Suffering from Jet Lag is a blessing and a curse. Most people adjust to a three hour time difference pretty quickly after swapping coasts, but not this guy. This guy can take weeks to adjust. My internal clock is really fixed on Eastern Standard Time for some reason. However, that is not really a bad thing. It forces me to pass out early and rise with the howling coyotes at dawn. Starting my day at 5am has it’s advantages. For one, I get some alone time which is nice when living in a 200 square feet with your whole family for weeks on end. It also gives me a chance to explore places like Cove Palisades State Park while everyone else is asleep.
Yesterday was scheduled to be the longest driving day of the trip. We were traveling from Mono County California to Bend, Oregon. Total driving time of about 9 hours. Bend, was scheduled to be stop for the night destination and we were going to get on the road early this morning toward our destination of the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon which is about another 3 hours from Bend. When we are only stopping for the night, our go to campground is Camp Walton or other wise know as Walmart. Most Walmarts allow campers to stay overnight in their parking lots. It is a win-win for everyone. We get a free spot to stop for the night and they get all of my money when Kristi goes on a restocking mission. After nine hours of driving, I was ready for a break and happy to see the Walmart sign. However, I immediately noticed a problem. This was a small parking lot and several other campers were already there. I pulled in anyway only to be greeted by signs that read “NO OVERNIGHT PARKING!” Well that was a buzzkill. So on down the road we went in hopes of finding a spot to stop for the night. About 40 miles or so north, I spotted a sign for Cove Palisades State Park. I got hard on the brakes and barely made the left turn toward the park. I really did not care about the scenery or amenities. All I wanted was a place to crash for the night. The drive in felt like that was all we were going to get. This is very rural country. The 4 miles leading to the park were through flat rows of soybean and canola fields. This was certainly farming country. I thought to myself what an odd place for a state park, but… Whatever! When we crossed into the park, it was apparent that something changed. The landscape was different and instead of being in flat rows of crops, we suddenly felt a sense of height. Cove Palisades State Park was a giant gorge in the middle of nowhere. I mean really giant. At the base of the gorge was Lake Billy Chinook which was just mammoth. I mean really mammoth. Like Houseboat mammoth. Apparently we had stumbled onto a very cool place. There are two campgrounds here with hundreds of sites. We choose the Cove Palisades campground which was 5 miles closer to the highway than the Dechutes River Campground which was at the base of the Gorge. It was a perfectly manicured campground and it was alive with life. As we settled in the campfires were getting going and kids were ridding their bikes. Families were cleaning up from dinner and the bottles of wine were getting opened. There was a really nice vibe going on here. Unfortunately, we are not going to have much time to take it all in as we will have to get on the road in a couple of hours, but it is defiantly a place to return. There is a full service marina with both ski boat and house boat rental that accommodate up to twenty people! The water looked very inviting and the topography felt very much like Lake Powell So why ramble on so much about this place. Well my family is fast asleep in the RV as a type this out looking over the precipice of the thousand foot deep gorge. This is all they are going to get to see about this place for this trip because we are on a tight schedule and need to get on the road in a bit. However thanks to my jet lack problem, I was able to take it all in at 5Am this morning.