On The Road Again

We fell in love with Kodachrome Basin and the surrounding area when we landed there for Thanksgiving 4 years ago (in Rivet & Roam 1.0 - our 19 ft Airstream). After months of no travel, we finally got new tires for the Airstream and decided to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holidays. After much discussion, we decided to head back to Utah and Kodachrome Basin. Bill found a handy list of Utah hot springs so we added a couple of those to our itinerary.

First hot springs stop was Homestead Crater in Midway, Utah. We splurged and got a hotel room for the night - which always feels a little silly when we have the Airstream with us but it was vacation-time, gotta live it up! The hot springs at Homestead Crater are very unique; it’s a geothermal spring located in a limestone crater. It reminded me of the cenotes in Mexico but in the middle of Utah (and warm!) It’s also a popular spot to learn to scuba dive in the nice warm water. You can purchase a soak pass for 40 minutes with probably 20 other people and scuba divers all around (and you have to wear a life jacket) but it was still a very interesting experience. I highly recommend trying it!

Next stop was Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe, Utah. Do yourself a favor and check out their website and make plans to get there! We are pretty much obsessed with this place now - we stayed one night on the way to Kodachrome and then came back for Thanksgiving. It’s a funky, wonderfully weird spot with amazing hot springs soaking pools and tubs. If you have been following @heathre , you have seen my 1,000 pics of the hot springs already but I’'m including more below. OBSESSED.

We also had a lovely time in Kodachrome and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument - including walking in the tracks of dinosaurs from 155 million (!!) years ago, dinner at a cool little cafe in the sweet town of Escalante, attempting to teach Luka how to hike without dragging us off mountains, campfires at 4:30 pm before it got too cold and full moon views. (Oh! And the most amazing campground showers ever are at Kodachrome Basin State Park! We rarely use the campground showers since we have our own—but damn, the Kodachrome ones are worth it).

I had to get a classic Airstream tunnel shot at Red Canyon

I had to get a classic Airstream tunnel shot at Red Canyon

My happy place

My happy place

One of the scuba guys hanging out after his dive

One of the scuba guys hanging out after his dive

No jumping allowed. Boo!

No jumping allowed. Boo!

The most magical place! (And kudos to Bill for doing the camera self-timer in 20 degree weather)

The most magical place! (And kudos to Bill for doing the camera self-timer in 20 degree weather)

A lovely morning soak

A lovely morning soak

Just a couple more photos before we leave

Just a couple more photos before we leave

Contentment

Contentment

A frosty morning at Mystic Hot Springs

A frosty morning at Mystic Hot Springs

Mystic Hot Springs

Mystic Hot Springs

Thank you Monroe High School for your fenced field so poor Luka could finally get some running out of his system (alternate title: Friday Night Lights)

Thank you Monroe High School for your fenced field so poor Luka could finally get some running out of his system (alternate title: Friday Night Lights)

Devil’s Garden, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Devil’s Garden, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Devil’s Garden was amazing

Devil’s Garden was amazing

Just walking by the tracks of dinosaurs…

Just walking by the tracks of dinosaurs…

Flashback to 2014 trip to Kodachrome in the wee 19 ft Airstream

Flashback to 2014 trip to Kodachrome in the wee 19 ft Airstream

Gotta include a classic road trip photo

Gotta include a classic road trip photo

Blowout!

We were lucky enough to experience one of the "great" Airstream rites of passage - the tire blowout!   All things considered, it wasn't too horrible of an experience - I guess the road trip gods were smiling down on us that day.   Cruising along I-90 in Montana, just past Missoula on our way to Spokane, Bill thought he heard something so we pulled off the highway to the off-ramp (which was thankfully quite large and had minimal traffic).  Sure enough, one of the trailer tires was blown.  And as you can see from the pics below, I mean BLOWN.   Among the many lessons of this pit spot - a blown tire can indeed rip a hole in the metal of the trailer, the Airstream doesn't come with a jack, the truck jack is a sneaky hidden little bugger, trying to use the leveling blocks doesn't make a great jack, we need to stockpile duct tape and the lugnut covers are pretty much useless pains in the ass.   But Bill was a champ and got us back on the road and we still made it to Spokane just before dark.   We have since learned that this is a relatively common issue with the stock Airstream tires (Goodyears) and we probably need to upgrade the tires/wheels so we can keep up our rambling ways.  And probably need a better fix than duct tape for the hole in the trailer body.    Alvord Desert and the Steens was going to be our next little road trip during my June work break but we are hesitant to do it before getting the tires swapped out, so we will see.

Epically destroyed tire photo op

Epically destroyed tire photo op

Ruh-roh

Ruh-roh

Ouch!

Ouch!

Peeled it right open!

Peeled it right open!

Silver lining - at least we had a great place to pull over and work on it

Silver lining - at least we had a great place to pull over and work on it

Inga always finds a nice shady spot to chill out

Inga always finds a nice shady spot to chill out

Had to end on a high note with the gratuitous booze shot - the Montana Moonshine from  Willie's Distillery  soothed us once we finally got settled in to our Spokane campsite

Had to end on a high note with the gratuitous booze shot - the Montana Moonshine from Willie's Distillery soothed us once we finally got settled in to our Spokane campsite

Rivet & Roam Returns to Chico

First things first, we finally have our Airstream back!   So what better way to celebrate then taking a nice long road trip?1?   Several months ago, we attended a great workshop/portfolio review hosted by The Collective Quarterly at Chico Hot Springs in Pray, Montana.   It was a great experience in so many ways and we fell in love with the Pray/Livingston area, so it's not a huge shock that we headed back there the first chance we got!   And, it turns out that the timing of Robert Osborn's gallery opening and release party for his gorgeous book "The Cowboys of Central Montana:  50 Portraits" was perfect, since we had to be in Spokane for some work the following week.  So why not just drive another 8 hours up to the Bozeman/Livingston area and stay there for a couple days?   One of the photographers we had the pleasure to meet at the workshop was Chris Douglas, who graciously offered us a place to park the Airstream on his beautiful property about 5 miles from Chico Hot Springs.     Such a dreamy place!   (Huge thanks to Chris and his awesome wife Darcy for their hospitality!)   We were also able to meet up with another workshop participant - Lauren Dillon - who we actually never had a chance to really chat with at the workshop.  Lauren recently moved to Montana and met up with us at the book release party, so the Collective Quarterly Chico Workshop love keeps rolling.

Stay tuned for the next blog post about our epic tire blowout on the way from Pray to Spokane...

Bill does his best JAWS impressions at Chico Hot Springs

Bill does his best JAWS impressions at Chico Hot Springs

Chef Taylor relaxing in style

Chef Taylor relaxing in style

A perfect evening for the hot springs 

A perfect evening for the hot springs 

Of course we had to have a drink at the Chico Saloon, post hot springs

Of course we had to have a drink at the Chico Saloon, post hot springs

Definitely in the top five 'moochdocking' spots of all time

Definitely in the top five 'moochdocking' spots of all time

I can never resist the lure of Livingston's neon signs

I can never resist the lure of Livingston's neon signs

Two of the cowboys featured in the book - John Hoiland on the accordian and Jim Larkin on guitar

Two of the cowboys featured in the book - John Hoiland on the accordian and Jim Larkin on guitar

Gil Cameron - featured on the cover and in two images in the book - signs our copy

Gil Cameron - featured on the cover and in two images in the book - signs our copy

Bob signing our copy of the book (and probably telling Bill some great story)

Bob signing our copy of the book (and probably telling Bill some great story)

Lauren getting her book signed by John Hoiland.  There was a also a Norwegian film crew there doing a documentary on John called "The Last Norwegian Cowboy"

Lauren getting her book signed by John Hoiland.  There was a also a Norwegian film crew there doing a documentary on John called "The Last Norwegian Cowboy"

Chico mini-reunion - unfortunately Chris was working and couldn't join us but random super-cool guitar guy filled in

Chico mini-reunion - unfortunately Chris was working and couldn't join us but random super-cool guitar guy filled in

We had breakfast at The Old Saloon in Emigrant on our way out of town.  I was smitten with their sheep taxidermy collection

We had breakfast at The Old Saloon in Emigrant on our way out of town.  I was smitten with their sheep taxidermy collection

A Weekend on Sauvie Island

Last weekend we finally had the chance to take the Airstream out to Sauvie Island to stay at our friend's beautiful farm.   Vail and Greg (and their two adorable kiddos Huckleberry and Poppy) own and operate The Croft Farm.  Bill met them a couple years ago while shooting an article for 1859 Magazine on their stunning house.   Vail and Greg are some of the most genuine, hilarious and flat-out awesome people around and we quickly became friends.    We had a standing offer to come out and park the Airstream for a weekend and were finally able to take them up on their offer.

Even though Sauvie Island is only a short drive outside of Portland, it feels like a world away.  We also had the opportunity to attend the launch party/picnic/pig roast celebrating a new venture Vail is starting with two friends.  Collectivo "celebrates Mexican culture and tradition by bringing you beautiful handmade treasures, along with the stories behind them."   The fabulous Edna Vazquez performed a private concert in the yard of Wild Goose Farm (another incredible home and farm on Sauvie).  It was a truly dreamy night and we even survived biking back to the Airstream at midnight on the very dark country roads!   

Dreamy night for the "Collectivo" launch party.

Dreamy night for the "Collectivo" launch party.

Who can resist a big purple piñata?  There's a very zen video of it on our instagram (@rivetandroam).

Who can resist a big purple piñata?  There's a very zen video of it on our instagram (@rivetandroam).

Poppy Sparkle tries to break out of her 'cage'.

Poppy Sparkle tries to break out of her 'cage'.

Edna Vazquez was incredible.

Edna Vazquez was incredible.

So many delicious tomatoes in the Croft greenhouse!

So many delicious tomatoes in the Croft greenhouse!

Huckleberry checking out the Airstream.

Huckleberry checking out the Airstream.

DIRT!

DIRT!

Inga was so happy roaming around in the grass.  She's a farm dog at heart.

Inga was so happy roaming around in the grass.  She's a farm dog at heart.

The sweetest rocking horse hanging out in the new barn.

The sweetest rocking horse hanging out in the new barn.

View of Vail and Greg's Airstream from our spot.   We encouraged them to join the cult.

View of Vail and Greg's Airstream from our spot.   We encouraged them to join the cult.

Hello Big Dipper!

Hello Big Dipper!

 

 

It's our Airstream Anniversary!

It's hard to believe it's been a year since we took the leap and traded in our sweet 19 foot Airstream for our current "live full time" 25 footer.   Things have been crazy busy in Rivet & Roam land the last six weeks and the blog has been woefully neglected!  Stay tuned for updates from our latest trips - including Lassen, Pickathon music fest and three week cross-country trip to Michigan.   For now, here's a fabulous night photo by Bill of our campsite at Sully Creek Campground in North Dakota (just outside the Theodore Roosevelt National Park).

Sully Creek Campground was a nice change of pace from Walmart parking lot camping!

Roaming Through Lassen Volcanic National Park

After we realized it was going to be in the mid-90s in the Alvord Desert in the end of June, we decided to find an alternate destination for our 10 day vacation.    Neither of us had ever been to Lassen Volcanic National Park and after seeing one too many gorgeous instagram photo from there, it was time to check it out!   Everything I read said it was one of the few 'non busy' natioanl parks and that finding a camping spot would be no problem.  Of course, we didn't factor in that 2 of the 3 main campgrounds in the National Park were closed until July 1st.   So that left Manzanita Lake Campground which was pretty much packed by the time we arrived Friday afternoon.   We ended up finding the last spot, situated perfectly (ahem) near the bathrooms/shower/water.   However, we were determined to make it work for a couple days to explore the National Park and then see what else we could find.   And then our less than idyllic campsite experience was then met with another unfortunate incident.  Since dogs aren't really allowed on any trails in National Parks, we left Inga happily napping in the Airstream while we took a walk around gorgeous Lake Manzanita.  When we returned, Bill opened the door to find a scene out of a blood-spattered horror movie!   Poor Inga had an abscess that must have quickly formed and then burst (and then of course she shook herself and wandered through the Airstream).    We managed to get her cleaned up and kept an eye on it over the next couple days since we were quite far from any town with vet services.   

I will skip over the next morning where we went on a lovely hike to a waterfall which resulted in me almost keeling over with dehydration and altitude sickness.  Fun!   We managed to catch some of the other sights in Lassen National Forest but the coolest looking hike (and wonderfully named - Bumpass Hell) was still closed due to snow.    But our luck was soon to change!   We realized we needed to figure out a new campsite and went scouting in the Lassen National Forest (just outside of the National Park boundaries, which generally means much cheaper campgrounds and/or dispersed camping that allows dogs).   And lo and behold, we found the perfect spot!    A National Forest campground along a beautiful little creek with huge spots (and decent enough roads to get the Airstream in safely).   Did I mention it was FREE?  There were no services except some vault toilets but we were set to boondock in the Airstream for at least 5 days.   

Stay tuned for a couple more posts about our fire lookout visits and other cool spots in Lassen.  For now, enjoy some gorgeous photos of our campsite (and bonus milky way shots!)

Happy Inga Girl (a couple days after the exploding face incident)

Bill in his happy place

The perfect hammock spot

The perfect hammock spot

Making good use of our bumper bottle opener

Lumberjack Bill

YUM!

Just one of the many HUGE Ponderosa Pines at the campground.

Columbine by the creek

Such a pretty glowing Airstream!

Milky Way over Butte Lake

Bill tried his hand at night photography with pretty epic results

The Awning Incident

We were excited to hit the road this weekend for a quick trip to the Alvord Desert.   We took our old Airstream out there last March and were looking forward to trying out the big rig (as well as getting off the grid for a couple days).    

Our sweet 19 foot Airstream on Alvord Desert last year.

Our sweet 19 foot Airstream on Alvord Desert last year.

But our Airstream had other plans.   We had been warned about the fragile (ahem, wimpy) nature of the Zip Dee awnings.  Overall we have been pretty cautious - never leaving it up when it's windy, lowering one of the arms if it's raining a lot, etc.   But last Tuesday night Bill was off on a 11+ hour shoot and I was chilling in bed reading with Inga and it started pouring.  To be honest, I didn't even think about the awning....until there was a huge crash right outside my window.   I leaped out of bed and went out to the dark and stormy night to investigate.  Lo and behold, one side of the awning arm had snapped and crashed down on my car.  My Subaru is made of tough stuff so there's only a little chip in the paint, but the awning arm was sheared right in half.

Reviewing the damage the following day...

Reviewing the damage the following day...

I propped it up so it wouldn't (hopefully) cause much damage that night.   Bill reviewed the damage the next day - thankfully it wasn't raining!    Getting a new part is no easy feat and we weren't sure if we could just replace that arm or if would need a bigger fix.  (Don't get me started on the warranty issue and how it might not be covered if they can tell it was left out in the rain.  It's an awning!!)   And it's not like dropping your car for a fix at the dealer since we basically have to take the whole house in!   Bill headed off to the Airstream dealer and they were able to give us a replacement piece (thank you Airstream Adventures NW!)    But Alvord Desert is off the table for this weekend - it's just too far for a three day weekend.    The current plan is to head out towards Prineville, maybe hit a few fire lookouts as part of the recon for our summer project and do a little fishing on the Crooked River.  

P.S.  Who knew C-stands would make sure great awning supports?   Photographer-Airstream hack for the win!

One of the many uses for a C-Stand....

One of the many uses for a C-Stand....

Not the best long-term solution...

Not the best long-term solution...

Bill giving Zip Dee the stink-eye.

Bill giving Zip Dee the stink-eye.

Photographer-Airstream life hack!

Photographer-Airstream life hack!

Fear and Trembling at the Tamarack Fire Lookout

After our lovely trek through the Wallowas and a little work side-trip in Idaho, we headed to Eastern Oregon to visit our friends Joni and Philippa at their cabin in Spray.   It’s a truly gorgeous area near the Painted Hills (which is another of the 7 Wonders of Oregon per Travel Oregon).  On our way to the cabin, we spotted a sign for a fire lookout, of course we had to check that out!   The Tamarack Fire Lookout is about 9 miles off Highway 207.   The road starts off smooth and straight, but by the last mile is steep and rough.  As usual, we weren’t actually sure we were headed the right way as the road got rougher and rougher, but finally we arrived to a rather epic sight.   The lookout is the tallest (by far) we have visited and took some serious pep talks to climb to the top on a windy and chilly day (the wobbly first section of steps didn’t help).   The 96 foot metal tower was built in 1933 with a small lookout room on top.   There’s a cabin near the foot of the tower that is available for rent during the off-season.    We are really looking forward to revisiting the Tamarack Lookout and meeting the hardy soul that is going to be staffing it!

The amazing view from the top of the Tamarack Fire Lookout

The amazing view from the top of the Tamarack Fire Lookout

That's a LONG way up.

That's a LONG way up.

The view down (while tightly clutching the iPhone)!

The view down (while tightly clutching the iPhone)!

We can never resist a good reflection shot.

We can never resist a good reflection shot.

We weren't kidding.

We weren't kidding.

The monster truck looks so tiny down there.

The monster truck looks so tiny down there.

Is it a window or a painting?

Is it a window or a painting?

The horses were totally gossiping about Bill and Philippa.

The horses were totally gossiping about Bill and Philippa.

Heather scrambling down the hill during Philappa's "little" (3 hour) hike near the cabin.

Heather scrambling down the hill during Philappa's "little" (3 hour) hike near the cabin.

Joni  - at home on the range.

Joni  - at home on the range.

Inga and Toast living the cabin life.

Inga and Toast living the cabin life.

Wandering in the Wallowas

Travel Oregon calls the Wallowas one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon and we couldn't agree more!  We took a chance on the weather and headed to Joseph, a great little town known for it's art scene (particularly bronze sculpture) as well as easy access to Wallowa Lake and the Wallowa Mountains.   During the summer, the Wallowa Lake Campground is packed wall to wall.   However, in late March, we had the park almost to ourselves!    They received a couple inches of snow the day before which was melting and manageable in the Airstream by the time we arrived.   The weather gods were smiling on us with blue skies and temps in the 60s, which is pretty much a miracle in Oregon in March.   We took the kayak out on the lake, checked out the Chief Joseph Trail hike and explored Joseph - including a quick visit to the Jennings Hotel.   The Jennings is the "world's first Kickstarter funded hotel and artist residency" and is a great addition to Joseph.  I was a backer of the Kickstarter and was curious to see how things were coming along.  Greg Hennes, the owner, was hard at work on some drywall in the hallway when we arrived.  He's done an amazing job restoring the old hotel (including a gorgeous sauna).  We may have to give up a night in the Airstream some time to stay there!    As luck would have it, we were able to attend the monthly square dance that's held in Enterprise.  Caleb Klauder and the Cully Cut-Ups came over from Portland to play so we had to check it out.   Sadly, my memory card with all the insanely cute kids square dancing seems to be toast, so you will just have to take my word for the fun experience of this truly lovely, charming and fun community dance.   And we even danced!  If you have a chance to get out to Joseph and the Wallowas, take it and run - especially in the Spring or Fall.

Picnic anyone?

Picnic anyone?

A lovely morning on Wallowa Lake

A lovely morning on Wallowa Lake

Off season is the best

Off season is the best

Happy inga in the snow

Happy inga in the snow

Downtown Joseph, Oregon

Downtown Joseph, Oregon

Greg hennes at the jennings hotel

Greg hennes at the jennings hotel

unreal beauty on Wallowa Lake

unreal beauty on Wallowa Lake

His

His

hers

hers

perfect day for kayaking

perfect day for kayaking

happy kayakers

happy kayakers

imnaha, oregon

imnaha, oregon

caught 'grammin at the legendary imnaha store

caught 'grammin at the legendary imnaha store

Not amused by our accidental detour

Not amused by our accidental detour

Square dancing in enterprise, oregon - so much fun!

Square dancing in enterprise, oregon - so much fun!

terminal gravity beer is delicous and heather can't resist their beet reuben.

terminal gravity beer is delicous and heather can't resist their beet reuben.

March is for Moochdocking

"Mooch docking" (thanks to Dave of Advodna for the phrase!) is basically parking for free at a friend's place but we think it can also apply to free parking spots like Walmart.   We realized we would be traveling for part of March and didn't want to pay for an RV park so we cobbled together a plan of campgrounds and mooch docking sites.   A huge thanks to our friends Kim and Don for the loan of their driveway in Milwaukie for the first week of March (sadly, I didn't get a snap of our spot there!)   Next stop was Champoeg State Park for a couple days and then we headed out on the road for about 10 days.  

We headed first to the Wallowas and lucked out with perfect weather and a nearly empty Wallowa Lake Campground (stay tuned for a separate blog post about that part of the trip!)   After a blissful 4 days there, we were off to Moscow, Idaho for a couple days of work.   We stayed at our fave Walmart the first two nights and then took up a new friend on a generous offer to 'moochdock' at their farm about 8 miles outside of Moscow.  We had a fabulous evening with a home-cooked meal from their garden, good wine and lots of laughs.  I also fell in love with their barn - how could we not (check out the pic below)??  From there we made an overnight stop at a very windy Palouse Falls State Park and then off to Eastern Oregon our friend Joni's amazing cabin for our final stop.   

After a couple months of pretty much full-time RV park life, it was great to get back on the road and check out new camping spots - whether they were moochdocks or campgrounds.   As they say, home is where you park it!

All photos are iPhone for this post...stay tuned for more!   And be sure to follow us on instagram @rivetandroam

Ominous skies over the Moscow, Idaho Walmart 

Ominous skies over the Moscow, Idaho Walmart 

Seriously swoon-worthy barn outside of Moscow, Idaho (photo taken while dodging the hail storm).  

Seriously swoon-worthy barn outside of Moscow, Idaho (photo taken while dodging the hail storm).  

On the range in Eastern Oregon (near Spray and Fossil)

On the range in Eastern Oregon (near Spray and Fossil)

Roaming with the Mosier Misfits

Last weekend we had the chance to hang out with our friends Colleen and Thad up in Mosier, Oregon (about 7 miles west of Hood River).   They are the proud owners of a sled dog team called The Mosier Misfits.  We talked about starting a photography project documenting their team and finally made our way up to Colleen and Thad's 40 acre property in Mosier.  Of course, we brought our home along with us!

I first met Colleen through her work with The Community Project, a non-profit that is working in Debre Berhan, Ethiopia to build a K-8 school, community garden and community center.   It's an incredible project and definitely worthy of a blog post on it's own (hopefully when Bill and I make it back there one of these years to help volunteer on the project!)   Thad is a software engineer and together they spend much of their free time training their 12 (!) dogs for 6 and 8 dog race competitions.    It's a fascinating sport that I was pretty ignorant about so it's been great to see all the different facets of training a team.

They currently have 11 'active' dogs (who believe it or not, Bill and I can now accurately identify!):  Wax, Flow, Rocket, Disel, Guillermo, Rose, Lilly, Comet, Oscar, Fido and Flash.  There are also three pups living the fabulous retired life - May, Becca and Samuel.   So yes, Colleen and Thad are the proud parents of 14 dogs.    And they are very much part of a big happy family - it's not unusual for all the dogs to come inside their house to hang out for an afternoon.  We got to experience this last sunday - all 14 dogs and 4 adults, hanging out watching football.     

We were able to tag along on two training runs - one with a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call to head up to Frog Lake on Mount Hood.  Unfortunately, it was a rather warm weekend so the snow conditions weren't ideal but it still made for some fun photos!  The second run was a short trek on the road by Colleen and Thad's house. Colleen drove the pilot vehicle to make sure traffic was clear (it's a very rural road with minimal traffic), so Bill and I hung out the back and tried to shoot the dogs in action.   It was a blast.    We are looking forward to following The Mosier Misfits and continue documenting them.    

The team is headed off to two races over the next two weeks, so Bill and I are dog sitting the retirees.  It feels weird to be a big ole house after almost 4 months in the Airstream!   

Thad checking out the snow conditions on the trail.

Getting Ready

Some dogs just can't wait to get going!

Out on the trail.

Thad and May

Sometimes training a sled dog team in Oregon requires a little creativity.

Running in the rain.

Big happy family--smiles all around!

Airstream in the mists of Mosier

Airstream in the mists of Mosier

Morning hike with Inga

Morning hike with Inga


Happy New Year from the Crooked River!

We decided to head off the grid for a little New Year’s retreat to kick off 2016.     For the past two Christmases, Bill took the Airstream to the Crooked River in Central Oregon, near Prineville, while I headed to Michigan to see my family.    After an unusually balmy Michigan Christmas, I wanted to see some snow and finally check out Bill’s bachelor pad camping spot.  It did not disappoint.   We stayed at Chimney Rock Campground, a BLM campground right on the river.    While not exactly a hot-spot for winter camping, we had the place to ourselves (aside from a couple of fisherman, our neighbor heron, a bunch of deer and a few beavers).   The views are stunning, incredibly quiet and peaceful, and it is FREE during the winter months.   We tested out the new solar panel, which soaked up the fabulous central Oregon sun.   Eventually all the ice we collected on the drive over melted, but our Airstream definitely is due for a bath.  Between the solar panel and our generator, we stayed toasty warm with temps down to 7 degrees at night.  (Although as I write this, we are trying to thaw out our pipes which froze overnight).

Our first day we did a sunset hike up to Chimney Rock (the trailhead is directly across from our campground) – lightly dusted with snow and a bit icy but gorgeous views from all directions.   On New Year’s Eve day, Bill did a little fly fishing on the river, then we tested out our new snowshoes near the Steins Pillar.  Last but not least, we hit up the local Prineville brewpub Ochoco Brewing Company and a dive bar for some New Year’s Eve drinks. New Year’s Day was wonderfully mellow including– Bloody Marys, black-eyed peas, a campfire, setting plans and intentions for the next year of adventures, naps and finishing off with a viewing of Star Wars at the local old-school movie theater in Prineville.

We originally planned to head back Sunday but luckily, we checked the weather on our way through town to more snowshoeing adventures.   It looked like Sunday would be dicey so we packed up (in record time!) and hit the road Saturday afternoon.   The snow found us around Maupin but luckily it was pretty minor.  We rolled in to Roamer’s Rest and were settled back in by 10 pm.   Just in time for the snow and ice storm on Sunday and Monday!

Stein's Pillars at sunset

Hiking up to Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock at sunset

Bill prepping for a little fly-fishing on the Crooked River

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

Chilly morning on the river

Our neighbor

Bloody Marys are essential for 2016 goal-setting

Bill's amazing black-eyed peas stew for New Year's good luck and prosperity

Setting fire to New Year's intentions

Burn baby burn!

Scenes From the Road

For Thanksgiving, we headed up to Victor, Idaho to see friends and explore the Tetons.   We were hoping to get to Yellowstone but the roads were already closed for the season.   After a lovely visit, we headed out from Victor to Pendleton, where we would be staying for a day (and catching the Timbers game at the Prodigal Son!)  Within the span of two hours driving between Victor and Idaho Falls, we stopped to frolic in a winter wonderland of hoar frost and were stopped by a sheepherding blockade (with a police escort no less!)   You just never know what you will see along the road.

For a few bonus videos, be sure to check out @rivetandroam on instagram

Falling Ice

Falling Ice

Frosty Tree

Frosty Trees

Sheep blocking the road in Idaho

Sheep all in a row

They made way for us



Boardman Tree Farm

Every time we head out on I-84 East, the Boardman Tree Farm is a mandatory photo stop.    It’s located in Morrow, 5 miles west of the I-82 junction.    There are over 25,000 acres of poplar trees at varying stages of growth and endless photo opportunities.   The symmetry of the trees and just sheer number of them fascinate me.   I started shooting there 6-7 years ago when I was working on a series called “Dreams of Trees” and in the midst of a daily self-portrait project on Flickr.   Here’s a link to just a few of my tree farm pics on Flickr (which I also just discovered on this website while researching a few facts for this post).  I should note that technically it’s private property and I try to stick to the main roads around the tree farm and somewhat close to the highway when I am shooting by myself.   I’ve never had an issue on the probably 20+ visits there but I’ve heard of other photographers running in to issues--so enter at your own risk.  It also seems to be a much more popular destination for photographers over the last couple years. 

Bill  and I have stopped here probably 10 times in the two years we have been dating and adventuring.   Every time of the year has it’s own unique feel and this visit was no exception.  We arrived near dusk and in the midst of freezing fog, which covered all the plants surrounding the trees in a gorgeous frost.  We stayed for about 45 minutes trying to eke out every bit of light and then reluctantly headed out back on the road.


Steamboat Rock State Park

Alternate title:  An ode to off-season camping

After our glamorous stay at the Walmart parking lot in Moscow, Idaho, we were looking forward to a more scenic location for our next spot.   Our final destination was Diablo Lake in the North Cascades but decided to stop around half-way.    After pursuing the handy-dandy Washington Camping book , I came across the listing for Steamboat Rock State Park .  It's near the Grand Coulee dam but Electric City (who can resist a city name like that!)   And we ended up at one of the prettiest campgrounds I've ever seen.   With basically no one else in the loop where we settled - probably 6 RV's and tent campers in the entire place.    With gorgeous fall leaves, wildlife galore (deer, wild turkeys, ducks, geese, etc) - it was pretty idyllic.   Add to that an evening kayak on the river and we were pretty blissed out.

Flannel, Fall Color, and an Airstream just go together!

One of the many deer roaming through the campground.

Fall colors.

Fall colors.

Great office view.

Great office view.

Evening kayak.

Evening kayak.

Inga enjoying the scenery.

Inga enjoying the scenery.

Happy camper selfie.

Happy camper selfie.


An Ode to Walmart Parking Lots

Airstream Reflections

Oh Walmart, I have such conflicted feelings about you.   I do not love your uber-big box, take over the world, pay your employees crap nature BUT you are one of the few reliable spots to “camp” for free.  Check out All Stays for a list of Walmart stores that allow RV parking.  Overall company policy allows for RV parking but it’s up to the discretion of the store manager.

We have checked out quite a few Walmart parking lots in our roaming but our favorite by far is the Walmart parking lot in Moscow, Idaho.   Twice a year we head to work at the University of Idaho and the Moscow Walmart is a five minute drive from campus.  The biggest plus is that it has a large side lot that is perfect for RV parking with a lovely view overlooking the campus and the rolling hills of the Palouse.    Every other time we have had the place to ourselves so imagine our surprise when we pulled in at midnight and there were two other RV’s parked there!   There was plenty of room, as you can see from the pics.

Most other Walmarts we have stayed at have been on major highways or in major cities so it’s usually a mix of semi-truck, RVs and people sleeping in their cars.   It can seem a bit sketchy but it is a great option if you are looking to save some money and just need a spot to sleep on your way to an epic location.

And you never know what your view will be when you wake up in the morning!

And you never know what your view will be when you wake up in the morning!

Airstream Reflections

Airstream Reflections

The lovely view from the Moscow (Idaho) Walmart.

The lovely view from the Moscow (Idaho) Walmart.