A Visit to Washington

During our camping trip over Memorial Day weekend, we took some time to do some exploring in the area. Stevenson, WA is usually one of those places we pass through on our way to somewhere else. This time we had some time to do some visiting.

First stop, the Columbia River in Stevenson, WA

There’s a nice waterfront park along the Columbia River. Right across the railroad tracks is Walking Man Brewing. They’re known for their Walking Man IPA and other wonderful microbrews.

A kinetic sculpture at the waterfront park in Stevenson, WA

There’s also a pier where steam ships landed in the past. The Queen of the West still lands there during a yearly Smithsonian trip that travels the Columbia River from Astoria, OR all the way to Lewiston, ID.

All ready to ride - let's go!

At the fair grounds there is a nice park with a play area for kids, a walking path, interpretive signs, and fishing in a lake. This trolley must run during fair time.

The river running through the Skamania County fair grounds
Posing on the foot bridge at the Skamania County fair grounds

We took a drive up the river and stopped in Carson to do some antiquing and a visit to the Carson Mineral Hot Springs. The Hotel St. Martin was built in 1901 and the bath houses completed shortly after that. The place seems to be in a bit of flux. I heard that the place was bought by an overseas company a few years ago and it went downhill. It was recently bought by the Bonneville Hot Springs folks, and it looks like things are under construction there.

The old hotel at Carson Hot Springs

From Carson we headed over to Bingen, WA (pronounced with a hard g like ginger). We stopped at a couple of shops before heading up the hill to White Salmon.

The view of Mount Hood from White Salmon, WA

White Salmon is  a cute little town, but most of the shops were closed on Sunday. I’d like to go back and visit again sometime.

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day, and thank you to all of our veterans. We’re proudly flying our flag at the house today, as are many others on our street.

We spent the weekend with the Teardroppers of Oregon and Washington, TOW, at a gathering in the Columbia Gorge. Every time I drive out through the Gorge, I’m awestruck by its beauty. We live in a very beautiful place here in the Pacific Northwest.

We camped for the weekend with 42 other teardrop trailers and vintage trailers. It was great to catch up with everyone after the long winter.

Gorge Gathering 2012

The gathering was held at the Skamania County fair grounds where there were great facilities including a huge heated building where we could gather to eat, meet, and play. We were lucky to miss the rain this year. It stormed all around us, but we managed to stay fairly dry.

Teardrop trailers

A teardrop trailer is a trailer whose cooking facilities are outside the sleeping area under a hatch that lifts up. Most teardrop trailers are only big enough for two people, and you can’t stand up. The EZ-ups keep us dry. Many of the teardrop owners attach changing areas to either side of the trailer to hold a porta-potty or to provide somewhere to stand up and change clothes.

This is where you cook in a teardrop trailer

We just got a new awning for our 1961 Aljo from Marti’s Awnings in CA. It looks great on the trailer, don’t you think?

Our new awning from Marti
Kendall likes camping with the new trailer

Even Kendall likes camping in the new trailer. She’s not much for getting wet or dirty, so the new blue rug and the awning make for a great place to hang out in her bed and watch the world go by.


A Step Back in Time

We spent this past weekend at a vintage trailer rally at Milo McIver State Park in Estacada. Forty-two vintage trailers and their owners gathered for a wonderful weekend of fun. There was a salsa contest, open houses (trailers), a potluck, and camp fires, as well as lots and lots of visiting. We took our 1961 Aljo, The Atomic Lounge, to her first Rollin’ Oldies Vintage Trailer gathering.


We’ve been busy getting our 1961 Aljo ready for camping season, so I’ve been visiting secondhand stores and estate sales to see what 1960s stuff I can find. Today I scored! Look what I found.

A mid-century Welby starburst clock

I got the clock for $5 at an estate sale. We were going to take off the wood spikes so that it would fit into the trailer, but a quick search on ebay shows that these are selling for over $200. I think I’ll think twice about modifying it. I may sell this and get what I really want, An Atomic Lounge piece of art from here.

I also picked up these great wooden salt and pepper shakers. They have “Made in Honduras” printed on the top. The sides with the S and P are similar but all of the other sides are different. They stand about 6 in. high.

The similar sides showing S and P
One of the other sides
Another side
And yet another side. They're all different.

I also got these for $5 for the pair. We have a friend who has a Tiki Lounge themed vintage trailer. We’ll probably give them to them for the trailer.

A few weeks ago, I picked up a few more things for the Atomic Lounge including this great Last Call/Happy Hour sign.

Last call sign
Last Call flips over to read Happy Hour

This sign lights up and sits perfectly in the front window of the trailer.

I also scored when I found a box of swizzle sticks from the old Hoyt Hotel in Portland. It was torn down in the early 70’s and was the home of the Barbary Coast Bar. It was the place where Darcelle got her start.

Swizzle sticks from the Barbary Coast at the Hoyt Hotel

This only shows a few, but I got about 500 of these swizzle sticks. I think I’ll hand them out to people who visit during the vintage trailer rallies.

I also picked up a few other things that I haven’t taken any pictures of. I’ll be sure to include them in future posts.

So, what does Kendall think about all of this shopping?

C'mon, mom, let's just go camping!
I just can't stand it anymore.

Spring Flowers

Kendall went camping this past weekend at Champoeg State Park and found some fun spring flowers to crawl around in. The spring weather was gorgeous! It was in the low 80’s  – unheard of for Oregon in April.

I've never met a dog that loves flowers as much as Kendall does.
Hanging out in the sunshine and daisies.
It doesn't get much better than this.

The Maiden Voyage of the Atomic Lounge

As I mentioned a week or so ago, we are now the proud owners of a 1961 Aljo vintage trailer. This past weekend we joined a number of other vintage trailer owners for a rare nice weekend in April for a gathering in Oregon. This was our first trip out in the Aljo. I spent all of Thursday frantically sewing curtains for the trailer so that we’d be ready to take her out.

Our "new" 1961 Aljo trailer
We're transforming her into the Atomic Lounge
This bed is more comfortable than our one at home.
All of the comforts of home.
A rare Airstream
Isn't it beautiful? You should see the inside!
Look at the combo vintage car and trailer!
An Aloha trailer built right here in Oregon
Another Aloha trailer
This is one gorgeous Roadmaster
It had a full size range and refrigerator inside
Kendall loves that she can see out the windows when on the bed now
Kendall's new trailer
Who wants to go camping with me?


Cavalier Camping by the Cowlitz

This past weekend we headed up to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest near Packwood, WA. It’s just south of Mt. Rainier and north east of Mount St. Helens. It was a gorgeous weekend for camping. My two sisters and my sister’s husband went with us. Here are some of the pictures from the weekend.

Camping can be pretty exhausting and dirty (if you sleep on the ground)


The Cowlitz River as seen from our camp site


Can we go home yet? I don't like to get dirty.


The Cowlitz River a bit upstream from our camp site


Home sweet home for a few days

The weather was beautiful, but we weren’t there for the fun and games. We took care of some stuff and did some shopping at the Packwood Swap Meet. Looking back at my pictures I noticed that I didn’t take a single picture of the people I was with. I hope my sister will share some of their pictures.

A Weekend of Closure

This isn’t the post that I was supposed to be posting this morning, but it’s the one I needed to write. Today I’m joining Shell over at Things I Can’t  Say for the Pour Your Heart Out Linky list.

As I sat down yesterday to fill out the paperwork at work for my yearly review, it gave me a chance to reflect on this past year. What could I possibly have accomplished this year? This was the year where so much, and at the same time, so little, seems to have happened. It’s hard to believe that just a year ago, I was starting my month-long sabbatical at a wonderful house in Sunriver resort. I was looking forward to exploring central Oregon, riding the bike paths, and reading and relaxing. Then, I got the phone call – the phone call that confirmed our suspicions that mom had cancer. Not only did she have cancer, but it had metastasized to a number of places in her body. What can you do at that point other than go into survival mode and hope for the best?

Mom passed away in December. Why is there nothing written about the ugly side of cancer? No amount of reading or searching the internet prepared me for the ugliness that I experienced. I won’t write about it here. Perhaps one day I will. I’d do it so that someone else living the nightmare may be a little bit better prepared.

You’d think that mom’s death would be the end and all that’s left is the grieving, but that’s not the case. Somehow during my life, I became the responsible one – the one who had to deal with all of the things that need to be done after someone’s passing. I had bills to pay, a house 3000 miles away to clean out, taxes to do… It seemed like the list was never ending. I’m still working with hospice and the hospital to get some of the bills paid.

This past weekend was all about closure. I finally sold mom’s house. In this terrible real estate market, I wasn’t able to get much for it, but it’s sold-no more lot rent to pay each month, no more electric bills to pay, and no more worrying about an uninsured manufactured home during hurricane season. It closed on Friday.

My sister flew in this weekend, too. I held our first ever family meeting on Thursday evening to go through all of the things I brought back from mom’s house when I went down to clean it out. We divvied it all up, and I think everyone was ok with the outcome. One more piece of closure.

The biggest piece of closure that took place this weekend was the scattering of mom’s ashes. Mom was an avid camper whose last wish was to go camping one last time and have her ashes spread in the forest. All of the sisters and our husbands took off this Labor Day weekend for a campground up near Mt. Rainier in Washington state. We took mom with us. We made s’mores. We sat around the campfire. It was a gorgeous weekend with Mt. Rainier showing her face all four days we were up there. We found a beautiful place to scatter mom’s ashes. She’s near, but not in, Mt. Rainier National Park. Did you know you have to have a permit to scatter ashes in the park?

So what did I get accomplished this past year? A lot, and at the same time, not much. I did the best I could. Now, I’m ready to move on. It’s time to take care of me.


More Cavalier Camping – Vintage Style

We spent last weekend camping with our teardrop trailer and vintage trailer friends for whom I do the newsletter. There were 49 trailers there at last count. The weather was almost perfect. It did sprinkle toward the end of the trip on Sunday, but it wouldn’t be camping if there weren’t a little rain. I think it’s rained every time we’ve been out camping in the last three years.

There were a lot of dogs on the camping trip. Some we’ve met before and others are new friends. I was able to get a few of them with their trailers. Spike, who was featured in our Wordless Wednesday post, was camped right next door in a nice little teardrop trailer.

A few of the teardrop trailers
Camping in style
A Cozy Cruiser teardrop trailer

Many of the teardrop trailers are home built while others are built by manufacturers. It’s a lot of fun to see what people have put into them. The traditional teardrop trailer is 4′ x 8′ and has a hatch in the back that lifts up to expose the galley. Two people can fit inside to sleep just fine, but it gets a bit cramped when you add a dog or two.

Some of the tow vehicles

Many of the teardrop trailers are pulled by antique or classic cars. They usually weigh less than 1000 lb, so they’re easily pulled by most cars.

Another tow vehicle and trailer
An Airstream Bambi and a Scamp (I think)
Colorful camping
A beautiful combination
A teardrop trailer from the 1940's
A cute dog named Libby camps here
A great little Frisbee dog
Another camping Cavalier
Live music cowboy style

There was even live music on Saturday afternoon. The Cow Chips played for about 2 hours.

It was all just a little too much to handle

Later that evening we had a huge potluck dinner. Many of us cooked in our Dutch ovens. I made chicken enchiladas, which was enough for about 20 people. I’m hoping that someone who was camping with us took some pictures of all of the Dutch ovens lined up before dinner.

All of this was followed by THE BIGGEST BONFIRE I have ever seen. The camp out was on private property and they had been saving up all of the debris on the property in a giant burn pile. It was a sight to see! It was so hot there wasn’t any chance of roasting marshmallows on it. Someone built a smaller side fire so that people could make s’mores. A big thanks to Spike’s mom for the bonfire picture.

The biggest camp fire I've ever seen

If you’re in to vintage trailers or teardrop trailers, be sure to check out the web site for The Teardroppers of Oregon and Washington, or TOW for short.

Camping at Deschutes State Park and a Blog Hop

Last weekend we headed east to escape the ever-present rain in the Portland area. We drove out to the Deschutes River State Recreation Area to do some camping. This is one of our favorite state parks, and now that they’ve added showers, it’s even better. It’s located where the Deschutes River meets the mighty Columbia River, just east of The Dalles. It’s almost always windy there as the winds rush up the Columbia Gorge.

We love to take our mountain bikes with us and ride up the 17 mile trail along the Deschutes River. We’ve made it to the other end a couple of times. It gets really hot out on the trail when the afternoon sun comes around the hills. There’s no water on the trail so make sure you take more than you think you’ll need, if you decide to ride. There’s also no shade, so an early morning start is imperative.

The A loop has a beautiful lawn around the outside of the loop. Kendall doesn’t usually like to camp, but she seemed to be having a good time although she doesn’t look too happy in this picture.

There are no fires allowed in the campground from July 1st to September 30th because it’s so dry. The campground is located in what’s called the high desert and one little spark could send a fire up the Deschutes canyon. The river is known for its fly fishing and rafting. You also see a lot of drift boats coming down the river.

It rained on Friday right after we got there and into the night. Saturday was pretty nice, but by Saturday afternoon a thunderstorm had developed. That’s when we packed up and headed over the Maryhill Winery for happy hour and to wait out the storm.

It’s Saturday, so that must mean it’s time for a Pet Blog Hop. Hop on over and say hi to the other participants. If you’re stopping by from the hop, welcome. Take some time to look around.