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September 06, 2016

Kamloops BC, and down US 395

Rufus needed a routine service and Kamloops Mercedes was the only place that worked us into their schedule.  Very professional, if you have a skinny-winnie I can recommend them.
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Kamloops itself is on the confluence of the Thompson Rivers and has more hills than San Francisco.  They also have a long bike trail through River Park and beyond.  We followed the bike path over the river and around McArthur Island Park.  The island has golf, spotless ball fields for all levels, soccer fields and the mandatory hockey/curling arena.
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Note that the Walmart does not accept overnight guests, however Costco does. 

I had wanted to drive the Coquihalla Highway, but the service adviser said the brakes on Rufus are not up to the task, he could replace them but it would take another day.  The Discovery Channel has done a series on the Coq as ’The Highway Thru Hell’.  He recommended we take the scenic route via Osoyoos instead. 

He failed to mention to allow at least an extra day!  Although Debbie commented on my last post that they spent a week just in Oliver, BC,  little did I know this is on the Wine Trail and Oliver is the ‘Wine Capital of Canada’.  And not just a scenic drive …
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I’ve tons of these pictures!  Want to see more?  Come over and we can share a bottle of Canadian wine!  But Rustico is a bit different and deserves a spot of it’s own.IMG_0642 (640x479)IMG_0643 (640x479)
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Wine tasting was typically free and prices well below any WA, OR, CA wines.  We stopped at a several wineries on the west side of the road, saving the east side for our next trip.

The border crossing was super easy, while Fran answered the typical questions, I ran into the customs office and paid the $0.25 duty on each bottle of wine we were bringing in after the first two that are allowed.

A brief stop at Washington’s Bridgeport State Park on Rufus Woods Lake in the overflow area.  OMG it was the first time we had seen stars since leaving CA months ago!  This route will allow us to follow US 395 home.
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This is a fun area for me to see as I’ve fished in many of the area lakes up through my first year of college in Ellensburg.  My dad preferred catching perch to trout as they are easier!, but we did fish in the Sun Lakes/Dry Falls State Park, Soap Lake, Fish Lake and his favorite The Potholes.  “Best by a Dam Site” ~ Mar Don Resort.

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Now it is also a nice stop for a cone of huckleberry ice cream!
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Just north of Plymouth is the Country Mercantile.  If you have never stopped here it is a great break offering samples of most everything it sells.  A good deli, tons of chocolates, produce, canned goods … just about anything for gifts or consumption.
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There is a nice COE campground located on an island in the Columbia River in Plymouth WA.  The bike path leads over the bridge to McNary Dam and Visitor Center on the OR side.
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US 395 leads to Pendleton OR, home of the famous Pendleton Roundup and of course the mill works.  I’m looking for a new jacket to replace my Columbia fleece.   I was so looking forward to checking them out, only to find ALL their clothing is made in Vietnam, China or Mexico!  Only some of the some of the blankets are made locally!  Disappointed? HECK YES!
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Look at the label on this jacket … Made in China!  When I asked, the clerk confirmed they use ‘local’ wools and cottons … that is Made in China = Chinese wool and cotton …
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A sad story for the US textile industry …

The John Day Monument hosts the Oregon Star Party every year, the largest Star Party in the US.  Next year the OSP was one of places I considered for next year’s eclipse.  Despite the beauty of the area, I’ll keep my reservations in Idaho.  Where will you be next Aug?
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As we continue south on US 395 we pass through National Forest and BLM lands offering dispersed camping.  It’s an easy drive on two-lane blacktop, little traffic and few towns.  This is almost 100 mile stretch of no services – no cell, no fuel – until Lakeview, OR.  But the southern section is part of the Oregon Outback Scenic Byway, it’s all a very beautiful drive.  The northern section over Battle Mountain is a bit more ‘technical’ with lots of switchbacks and several passes over 5000’.
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The Lakewood fair is in full swing and they turned us away at the fairgrounds.  We took a spot in the city lot (behind Safeway) for the night – free!
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As we continue on 395 south it’s back to Likely, CA, this time to train a bucket of balls, before we continue on.
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We took a pay-to-stay spot in Reno to dump, clean-up, do laundry and get ready for home just a few days away.  Shamrock has free WiFi!, but you can do better … Burning Man has let out filling most of the usual spots … I wonder how many know of Peg’s Glorified Ham n Eggs?

Tomorrow we’ll camp near Mono Lake to hit Bishop at 10AM the next day – yup that’s when Erick opens the deli, Fossil Falls then home ….
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