The drive north on I84 and I82 from west-central Oregon to south-central Washington was our most challenging and interesting yet. We drove through treeless mountains into pine covered mountains and soon found ourselves in the fertile Yakima valley with it’s vineyards and apple orchards. Along the way we drove up and over “Dead Man’s Pass” and then, after leaving the city of Yakima we drove up and over Manastash Ridge. Dead Man’s pass is rated as one of the toughest trucker drives in America with mile after mile of 6% downhill grades. Then, as we left Yakima we began a long steep climb followed by a steep descent, then “repeat” and then “repeat again.” The truck handled it fine, although we heard the whirlybird sound of the high speed cooling fan kick in on the uphills and worked the tow-haul mode on the transmission pretty hard coming down the steep grades.
We were happy to arrive at Yakima River RV park in Ellensburg, WA – exiting I82 right at the base of the final of the three big down hill’s between Yakima and Ellensburg.
This campground has a country feel with horses and cattle at pasture just the other side of the fence. If the campground was full you’d have some close neighbors, as the sites are set up so one camper is facing one direction and the next the other. You could potentially have “door to door” neighbors!
There’s no bathhouse or facilities of any kind but most of the sites are full hookups. The campground provides good WiFi and our cell signal is quite good too. We met the owner, a nice lady who had lots of advice about the area. Alas, this is the last of what will be three one-nighters in a row for us.
Tomorrow we head west on I90, up and over yet another mountain, and then skirt Seattle and head north just a short distance. We’ll be back in the Thousand Trails system and our short stays and longer drives will come to an end for several months to come. Our deluge of blog entries should slow down a bit as our pace slows.