All trips are different, and this fall trip had numerous unexpected “life happens” events which resulted in a mostly unplanned trip/route with lots of driving.  Not a trip of slow exploration and searching for the middle of nowhere.  And at the end of the trip, I was chased home with unending rain and snow in the forecast.  Without much of a story to tell, I’ve simply shown some pictures below and included some informational facts that may help others plan a trip.  The trip was October 20 – November 8.  

I think I have driven by the sign directing one to the Maryhill Museum at least twenty times and have never taken the time to stop. This trip I stopped to see the museum.  What the museum contained was surprising and amazing. Maryhill Museum of Art | Fine Art in Southwest Washington   And the founder of the museum; Sam Hill, was equally interesting.  Samuel Hill – Wikipedia 

Looking south towards the Columbia River from the Maryhill Museum

A bit west of the Maryhill museum is the Columbia Hills State Park.  It contains an interesting collection of petroglyghs.  The petroglyphs are on “display” having been removed from their original location prior to being flooded with the construction of a dam on the Columbia River.  The park also gives a tour of petroglyghs which you can get a free ticket for at: If you don’t have a ticket, I was told by a park ranger that there are often no-shows and if you show up you most likely can go on a tour.  

Relocated petroglyghs. Columbia Hills State Park

This area in Oregon and Washington has a lot of history with abandoned buildings dotting the landscape.  

Dalles Mountain Ranch

I saw the coastal redwood trees, the tallest living trees on earth.

Coastal Redwood

I stumbled on to the New River, Storm Ranch unit, an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).  A nice quiet place along the New River. New River Discovery Guide ( The history of the land includes ownership of the land by Ann and Nancy Wilson of the musical band Heart between 1980 and 1987.  They gave the land to BLM.    

New River

Some Facts

  • The Maryhill State Park has nice, somewhat generous camping sites.  It didn’t fill the nights I was there.
  • The Sims Flat Campground is a place with good easy access from I-5. A good place to spend the night in northern California.  There were only two campers there the night I stayed.  However, be aware of train noise.  Across the river is a train track with a train about once an hour.  They are loud.  They didn’t wake me up in my hard sided trailer, but they may wake up tent campers and soft sided campers.
  • The Millerton Lake, Meadows campground in California gets my award for having the most litter I’ve seen in a campground.  
  • Live Oak Campground in central California was a nice quiet place to spend the night.  I was the only one in the campground.
  • Space in a campground in northwest California is hard to find in November. Many campgrounds were closed for the year.
  • Cape Blanco was my favorite campground of the trip.