Saturday, September 29, 2012

We're not too sure how much we will enjoy cold/wet winter camping so it was off to yet another Oregon State park while the weather is still nice. L.L. Stub Stewart state park is only 35 miles west of Portland so we decided to check it out

The park is only 5 years old and everything was clean with plenty of features. There were 2 main camp sites, a few walk-in tent sites, a separate camping area for people with horses and a new cabin site as well. The mountain biking and hiking trails were plentiful with varying levels of difficulty. We also managed to take advantage of the very scenic paved biking trail that went through the entire park property.

Here are some pics of our site and the delicious dinner we cooked up. Steak, corn, mushrooms and onions!

The most exciting part of this trip was that we were able to test out the new Auxiliary battery install. I went with the Kinetik high current power cell which was expensive $130 but should be great for years of worry free camping.
The battery isn't the most powerful (950 amps, 36 Ah) but is very compact and lightweight. As you can see - it fit perfectly under the driver's seat with plenty of room. Completely isolated from the main battery and charges off the alternator, it is now powering the radio, all interior LED lighting, sink pump, and the new power inverter!
Above is the fuse box and below is the new power inverter. It's only a 400W inverter but is more than enough to power our laptop/iPad etc. I couldn't pass up the price of this inverter - $23 on sale at Harbor Freight Tools. It has an internal fan but did not even get warm after several hours of generous testing.
We ran all the LED lights, watched movies on the laptop, charged our phones and iPad, generous use of the sink pump and several hours of radio use. So we're very happy with the end result and are looking forward to more "self sufficient" camping in the future.
Here are some night time shots with the LED's working their magic.

On our way home from Deschutes campground we decided to visit the Vista House.
Located right off I84, you climb a very curvy 10% grade road and are rewarded with some stunning views of the Columbia gorge

The next park we visited the Deschutes River State Recreation Area. We continue to be impressed with the Oregon state parks for their amenities, cleanliness and beautiful scenery.
It was an easy drive on I84 from Portland but arrived after dark and apparently that's when the flies come out
One highlight of this park was that there were some great biking trails that ran right along the river.

The park is also right beside the Deschutes river with campsites backing right onto the water. We took the opportunity to hang our new hammock and enjoy the views
The only issue with the park is that there are two very busy train tracks very close by which were quite noisy during the night. Overall a great trip