or my kids may not venture out with me during the cold parts of the year. Now we go camping whenever we want and generally only have to share campgrounds with the wildlife during the off-season.

This is a small creek that runs off Steen’s Mountain and past our camp-site before dumping into the Blitzen River on the other side of the campground.

[image]

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Next week I should be going steelhead fishing with my brothers, not exactly sure where yet but someplace in Idaho and yes with the camper. If I get any good pics I’ll post another trip report. Have a nice day everyone.

*edit to relocate picture files on photobucket*

* This post was edited 04/11/11 10:55pm by insp1505 *

B. BOOMER

lost somewhere in america

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Joined: 07/10/2004

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Posted: 04/02/11 03:20am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for sharing your awesome photography. Have heard that the Steens area is an interesting and very scenic area to camp.

Does life get any better than camping with your kids? I'm sure they will never forget these trips. [emoticon]

Am relieved to hear you were able to avoid an accident. On the positive side - at least it wasn't a stuck accelerator pedal!! And everything turned out okay.

Happy Camping





Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

Seattle

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Joined: 04/04/2008

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Posted: 04/02/11 03:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

INSP1505 wrote:

I only had one scary moment the whole trip in Nampa Id. I was making room in front of me for a car to merge on to the two-lane, bumper to bumper, freeway traffic going about 60 mph when that car hit the brakes, I immediately punched it to get ahead of them and when I let off the pedal the truck kept accelerating. I was glad I had the camper on or the acceleration would have been even quicker. I had visions of runaway Toyota news clips in my head as I hit the brakes but nothing, besides this was a Dodge and I have never even owned a Toyota, so why me?!

The turbo-diesel had too much power for the brakes to do any good so I had to shift in to neutral to keep from hitting the cars in front of me. The engine hit red-line when I did that so I shut off the ignition. Luckily I was at the next exit by then so I pulled off and coasted up to the stop light. Very hard to turn a fully loaded truck and camper with no power steering by the way! I restarted the engine and it went to idle so I thought I was ok but I was still concerned why it would have done that. When the light changed green I pressed the accelerator so I could find a place to check things over but nothing happened. I floored it but all it would do was idle. Luckily the auto-tranny had enough friction to move so I just let it idle around the corner and down the street to a big pull off area.

I got out to check things over and what I discovered was that when I floored it to get past that car back on the freeway the pedal got stuck under the floor mat. When I shut it down and restarted it was in some kind of limp mode because the pedal was still being held down about half way by the mat and I didn’t notice it till I got out. Once I cleared the pedal and restarted it I was fine for the rest of the trip.



After reading your story I almost had to change my own shorts![emoticon]
Thanks for the great trip report. Beautiful places to camp. Just you and your kids around. Tough to do better than that.
J&K


Camper Jeff and Kelli's Blog!
CITAP1 Jeff's YouTube Channel
A CLOSED MOUTH GATHERS NO FEET!


campingfool59

ohio

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Joined: 11/19/2010

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Posted: 04/02/11 04:04am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What a great trip! Awesome pictures, thank you for sharing! Your kids will have fond memories of all their camping days [emoticon]

sabconsulting

High Wycombe, UK

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Posted: 04/02/11 04:39am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wonderful pictures. Many thanks for them and the trip report. Looks great with the clouds.

Steve.


'07 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab diesel + '91 Shadow Cruiser - Sky Cruiser 1
'98 Jeep TJ 4.0
'15 Ford Fiesta ST
'09 Fiat Panda 1.2


ejm4

Mechanicsburg, PA

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Posted: 04/02/11 04:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Awesome photos !


Earl
2013 Berkshire 390BH ~ 360hp

silversand

Montreal

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Joined: 09/12/2004

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Posted: 04/02/11 04:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow! Excellent photos, and love the long exposure photos of the flowing water; nice camera work!

Will get your Trip Report into TR along with another group of reports in about 5 days.

Cheers,
Silver-


Silver
2004 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4x4 6.0L Ext/LB Tow Package 4L80E Michelin AT2s| Outfitter Caribou

TwoMaineiacs

Near Freeport, Maine

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Joined: 04/08/2006

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Posted: 04/02/11 06:28am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We envy you the wide open spaces. We'll be venturing out that way this summer and am marking that area on my "have to go there" map. Thanks for the gorgeous photos.


2011 Chalet Double Slide on a 2013 F-450 Diesel DRW
On the Road Again from Rural Maine
Our travel blog with photos


whazoo

Idahome

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Joined: 10/12/2007

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Posted: 04/02/11 07:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Really good show, really good. Thanks for posting and who'd of thought to go fishing with a kite. Get any nibbles?

BobnNan

Minnesota

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Joined: 03/19/2011

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Posted: 04/02/11 08:07am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Absolutely breathtakingphotography! Stunning...

I'm so envious of being able to reach such beautiful, western places relatively quickly.

Oh, and glad you didn't fall through the ground.

Bob


Big Red Dodge and the Little Palomino - A 1999 Dodge 2500 CTD, 4x4, qclb, 181,000 miles, BHAF, 4" TBE, on 33" BFG ATs. Camper is an '88 Palomino pop up in mint condition.


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