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).
"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
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.
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!
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!
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).
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.
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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.