The Ghost Towns of Central Oregon – Part 6 – Friend

Due to some unexpected events, I wasn’t able to finish off the Ghost Towns Blog Series as soon as I would have liked.

The unexpected event….

This is the final in the Ghost Towns of Central Oregon.

Friend, Oregon

Welcome to Friend, buddy

In its prime, the town consisted of a schoolhouse, a store, a train depot, and a cemetery. The town Friend was named after George Friend who had the original post office established on his own homestead in 1903.

Like the nearby ghost towns that we have already visited, the town seemed to only exist because of the railroad. Friend was the end of the line for the Great Southern Railroad, but when a new rail line was built from Dufur to The Dalles, then the little town of Friend all but shut down. The Friend train depot closed in 1928, and Friend has been considered a ghost town since the early 1930’s.

Hi, Friend!
Friend Store.
Friend school.

The old Friend Store is located on private property now, but the schoolhouse was open for self-tours. Although there are a few ranches nearby, Friend was probably the ghostiest of the ghost towns that we visited during our Central Oregon Ghost Town Trip.

This building sits alone in the middle of a field. Rumor mill says it used to be a bank.
Inside the school house looking out.
A piano remains in the school building.
School’s out…
The only friend I actually met in Friend.

Now that our central Oregon ghost town tour has come to an end, we will begin working on our summer travel plans. What are you summer camping/travel/RVing plans?

Bad RVing Tips #2

More Bad RVing Tips!

Brought you by the lack of common sense of our recent camp neighbors!

  1. If your camp neighbor has decorative items at their campsite, make sure to let your small children play with it! Your neighbors are going to LOVE you!
  2. If you pull into a small campground and there is only one other person there you can go ahead and crank up your sorry-ass country music as loud as your minivan speakers will let you! It’ll turn into a boot-scootin’ party.
  3. If you find a little free library at your camp neighbors site, you can take as many books as you like! Shit, take all of them! There are no library police at camp!
  4. When there are lots of signs telling you to keep your dogs on leashes, do not even worry about it. They don’t mean YOUR dog, just everyone else’s!
  5. When you think, “Gee, I think I should run around in my underwear!” Yes! This is definitely what you should do!

Okay. I’m done being the grumpy old lady yelling “get off my lawn!”
But seriously…stay off my lawn.

I’m done yelling. Here’s some cute puppers.

Bad RVing Tips

 

Book Review – Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

“It should not be denied...that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations, with absolute freedom, and the road has always led west.” 
-Wallace Stegner, The American West as Living Space

Into the Wild is the story of Christopher McCandless, an affluent young man who had been given all he could have ever needed or wanted financially-including a trust fund that he gave to the organization OXFAM, a charity committed to fighting hunger. Just over two years later Christopher’s alter-ego, Alexander Supertramp, died of starvation in the Alaskan Wilderness. While the end of his life was tragic, his thirst for life and adventure was not. 

The book is the result of Krakauer following in Alex’s footsteps through America. Alex made many friends along the way, and found a sense of family in complete strangers that he could never find with his own biological family.

He wanted nothing more than to be free. To live by his own intelligence and will. He wanted to go into the wild.

“I now walk into the wild.” 
―Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

If you are travelers like we are at Write on the Road, then I must insist that you read this book. You will feel the emotional journey of Chris McCandless on a different level than the average person. You will be able to understand that wanderlust, and the desire to wake to a new view every single day.

If you don’t travel full time like we do, then I still must insist that you read the book. Find your own wanderlust. Feel the passion to see new horizons. Eat new food. Try the local beers. Hike new mountains.

Become a tramp…

“...make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.” 
― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

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March for Our Lives – Coos Bay, Oregon

March for Our Lives

Majory Stoneman Douglas High School Victims

That is a list of the 17 victims in Parkland, Florida, where an asshole with an AR-15 shot up a high school.  This is just ONE of the mass shootings in America…but this was THE mass shooting that woke up America’s children.

 

March for Our Lives – March 24, 2018 – Coos Bay, Oregon

A record number of people flooded the streets in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York and countless other towns across America – and the world – today for the March for Our Lives event. We attended the march in Coos Bay, Oregon since we were back at our home base for appointments and family visits.

A useful bucket to store all the thoughts and prayers…

Coos County, Oregon tends to lean toward the red side of the aisle…lots of crabbing, fishing, camouflage, and hunting, hunting, hunting. I believed that we may end up with a few people hanging around the March for Our Lives event to argue for their 2nd amendment right to stroke themselves with their AR-15…surprisingly, there was more support from people than opposition. That is saying a lot about how people are feeling about assault-style weapons being in the hands of people that shouldn’t be left alone with a potato gun. Even in the small redneck towns on the Oregon Coast, people want to see change.

Even old guys that are gun owners want stricter gun laws!

Alright, lawmakers!! Even the dude with the mullet and the camouflage hat showed up! Pay attention!

Marshfield High School student – Coos Bay, Oregon

This young gentleman is Cameron. He is a student at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay…and he helped plan the event. He led the marchers through the town while holding a March for Our Lives Banner. He spoke in front of the small crowd of 150 marchers with confidence and conviction. He is America’s future…and he makes it look bright.

Cameron, high schooler in Coos Bay, Oregon – leading the March for Our Lives

The adults of America have run out of time. We had our chance: a chance to leave a better world to our children and grandchildren, a chance to be the change that the world has needed, a chance to spread empathy, knowledge, and compassion instead of more bigotry, hatred, misogyny, and greed. We blew it. We blew it so hard that we don’t even get to pass our torch…our children have taken that torch away from us – and they are using it to light America’s future.

This amazing mama marched with her littles…

Outta the way! I have a country to save!

Hugs Not Guns!

Love is all you need. And stricter gun laws.

Darth Vader and Superman showed up to the March for Our Lives event. Superman is always welcome..Vader appearing is quite..disturbing.

FOR MORE INFORMATION please visit the following pages:

March for Our Lives 

Register to Vote 

or text P2P to RTVOTE to register

 

 

Back on the Coast

We came back to Coos County Oregon to visit for the holidays. Arrived in North Bend, OR on Thanksgiving day and leaving Bandon, OR on December 29th. It has been a very wet month.

This selfie is what the entire Coos County populations looks like from November to May every year…

Upon arrival, we headed to a local campground favorite, Tugman State Park. It was raining..a lot…for our stay there, but it was a nice familiar place to get some rest after our mad dash to get to Oregon for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Always bring your life jacket to a picnic…

And be prepared to swim to the dock.

Eel Lake at Tugman State Park

After Tugman we stayed at Riley County Park, then up to Tenmile Lakes County Park. The rain slowed a little while there and we actually managed to have a campfire and roast some hot dogs. The bad side of the rain decreasing is that we got to experience our first potable water hose freezing during this time. Oops.

Butterfield Lake at Riley County Park

Since I wouldn’t leave the trailer to confirm the frozen hose, the hubby wanted to prove to me that it was, indeed, cold.

Towards the end of our month here we went to Bandon, OR. Other than visiting with the family, Bandon was the funnest part of our trip. The rainy days and sunny days were pretty equal and we managed to spend some time at a few of the beaches, visit the Coquille River Lighthouse, and Face Rock Creamery.

The sun setting behind the Coquille River Lighthouse

Bandon is an adorable little town. Old Town Bandon is a few blocks worth of souvenir shops, seafood restaurants, coffee shops and even (my favorite thing!) a bookstore. Old Town is next to the Bandon Docks where they have fresh seafood shops.

The Bandon City Park has a huge playground, ball fields, a dog park, and is walking distance to the library and the beach! For as small of a town as Bandon is, they do seem to do tourism correctly.

Cute gazebo in the Bandon City Park

Dog Park!!! 1, 2, 3…Fight!

Beautiful beach in Bandon

Wave goodbye to the Oregon Coast for a few months…

Bandon’s version of the stairway to heaven…

Evidence of the rare and elusive winter sun in Bandon.

Face Rock Creamery is a small creamery right in the middle of town. Their cheese is absolutely amazing! If you go to visit make sure to try their In Your Face Fiery Red Pepper Cheese and their Vampire Slayer Garlic Cheese.

So good!

Her life would have been way easier if all she had to do was throw cheese at the Vampyre’s…

We have had an amazing time celebrating holidays with our kids, family, and friends. We are headed out tomorrow for the trip south through California to arrive at our workamping gig at Joshua Tree National Park. I am excited to get out of the rain for a few months, but saying goodbye to the family is always bittersweet.

Merry Christmas from Milo

And Happy New Year from Rusty

5 Things About Compact Living That Drive Me Bat Shit Crazy(er)

We chose to live in a small trailer with two full size dogs. We made this choice, and it has been an amazing choice so far. But let’s be honest here….it is not all campfires and s’mores. There are things about compact living that drive me nuts and I wanted to share them…not to talk you out of full time rving, but to make sure you are aware that it does have…complications.

Top 5 Things About Compact Living That Drive Me Bat Shit Crazy(er)

  1. The refrigerator/freezer
    We exited a very large house with a full size family living in it, to our tiny home with our tiny fridge. It is difficult to adjust from monthly family-size shopping trips to only being able to fit a week’s food at a time. It has been a challenge. Just last night we realized that it’s nearly impossible to put an ice cream tub in our freezer. We considered staying up all night and eating all of the ice cream, but decided if we use that as a storage strategy we soon won’t be able to fit in our tiny home at all. We ended up only eating half the tub of ice cream and then cut the container down half the size so it would fit.
  1. Sweeping the floor. Over and over and over and over and over –
    Regardless of whether we are on the rainy coast of Oregon or in the dry desert of Arizona, we have to sweep the floor soooooo much. Be it tree needles, sand, grass, dirt, gravel, dust, cactus….seriously. There is so much sweeping. And then the dogs come back in the house, and it turns out that sweeping was pointless.
  1. When the weather is crap and we are forced to stay inside –
    When all four of us are in the trailer, it is difficult to get around. There is a lot of strategic placement of our dogs. The placement depends on what we are doing; cooking, cleaning, reading, or just trying to get to the bathroom. It can be frustrating, but more so for the dogs, I think, than for us. At least they aren’t stepping on our ears (Sorry again, Rusty and Milo!).

Full size dogs, trying to take up as little space as possible – and working together to try to protect their ears from me accidentally stepping on them.

  1. The moisture –
    We have been back on the coast since Thanksgiving. It has rained almost the entire time. With four creatures living in the trailer the condensation is terrible. We have to open certain windows, depending on which way the trailer is facing and how the rain is falling. We run a heater almost constantly, and run the exhaust fan over the stove. We bought a Dri-Z-Air container that absorbs quite a bit of moisture (but also takes up valuable counter space).
    About once a week we have to lift the mattress off the bed and the cushions from the dining area and prop them up for about an hour to make sure everything is staying dry. At this point, I am VERY much looking forward to some time in the desert.
  1. Moving things around
    We have to stack the pillows and blankets on the table to change the sheets. We have to move the heater from the table to under the bed to be able to eat. We have to take the garbage can and broom out of the bathroom to take a shower. We have to move the garbage can and broom back to the bathroom and move the heater from the table to under the bed to eat our lunch. We have a cutting board that covers the sink to give us counter space, and every time we need water for coffee, cooking, etc., from the sink we have to move the cutting board/counter space somewhere else, and then have to move it back over the sink because we need the counter space to make the coffee, food, etc. It is a constant re-arrangement of all items that are not permanently attached.

The moral of this story is that there are things that can be quite maddening about living in a tiny, movable home. I have begun to understand why people go for the larger RV’s and 5th Wheels. While I still don’t believe that we need a traveling mansion, if we purchased a larger trailer someday it wouldn’t make me sad at all.

I do not regret our choice. I have enjoyed the traveling we have been able to do so far. I have loved the amazing displays of beauty that our planet has to offer.

If I were to write a pro and con list of full time rving, the pro list would far surpass the con.  

 

Workamping

Starting the first week of January we are trying something new! We will be hosting in Joshua Tree National Park. This hosting job will last from January until the end of April, and we are really excited about it!

Joshua Tree National Park, California

The complete list of duties for this particular gig is very short – live there and make sure that if any hikers have gotten off their path and find themselves nearby then just point them in the right direction. I think we can handle that! Well, the hubby can handle that – I was not blessed with a sense of direction…(but I got extra doses of cute and humor!)

Four months seems like a long time to spend in one place, as we have traveled a lot since launching in September. We have already put over 3000 miles on Hoban and the Serenity! Which is exactly why we were looking for a workamping gig. We wanted to force ourselves to slow down a little. We aren’t on vacation. This is our way of life now and we don’t have to see everything all at once. So we searched online and found this easy hosting job and we’re giving it a shot.

There is a Cholla Garden in Joshua Tree – we have promised the four-legged ones that we will not be visiting this particular garden.

The area of Joshua Tree National Park that we will be in is called Keys Ranch. There is a ton of history in the place and I can’t wait to learn it all! There is so much to be seen and explored in the park!

Keys Ranch

If you are interested in learning more about hosting, I have included a few links below.

Volunteer.gov 

Camphost.org

RV.net Forums

Snowbird RV Trails

Watt’s Up With the Solar Panels?

A few months ago I said I would update you on that amazingly insightful solar power situation for Serenity. You know, the one where I said we’d have to wait and see if I worked out all the math okay? Well, it worked, almost perfectly. The panel size is more than sufficient; able to recharge in just a few hours in most cases. Then we had a system breakdown that cost us a few extra bucks, and it taught me a lesson – and now I will share that lesson.

The wife says the lesson is to buy a generator…

There we were – New Mexico. Beautiful rock mesa formations, great hiking, a lovely set of falls, and a real education thanks to the people of the Jemez reservation… but our batteries just wouldn’t recharge. By the time we got to Quartzsite, AZ we were getting desperate to figure out the problem.

Watt do the zero’s mean? They mean you should have bought a generator….

In Quartzsite we found a great shop, Discount SolarThey had knowledgeable people and excellent customer service. With a little diagnostic help from them, it was discovered that our controller box was dead. All dead, not mostly dead. So we ended up having to purchase a new controller box. Why you ask? Shouldn’t your panels (because of how new they are) be covered by some kind of warranty? Well, yes, actually, they are. However, due to (here comes the lesson) previous problems during the order process from Eco-Worthy we knew we could not get the controller anytime soon. So we purchased a new one: A small Go Power unit. 

This little inexpensive unit does all I ever wanted the Eco-Worthy unit to do, but didn’t. If you need a bigger unit here’s the big brother to ours: Go Power 30 Amp Regulator. 

Okay, we don’t need a generator because this little beauty makes wonderful things happen!

So watt’s the lesson… When you have as much trouble as we did in the beginning with a company (shipping delays, incorrect order, not the controller unit that we wanted, no case for the panels, etc.), then maybe it is just time to go elsewhere before you sink too much money into their pockets.

And if you are thinking about making a portable solar panel purchase these are the ones I recommend now.

AnpoweTM Folding Solar Panel Kit

Go Power! Portable Folding Solar Kit

Zamp Solar Charge Kit

My recommendations are based on our experience with solar techs, the units, company reviews, and cost. 

Another look into the Old West – Fairbank and Tombstone, Arizona

Continuing with our old west theme we decided to head toward the ghost town of Fairbank. The town is highly intact as it is owned and has been restored by the Bureau of Land Management. The old school house has been modified into a visitor’s center and gift shop, but is only open on Friday through Sunday, so we didn’t get a chance to visit it. The old store, post office, and gas station was combined in a single building, which is still standing and in good shape considering that the last owners packed up and left in the mid 1970’s. There are a few other buildings, including an outhouse and the shaky remains of horse stables. Fairbank has year round caretakers on site, but admission is free. There are plenty of picnic tables and hiking trails to be able to make a whole day of it.

You just got a letter. You just got a letter. You just got a letter. I wonder who it’s from!? Someone very upset that you haven’t written them back, most likely, because the post office closed in the early 1970’s.

The Old School House

Fairbank Ghost Town Buildings.

Ghost: Um? Hello? Shut the door!!!

We found a place to land Serenity for the evening near Tombstone, with plans to spend the next day exploring. The next day was Veteran’s day, so we got to watch their annual Veteran’s Day parade.

Tombstone Veteran’s Parade 2016

The town of Tombstone is authentic with their wooden sidewalks, historic buildings, and everything there is going to cost you something. While it will no longer be your life that you have to pay with, they do love your coin purse. Each building has an entry fee, each rendition of an old west shootout has an entry fee, even the courthouse museum has an entry fee. The toilets located at the small city park were free to use. To be honest, we did not spend much money there, but chose to enjoy the town from the outside of the buildings, which is still very cool!

This fancy, and well air-conditioned, lady started her impressive career at the Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone.

Plenty of history to see and hear about at the Bird Cage.

The Bird Cage Theater holds the record for the longest poker game ever – over eight years long, only ending because the Theater closed.

Big Nose Kate’s Saloon.

The O.K. Corral! I think they grew Huckleberry’s or something here?

Some fine transportation for the fine, upstanding citizens of Tombstone

Writing desk at the Tombstone Epitaph – the first and longest running newspaper in Tombstone.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
The Boothill Graveyard – so named for the large amount of men buried there that died with their boots on.

The Thing – I-10 Arizona

The Thing

If you have any observation skills at all, you will come across at least thousands (that may be an exaggeration, but not by much…) of billboards on I-10 between El Paso, Texas and Tuscon, AZ advertising The Thing, The Mystery of the Desert.

What is It?!

What is the Mystery of the Desert?!

See the Thing!

Enticing, right?

We’re suckers for a cheap thrill and for only $2 per person you are able to solve the Mystery of the Desert for yourself.

Don’t cheat and google it or you will just be cheating yourself.

The Thing attraction has three different buildings that lead you up to the Thing – just follow the giant yellow footprints!

What could have possibly left these tracks?! Desert Sasquatch? Aliens? People with too much time on their hands and big dreams of roadside attractions?

The first building has multiple artifacts, cars, wooden carvings, and plenty of signs teasing the Thing.

Hand carved torture chamber…because, why not?

Carving torture is better than performing torture…

It really was the Thing for transportation…

The second building contains small glass enclosures with artifacts and signs claiming that the age and value of the items. Don’t let the dust-ridden 1970’s carpet take away from the ooohhh’s and aaahhhh’s.

Ma Bell has come a long way

The third, and final, building houses the Thing and other interesting pieces. I will not ruin the surprise for you,  as the owner should not have to pay for allllll those enticing billboards for some traveling schmuck to ruin it on their blog.

It’s a Wonder!!

Go visit and see for yourself! (Also, there are literally dozens of Pokemon that spawn there within seconds!!)