Day 3 July 8 Toppenish to the Okanogan Wine Country

Washington Day 3_340It’s easy to be inspired this evening as I sit here looking out over the Okanogan River from our picnic table.  This is our third night out, with no reservations, a Friday night at that, and so far it has been great.  Tonight we are at the Osoyoos Lake State Park in Oroville, Washington, less than five miles from the Canadian border. The state of Washington turned over this park to the city of Oroville in 2010, so it is technically no longer a state park, but it is lovely nonetheless.

Washington Day 3_282We have no hookups, but it isn’t really boondocking, since we paid for a site on the river and are in a campground.  There are no hookups here at all, but there is a dump station, fresh water, a boat launch and lovely facilities if you need them. After driving a good portion of the day we thought it would be smart to relax with a bottle of wine and a good night’s sleep before we cross the border in the morning. The bottle of wine was a treat, provided by the small, intimate tasting room for Okanogan wines right in the little town of Oroville.

Washington Day 3_320When we arrived at the park, the sign was up saying “campground full” , but we thought we would check anyway, and sure enough there had been cancellations and there was a perfect space waiting for us.  Without hookups, setting up consisted of setting the parking brake, lowering the semi automatic levelers, and deploying the slide.  Within minutes we were headed back to town to the winery looking for a good bottle of red to celebrate before we entered Canada. We weren’t disappointed, with a lovely 2006 blended red called Bench Rock, and a bottle of crisp dry Riesling to travel with us tomorrow.

Washington Day 3_275There were some lovely folks in the small tasting room from Canada, who helped us better understand the Imperial Ounce and Liter requirements for bringing alcoholic beverages into the country.  Two bottles of wine or 24 bottles of beer each, or one bottle of wine and 12 beers.  What we hadn’t realized is that is for each person, so we could buy a bottle of wine for supper and still take another into the country to travel with us across the wilderness.

Our morning started with a bang, with no turn signals on the tow car. Mo scratched a bit at the terminals, and then we pulled into the casino across the street from our campground and dug out the owner’s manual. Mo has a nice little box with a gazillion different fuses, and with the diagram and the box of fuses we were fixed in no time. Just a blown fuse, but that can be a nightmare if you don’t have a clue where it goes.

Washington Day 3_262Washington Day 3_259Our driving day was beautiful, passing over the Yakima valley and crossing the mountains down into Ellensburg and back up Blewett Pass toward Wenatchee.  Blewett Pass was gorgeous, with clouds darkening the skies and temperatures in the 50’s.  Mo and I still had on shorts and light tops from the 85 degree morning in Toppenish!  As we dropped down from the pass into Cashmere, and then Wenatchee, the temperatures again began to warm up. Deanna and Keith lived in Wenatchee for many years and raised their boys there.  I visited often, and it was fun to see the city again, even though we only drove past on the north side of town via Highway 2.  I also just realized that this is the same Highway 2 that Mo and I drove across the northern part of the country last year all the way to Wisconsin! I couldn’t believe just how much traffic there was buzzing around Wenatchee.  It had become a big city now, or at least it thinks it is, and at least has the traffic for one.

Continuing north from Wenatchee along the Columbia River was enchanting. The landscape is somewhat arid, but the terraces along the river are rich alluvial soils that support more orchards and fruit than I have seen anywhere.  Miles and miles of apples, ripe cherries, apricots, and pears lined the road on both sides of the river punctuated by fruit stands every mile or so. The area from Wenatchee to Yakima is one of the major fruit baskets of the United States.

Washington Day 3_258We had full hookups last night, and this morning Mo opened up the sewer all the way and did a long and complete backflush.  We aren’t sure if the mouse has just dried up or if the sewer was contributing to the odor, but it seems to be gone. This morning our drive was uneventful until we landed in Omak, home of the famous Suicide Race and the Omak Stampede.

American Propane was on the highway and looked easy to navigate so we turned around and pulled in.  A nice young man filled our tank, and then Mo thought she could make the turnaround, but oops, guess not.  The Tracker was angled so tightly that we couldn’t back it and the only solution was to unhook.  Of course, the sharp angle made that a bit challenging, but in a moment it came apart and we just pulled out and hooked up the toad after Mo got turned around.  Haven’t had to do that since we were back in Ohio,last year on some podunk tiny road, but we were glad the problem was easily solved.  Of course, it’s a bit embarrassing to have to unhook and rehook when you know the guys inside the shop are all watching and probably just laughing at us. We paid them 3.35 per gallon for the propane thinking it was going to be much more expensive if we had to fill it up in Canada.

Washington Day 3_344After we settled in to the park, we put the kayaks on the river and paddled downstream a bit with the current before turning around and going back north to the lake.  On the lake, the water was a bit rough, but it was lovely and warm, and wonderful to be out in the boats again. 

Day 3 Toppenish to OrovilleWe drove 254 miles today on good two lane roads most of the day except for a tiny bit of the I-90 as we approached Ellensburg.  For us, that is a nice distance to drive in a day, and we still have time to relax in the afternoon and not feel rushed. We chose to travel US highway 97 for our entire route across Oregon and Washington, and by choosing this route we avoided all the hassle and traffic of the coastal route through Portland, Seattle, and the busy crossing at Bellingham.  Everyone says this is an easy crossing, and I guess we will find out tomorrow morning when we finally enter British Columbia.

It still doesn’t feel like the “trip” yet, and I suppose that won’t happen until we are past Prince George heading west toward the Cassiar.  For the moment, however, it’s perfect.  The skies are clear, the temperatures warm, the breezes crisp, and the water is lapping at our footsteps.

The rest of the photos for today are linked here

Tomorrow: Osoyoos to Clinton, BC

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

7 thoughts on “Day 3 July 8 Toppenish to the Okanogan Wine Country”

  1. Hey! We followed in your footsteps today, after spending two nights in Monitor at the shady county park your would have passed on the right just before you got to Wenatchee. We cut off at Hwy 153 (a little north of Chelan) as we are heading west over Hwy 20 in a few days after relaxing in Twisp. You should have honked!!


  2. You may experience some minor delays travelling between Oliver and Summerland due to a bicycle race underway. 2,500 cyclists expected.
    Enjoy your travels.
    We live in Summerland and will be travelling by motorcycle tomorrow to Vernon and the O'Keefe Ranch where a vintage motorcycle show is underway.
    Good for you, getting those kayaks in the water.


  3. I was going to ask if you visited any roadside fruit stands, but I guess that wouldn't be such a good idea since you are crossing the border tomorrow. Your photos are wonderful and the kayak trip looks so peaceful. Have fun.


  4. If you happen to end up going through Vernon BC can you just say a little hello for me. Lived there for a few years in the early 70's & still miss it. Oh how I wish we were doing what you guys are doing right now. Enjoy all the great scenery along the way.


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