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?

The Real World

The Real World

 

We at Write on the Road know that we are lucky in so many ways. Neither of us have to go to an 8-5 job, and very rarely do we even have to set an alarm clock. Isn’t the alarm clock the worst sound ever? No. No, it isn’t. The worst sound ever is my mother yelling my name from across the house when I was young, but alarm clocks are definitely a close second.  

Not my actual mother, but obviously she is someone’s actual mother – look at the irritation on her face – you can’t fake that.

We both realize how lucky we are, but don’t be fooled by looking at our lives from the outside. We actually have to come back to the real world way more often than we like. Between family emergencies, and family stupidities, medical issues, and the maintenance costs to RV full time, the real world is something we know quite well.

This summer has been difficult with ALL of the above mentioned issues, but we are still hanging on to the dream. The most recent was a medical issue; Mr. Write on the Road had a liver cyst the size of a small puppy. Picking a name that was gender neutral, we chose Ollie (Oliver or Olivia). Ollie was just born 5 days ago, and we have discovered that full time RVing is not ideal for an intensive abdominal surgery, or the healing that comes after. We are doing our best, but it is not comfortable for the Mr. at all. Although, I am not sure that living in a sticks ‘n bricks would be any better; he is kind of a whiner. In his defense, they did remove the cyst, about 40% of his liver, and his gallbladder. 

The giant dark spot on the liver is Ollie.

The surgery was done by the liver clinic at Portland VA Hospital, and they were completely amazing. They did an excellent job on the very long surgery, and kept me updated as they progressed. The VA Hospital also arranged for us to stay in a nearby Fisher House, which is a non-profit organization that provides lodging for Veterans and their family during medical emergencies. The Fisher House in Vancouver, WA was exceptional. They provided a beautiful room with Cable TV and WiFi, invitations to community dinners, a stocked kitchen to prepare your own meals, and a full laundry room. I simply cannot say enough good things about the Fisher House. I am completely grateful to the organization.

View of Portland from the VA Hospital

Barring any family emergencies or family stupidities, we should be able to get back on the road soon. We can’t wait to share more travels, adventures, and cheesy jokes!

* If you are interested in sending gifts for the birth of Ollie we are accepting gas money, or alcohol for the Mrs.

 

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

 

&^#@%*! Clean Up After Yourselves!

&^#@%*! Clean Up After Yourselves!

I’m angry. I am angry that I even have to write a post like this. So, I will keep it short and simple, and try not to use profanity.

We enjoy dry camping. We will drive right past even the coolest of RV Parks and go out in the middle of nowhere where our puppers can roam free and we can have peace and quiet to work on our writing, reading, and napping.

More often than not, when we are dry camping we come across the tracks of the most vicious animals to walk the earth.

I’m sure this just rolled out there by itself.

Broken bucket strategically placed to…catch rain water?

Ah! Forest tree ornaments.

A beautiful butterfly posing on a piece of garbage.

Humans.

Pieces of a TV.

Hey, Mother Earth! Hold my beer.

We have found everything from mattresses to an obscene amount of bullet casings. And we always clean up what we can. Not to toot my own horn, but we always leave our camping spots in better condition than we found them.

Endless shell casings

GAHHHHHHH. WTF people??

And it is really that easy! Whether you are out in the forest fulfilling your ammosexual fantasies or parking your RV to find your peace – just leave your spot better than you found it. Take a garbage bag when you go. Clean up your shit and whatever other shit you see laying around.

Nice shooting there, JimBob.

I killed myself a cardboard box! YeeHaw!!

A Jack in the Box cup. It’s like 50 miles to the closest Jack in the Box. People suck.

This is your earth. You don’t get another one, so stop pissing her (and me) off.

Sir Rusty Fluffy Butt is pretty pissed about all of this shit too. He loves his planet!!

PACK IT IN – PACK IT OUT!!

LEAVE NO FUCKING TRACE.

I FAILED AT NOT USING PROFANITY.

FUCKING CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELVES!

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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Bad RVing Tips

Bad RVing Tips from Write on the Road

Home is where you park it!

  • Always get drunk the night before moving day so you can hate yourself, instead of absolutely everything else.
  • When you arrive at a mostly empty campground, make sure to set up right next to one of the only ones already there. I’m sure they will love your company.
  • Don’t worry about leaving your awning out. Those things are tough. I mean, they’re made to travel down the road at 65mph, right?
  • If you’re stuck inside due to bad weather, make yourself a lovely boiled seafood medley. It’s a great comfort food to have while listening to the rain.

  • After occupying your site in an RV Park or campground you can go ahead and use the shortcut through your neighbors yard to get to the bathroom, etc.. Just smile and wave as you go by!

  • Running your generator late at night or early in the morning is fine. The engine rhythm will just lull them back to sleep.
  • Go ahead and leave the black tank valve open while using full hookups. What could it hurt?
  • You can also drain your grey tanks as you’re a traveling, it helps keep people from hiding in your blind spot or tailgating. 

 

Biggest Little City in the World – Reno, Nevada

Reno, Nevada

RENO – The Biggest Little City in the World. What happens here, might stay here – except for alcoholism – that shit will follow you home.

People visit Reno to drink, gamble, or get married. We’re already married – so drunk gambling it is.

Silver Legacy and Circus Circus

Eldorado

It is said that all you need is a chip and a chair, but just in case you lose both, Reno has you covered with these chip chairs…

Seriously though, if you are considering visiting Reno, plan ahead to remain hydrated because…free alcohol.

Look at all the flashy stuff…

…while we distract you with alcohol…

…and take all your money!! Fun times!

We stayed at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino RV Park. It was inexpensive, clean, and quiet, with laundry and showers on site, and just a short walk away from their casino.

Grand Sierra Resort and Casino

We spent the week casino hopping, playing poker and feeding the slot machines for free booze. There is plenty to see in Reno, and most of it can be seen from the main strip.  Enjoy a daytime walk, and then go back at night to experience it even flashier.

The main strip…

And you thought your power bill was high!

This is a crazy ass tall building with rock climbing pegs.

And this a crazy ass woman kicking ass on it!

It was a fun, exhausting week that reminded us we are a little too old to be partying into the wee hours. And although we didn’t become rich on the poker tables, we didn’t end up losing much either…

Except liver function. We lost liver function. 

 

 

Fall In Love with Highway 22

Fall In Love with Highway 22

There are two state parks along highway 22 in Oregon, as well as a buttload of forest service parks – and the drive is breathtakingly beautiful in the fall.

Seriously…an buttload of forest service parks.

Silver Falls

Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park is located about 45 miles northeast of Salem. The park is enormous with beautiful hiking trails, including the Trail of Ten Falls. The most visited waterfall is the South Falls, which you can hike behind.

South Falls

South Falls….falling south

The trail leading behind the south falls, to the elephant graveyard… #alternativefacts

A lot of the main trails are off limits to pets, but there are over 35 miles of backcountry trails that you can take your furbabies on.

Rusty and Milo were upset that they were not permitted on some of the trails, so they peed on everything that they could.

There is plenty of interpretive displays along the main trails, with history on the area and the park.

There are a lot of bridges in the park.

Oh, just get over it.

Older bridge covered in moss.

There is also a beautiful lodge that has a cafe and WiFi.

Cafe and Lodge

We will be visiting Silver Falls State Park again as there was too much to see in one trip…and we were too lazy to hike the Trail of Ten Falls this time and I am disappointed with us.

Detroit Lake

Detroit Lake State Park is another 50 miles east of Silver Falls. The lake is huge and is a very popular place in the spring and summer. Plenty of lake for watersports and fishing.

Dawn over Detroit Lake brings with it The Mist.

While looking at the photos from Detroit Lake, I am starting to think that it should have been named Crystal Lake.

Um. Jason? Is that you under there?

The mist floating along the waters of Camp Crystal Lake.

The small town of Detroit is nearby and is the self-proclaimed “motor boat city.” The “motor boat city” has a few small markets, and a few small restaurants and bars. There is also a dog park, which is a small 6’ x 8’ area with a broken fence, but the dogs were happy taking a tinkle there.

Welcome to Detroit Motor Boat City

No. Just No.

Speaking of motorboats, I came across this happy tree.

We found the only WiFi in the town at The Cedars Restaurant and Lounge. We ate buffalo chips, and lounged so much in the lounge that we were still lounging the next day until about noon.

I will admit to overlounging, but I am still sure that this is NOT what I had for dinner.

What I have discovered over the past week and a half is that fall along Highway 22 is quite brief, as this would have been the drive just a few days later.

Mother Nature!! Just stop it! We aren’t even a month into fall.

Next Blog: Portland, Oregon

Meet Matilda

I get emotionally attached to inanimate objects…like teddy bears, blankets, cars, travel trailers. So how do I say goodbye to Serenity..our tiny home for the last year? Answer: I don’t. I just “loan” it to a family member for awhile so I can make the goodbye be as long and painful as possible. I need to start going to therapy – again.

I’m not crying, you’re crying.

What I learned very quickly though is that having a brand new queen size memory foam bed in our new-to-us motorhome made my sadness go away pretty quickly. It was probably all the naps on the new bed…rest is the best treatment for sadness.

Naps are the best idea for everything, really.

So anyway, meet Matilda.

Matilda is a 26 year old, 27 ½’ TropiCal motorhome.

She is just as lovely as can be, and was very well taken care of by her previous family.

Just look at her…*sigh*

She is a true BBW.

Rusty and Milo love the new home…as long as it isn’t actually moving.

The twin beds she came with. Milo and Rusty were sad to see them go…

Oh dog! Oh dog! Oh dog! We’re all going to die!

Matilda is exactly what were looking for, and we are so excited to add her to the family!

She came with the cute pillow!

The hallway leading into the kitchen, past the powder room.

Beautiful, bright paneling and cabinetry.

Serenity brought us plenty of that…serenity. Forever in love with our first travel trailer, and falling more in love with Matilda everyday. Or maybe, just maybe, I am in love with this life.

Dear Serenity and Hoban, thank you for all the freedom!

Cottonwood Canyon Biking – Wasco, Oregon

Guest Blogger – Michael Parker
 (He’s the husband and has to do what I say, so not really a guest, but it sounds cooler)

Take a moment and close your eyes… I want you to imagine something with me (I know you’re peeking – How else could you still be reading this?):

It is millions of years ago and a young river has begun its work sculpting out layer after layer of rock to create a canyon filled with prairie grasses tucked between basalt peaks.

Okay, you can open your eyes now (stop faking it, I know you didn’t really close them – we already talked about this). Did you see it? No? Well, then here’s a few pictures.

The John Day is the the third longest undammed river in the U.S. But I believe that if you ain’t first, you’re last…so coming in third is just not good enough.

A bike path running along side the river.

Let me tell you what you’re looking at; this is Cottonwood Canyon in Oregon. The canyon was carved out by the John Day River so the state park we stayed at could be built. The state park, conveniently named Cottonwood Canyon State Park, has bikes you can check out to cruise some of the trails

Go ahead. Take one for a ride. … … … … It’s too easy to make this awful, so I’m going to leave it alone.

So I went for a ride on a bike that turned out to be a time machine.

The chameleon circuit has finally been sorted.

The history of the formation of the region is laid out before you on these trails. Like an enormous novel that took thousands of years to write each single page, the canyon tells the story of a time when Mother Earth was a bit more feisty and stressed out; throwing lava around, shoving piles of subterranean rock into mountains above the surface, all while stripping chunks away with water. What we are left with is an amazing , awe-inspiring display created by the grandest architect of all – nature.

I just can’t explain how much this wall rocked.

Mother Earth would like you to take notes on this geography lesson, so she doesn’t need to cause a rock slide to teach you the lesson.

The Cliffs of Insani…..uh….Slightly Scary!

Whether you decide to hike them, or bike them, when you stroll down these paths take your time. Mother Nature took around 16 million years to design this canyon – don’t be in such a rush that you miss the details she put into it.

This path took millions of years, plus a couple more with a park ranger.

Footnote about what I learned about myself:

This was my first trail ride on a mountain bike in many years and I am glad it was an easy ride because I am now very aware that I am still overweight, out of shape, and getting older everyday. Thankfully they had a few spots along the path for break. I used every one of them.

I tried out each of the resting areas to make sure they are all in working order for our readers who decide to visit.