Shade, hookups, and a nice campground all to ourselves.
And just like that, everything was better than Boise. The truck traffic subsided as soon as we headed west, and once we turned south onto 395, it was pretty lonely driving. The terrain became more interesting and we saw more greenery as we took Highway 20 out of Vale and followed little river valleys for maybe 200 miles. This was the longest driving day planned for the whole summer and I thought it would be more tiring. It wasn’t though, and we were really pleasantly surprised with where we ended up.
Miles and miles of lonely country
We crossed the border into eastern Oregon pretty quickly and I was reminded how much open land there is in the east. It is dry and one can go many miles between services, so it is important to watch your gas. There were a couple of little towns along the way, some with little stores, but mostly this is open land, occupied by ranches or tumbleweed. It feels appropriate to call it the “Outback,” though the road was in excellent condition.
Pilot car parade
We got stopped by construction for a seven mile jaunt and had to follow a pilot car through the newly laid asphalt. It wasn’t too brutal, not like the bumpy and fully off road sections south of Glacier. We did go through a few piles of tarry gravel though, and when we got to our destination, our black holding tank was reading 100% full, which we knew it wasn’t. The problem later cleared itself and we wonder if some sticky gravel briefly adhered to the tank sensor. Not a big deal in any case.
Um…. is there a lake anywhere on this lake?
We passed by multiple dry lake beds. It is disconcerting when the navigation map shows an enormous blue area that turns out to be mostly dry grassland with a few puddly sections. Looking it up through, these lake beds dried out many years back and are only seasonally full of water. I object to the blue terrain designation in the maps and would file a complaint if I cared a bit more.
So many bunnies! Unsure if pets or infestation.
We were very pleased with the campground. After so many miles of lonely, desolate country, this felt like a proper oasis. Not only do they have shady trees and hookups, but also wifi and feral bunnies! Reservations are super chill and handled over email. When we called ahead to confirm, they asked, “Are you the Levenbergs?” I guess we were the only reservation that day. July is not their busy month. The hosts are very friendly and helpful.
Hints of lake puddles from the road above
Though Lake Albert is dry, I would still say it is scenic, with the roadway following the would be coastline high above, almost like a Highway 1 coastal feel. But without any water. The next day we saw that Goose Lake is also completely dry. They have recreation areas and boating for spring and early summer months, so I guess when it gets rain, there are lakes. The area to the south of Lake Albert is more populated and less desertlike, but still what I would call “rugged.”
We really liked this stop and will keep it in mind for when we need to pass through the Oregon Outback in the future.
Total miles from lovely Boise KOA: 295.6, 18.7 mpg, 6 hours 55 minutes. Site ….take our pick, chose #1. Electric and water hookups. Dump on site but it’s a raised pipe, so awkward. Great cell for ATT and excellent wifi from campground.