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.
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.
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….
This last January we spent three months caretaking for Key’s Ranch inside Joshua Tree National Park. The caretaker position there didn’t pay a wage, but we had space for the trailer, water, garbage, and reimbursement for our propane. The job description included helping park rangers with daily tours of the ranch, helping lost hikers find their way, and making sure there were no vandals on the property. It was a simple job, and the rangers at Joshua Tree were great to work with. It was an amazing experience that I am quite grateful for.
We were just recently hired for a Fire/Equipment Watch position in Oregon. This job description includes fire watch for a few hours after quitting time for the work crew, and equipment watch during the night and weekends. They decided to go ahead and hire for the position because some jackass used their equipment tires as target practice a few weeks ago. We are paid a daily stipend with this job, which is great. We’re responsible for our own power (solar!), water, and propane. They do provide a port-a-john, and I learned today that I have to share my port-a-john with the crew sometimes. I’m not super thrilled about this, but I think I’m going to try leaving packages of maxi pads and tampons in there to keep the guys out – I will keep you updated on how that works for me.
Now you would like to know where we find these kind of gigs, right? Well, if you wouldn’t like to know, you should go read something else.
There are a lot of workamping sites available online. Most are free, but some do charge for a membership.
Sugar Beet Harvest – Short term positions offer excellent compensation and attract applicants from all over the United States and Canada.
Workamping Jobs– Help Wanted Ads for Campgrounds and RV Parks looking for RV workers.
Cool Works– Jobs in Great Places. Where Do You Want To Be Tomorrow?
Workers on Wheels – Work For RVers And Campers. Sets you free with temporary, seasonal, and mobile jobs that pay.
We are members of quite a few RVing groups on Facebook, and they are a great source of information, and they have a lot of experienced RVers to answer your questions. The groups are 90% useful and 10% grumpy farts. There’s always a handful that have to throw poo like they skipped a step in the evolutionary process…
So, I’m going to talk about the complaints I have seen the most from RVers about other RVers. You can use the information to avoid pissing people off – or to make it a lot worse if you don’t care how bunchy their panties get.
Kids Having Fun Seriously, this is a complaint that I have seen more than once. What we full-timers need to remember is that this is our life. We get to stay at these parks, travel, and relax or explore whenever and however we like. The weekenders or vacationers are trying to make the best of the limited time they have before they have to go back to work. Have some patience! Take a good listen to a kids’ laughter – it could be contagious!
Unleashed Dogs First, we are dog owners. We have two full-sized dogs that you can learn all about them here. Second, your dogs should ALWAYS be on leash when outside. That is the rule 99% of the time, so follow it. If your dog is amazingly well-behaved then congratulations, and they shouldn’t mind being on a leash because they are so amazingly well-behaved. Also, it makes my dogs jealous that yours are off leash and mine are all dressed up with them. Stop making my dogs jealous. Just follow the rules.
People Walking Through Your Campsite Okay, I gotta go with the grumpy farts on this one. If it’s isn’t your campsite, stay out of it.
Generators “They have their generator on all night long.” “It’s so loud.” “The fumes come in my window.” Okay okay, okay. I get it. You are probably out RVing because you like the outdoors; because nature sounds and smells better than a city every time. But we all travel differently. We don’t own a generator, but have some great portable solar panels. BUT we do not use much power. No TV, no microwave, etc. We’ve gotten annoyed by a generator a time or two, but having a camping neighbor come tell us about his heart monitor that needs charged often (he is on the heart transplant list) reminded us that we don’t know what other people got going on in their lives, so we probably shouldn’t gripe about any of them…well, maybe a few of them.
LINKS on RVing Etiquette (I do not necessarily agree with all of these, or any of them, but thought I would share other opinions too, even though mine is really the only one that matters.
While staying at Cottonwood Canyon State Park in Oregon, we decided we were interested in visiting Stonehenge. Wiltshire, England seemed like too far to go, so we went to Maryhill, WA which was only about 30 miles away.
The Maryhill Stonehenge, built by Sam Hill, was the first monument in the United States to honor the dead of World War I. The center altar stone is lined up with sunrise on the summer solstice. Hill had incorrectly believed that the original Stonehenge had been used as a sacrificial site, therefore constructed the replica as a reminder that humanity is still being sacrificed to the god of war.
If you are interested in visiting other Stonehenge replicas in the United States you can find a Roadside America map here.
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.
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
So I went for a ride on a bike that turned out to be a time machine.
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.
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.
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.
Cottonwood Canyon near Wasco, OR is Oregon’s newest state park. All sites are primitive, but there are vault toilets and potable water in the park.
The campground sits right on the John Day River, so we had access to swimming and fishing. The fishing was great there, everyone around us was catching a lot…not us, but everyone around us.
Cottonwood Canyon is meant to give you the feel of the ranching days of the past. There is a barn, cattle shoots, corals, old farming equipment, water troughs, and more.
Pay attention to the fencing around the campground, as it tells a story worth paying attention to.
The information station is great with a solar charging station for your cell phone that you won’t have a signal on. There are also rocking chairs, and an outdoor wooden checker game. Feel free to ring the dinner bell, too.
The night sky is framed by the canyon hills and is a beautiful sight to see.
Cottonwood Canyon also has free mountain bikes for camper use. There are multiple trails to ride on, including a path right beside the river that takes you past some pretty fascinating geological sights. Due to a chubby butt and a bum knee, I did not partake in the bicycling, but the hubs did and he wrote a blog for you about it, which is coming up next!
I used to live in The Dalles and had driven through the Columbia River Gorge many times, but Mike had never been there – he had never even seen Multnomah Falls! So we headed toward Multnomah Falls…
The falls were as beautiful as I had ever seen them! Plenty of green and water leftover from the heavy rains this year.
We stopped at Bonneville Dam on the way by.
The Bonneville Dam fish viewing windows give you a glimpse into…hell, apparently.
The visitor center has a ton of information and history.
Midway between Portland and The Dalles is the small town of Cascade Locks. There are restaurants, tourists shops, super-duper-talk-your-ear-off gas station attendant, and the Bridge of the Gods. Which is the best name for a bridge ever.
We stayed a night at Viento State Park, a few miles west of Hood River. The park was nice. It is next to the Columbia River, and even closer to train tracks. I loved the sound of the train running, but others may not enjoy the noise.
From Viento State Park (or Memaloose State Park about 12 miles east) you can easily visit multiple local breweries, wineries, distilleries, and restaurants – there is a lot of other stuff to do too, but I get sidetracked by food and booze.
What Mike got sidetracked on was our neighbors at Viento State Park. The most die-hard Seattle Seahawks fans we have ever seen…other than Mike, of course – I just won’t let him spend that much money to prove it. It really was a cool setup!
We headed inland after leaving our exciting ghost hunting experience at Fort Stevens State Park. We drove over Highway 26 toward Forest Grove, OR. There was a three-vehicle accident along the way, and instead of just sitting on the road to wait for the wreckage to clear, we pulled into Camp 18. Camp 18 is a restaurant and logging museum in Elsie, OR. There are lots of shaded picnic tables, a small creek flows beside it, and there is a ton of logging artifacts and history. It was a great little unexpected stop!
Due to some appointments we needed to be near Portland, OR for a few days. We had reserved a spot at LL ‘Stub’ Stewart State Park (we don’t normally reserve spots, as we are a more of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of RVers). The park is really nice with lots of tall trees, miles of hiking trails, and wildflowers. There were high temperatures while we were there, so the first few days were spent hiding in the shade, but we did get to explore a little bit.
There is a fenced off-leash area for the dogs to run, which is always a plus for us!
The nearby town of Forest Grove has the world’s tallest barber pole, so we had to go check that out!
After our time at LL “Stub” Stewart, we headed over I-84 to check out the Colombia River Gorge – up next!
After the awesome (yet CRAPPER), time at Fort Stevens, we took a drive through Astoria to see the sites.
The Wildlife As we were pulling out of Fort Stevens State Park there was a small group of elk leisurely grazing right next to the road.
The Astoria Column The Astoria Column was finished in 1926. The Column is a historical monument which tells the story of the discovery and settlement of the Columbia River until the arrival of the railway.
The monument only costs a few dollars, but it is good for the entire year in case you want to visit again – or gift to someone else that is going. (I don’t know if you are really supposed to do that, so you didn’t hear it here!)
The Goonies The Goonies was filmed on the northern Oregon coast, including locations in Astoria. The old Clatsop County Jail was in the movie, and it is now a Film Museum. We also sought out the house from the movie, but sadly they do not welcome guests anymore.
The Peter Iredale Shipwreck The Peter Iredale shipwreck was also in a few movies, including The Road starring Viggo Mortensen. The novel, The Road, was written by Cormac McCarthy and is an awesome read! The story takes place after the apocalypse, telling you about a man and his son trying to survive.
Astoria is lovely with views of the Astoria Bridge from most of the town. Over 75% of the homes in the city were built prior to 1959. The old homes are large and beautiful, with attention to details.