Free Camping in Washington Along The Columbia River (Boondocking)

We really think that the Lower Columbia River
which divides Oregon and Washington, is really one of the most beautiful places around. So when Melissa was out on a little trip of
her own, I decided to jump in the RV, head south and do a little dry camping and explore
the Lower Columbia dams, and the bridges and all the sights and scenery along the Washington
side, which I believe is the less traveled and more scenic side along the Lewis and Clark
Highway. We what are we waiting for, cue the intro! Hey guys! Today I’m parked along the Columbia River
in Southern Washington and actually if you look across the river, that’s Oregon. So, I’m out on a 2 to 3 day trek to explore
the Columbia River. I’m really interested in learning more about the dams and how the
salmon get through and all that stuff. I’m gonna go ahead and get this started. I’m
gonna go check out the Bonneville Power Dam. Did you know that hydro-electric power and
these dams provide up to two thirds to three quarters of the Northwest’s power needs? Uh
huh! So here we area the Bonneville Power Dam.
What you may not know is that both sides can be visited. This is the Washington side of
the dam and there’s the Oregon side which has a big visitor’s center as well. That one is alot more visited than this, but
I’ve heard that this one is really good. When the dam was originally built there was
this giant spillway on the Washington side. They realized that they could be getting more
power out of this spillway. So starting in the 60s and ending in the 80s they constructed
this second power plant. So this is taking the water from the spillway
and actually generating more power and increasing the power capacity of the dam. So what did the salmon say when he ran into
a wall? Dam! Well actually, they do what we would do. They
use a ladder….well not just any ladder. Yeah that’s right. In addition to providing
power and irrigation, the dams also have to provide a way for spawning salmon and other
fish species to get upstream and downstream. So these fish ladders are a real important
part to making that happen. Now at the Bonneville Dam, they have a pretty
cool fish viewing area where you can actually watch the salmon swim through the fish ladder. So we’re right above the viewing station and
looking down on the fish ladder where we were actually watching them through the window
where they are counted. You can kinda see how the whole thing kind
of meanders through So the salmon have to make their way all the
way through this maze all the way up the upper part of the dam. It’s pretty cool how this is all setup. Alright. Gonna head on out and check out something
new. Just about three miles from the dam was a
great little spot that I’d heard about where I could get a bird’s eye view of the entire
area. I had to check it out. So up in the distance is Beacon Rock. It’s
a state park, a washington state park and I’m going to go ahead and check that out.
You can see it straight ahead there…sticking up into the sky Ok. I’m at the Beacon Rock trail. I’m gonna
go straight up there… Let’s start going. Alright. Up here at the summit of Beacon Rock
and getting ready to head down now. Beautiful day! See you guys. Alright almost down to street level. I had
to say that was really cool man. If you’re ever down in Southern Washington along Hwy
14, check this out. Beacon Rock. It’s about a mile hike up but take your time
it’s not bad. It was time now to say good bye to the Bonneville
Dam and head East towards Hood River, Oregon. But not before making a quick stop at the
Bridge Of The Gods. So if you’ve read that book “Wild” or watched
the recent movie “Wild”with Reece Witherspoon. THis is that bridge…the end of her journey.
The Bridge Of The Gods. I’m not sure how she walked across in the
end because there isn’t a whole lot of room to walk. No pedestrian lane. Now if you’re into windsurfing or kite surfing
you definitely know about Hood River, Oregon. It gets a little windy there which explains
why everyone is out on the water I decided to take the Hood River Bridge and
drive up the Oregon side on my way up to The Dalles Dam. But as I found out, taking an RV across the
Hood River Bridge is a pretty tight squeeze. But I made it. I’ve made it to The Dalles. It’s a little
late. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get in a tour or anything like that. But we’ll
see what we can see. By the time I reached The Dalles Dam it was
getting a little late and that’s ok because they weren’t open for visitors I was getting a little tired and it was time
to find a quiet place to rest for the night. It had been a long day. I’m heading to Maryhill State Park to see
if I can find a place to park or maybe even get a campsite. Perched up on a hill near Maryhill is something
you might just do a “double-take” on if you didn’t know about it. So here’s a little Washington fun fact for
you. Did you know that Washington State has its version of STONEHENGE? Yeah. See. “Stonehenge music”
“Perched up on the hillside” “It’s not the real Stonehenge, but I think
it’s cool” So you might be thinking…WHAT? Actually this Stonehenge monument was built
as a memorial to those who lost their lives in World War 1
And it sits overlooking the Columbia River in Maryhill, Washington Beautiful. Vineyards, farmland, wind power,
Stonehenge. Yup. Well it was time to say goodbye to Stonehenge
and head on up the road to the John Day Dam But as I was leaving I was just kind of struck
by the number of wind turbines I saw all over the hillside along the way You know if you’ve driven around enough you’ve
seen more and more of these wind farms or wind turbines popping up all over the place
like those up on the ridge Here’s a fun fact. Did you know that in the
Northwest, wind power now provides about one percent of the Northwests energy needs. One
percent. Go wind! When I reached the John Day Dam the first
thing I saw got me pretty excited. There are dry camping spots all up and down
the Washington and Oregon side of this property. All the way about mile down the Oregon side
and about a mile down the Washington side. Right on the river. So I tried to get into the John Day Dam complex.
There’s a gate and it apparently says “Closed to Visitors” and they wouldn’t let me in. I’m gonna go check out some of these dry camping
sites. I found one and it’s awesome. So I don’t know if I’m going to be continuing
on up into the Northern part of the state or just hanging out here We will make a decision on what happens…tomorrow. Well, I decided to stay and see what other
interesting things I could learn about this place I moved the RV in a little closer to the dam
and started to ponder some very interesting things Ok here you go. I’m about to blow your mind.
So here’s a fact about the John Day Dam. So the John Day Dam put’s out 2.2 million
killowatts, which is enough to power two cities the size of Seattle. But it’s only a Gigawatt more than it takes
to go Back To The Future. Yeah! Mind blown. 1.21 GIGAWATTS!! Well one of the really cool things about my
new boondocking spot is I could watch the barges go by right by the RV as they entered
and left the locks, you know heading up and down river. That was really cool. Time to eat! Got these spicy sausages plus some smoked
salmon and veggies. Smells pretty good! Pretty good. Mmm. Tasty. What I found a bit interesting was that all
the dams I visited, you hear fireworks or gunshot noises going off and you just wonder
“What is that?” Is there someone goofing around or is it a
new method of fishing. Huh? So everyday there’s a boat that patrols back
and forth below the dam. “What is he doing out there?” He’s shooting of exploding fireworks and the
reason he’s doing that is to deter or scare away California sea lions that have made it
all the way up here from the Pacific Ocean to chow down on some salmon and steelhead
and actually sturgeon They’re using non lethal techniques to try
and deter these uh sea lions, but they keep coming back You know I figure if a sea lion makes it all
the way up here. They have to get through a couple of dams
to get to this point They deserve a reward. Maybe a meal. “Here’s
a salmon” Yeah. Maybe I’ll write a song about it. “Sea lion fireworks song” Ok. So that needs a little bit of work. Well after a few days alone in the RV, things
were getting just a little bit….weird. “I’ve been talkin to a camera, for the last
three days” So the next morning I decided to leave John
Day and start the six hour drive home. It was time. Well this has been fun and I hope you enjoyed
this adventure down the Columbia just as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing it. If you liked the video, give it a thumbs up
and let us know what you think in the comments Also feel free to share it with your friends
and tell them all the cool places you’d like to visit. If you’ve been down in this area we would
love to hear about your favorite places to visit and why Take care everybody and I hope you have a
great summer RVing. We will see you next time!

60 thoughts on “Free Camping in Washington Along The Columbia River (Boondocking)

  1. Ha ha, enjoyed that. You're not the only one that makes up silly songs while camping. Best of Luck.

  2. Great video, enjoyed your songs as well. How nice that those folks are providing a free fireworks display for the Sea Lions! It's no wonder they keep coming back, lol.

  3. That was an awesome video! 🙂 Your an excellent musician from one guitar player/RVer to another! Do you have electric as well or just acoustic guitars? Looking forward to the next adventure! 🙂

  4. Great to see a new video from you Brian! We really loved the unplugged version of your theme song. Really fun to actually see you play it.

  5. Wow Brian, that was an amazing video! Love your stuff, keep em coming.

  6. Glad to see you back on the road Tito. 👍 camping is much more fun than always fixing the RV LoL 😎

  7. Excellent, best I have seen in awhile. Would like to learn more about that stove top coffee pot you were using there.

  8. Wow Brian I have been waiting for a vid I enjoyed it take care

  9. Great job.  Kim and I have been looking forward to seeing more videos from you…Thanks

  10. Wish you would follow the river north into Washington and on to the Grand Coulee Dam. The geological history alone will " BLOW YOUR MIND ". Lol.

  11. Beautiful place out there!
    Let me know if you need guitar and singing lessons…😂👍🏻🚐

  12. Great trip.  How did you stumble on to the Boon docking site?

  13. Hey Brian GREAT video! You have outdone yourself with this one! Keep up the amazing and time consuming work on the great videos. THANKS for the entertainment!

  14. Great video Brian going to put that on my bucket list when I head out west next year.

  15. Great video! Interesting. Wonderful views and landscapes. Loved the music, too. Your narration and sense of humor are engaging. Keep it up! Thank you.

  16. Brian.  I love your videos.  I've been wanting to camp at Mary hill.  You've inspired me.  Loved the salmon joke.  Great video.  Keep them coming.  Did you leave the dirty dishes for Melissa? 😉  I'll be watching for you on the road.

  17. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed the video and it's awesome how your able to go and and enjoy your own little adventures. We live in such a beautiful country, yet many of us really never get to see and enjoy it. Safe travels.

  18. Many stars have been added to my map, Thanks!  Nice Song by the way, impressive

  19. My nephew lived in Bonnieville, Washington now he lives in Hood River, Oregon. I also went on a hike on Beacon Rock. Great video Brian keep up the wonderful work.

  20. Tito, starting at frame 15:14 what is the name of the song and where can I find it?

  21. This was the BEST video!!  My husband and I laughed 'til we had tears in our eyes!!  Great job!!  Thank you!

  22. Brand new subscriber, and this is the second video we, my wife and I, watched.  It was a blast.  Thanks for your humor and video editing as well as the beautiful shots of God's country.

  23. Very good! Been up and down the Oregon side many times. You are a talented man. Great voice and the guitar sounds excellent, also. Les

  24. This video was one of your best.  Keep on enjoying life!  We love the Oregon coast.

  25. Next time your at Maryhill you should hit the museum. You were very close and it's a great story.

  26. Loved the sea lion song! New to your videos. You do a great job of mixing humor with fun facts!

  27. Great video as always Brian! We love the song. We are heading north at the end of May and we are planning to visit some of the places shown on your video on our way to Seattle for a Cruise. We will be taking the RV so it will be fun. Thanks so much for this video.

  28. It is beautiful scenery with the dams and the hiking trail. I live in the netherlands, so i cannot give you advice where you should go next. I am more into nature (mountains, forrests, national parks) then the (big) cities.

  29. As a child I lived at the base of Beacon Rock. The park ranger and his family ere family friends. The rock was my Jungle Jim. The trout streams, horse trails and State Park were my playground. My dad was a marine biologist with the fish passage program so I spent quite a bit of time inside Bonneville Dam as a kid. The locals always referred to the whole area simply, as Gods Country and at that time, Sasquatch was just another animal in the forest. Beautiful place. Just for the record…those sea dogs could really give a rats ass about those noise makers. They are far to smart for such nonsense.

  30. Great video! I love the Gorge and spend alot of time there… Can't wait for next weekend as I'll be heading back.. thanks for sharing. looks like you had a good time…

  31. Brian ,
    We enjoy your tips and adventure you do here in Aussie 🇦🇺🤓
    How much water do u carry when free camping in your rig ?

  32. Everybody liked this video. Thanks for the new "Wildfire" Sea Lion song. God bless you.

  33. Well in Kalama they say they own the river access, you can't even make a hammock in the park cause they say it's privately owned.

    Although there is a law if youre drifting, it's legal to access 30 meters from the HIGH WATER MARK.
    That's public Access they can't deny public.

    I myself know the folks and respect the my friends so I'll wait till someone pulls the stick out of there ……

  34. It's better North 100% , depending if you love the desert.

  35. Great video Brian. I just found your channel. My wife and I are coming to the Northwest this summer. Looks like we have a lot of videos of yours to watch! Love the singing! Can't wait to head west. Ted & Lee Ann

  36. Brian, thanks for the great tips on dam camping……your vids are very helpful, but this one is really good.

  37. Man, that coffice sure looked good. Nice place to be I'm so ready.

  38. I see this is old but Avery Park is one of my favorites there. On the WA side, also a winery close.

  39. Yea, like the fish joke and the humor music. Excellent. Right on!!

  40. Wow Brian! You are one talented individual. You can tell jokes, shoot great videos, teach history, write/pirate and sing songs, make "how to" videos, even cook. Impressive. Good Job…

  41. There are no Sealions at John Day Dam. They are hazing the birds from eating juvenile salmon and steelhead. Great video and song.

  42. Guess where we’re boondocking tonight? Yep. John Day Dam. Because of your recommendation. Thank you!

  43. Love the video and scenes I would totally love to hop in an RV and just Go… 👍

  44. Brian! Please… more music in your videos, please. Great Job and would you please thank your family for sharing you with us?

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