While I was RVing full-time, I always wrote a daily log and I hope you do, too. Recently I came across some old notes that I had written about one of my “dawdling days” driving west along SR #20 in NE WA State. I had no schedule and when I saw the sign for the Bangs Mountain Scenic Drive, I decided to go on a back road adventure into the mountains and wherever, maybe Timbuktu.
It was a typical forest service road, narrow, gravel, winding, steep in places, and one way with pull-outs. It wasn’t exactly designed for RVs but the Sprinter was used to that. Actually, I wouldn’t have wanted anything bigger than my 27’ although bigger could have made that first hairpin curve by backing up if necessary. It was one of those roads that you hope a local won’t come flying around the corner. It would definitely be a kiss and tell.
I used first or second gear most of the time and just let the Sprinter pull himself along at 5 to 10 miles per hour so he wouldn’t overheat on the 100-degree day. The air conditioning was keeping me comfortable and the Sprinter wasn’t complaining.
A “Falling Rock” sign wasn’t good news but most of it fell a very long time ago. The Donaldson Draw Geologic sign explained. “This landscape feature resulted from the ice age, a time when continental glaciers ground their way from the Arctic into the Northern US. There were several thousand feet of ice over this spot in that period. A few of the highest peaks were islands on the ice surface. As the climate warmed and the ice melted, raging torrents of melt water flowed southward. Often streams spilled over ridges, rapidly eroding steep-walled canyons like Donaldson Draw, mute evidence of the violent geological past.”
Shortly thereafter I realized the thimbleberries were out. That necessitated a stop, remembering to keep an eye to my surroundings. Bears love feasting on thimbleberries as much as I do. The only water I saw was stagnant and probably filled with creatures of the deep. I let them be.
The road had either a man-made or natural foot-deep ditch along it. It was wise to keep one eye on the road and the other watching for animals and scenery. The only live critters I saw were a butterfly and a snake. I didn’t know their names and they weren’t talking but they didn’t take up too much road. The wildflowers were yellow, white, and sometimes furry, all surrounded by purple fireweed.
I crossed a cattle guard and wasn’t sure if I was going into or out of cattle country but I wasn’t going fast enough to matter. The sign hadn’t said how far or where I would wind up but it had to go somewhere, right? After climbing quite a while, I came to a fork in the road with no clue as to which road was the main one. I made my choice, grumbling all the way until I saw another milepost hoping that was an indication I had chosen well.
It was a beautiful view to the valley below. Ponderosa Pine stood tall over the Bangs Mt. meadow. Continuing on, I realized the scene was becoming familiar. I had made a loop around the mountain top and was headed back down the five miles I had come up. Oh well, it always looks different going the other way.
I was soon back to the Donaldson Draw and the thimbleberries. I stopped for a picture and another handful of thimbleberries. They are so sweet and good. They remind me a lot of well, thimbleberries. Enjoy a few side roads along the journey of your RV life. God Bless until next week.
Minshall’s RVing Alaska and Canada (A “How to” and “Why not” book) is available thru Amazon.