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!

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??


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



"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