Camping My Way to Walla Walla – Part 1

The question:  With a relatively open August schedule, and some much needed time away from a computer….what could my home state of Oregon provide in the way of adventure?

Plenty. With an interview scheduled in Walla Walla, Washington for mid-August, why not do a road trip through central Oregon and then north to Walla Walla? Better yet, why not camp my way through? I’d always wanted to camp on my beloved North Umpqua river, but never seemed to have the time.  So with a tent, air mattress, folding chair and lantern, it was time to uncover more of this state…up close and personal.

I chose Susan Creek Park on the N. Umpqua as it had all the amenities that a girl could want.  (showers, flush toilets, camp host)While longing for a quieter campsite, noise is something to give up for safety. Nice to have camp hosts around, and lots of campers. With a Rottweiler, a secluded campsite would have been chosen. But I got lucky and my campsite neighbor, Ernie, from Bend, Oregon was a sweetheart. For the past 15 years, he has been fly-fishing on the N. Umpqua and had met the same people there year after year. Bonds were formed, and they see each other at least once a year. Dora, the cutest long-haired Dachshund I’ve ever seen, gave Ernie’s campsite that “professional fly-fisherman/sweet, caring guy” vibe.

Walking down to the camp bulletin board to make the “hefty” payment of $14.00, a gentleman commented on the U.C. Davis football shirt I was wearing. It was his alma mater, and he was there with his family from Sacramento. (We probably live a half hour away from each other) A cardiologist, he and his family have also been coming to the N. Umpqua river for over 15 years to fly-fish and soak up nature. After meeting his beautiful wife and daughter later that day, an invitation was extended to join them for Umpqua Dairy Blackberry Ice Cream after dinner. They had stocked up on it when driving through Roseburg. Smart. Great family, ice cream sitting around the campfire….buona fortuna.

The next day a woman drives into the vacant campsite across from me. She is hauling one of those cool pop-up campers, and deftly backs it into the campsite. With two young girls jumping out of the SUV, I mentally sent kudos her way for her tenacity. Kari is from southern California and is taking a two week camping trip with her kids, with the N. Umpqua being the furthest destination north. (Her husband has been able to fly in twice along the excursion to see them) While getting acquainted in front of our campsites, there is a noise coming from the SUV. “Oh, that’s my son waking up!”  What? Three kids? Her son, affectionately named “Bam-Bam” after the Flinstone’s cartoon character, kept us entertained. Kari is a sweet, charming woman, and she IS mother of the year.

I met some amazing people, and count myself lucky. Exactly what happens when you travel. What about the wine? Oh yes, that would be the Umpqua Valley AVA surrounding the town of Roseburg. They say it’s the next Napa Valley.

More to come….

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5 Responses to Camping My Way to Walla Walla – Part 1

  1. Dasia says:

    Good to see a talent at work. I can’t match that.

  2. Jake Barrett says:

    Gail, what a grand time, indeed. I am from California and miss that
    western camping outdoor feeling. I have never camped in central oregon, only coastal.
    Thanks for the info!
    Cheers, Jake

  3. Bruce says:

    Will you marry me? I even have a van with wine glasses painted on it!

    Nice video. Next time drive down river and check out just afew of our 24 tasting rooms!

  4. admin says:

    Hahaha….and thanks for the comments. So many great wines coming out of the region, and growing as we speak.

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