Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Howard Prairie Lake

When we first came to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Christopher was still a rug rat. We left him with a babysitter while we went to the plays. So that's 17 or 18 years during which we've come up here about every three or four years. During those visits we have stayed at number of motorhome parks in Ashland, Medford and other towns along I-5 and they all had one thing in common. They sucked. Most were overcrowded parking lots 50 feet from the interstate where the lullaby that put you to sleep was sung all night by 18 wheel trucks. So this time, I decided to try something a little different. There is a county recreation area about 20 miles east of Ashland that got good reviews on the Internet called Howard Prairie Lake Resort.

Prairie - according to Wikipedia
Now if you look up "prairie" on Wikipedia, it explains that this is a large area of mixed grasses, usually in the rain shadow of a mountain range and it shows a photograph of the South Dakota Badlands, where we went last September, as a primary example. So I was kind of expecting a large mud puddle in the middle of a flat, grassy landscape. It turns out however, that in Oregon, a prairie looks like this:
Prairie - According to Jackson County, OR

This is Howard Prairie Lake with Mount McLaughlin lurking quietly in the background. Not at all what I was expecting. I certainly wasn't expecting to be about 2500 feet higher than Ashland and 25° cooler. The 20 mile drive to get here from Ashland took about an hour in the motorhome, in second gear much of the way in order to climb the 7 or 8% grade going around curves this behemoth could barely navigate. The last half of it was through heavily coniferred woodland, not sagebrush and tumbleweeds. So much for expectations.

All that being said, the place is nothing if not lovely. There is a day use area with picnic tables and a marina which looks nice although it does us no good at all since the Allegro will not float. And there is a huge motorhome park with sites ranging from lakeside to deep forest. Since the lakeside sites lacked sewer hookups, we opted for a spot amongst the trees. As at Ghost Mountain, the motorhome area is operating at a tiny fraction of its capacity. The nearest occupied campsite to us is about 75-100 feet away. From our viewpoint we may as well be here by ourselves.

We will be here for about a week and have tickets to see The Taming of the Shrew and My Fair Lady on Tuesday and Friday respectively.

The weather has been pretty warm but weather.com is predicting a significant temperature drop over the next couple of days. The low temperatures overnight will go to well below freezing if the meteorologists are right, so we will have to take steps to prevent our water and sewer lines from freezing. It's one of those things that we haven't really had to worry about much before. We will fill our water tank up and disconnect and empty the hose. We have not dumped here yet, so our sewer hose currently has nothing in it. We will need to make sure it is empty again after we dump on Wednesday so we don't end up with a solid 20 foot long block of rather disgusting ice. The compartments where the water and waste tanks sit receive heat from the motorhome system, so if you keep your motorhome at a comfortable temperature you shouldn't have to worry about the tanks freezing.  I hope.

Anyway, this beats the heck out of camping next to a freeway for a week, so we will gladly put up with a few minor inconveniences. I will let you know how the plays are after we see them, since telling you about that now would be silly.

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