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

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

A Fond Farewell to Roamer's Rest

Who would have ever thought I would enjoy living in a RV Park?  That was not remotely part of the plan when we started this adventure almost 8 months ago.   But circumstances - part-time job, lack of RV parks or other parking options in central Portland, availability, etc - landed us here on and off for the majority of the last 8 months.   Our little spot (#23) at Roamer's Rest is tucked back in a tree-filled corner of the park with a fair amount of privacy (and lots of birds visiting our feeders!)   If you ignore the construction of the big apartment complex across the little forest area and the occasional monster truck revving from the auto repair shop behind us, it's downright idyllic!  The park is also right on the Tualatin River with a nice area for Inga to play ball.  There's also great access for kayaking on the river.  

BUT, all good things must come to an end.  We found out that the park is pretty much booked all summer (and our little spot is reserved starting June 1st through November) so it's time to find a new spot.  We will be traveling quite a bit over the summer on weekends working on our fire lookout project and then (hopefully) a big road trip back to MI in August.  But that leaves quite a few weeks to figure out.    One of the great things about this crazy full-time Airstream adventure is learning to remain flexible and keep an open mind on lodging options. 

Gorgeous evening light on the Tualatin River.

Gorgeous evening light on the Tualatin River.

Inga watching over spot #23

Inga watching over spot #23

Flashback to kayaking on the Tualatin River.

Flashback to kayaking on the Tualatin River.

Halloween at the RV park

Halloween at the RV park

Our sweet friend Aggie explores down by the river.

Our sweet friend Aggie explores down by the river.

Inga in the 'jungle' of Roamer's Rest.

Inga in the 'jungle' of Roamer's Rest.

So much green!

So much green!

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)