Back on the Prowl

Well, I have to say it has been a bit rough for the past 10 months as far as second hand smoke goes. Since we arrived back in Moonbeam’s state last October (when the fires burned down our previous family home), we have pretty much been in constant smoke-filled skies with just a tiny bit of respite here and there. With all the California wildfires scattered statewide, we were unable to escape the smoke. We had very nice family visits and thoroughly enjoyed our kids and grandkids, as well as other family members. But now we’re back on the road. 


This is what we left behind on the central coast of California…


…and this little lady was waiting for me underneath my tire cover! I can only imagine Eric G. dancing around the campsite after seeing/encountering this…

We started out with an overnighter at the Merced Elks Lodge. They have a very nice RV lot at a satellite location to their main lodge. We got up the next day and promptly headed into Sacramento and to the Sacramento Truck Center (Freightliner) for the newest recall work on the bus. We overnighted there until our appointment, which took all of about 30 minutes to re-route some hose in the engine that was in jeapordy of burning up at it’s current, original location. Hose moved, we sped north, desperately trying to flee the smoke filled skies. We overnighted in the “hopping” town of Weed, CA, at Friendly RV Park. Smoke was still thick as we continued north on I-5 and into Oregon. We had 4 days to “burn” until our appointment for our new captain’s chairs at Countryside Interiors in Junction City, so we decided to settle in Junction City at Guaranty RV Park again, relax, get caught up on chores, and even give Rosie (the bus) a bath. Plus, we got a couple of days break from the smoke (but ONLY a couple of days!). We took the opportunity to check out Eugene’s Farmer’s Market. It was quite the hippy-fest. Lots of veggies, tie-dye, jewelry, art, otherwise typical stuff you find at a farmer’s market.


Our overnight home at the Merced Elks Lodge RV lot. Not bad…


And our new overnight stop at the Freightliner shop in Sacramento, the Sacramento Truck Center. We had to wait out at the curb until they closed up shop so we could move up to the building and a 30A hookup.


A lovely parting shot of Lake Shasta as we headed north on I-5. That is NOT fog, folks…


This is what I-5 looked like all the way into Oregon…


Friendly RV Park in Weed, CA.


Our overnight home at Friendly RV Park.


Back at Guaranty RV Park in Junction City, OR.


I know, terrible picture, shoot the photographer! But unpacking at Guaranty RV and I found the husband of the woman I squashed back at Cava Robles RV Resort in Paso Robles, CA. He was webbed out  between my tire covers and our white foldable table. Yuckeeeeeeeeee! This time, I even danced around the campsite, Eric!

The Eugene Farmer’s Market, in all it’s glory… very busy too!

This is the disclaimer for the dope smokers across the street…

The dope smoking contingent across the street, the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza…

See, I told you it was a hippy-fest!

It took all of less than an hour to swap out the captain’s chairs and onward we went. Next stop was Northwest Cummins in beautiful downtown Coburg, OR for the yearly service on Rosie. They have power and water for overnight stays in their lot, very convenient. They found a couple of extra things that needed attention ($2K total, ouch!), then it was road time again. Sisters, OR, was our choice of destination. The Deschutes Nat’l Forest contains an area on Harrington Loop Rd. just off Hwy. 20 south of town and behind the Bend/Sisters RV Resort. There are numerous boondock sites off this dirt road that are big rig friendly to get to and not too forested so as to interfere with our solar panels or satellite TV. We shared the area with about 3 others, scattered far away from each other.


Out with the old…

The boyz of Countryside Interiors hard at work…

…and in with the new!

The sun rises on a new day at the Northwest Cummins shop in Coburg, OR. At least it tries to!

Jeanne got her a couple of zip-loc bags full of beautiful blackberries that surrounded the area we were in at Cummins.

We got set up off of Harrington Loop Rd. in Sisters, OR, with a hint of blue skies, which we found out soon enough was to be short-lived.

Our first foray was onto Hwy. 242 out of Sisters and up through the lava beds to the McKenzie Pass and eventually to Proxy Falls which has a moderate trail (1.5 miles roundtrip) to the upper and lower falls, and it is dog friendly. This is a fee area (5$) unless you have the N.P Annual Pass, Senior Pass, or Access Pass, whereas it is free. Woody had a fun jaunt along the trail, as did we.

The drive up Hwy. 242 to Proxy Falls. Oh boy…

One of the scenic vista points heading up to Proxy Falls, overlooking some of the lava beds and you can barely make out Mt. Washington through the smoke…

Woodrow Wilson chomping at the bit to hit that trail to Proxy Falls.

Heading up through more lava fields.

The lower falls of Proxy Falls.

Jeanne leading the charge…

The upper falls of Proxy Falls. Not as scenic as the lower falls were…

On our way back we stopped at the Dee Wright Observatory, a rock structure built overlooking the  lava beds and viewing all the mountains in the area like the 3 Sisters, Mt. Washington, Black Butte, and others. The only problem was the #&%$@*ing THICK smoke, we could barely see the peak of Mt. Washington.

The McKenzie Pass Summit marker, just across the street from the Dee Wright Observatory.

The Dee Wright Observatory.

A look out the window opening of the Observatory. Hard to see mountains through the smoke from here…

On top of the Observatory, a directional marker to nearby geological points.

Top view from the Observatory.

A peak at the inside.

In keeping with our past practices, we discovered the Bend, OR area hosts an “Ale Trail” which includes 16 breweries in the area. We picked up our Ale Trail passports and for the next couple of days we road tripped around Bend, Redmon, and Sisters hitting up all 16 breweries, tasting at some, eating at others, or just browsing gift shops. I have to say, sampling beers nationwide (the lower 48, anyway), and being a porter/stout fan, my favorite breweries thus far in no particular order are Founders Brewery, Evil Twin Brewery, Omnipollo (noa Pecan Mud), and Firestone Walker Brewing. I am always looking for new favorite breweries, so that hunt continues. Finishing the trail, we collected our prizes at the visitor’s center, 2 silicone pint-sized beer mugs and a couple of bottle openers. 4 days of boondocking in the dirt and trees and we were ready for civilized living and FHU’s.

Here I am, hot on the Bend Ale Trail, at the Cascade Lakes Brewing Co.

A couple of testers from Wild Ride Brew…

You just never know who you might run into…somebody at Wild Ride heard my loud mouth running and spoke up. Lo & behold, Steve Gossett, one of my former co-workers in Sonoma County, CA! Wow…

10 Barrel Brewing.

Sampling 10 Barrel fare…get a load of them coasters…

Monkless Belgian Ales.

Gotta do a little pizza to wash down some more of them Deschutes Brewery samples…

McMenamins Old St. Francis School Pub.

Silver Moon Brewery.

Riverbend Brewing Co.

Inside Boneyard Pub.

Some of the Boneyard’s offerings.

Good Life Brewing Co. Note the tiny hint in the lower right corner of a hops plant crawling up the twine.

Good Life Brewing was a happening place.

Crux Fermentation Project was also a very happening place. They have a large outdoor family area, K9 friendly, and yard games everywhere.

The front door to Crux…Oh looky, there’s more of them there hops plants growing off to the left…

Immersion Brewing offerings.

OK, twist my arm, I’ll try them!

I guess I should not have been surprised, seeing that hops, nettles, and cannabis are of the same plant family, and with weed legal all over the place, that I would drive down the highway and just happen to glance upon very large “seas of green” (aka: large cannabis gardens).

The fruits of our labor…

In the midst of trying to drown our livers in all that beer, we discovered the Smith Rock State Park just north of Redmond. We got up and headed over to the park to give Woody a real test of stamina. We loaded up hiking snacks and water and set out to tame the Misery Trail, about 4-5 miles with a killer uphill approach that circles around the top to Monkey Face then back down along the Crooked River and back to the start. The park is highly popular with mountain climbers and boasts a thousand climbing faces within the park. Monkey Face is the crowned jewel for mountaineers. We definitely were sucking wind on our ascent…But hey, all three of us survived none the worse for wear. I did suck down a Gatorade in record time when we got back to the Jeep.

Looking across the Crooked River at what we were about to embark on…

Scenic look through the valley.

Heading down into the canyon to battle the mountain…

Another view down along the river.

Jeanne taking a breather on the climb.

Woody did not hesitate to show his level of dissatisfaction with our choice of recreation this day…

A view from the top.

More views.

From the top view of the valley we could see many “fixer-up’ers” like this one. I hate to see people have to live like that…

Side view of Monkey Face with climbers all over it.

A little closer shot of Monkey Face.

And finally, back down and along the Crooked River.

We even got to see a few otters playing in the water.


So, “in a cloud of dust with a hearty ‘Hi ho, Silver’” we were off eastbound and down to Caldwell, Idaho. We had change of plans (#9,583) and decided to forgo a trip back to South Dakota and instead spend some time in the southern Idaho area, looking for a possible landing zone for when we decide to retire from full timing. We have been on the road for 6 years now, having completed the lower 48, and we still plan on an Alaska run next summer. But we also want to get a head start in searching for a landing zone, since we have the luxury and opportunity to do so.

So, as our time starts in Idaho, I bid you a fond farewell for now, stay tuned until next post…

About rvrrat520

Recreational wanderers just livin' the dream while we can still get vertical.
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2 Responses to Back on the Prowl

  1. Tami Soler says:

    I would have gladly joined you on the hike in Smith Rock State Park. The scenery is gorgeous.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. linda says:

    Happy trails to you!!!!

Leave a Reply to linda Cancel reply