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)

5 Months and Counting...

It's been over 5 months since we embarked on full-time Airstream life.   Overall, it's been great.  The adjustment to living in such a small space was actually easier than we expected, I think.   Honestly, the biggest stress we have had (aside from a few closet space issues) is figuring out where to park.   Due to my part time job, we need to stay in the general metro Portland area.   Staying in an RV park for the majority of the time wasn't really the plan but it's worked out well (even through the floods and crazy winter storms!)   It also helps that my parents have a condo in NE Portland, which we can use for some storage and an occasional 'weekend in the city' break.   We are still hoping to find that perfect 'home base' spot to rent but Airstream life is all about being flexible.     I'm working on a 'lessons learned' post (with links to some of our favorite airstream and travel blogs) so keep an eye out for that in the next couple weeks.

Flashback to picking up our new house in August 2015.

Flashback to picking up our new house in August 2015.

Inga in her favorite spot with her favorite ball.   She's adjusted great to Airstream life.

Inga in her favorite spot with her favorite ball.   She's adjusted great to Airstream life.

Our first weekend with the Airstream at Kelly's Brighton Marina on Nehalem Bay, Oregon Coast.

Our first weekend with the Airstream at Kelly's Brighton Marina on Nehalem Bay, Oregon Coast.

Home is where you park it, right??

Home is where you park it, right??


Hairstream

I was long overdue for a haircut, so my fave stylist Tia made a 'house call' to the Airstream.   We had a blast squeezing ourselves in to the living room/kitchen to set up shop.  Inga was very enthralled by the whole process and kept a close eye on us.  

I love the idea of an Airstream hair salon and I'm not alone.  And who can resist the name!  There's one in Portland - The Hairstream Trailer and a few others around the country.  

What'cha doing??

What'cha doing??

There has to be some food involved in this...

There has to be some food involved in this...

Miss Tia!

Miss Tia!

Feeling a little Donald Trump-esque here!

Feeling a little Donald Trump-esque here!

Inga keeps an eye on things

Inga keeps an eye on things

Chop chop

Chop chop

Serious biz

Serious biz

Here and There

It's been a quiet couple of weeks in Rivet and Roam land.  We took a break from Airstream life to dogsit the retired Mosier Misfits  at their house in Portland while the rest of the team competed in two races in Idaho and Wyoming.   It was fun to ramble around a big ole house and spend time in my old neighborhood but it's always good to be back in the Airstream.  It's hard to believe it's been over 4 months of full-time Airstream life!   We are still at Roamer's Rest and still looking for that perfect semi-permanant spot.  We have had a couple leads but they haven't quite worked out.   But our current spot at Roamer's Rest is quite lovely.  We are tucked back in a corner with lots of trees and greenery.   Bill even saw a couple deer in our 'yard' the other day!   Our bird feeder has become quite popular with the birds and FAT (and happy) squirrels.   Alas, we will have to move on March 1st because this spot is reserved.   

Home Sweet Home (for now!)

Home Sweet Home (for now!)

Inga didn't want to admit it but we think she enjoyed hanging with the other pups

Inga didn't want to admit it but we think she enjoyed hanging with the other pups

Becca is one of the few dogs that rivals Inga in food obsession.

Becca is one of the few dogs that rivals Inga in food obsession.

Sweet love bug May, who retired from the sled team a couple weeks ago.  

Sweet love bug May, who retired from the sled team a couple weeks ago.  

Mr. Samuel, the elder statesman of the retired sled dogs.

Mr. Samuel, the elder statesman of the retired sled dogs.

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


Snowshoeing at Trillium Lake

We took advantage of a gorgeous sunny Friday to head up to Mount Hood for a snowshoe trek around Trillium Lake.   The 5 mile loop includes stunning views of Mount Hood, cute little cabins, snowy meadows, and loop around the frozen lake.   Inga had a fabulous time romping around and chomping snow at every chance. With the temperature around 40 degrees, it was downright balmy!   After last year's snow drought, it was lovely to see so much snow on Mount Hood.    

(All photos are from our iPhones/instagram - be sure to follow @rivetandroam for ongoing adventures)

Finally stopped at Joe's Donuts; perfect snowshoe fuel-up!

Finally stopped at Joe's Donuts; perfect snowshoe fuel-up!

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

The perfect lunch spot

The perfect lunch spot

Frosty pine needles

Frosty pine needles

Testing out the ice on the lake

Testing out the ice on the lake


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!

Five Feet High and Rising...

This last week definitely brought to mind that Johnny Cash song.   The crazy torrential rain in the Portland area just doesn't seem to stop.   Since Roamer's Rest is located right on the Tualatin River, we joked about it flooding but we were still surprised to see the ENTIRE bottom part of the park flooded.   When we checked in for our latest stay, we had a choice between a couple spots on the lower area and one on the upper level.  We decided to stick with the upper level but were second guessing it when the storms started, since we are at the far end of the park, surrounded by trees and the fear of one falling on us didn't seem too far-fetched!  For once, we made the right choice!    In the midst of crazy rain, Bill bravely hung some old-school lights to bring a little holiday cheer to our Airstream (along with a fabulous tinsel/pipe cleaner tree powered by USB which was an impulse buy at Target).

Power boxes

Power boxes

Sunken park

Sunken park

Do not enter--unless you are prepared to be yelled at :)

Do not enter--unless you are prepared to be yelled at :)

X-mas lights

X-mas lights

Lights and reflections

Lights and reflections

Pretty much sums up the season so far in Portland

Pretty much sums up the season so far in Portland

Silver tree

Silver tree



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.


Bits and Pieces

It's been a rough couple weeks in Rivet and Roam land (nothing serious, just some annoying colds, unexpected bills, etc) but we have managed to do a little decorating to make our Airstream feel even more like 'us'.    We are still hanging out at Roamer's Rest which definitely allows for puttering and seeing what works and doesn't work in terms of decor.  Living in such a small space definitely makes you think about all the little bits and pieces.

Happy air plants in the kitchen window

Our trusty gnome has traveled with us from the TAB to the 19 foot airstream to his current home by the door (guarding the fruits and veggies!)

Bill's dad (who passed away when Bill was 18) made this awesome plant holder.  We are so happy to have it with us in the Airstream.

Slightly obsessed with these shelves from Target.  They fit perfectly and allow for a rotating display of tchotchkes.

The external hard drive bay makes a great bookend!

The kitchen!  Not a lot of counter space but we make it work.  

Sunday at Rivet and Roam headquarters.  Bill edits photos and watches football while Inga lounges on 'her' bed.

Last but not least, the obligatory Inga photo.   Most days you can find her lounging in the bedroom and keeping an eye on everything.



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.

"Roaming" With Friends

Our good friends (aka Team Davidson) came down from Olympia to visit our new 'home' at Roamer's Rest.   They have a cute little R-Pod, so they decided to come hang out with us at the RV park for the weekend.  It still counts as "roaming" if at least one of us roamed there, right?   

Team Davidson is comprised of Cora and Jason and their two insanely cute daughters Aggie and Mimi.   It was Aggie's 6th birthday weekend so there were many hijinks including ice skating, glitter crafts (breaking in the Airstream with the 'herpes of the craft world'!) and checking out the river.  I had hoped we could test out Roamer's Rest's horseshoe pits but classic Portland weather decided to return for a brief moment that Saturday.  

It was a nice chill weekend while we gear up for our next adventure with the Airstream.   We are heading to Moscow, Idaho for Bill's work for a couple of days.   Expect a post about our stay in the lovely Moscow Walmart parking lot.  Then we're off adventuring for a long weekend.  We are debating between heading back up to Montana (Glacier/Polebridge) or maybe Snoqualmie? Suggestions welcome!

 

 

 

Roamer's Rest

Fun house mirror reflection in vintage airstream

Fun house mirror reflection in vintage airstream

I swear we didn’t choose our first RV park based solely on the name – but it didn’t hurt!   Roamer’s Rest is a mid-sized RV park in Tualatin, Oregon, about 15 miles south of Portland.   Situated between Highway 99W (aka the road to wine country) and the Tualatin River, it’s a surprisingly quiet and mellow spot.    We didn’t realize it would be such a challenge to find a spot to park for the first couple months of Airstream life.   There aren’t very many RV parks in the Portland metro area and many of them were either fully booked or had a bazillion rules and regulations that would not allow for our lovely Miss Inga (our sweet, mellow, 12 year old Siberian Husky).  There’s also a pretty strict time limit on most RV park residencies (which varies by county).    Multnomah County only allows a 30 day stay whereas Washington County allows 90 days. 

inga along the tualatin

inga along the tualatin

For our intial stay, we wanted to do a month somewhere so we could shake out the nuts and bolts of living full-time in the Airstream.   We didn’t want to have to worry about having to find a place to ‘dump’ our tanks every week, so the full service RV park was the way to go.   Monthly rates are surprisingly affordable, especially when compared to nightly rates at most campgrounds.   Roamer’s Rest definitely adheres to the 90 day rule and encourages shorter stays, but there’s a nice mix of daily, weekly and monthly residents.  

old and new side by side

old and new side by side

kayaking on the tualatin

kayaking on the tualatin

Our other main requirement was ‘location, location, location.’  I work part-time at Victory Academy, a private school for kids impacted by Autism in Wilsonville.  On a good day, it’s a solid 30-45 minute commute from NE Portland.   I wanted to be a little closer to work since we were ramping up for our huge fundraiser and I was commuting more days than normal.  Roamer’s Rest is a lovely 15 minute drive to Victory through gorgeous farmland, which has been a lovely bonus.  We are also a five minute walk to river access and we were able to take our inflatable kayak for a little trip on the Tualatin River one sunny day after work.   Finally, as much as I am a Portland city girl at heart, one of the fun things about Airstream life is treating each location like a vacation destination.  I’m not sure I could live in the burbs, but it’s great to visit cute downtown Sherwood with it’s mix of wine bars, art galleries and small town charm.   And not too far down the road is Newburg, another great little town--where we had a delicious dinner for my birthday at Ruddick/Wood.  Knowing you are only going to be in a spot for a month or so is great motivation to explore what you may normally consider a ‘not-so-exciting’ area.

ruddick/wood

ruddick/wood

For the Love of Fire Lookouts

Cinnamon Butte Lookout

Fire lookouts are quickly becoming another favorite subject.   On Saturday we headed out to Cinnamon Butte Lookout.   This lookout was actually accessible by car (and has a HUGE helipad).   We lucked out with the weather all weekend – and had an incredible panoramic view from the lookout.   Taylor was spending his third summer as a lookout on Cinnamon Butte – although this year, he had the company of his insanely cute pup Rocket.   We had a great time hanging out and chatting with Taylor and Rocket about night photography, lightning strikes (including one time Taylor was basically trapped in bed for 13 hours during a lightning storm – the bed is insulated as is the ‘lightning stool’).

Taylor in his summer home

sleepy rocket

alert rocket

Trail to Illahee Rock Lookout

After such a great experience at Cinnamon Butte Lookout, our priority the next day was to check out the Illahee Rock Lookout.   This lookout was a bit more remote.  We followed the somewhat vague directions in the brochure and ended up at a dead end after about 6 miles on a gravel road.   We found a ‘trailhead’ and walked about a mile, then turned around to check out the ‘other’ trail where we finally saw the lookout perched above the ridge.   After finally finding the right trailhead (a good tipoff was the huge US Forest Service engine truck in the tiny parking area), we set off on the 1 mile hike to the lookout.  The hike was steep and gorgeous – it felt like something out of a fairytale as we wound our way up to the lookout.   At the top, we passed the original lookout (which was boarded up) and finally made it to the lookout.  Another amazingly clear day provided spectacular views as we walked up the stairs to say hello to the fire lookout.    Lise Wall had been stationed at the Illahee Rock Lookout for the past 14 (!!) summers.   She gave us a ton of information about the area for future explorations and really warmed up with talk of photography, particularly the use of film.   She asked us if we knew of a good ‘local’ place to get her film developed, so we sang the praises of Blue Moon.   We ended up trading portraits – she took a picture of us with her Rolleicord and I did a couple shots with my instax and left one with her.  It was a really wonderful experience and only increased our desire to do some more work to photograph and document fire lookout towers and the dedicated people who work in them.

Lise with her rolleicord

Lise taking our picture

instax photo