Whirl wind trip is continuing with a few days in Spokane, WA. Then we spend a week driving all the way to California’s northern coast. Much of the driving was on smaller 2 lane roads with the most views being as we followed along the Columbia River.

Overlooking Columbia River

The stretch with most white knuckles being the 2nd half of Oregon’s HWY 199 traversing the mountains to reach the coast.

The Route

Spokane to the Coast Route

Since I wasn’t driving, my knuckles were preserved. The road required Steve’s intense attention with no distractions. Other than the engine, it was a long stretch of quiet sprinkled with a few “Whoah that was close!”

The Highlights!

We drove more than 800 miles on this leg from Spokane to California’s northern coast. An average of only 120 miles per day kept our pace from being too hectic, but we still look back and wish we stayed here or there just a little longer. All in all it was a pleasant stretch. Pleasant came in the form of hugs from friends along the way and also spending time with Christian and Hailey. When you’re removed from the day to day lives of your grown kids, all visits lack an adequate amount of catch up time.

Spokane, WA and Coeur d’Alene, ID area

Riverside State Park – Bowl and Pitcher Trail

New friends, Terri and Hans, took us out to the Bowl and Pitcher trail; a short 2 mile loop trail in the Riverside State Park. The trail features intriguing basalt rocks rising out of the river and a very long swinging bridge built by the CCC.

With 3 dogs and two of them no longer very adventurous, we kept the “hiking” short. There are miles of trails in the park and we saw numerous spur routes to and from this short loop. This state park has campgrounds, water access, and a historic fur trading site called the Spokane House. A Washington Discovery Pass is required to visit the park.

Riverfront Park Downtown Spokane

After a couple days with Terri and Hans, we set out to downtown Spokane and the Riverfront Park. Reminded me of our afternoon in Idaho Falls earlier this summer and being able to just walk along the river and the falls right in the middle of town.

This is where not towing the jeep is a benefit. We can navigate downtown and park in a public outdoor lot without any trouble maneuvering. And Cooper has a safe place to hang out for a bit. As dinner approached we took Cooper back to the camper for his dinner and rest a bit while they checked into their hotel. Then we were off to dinner and eventually drove a short distance away for our next Boondocker’s Welcome hosted driveway.

Our second night had us back in downtown for dinner with the kids. Following dinner, we took Cooper out for a sunset walk before driving back to our Boondocker Host’s driveway for the final night.

Coeur d’Alene

Coeur D-Alene being less than an hours drive away was an easy day trip.   There’s plenty of parking around the main street area and at McEuen park.  The park is meant for picnics, dog romps, walking, playing, and lake gazing.  We did all of that except dog romping as Cooper was left to nap for the day. Nearby is a swimming beach with water sports rentals, or sea plane and boat trips available. 

To get more lake views explore the Tubbs Hill trails. We walked a short bit and I could’ve spent much longer there but it was time to go dip our toes in the lake. Eventually, we drove to a local smaller beach and had our picnic lunch.

Palouse Falls

Another Washington state park, seemingly in the middle of no where! We were going to pass it up but Steve was too curious. So making a left turn took us down a winding road, then a dirt road and finally a tiny bridge before landing in the parking area that sits above Palouse River.

A short walk down to the canyon edge and you find a giant watery bowl in the canyon. The Palouse River drops 200′ here and then continues through the canyon gorge.

Palouse Falls State Park, WA

From here we made our way down towards the Walla Walla, WA area where we had a friendly place to park in front of a couple’s home that we’d met the previous year.

Blown Away Ranch – Harvest Host

Since our Lewiston stay at Lindsay Creek Vineyards we’ve been driveway surfing with friends or using Boondocker’s Welcome hosts. With out next destination being more than a 5 hours drive away, I decided to break the drive up. I discovered a farm not too far off the main route and it sounded intriguing.

It was more than intriguing. It was simply amazing to see this 5000 AC working farm with wind turbines. They seemingly went on for miles. We enjoyed the evening in solitude watching these gentle giants slowly spin. It was just windy enough that the drone couldn’t keep a straight flight line! We flew low and slow.

I have a couple coupon codes down below if you’re interested in either Harvest Hosts or Boondocker’s Welcome.

After our restful evening, we purchased some farm fresh eggs a cinnamon rolls. Then it was time to pack up and roll on out.

Wine Tasting in Hood River

I didn’t cave when we were in Walla Walla, WA and partake in wine tasting. After our restful stay at the wind farm, I had a change of heart. Somehow as our afternoon was shaping up I thought why not stop in Hood River. Why Not! We filled the afternoon with 2 stops. One right near downtown, Evoke, and the 2nd across the river on top of a hill, Willow Wines. Completely different and enjoyable experiences.

I enjoyed the fun atmosphere at Evoke, including the wine tasting notes. Steve lounged next to me and we people watched together. Willow Wines is a very small winery. The wine making happens at home; technically in the warehouse / garage.

We passed it and had to turn around on the side of a hill. Another example of having no jeep tow is making this trip easier. We parked at the bottom of their driveway, sat in their open patio area with a couple other groups and the owner took care of us. He even gave us the tour! We both enjoyed engaging with the owner of Willow Wines, seeing the small setup and the wines.

Live Music in Portland

After 3 days of driving we land in bari_low_a’s aka Melvin’s driveway. We missed stopping here at least once or twice in the last couple of years and it was great to finally catch up. Melvin is a co-worker, friend, wood smoker chef, musician, and great husband and dad. Someone I’m blessed to have as a friend.

The goal is to always time our stops with one of his live performances. Such a pleasure to see him play live. This trip we spent an evening in a Portland dive bar enjoying the One Eyed Kats live. In a small venue a large 9 piece band made for big smiles.

Now that he’s retired, he plays in multiple groups (probably a little over committed but enjoying his passion). This Instagram video clip below is the band playing earlier this year. I love the horn section!

None of my photos from the night turned out very well but here’s a couple from bari_low_a’s instagram feed.

We’ve Arrived!

From Portland we continue south towards Medford, OR, for another driveway surfing and old friends visit. Then it’s time to head out to the coast. The route takes us on HWY 199 up over Grants Pass, OR. With a large fire underway just north of this highway, we had to check the fire progress and road conditions before leaving.

The long, winding stretch of road also was a little bit of up and down climbing through the mountains. Somewhat narrow in sections and another example of not towing the jeep was a plus. We can’t drive the big truck as fast as a car, but we were more nimble in many situations.

This drive day does continue into the next post. Off to the Redwoods National and State Parks we go…


Hope you like the video, it’s was an adventure through a different part of Washington and Oregon than we’ve previously traveled in. It was definitely a little more off the beaten path which we enjoy.

Harvest Hosts and Boondocker’s Welcome

Details of both Harvest Hosts and Boondocker’s Welcome can be found at their respective sites below; however, feel free to message me through our blog or workingonexploring@gmail.com if you have specific questions for us and how we use them.

Harvest Host Membership

Click HERE for a preview of host map!

Boondocker’s Welcome Membership

Click HERE to view the site and how to join!