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?

Ghost Towns of Central Oregon – Part Two – Kent & Shaniko

ghost town
noun
a town that was busy in the past but is now empty 
or nearly empty because the activities that kept 
people there have stopped
Kent, Oregon

Kent

The town of Kent is located on Highway 97, south of Grass Valley and north of Shaniko. The town site was originally called Guthrie, and a smaller town site, named Kent, was in a nearby canyon. When the Columbia Southern Railway arrived in Guthrie around 1900, the people of Kent moved to the larger town, and the town of Guthrie was renamed Kent. The post office is the only active business in town.

Kent false advertising.
Kent Market
Cheapest gas in Oregon!

Shaniko

August Scherneckau moved to the area in 1874, after the Civil War. It is said that the town was named after the way that the local Native Americans pronounced Scherneckau’s name. The Shaniko Post Office was opened in 1900, and the town was incorporated the next year.

Shaniko Schoolhouse

The town of Shaniko became a transportation hub between the Columbia Southern Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad. Between the years of 1901 and 1911, Shaniko was known as the “wool capital of the world.” The largest building in town was a wool warehouse, which still stands today.

Wool Warehouse

In 1911 the Union Pacific Railroad began using an alternative route to Portland, and Shaniko started losing businesses and population right away. Shaniko was first called a “ghost town” in 1959. According the last census the population is now 36.

The Shaniko Hotel
Inside the Shaniko Hotel
Shaniko – The hub of transportation.
Another example of the local transportation.
I bet there is some antique dog tinkle on this.

UP NEXT Antelope!

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park – Winchester Bay, Oregon

The original Umpqua Lighthouse. Photo courtesy of lighthousefriends.com

The Umpqua Lighthouse was originally constructed on the north side of the Umpqua river mouth, and was finished in 1857. However, the surveyors that had picked that location had never seen the Umpqua river at flood levels – and the original lighthouse tower tumbled down after a brutal  storm in 1863.

Umpqua Lighthouse 2019

After two decades of a dark coastline, the Lighthouse Board eventually approved the funding to rebuild the Umpqua Lighthouse, as well as construct the Heceta Head Lighthouse, her sister to the north. The lighthouses were built simultaneously, and with almost identical plans. Heceta Head was lit first in 1893.

View from the lighthouse today.

Having learned their lesson with the first lighthouse, the second Umpqua Lighthouse was built on a headland above the mouth of the river, where it is the farthest away from a river or the ocean of all the lighthouses along the Oregon Coast.

The rotation mechanism needed to be restored in 1985, but it is still the original mechanism.

The mouth of the Umpqua river at Winchester Bay was finally lit up again on December 31, 1894.

This former U.S. Coast Guard facility built in 1939 was restored by the Douglas County Park Department and dedicated as a public recreation facility on June 19, 1960.

The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The old housing facilities have been turned into a museum, but the lighthouse is still an active U. S. Coast Guard lighthouse base today.

On site Museum and Gift Shop

Development of facilities for Umpqua River State Park began with trails and a picnic area at the nearby Lake Marie in the 1930s. Access to the small freshwater lake was provided for fishing and swimming. In the late 1950s, the overnight camping area was added.

The campground is small with only 20 hookup sites, plus tent sites, yurts, 2 log cabins, a hiker/biker camp, and well-maintained restroom and shower facilities.

They also have the jawbone of a whale on display because we are fucking savages on the Oregon Coast.

The nearby towns of Winchester Bay and Reedsport, Oregon both have shopping, recreational supplies, and restaurants. We recommend Don’s Main Street Diner right on Highway 101 in Reedsport. Their clam chowder is delicious, and their pies are to die for!

Mmm. Pie.

Nearby attractions include the marina in Winchester Bay with crabbing, fishing, and beautiful views. Reedsport offers grocery stores, river views, and the Umpqua Discovery Center, which is an educational and cultural resource for all ages.

Winchester Bay Marina
Railroad trestle near the Umpqua Discovery Center
Lots of great photo ops nearby!
The whale watching station near the lighthouse.

More information

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park

Don’s Main Street Family Diner

Umpqua Discovery Center

Happy Holidays from the Oregon Coast

City Holiday Display in Florence, OR

2018 has been a long year.

Don’t get me wrong! I am not complaining, because I know how lucky we are living the way we do. We don’t have average 8-5 jobs, we hardly ever have to set an alarm to wake up, and if we don’t like our neighbors we just move without having to pack a single box.


An entry in the Holiday Float Parade in Florence, OR

We started the new year in Las Vegas playing poker tournaments at Binions. From there we got to spend time with our friends and families in the Pacific Northwest. The Mr. had to have a pretty serious surgery that took almost half of his liver. I am hobbling a bit with an unknown (for now) diagnosis. The year was long and life continues to always try to get in the way, but we are still Writing on the Road – so I consider 2018 a win for us. I hope it was for you and yours as well, but if it wasn’t – there is a new year just around the corner. And, hey, that is how we always find our best dry camping spots…by looking just around the next corner!


Coos Historical Railway Display in Coos Bay, OR.

During this holiday season remember that we all have our own gifts to give to the world, whether it is writing, or photography, or just some simple painted rocks that you leave laying around for others to find a free smile. Perhaps you take garbage from the ocean and turn it into art. Maybe you are a connoisseur of beer? Whatever it is that you do – just do your thing. Do it great. And always try to be better than you were yesterday…or last year.

Veteran’s Memorial Park in Florence, OR


So, at the end of 2018 try to take a minute and appreciate what the year gave you. Love? Happiness? Friendship? Tell them you love them! Tell them they make you happy! Tell them you are grateful for their friendship. New job? Work hard! New dream? Make it come true! Heartbreak? It means you still love beyond yourself and that makes you amazing.


A snowman hitching a ride on a small boat. I hope he doesn’t fall in!

Happy Holidays from Write on the Road!

Near the Siuslaw River in Florence, OR
We hope your path in 2019 takes you somewhere beautiful!

Links

For more information about the Oregon Coast Historic Railway you can go here.

You can learn more about Florence, Oregon here.

Through Washington

Through Washington

We put in some serious effort in September to actually travel! Mr. Write on the Road healed pretty quickly after his liver surgery, and when we were able, we headed north through Washington to Bellingham. 

We wallydocked in Longview, which is where we saw our first squirrel bridge. The Nutty Narrows was built back in the 1960’s by a businessman that was tired of seeing all the flattened squirrels on the road. So, he and some co-workers worked together to design the bridge and brought the proposal to the city council, and voilà! 

The Nutty Narrows

Perfect for squirrels on the go!

This large squirrel is there to let the regular squirrels know where to cross.

Except for this guy. He does what he wants.

Onward to Bellingham, which is a city of about 90,000. There are a lot of small, rural towns nearby, though. And a lot of farms. It smells like cow poop almost all of the time. Which is just bullshit. 

They do have large cocks around here, though.

Did you see the size of that chicken?

This is a Hairstream. It’s located in a tiny town on the way to Mt. Baker. I can’t imagine they get a ton of business out there, but I appreciate their wittiness.

This is a fence made out of ski’s in a small town up by Mt. Baker. It’s brilliant!

Near Bellingham is Mt. Baker. It was a drizzly day, but we drove up the mountain to take a look-see. And we failed on that mission because it was too foggy at the top to even see the mountain. But it was still a beautiful drive.

Two very large ravens welcome you to Mt. Baker.

Views of a valley below the mountain.

Beautiful fall colors!

…and this is Mt. Baker….somewhere in there.

Here at Write on the Road, we are going to do our best to keep up our travelling…since we are a travel blog and all.

 

Somewhere in Washington

Flashing gang signs. But seriously, I don’t think peace and Trump go together.

Until next time – have your Trumper friends spayed or neutered.

 

All of July – All in Oregon

All of July. All in Oregon.

July was an interesting month for us here at Write on the Road. There was a lot of travel. Correction – there was a lot of driving.

Lakeside, OR
to Prineville, OR
to Portland, OR to
Prineville, OR to
Madras, OR to
Grants Pass, OR
to Lakeside, OR
to Prineville, OR to
Mitchell, OR to
Prospect, OR
to Grants Pass, OR
Ugh. I want out of Oregon for awhile!

The month was filled with doctor appointments, family visits, and family emergencies. It’s not what we had in mind when we decided to travel full time, but there it is…life.

It wasn’t all errands though. We went swimming, we saw cool stuff, we saw scary stuff, and beautiful stuff. Because there it is…life.

Just a deer running by our front door in Lakeside, OR

Crooked River near Prineville, OR

Old Highway tunnel near Madras, OR

This is what we call a No Thanks.

A fairly naked Mt. Hood

Interesting way the trees fell (or the Blair Witch is moving on to larger and more challenging designs.) near Mt. Hood.

A banana split bus! I hate bananas, but I like the split. Oh. Wait.

A TARDIS bus stop. I am officially jealous of these kids!

This School Bus Stop is the property of …. jealous. So jealous.

John Day River near Mitchell, OR.

Chasing sticks…

I got it! I got it!

I thtill gots it! I thtill gots it!

I see a little silhouette of a bird · Scaracutie, Scaracutie, will you do the chirpdango?

I haven’t see one of these in ages! Is that a bird? A plane?

It’s Superman! An illegal immigrant here to save our asses!

A long-awaited trip to Crater Lake..

Wizards Island in Crater Lake…through the smoke.

Fire Information. It’s hot. And it’s everywhere.

The Ghost Ship Island in Crater Lake. I think we’ll go back when the smoke clears. 

Welcome to August. Hoping for less driving and more travel!

 

Crooked River – Prineville, Oregon

Crooked River Campgrounds

Along the Crooked River Highway

The first of the Crooked River Campgrounds is located about 15 miles south of Prineville, OR along the Crooked River Highway. There are between eight and ten BLM campgrounds along the river. All of the campgrounds have bathrooms and garbage service, and a few have drinking water as well. You can stay a total of 14 days on BLM land, but you can switch to different campgrounds during your 14 days.

Campground entrance…and exit, actually. Are we coming or going?

One of the campsites at Stillwater Campground.

We chose to stay at Stillwater Campground, and had a whole end of the campground to ourselves for most of our stay. It is ridiculously warm during the summer, but that is what the freezing cold river is for. So, wear a swimsuit with a snowsuit over it.

There is a lot of wildlife in the area. We saw deer, a beaver, ducks, geese, all kinds of birds, and even bunnies! We didn’t get pics of all the critters, but we can’t do everything for you, now can we?

An Osprey waiting watching for his fish dinner. (Go Seahawks!)

A Blue Heron at dusk.

What’s this you say? Come on. You don’t know a beaver when you see one? 

It was a peaceful stay, and with Prineville so close there is access to everything you could need. There are grocery stores, fast food, restaurants, a cool dog park, and an RV Shop that has a Dump Station and a fresh water fill for only $10.00. If you find yourself passing through central Oregon make sure to stop and enjoy the Prineville area! 

Beautiful drive along the river!

River views from the campground.

A shoe tree! No one knows why they exist, but theories range from serial killers to fertility rituals. 

 

 

&^#@%*! 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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Story Time – Silver Rock by M.D. Parker

Write on the Road spent a few days drycamping in a ghost town. The spirits that resided there inspired M.D. Parker to share their story.

Silver Rock by M.D. Parker

She moved through the doorway with a small bundle of wood in her hands. The morning was cooler than she expected, and the fire needed stoking. Maria knelt down pulling open the heavy iron door. She tugged on her dress to keep the hem from catching under her sandaled feet. Only a little, she thought. Just enough to warm the water and take away the morning chill. The day would soon be warm enough. She closed the iron door and stood, wondering, if today would be the day he came back. Miguel still had not come home.

She loves him through his faults. Miguel is heavy with the drink, but no one works harder than he. She looks around the house. She should try more, she thinks. The wood is chipping and the whitewash she spread along the wall is cracking. She notices a dark stain near the door, like ground in charcoal. She fetches a bucket from outside the door. She returns with a small amount of water and lye soap to scrub it away, but there is no stain. Confused, she looks around before setting the bucket down and gives up trying to remember what she was looking for.

She can’t remember how long they’ve been there, but she can remember the man in his horseless buggy. She’d heard they were becoming very popular in the cities and soon they would be everywhere. She didn’t believe it. His horseless buggy couldn’t make it up the hills like her horse could. He had walked up the last hill to tell her that she would have to leave. The claim belonged to her husband and she was not entitled. Yes, entitled was the word he used. She knew the English, but the man in his fancy suit and horseless… “automobile” is what he called it, he used lots of words she was not familiar with. She chased him away with the rifle Miguel left standing by the door.

Maria cared very little for the fancy man, but she never wanted to hurt him. She just wanted to scare him; make him go. She had to keep everything ready for when Miguel returned. He will take care of the fancy man, and she will take care of their home. That was the deal when they came to the hills outside of Silver Rock, and everything had been going fine until the day…

She would not think of that day. She had work to do, right after she relieved herself. She stepped with care across the rough ground; just a few feet from their door to the outhouse. The sun, not fully over the mountain, did little to light the path.

The day passed, as so many others had, while she waited for Miguel. She filled their water from the hand pump over the well. She made herself some food and had some put away for Miguel. She tended to the plants in her makeshift garden that was bordered by rocks she had placed in concentric circles. She brushed off her dress and set to preparing the oil lamps as the sun touched the western hills. The moon already showed itself, full and bright, as it chased the sun away.

She heard them coming. A rumbling sound. They were following the same track that had been laid down by the uncountable trips with their wagon, hauling what Miguel had pulled from the mine on their way into Silver Rock to get the goods they needed. It came into view. Another horseless buggy, of sorts.

It was strange though, closed in like a carriage of painted metal. Not open like the fancy man’s. She watched as they stopped so near to her home. The wheels looked nothing like the ones on the fancy man’s. His had spokes like a wagon. These were solid and of the shiniest metal, like they were made from pure silver. How rich must the owner be to afford such extravagance? She grabbed the oil lamp from the mantel and turned for the door.  Stopping only a foot past the rifle. She raised the oil lamp to get a better view beyond the shadows thrown long by the setting sun and the rising moon. She could not help her mouth falling agape as people climbed from the carriage.

A man got out first first from the front of the carriage and looked around as if not seeing her. He wore denim of a quality she had never seen. A thin shirt hung over his torso, like an undershirt but with pictures painted on it. The woman that stepped out next was the reason for her shock. She looked like a harlot; a half naked working girl. She wore no dress. Her legs bare, her bottom covered only by some kind of tight fitting pant that ended high upon her thighs. She too wore a shirt with painted pictures, the front low enough to show hints of the breasts it barely covered. harlot or no, she felt a tinge of wonder if her own legs had looked like that before age had taken the youth from beneath her dress.

They both moved and spoke as if she was not there. Ignoring her as she called out to them. This man in his fancy carriage and his harlot companion had no business around her home. They continued to speak with no regard to her. They spoke in clear English, but some words she did not know. She continued to wonder at the woman who seemed so comfortable being so near to naked.  

Maria stepped out farther toward them, forgetting the rifle by the door.

“You see the burn marks? I told you she did it.” The man said to his companion, pointing just behind Maria.

“She must have been so sad,” the woman said.

Maria turned to see what the man was pointing at and saw the charcoal colored stain she had meant to clean up that morning. The two of them walked right passed her, straight into her home stepping with care.

Pare! No se puede entrar! She said too fast, forgetting her English.

“Did you hear that?” The woman was looking around.

“Hear what?” The man answered with his eyebrow up mocking the bare-skinned woman.

“Something, I’m not sure.”

He’s laughed then, “Don’t tell me you believe the stories about her ghost now?”

Maria reached for them. The man’s shoulder was closest to her. A startled half scream slipped past her lips as her hand passed through his shoulder like a wisp of smoke from a pipe. The man turned around and his face fell slack as he stumbled. Then it all became a blur. It happened so fast.

He screamed and the woman did not move but met Maria’s gaze, eye to eye. Maria shook away the shock, realizing she must have missed his shoulder, she had meant to grab him, to tell him to get out of her home. They had no right. She stepped forward yelling at them. Her Spanish and English mixing in her tirade.

Pare! Get out of my home. No entrar. LEAVE!

The man scrambled and stumbled as he tried with desperation to bring his feet under him. The woman broke the ice holding her feet to the ground and grabbed the man by his painted picture shirt. He swung his arms as he stood. Maria stepped in closer holding the lamp at him, shaking it with all the fury that masked her own fear. The man’s arms struck the lamp. Maria saw the flutter of a disturbed smoke trail as her hold on the lantern broke.

She screamed.

She heard the the glass on the lamp break as it found the hardened floor. The man’s eyes grew larger than the full moon inside their sockets.

LEAVE!

They tried to run from her. They tripped and stumbled as if climbing over something she could not see. Maria felt hot.

Panic stabbed at her mind, breaking her fury as she began to understand what happened to the lamp. Its oil splashed as it broke. Her dress ignited as the tiny flame found a new home. She screamed, not for them to leave, but for help, as the flames swirled around her.

The heat. The pain. All so fast.

She saw them fall through, more than run, out the side door. The one that opened toward the well pump. She flapped her arms against her dress, but the oil spread. She ran out the front door. Her body dropped to its knees. Her mind blank except for the pain. The heat. The smell.

Miguel?

Help me…

Por favor, Miguel.

Miguel did not come and the world fell darker than the night should be. The man and his harlot ran to their carriage. Through the flames that covered her eyes, she saw the wheels of silver rolling over the rocks.

She moved through the doorway with a small bundle of wood in her hands. The morning was cooler than she expected, and the fire needed stoking. Maria knelt down pulling open the heavy iron door. She tugged on her dress to keep the hem from catching under her sandaled feet. Only a little, she thought. Just enough to warm the water and take away the morning chill. The day would soon be warm enough. She closed the iron door and stood, wondering, if today would be the day he came back. Miguel still had not come home.


Read more in M.D. Parkers first collection. 
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