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?

Holiday Gifts for the RVers in Your Life

Gifts for the RVers in Your Life

What do you give your loved ones that are full time RVers? Not much, unless you’re going to get them a larger RV to put more shit in.

We purposely got rid of all our crap to live on the road, and we try not keep things that we don’t use. If we have forgotten we even own something (which happens more than it should, really), then we don’t actually need it do we?  So, it gets donated to a thrift store that we come across in our travels (this is also where we buy most of the stuff that we donate – that’s what we call the thrift store circle of life, my friends).

So, again, WHAT do you give your loved ones that live in their RV? Well…I have made a list…make sure to check it twice.

A thermal backpack picnic set. You may think that this is something that people don’t really NEED…but it has a detachable thermal wine holder. Everyone needs this; even you. Order 2. 


Food. Unless your giftee’s are people that don’t eat (in which case you should call in a welfare check on them) then food is always a win. Something delicious that they wouldn’t normally splurge for.


 Games! RV people (well, at least these RV people) love to play games! Especially, the RVers that like to spend their time offgrid.
Also…this is great for people like my husband that likes to make up words and call himself a wordsmith.


Do you know what every RV traveler needs? Whether it is a travel trailer, motorhome, 5th while or even a tiny house they will all need some petrol to move on to their next spot. Unless they have teleportation devices, which would really just take away the enjoyment – happiness is in the journey, not the destination. So, gas cards!

Sadly, we are still without free gas.


If you’re one of those people – you know the kind…they spend so much on their gifts that everyone else is ashamed of their homemade macaroni necklaces – then a membership to an RV club would be a great gift. RV Club memberships include some pretty impressive discounts for the RVers, as well as free stays. Do a little research, click buy, and WHAM! You are more awesome that Santa this year. You want cookies or carrots left out for you?

Some memberships do have age restrictions on the RV, so do your research. Photo courtesy of AMC


Riesling. Gewürztraminer. Chardonnay. Sauvignon blanc. Merlot. Cabernet sauvignon. Pinot noir. Boone’s. Ale. Lager. Microbrews. PBR. Vodka. Whiskey. Gin. Tequila.  Moonshine. 

“Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.” -Frank Sinatra


I saved the lamest, but probably the most useful for last. Gift cards. To Wal-mart, Kroger, Clothing Stores, Outdoor Stores, or just a prepaid Visa. This gift lacks imagination on your part, but will really be appreciated by your RVers.


Oh! I forgot the most important part. Have a happy and beautiful holiday season – and ditch the gifts, because the best gift is probably you – unless you suck.

Happy Holidays from Write on the Road. <3

Parkers Do Parker, Arizona

The Parkers Do Parker

Our surname is Parker, so we decided that we were royalty while we stayed in the Parker, Arizona area. We camped along the Parker strip, just a few miles south of Parker Dam.

Our royal flag is the white one…

We, the Royal Parkers, felt very special indeed. Until these two jackass came at us from the middle of the road…

Meet Eeyore!

And Donkey!

…and then we felt giddy and special!! The wild burros are all over the area!

Meet Johnny Knoxville!

He walked right up to me, looked right in my camera, and…

…sniffed it.

We stayed at Crossroads Campground on the California side of the Colorado River. It is a gorgeous little BLM campground that will only run you $5.00 per night ($2.50 with the America the Beautiful pass!)! The campground is dry camping, but there is a vault toilet available and an on-site host. There are tons of RV Parks in the area, most of them taking reservations six months to a year in advance. We were lucky to find ourselves a spot to squeeze into at the Crossroads Campground.

Colorado River from Crossroads Campground

Our home for the week!

 

The only thing about the place was that someone needed to trim this bush. I’m so sorry..my patronus is a 16 year old boy.

The wild donkeys in the area come to the campground most evenings to get a cool drink from the Colorado River and to try to sneak some food off of the campers – but don’t feed them! I think you can get fined for it there (as a new Royal Parker to the area, I may be looking into changing this law…).

This is Johnny Knoxville checking out what’s for dinner…

Mike, Carol, Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby, Cindy and Alice.

Here’s a story,of a lovely lady who was bringing up (3 )very lovely girls all of them had hair of brown like their mother…

…the youngest one in curls.

Here’s a story, of a man named Brady Who was busy with 3 boys of his own. They were 4 men living all together yet they were all alone…

And now they are running from me…apparently they do not like my singing.

Just a mile from the Crossroads Campground is the Sundance RV Park and Outlaw Saloon. We used the RV Park to dump our royal poo, and used the Outlaw Saloon to partake in pitchers of beer and their majestic buffalo wings. Seriously good wings. 

Outlaw Saloon

 During our stay near Parker we also visited the Desert Bar (also known as the  Nellie E Saloon or the Solar Saloon). The Desert Bar is an architecturally weird, completely solar powered bar and grill in the middle of the desert. There are multiple grills and bar areas. The bars are full service with your choice of mixed drinks, beer, wine, or soda. The main bar has a stage where live bands play during all open hours. The food smelled delicious, but we did not get to treat our royal selves because we are dumb and did not take cash. It’s completely solar! They have no internet! They cannot run point-of-sale machines! Duh, Royal Parkers, Duh!  We are going to go back another time to fully enjoy the weirdness that The Desert Bar is. The bar is open on Saturdays and Sundays only from noon to 6pm, October through April.

The Desert Bar stared as a single room building back in 1983 and has been added to yearly.

Including a chapel that has been blessed by a minister. There are no services at the chapel, but you can reserve it for wedding and etc.

solar roof

Desert dwellers take their partying pretty seriously.

In honor of our recently claimed royalty we drove to Lake Havasu City to visit the London Bridge. Yes, the real London Bridge is in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. As in, the one that falls down. It was purchased by a super rich guy and placed there. That’s it..no real historical reason except a rich guy wanted it done. How very American! The town has turned the area into quite the little tourist area complete with red phone booths.

How come every time you come around My London London Bridge wanna go down like London London London, wanna go down like London London London, we goin’ down like… I am sorry I am a royal pain in the ass. This has been an earworm for me for a week or so now…welcome to my pain.

Gateway to the Colorado River and the London Bridge. It’s just so weird.

Nothing says London Bridge like regal lions spitting.

Little Ben always despised his name…

It is definitely not a TARDIS, but I suppose Clark Kent could still suffer his multiple personality issues in here. Allons-y, Allonso!

The Royal Parkers enjoyed themselves very much during their visit, and will go back soon to partake of the booze in the desert – with cash!

Weekend in Vegas!

Weekend in Vegas!

A few days before Christmas, we decided to head to Las Vegas for a weekend getaway. And instead of wasting valuable poker money on hotel rooms, we decided to take Matilda with us. The plan was to park in the Rio parking lot, and stealth camp for two nights there.

Matilda

Plans are fun. And pointless.

As we were leaving Preferred RV Park in Pahrump, we stopped at their on-site propane fill and filled up. I napped the 60 miles to the Rio. Upon arrival we found a level spot in the back of a large parking lot and went to turn on the propane. And it was broken.

We went to Lowe’s to find a knob replacement, but they didn’t have one. We called multiple camping and RV supply stores, but no one sold just the knob. We finally called a place called CampOut Inc. and Trailer Supply. They didn’t sell just a knob either, but said they would take one off of an extra tank they had in storage.

Not all heroes wear capes!

Mr. Write and the customer service guy at CampOut Inc. tried their best to fix the knob. But to no avail, because the older fellow that had filled our tank that morning at Preferred RV was actually an undercover superhero that forgot to check his strength while making sure our propane was turned off, and now it was fucked.

I’m just gonna turn this knob a little bit more, Bub.

The entire valve needed replaced. CampOut Inc. became our own superheroes when they told us they would be able to get us in the next day for repairs. Yay! We had to empty the freshly filled propane tank before they could work on it. Between the emptying of the tank and the repairs, it would take about 3 hours and  $300.00 – so much for saving that valuable poker money.

Without a working propane tank, we needed hookups, so our stealthy parking lot camping was out. We ended up getting a space at Main Street Station RV Park – $20 for the night…but they also hold a $100 deposit. It was a bit of a hassle getting the space, but we did manage to have a good night anyway.

Why do you need a $100.00 deposit for a $20.00 RV space? …”because it is our policy to have a $100.00 deposit for all of our rooms…” Um…what?

We ate dinner at a Las Vegas buffet, and we played poker at Binion’s Gambling Hall – the place that made poker famous.

Shuffle up and deal!

The Original Home of the Poker Hall of Fame

I’m not the short stack, yet!

The place that made poker famous.

Leaving the Main Street Station RV Park the next morning was almost as much hassle as getting in, but we managed to get back to CampOut Inc. with time to spare for our repair appointment. We wandered around with the dogs for a few hours while the repairs were being done, and got to see a few cool things.

Like this RV that pulled in for repairs, too! 

The Mighty Thor

Bumblebee and Wolverine

I may have had a nerdgasm while checking this thing out.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an RV!

also…

Whatever the fuck this is…

CampOut Inc. got us up and burning again pretty quickly, and even filled our tank back up for us. If you’re in the Las Vegas area, go check them out on Fremont Street – great people!

Upon arriving back at Preferred RV Park in Pahrump, we told the manager about the repairs we had to have done, and they issued us a reimbursement check with no problems.

Good customer service can make crappy situations so much better!

Thank you, CampOut Inc., and Preferred RV.

The Spirit of Halloweentown – St. Helens, Oregon

Where do adult rving nomads go for Halloween?

 

Halloweentown!

It’s been years since I watched this movie with my kids and I don’t really remember much about it, but we were in the area in October, so we went to take a look.

Time for Halloweentown!

If you’ve seen the movie, you should recognize the building – City Hall, St. Helens, OR

The Spirit of Halloweentown in St. Helens was voted that best Halloween celebration in Oregon.

Spirit of Halloweentown takes place every year for the month of October in St. Helens, Oregon. There isn’t much that is unique about the town in general – until you visit their old town. The  Historical District is charming, and would have been a lovely visit even if it wasn’t during the Halloweentown festivities.

The Historical District of St. Helens takes their Halloween celebration quite seriously!

“Scarecrows” line the streets…

The businesses in the historical district really go all out for this yearly celebration.

Milo and Rusty were pretty excited about Halloweentown, too!

There are tons of activities on the weekends in October, including meeting with some of the actors from the movie.  There are skits, concerts, photo-ops galore, people in costumes, kids all dressed up, haunted houses, food court…St. Helens has fully embraced their claim to fame by being the town that Halloweentown was filmed in.

A lot of the houses in the historical district play along too!

Need a ride?

This little girl loved this little fluffy puppy…

Just some skeleton critters climbing a tree…

Animal skeleton, human skull, with a rat in its mouth. Hello nightmares.

And the band played on…

Rusty and Milo trying to hail a cab…

“Why don’t we talk about how illegal it is to drive without eyeballs?” – Dylan Cromwell, Halloweentown

Michael Jackson made an appearance.

Jack was hanging out there, too.

Views of the crowd – and it was a slow day.

This lovely lady, Winnie, was doing a little Hocus Pocus right in front of City Hall!

Sarah and Mary hanging out behind their big sis…because she is slightly terrifying…

See? Just slightly…

The Spirit of Halloweentown was a very cool experience, and I highly recommend going, especially if you have kids that are fans of the movie! You can find more information on their Facebook page.

It’s Just How Geeks Roll – Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington

We at Write on the Road tend to avoid big cities whenever we can – so recently we tackled Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington all in the same week – because we also like to make ourselves cry.

We got it raw…

We had to be in Portland for a few days, so we filled our time finding geeky stuff to do. 

…and lots of books.

Who says size matters? The Guinness Book of World Records – Portland is home to the World’s Smallest Park. Mill Ends Park is just 24” in diameter and 452.16 square inches.

Mill Ends Park

This is it. No really. This is it.

Who else says size matters? Me, when a bookstore takes up an entire city block! We visited Powell’s City of Books, America’s largest independent bookstore. It was amazing. It smelled of books, new and old, and coffee. There were a LOT of people shopping while we were there, but it was okay – book people are okay.

A bag of books. Just add wine for instant happy!

Sniff them. Do it. All the cool kids are.

A city block full of books. This is just one section of heaven here.

We also hung out for a few hours at the Clackamas Town Center Mall. Best stores – Hot Topic and Barnes and Noble. Now I own a badass beanie, and my to-be-read-pile is ridiculously large (and now we’re talking about size again). To finish up our shopping, we visited the StarWarsStore store near the mall. The store is small, but the space is filled with so many collectibles that it was nerdgasmic. 

Are you okay, Anni? Anni, are you okay? Are you okay, Anni?

Maximum effort!

Made the Kessel Run in 12 parcsecs…

To end our Portland adventure we found The TARDIS Room Cafe. With hopes of fish fingers and custard, we arrived for lunch – only to be disappointed by a closure for remodel. 

The construction workers have the phone box.

After our few days in Portland, we were ready to get on the road again.

Portland, Oregon, thanks for being nerdy with us!

We headed north, and briefly stopped in Seattle, WA.

How do they thread the space through the needle?

I try to be a supportive spouse. I support Mike in most things, and when I don’t it’s because he has had some stupid idea to…I digress. I support Mike in most things, and it was no different when he decided to take a religious trek to sacred ground – CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.

“…it’s one thing saying you’ve got the best god, but sayin’ it’s the only real one is a bit of cheek, in my opinion.” – Terry Pratchet

I don’t give any craps about football – but Mike does. He has been a fan of the Seahawks since he was a wee lad, and he was thrilled to stop by Centurylink for a quick look-see. It wasn’t a tour day, so we didn’t really get to see the field open, just through the fence. The store was open there, and although I don’t give any craps about football, I do love me a new hoodie – so guess who’s a Seahawks fan now? Still not me, but I got a new hoodie anyway.

Wave your flags and banners, sports fans!

12 is okay. 42 would have been a better answer.

The view from the cheap seats. Really cheap seats. The free ones outside the locked fence…

Or the 42’s!

Seattle has a ton of things that we wanted to see and do, but we didn’t have time for this trip. Travel through Washington will be a regular thing for us from now on, as family members have moved up there and we will be visiting often.  Looking forward to the Space Needle and the Pop Culture Museum next time through!

After Seattle we kept driving north – eventually all the way to the Canadian border…

UP NEXT – The most northwesternest you can get in the continental US.

 

Good news, bad news, just news, good news…

Good news, bad news, just news, good news…

It’s been awhile. Hello readers…er…reader?

The last blog was about a month ago, just as we headed into the wild for our fire watch workamping gig. The gig was sweet! We had plenty of space, trees for miles, and easy work! By the end of the first weekend we were all set up to homestead for a few months. 

I do love me some Oregon greenery!

Lots of back roads to off-leash Rusty and Milo. They were digging it!

But…

after only four days were back in Coos Bay – at the hospital. Mike’s father was admitted through the emergency room and wasn’t doing well. We spent a few days seeing which direction his health was going to go, and then we called Rundell Inc. to let them know that we were unable to come back to work. And that is one of the best things about being full-time RVers;  when life is starting to storm, you can always just park and wait it out.

…just waiting it out.

Rundell Inc. was completely understanding about the situation, and we would recommend anyone in the Oregon area that is interesting in off-grid workamping to contact them about their fire watch gigs. 

As far as Mike’s dad, he is on the road to recovery and is doing well. So we bought a motorhome….

 

Up Next – 

Great News!