Good news, bad news, just news, good news…

Good news, bad news, just news, good news…

It’s been awhile. Hello readers…er…reader?

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. 

I do love me some Oregon greenery!
Lots of back roads to off-leash Rusty and Milo. They were digging it!
But…

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.

…just waiting 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….

 

Up Next – 

Great News!

 

Let’s Talk Workamping

Let’s Talk Workamping

Need to find something to do with all your extra time? Maybe workamping is for you!

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.

Keys Ranch

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. 

This is part of the area that we are keeping watch over. (Photo credit unknown)

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 JobsHelp 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.

American Land & Leisure – Here you’ll find information about the facilities we manage and about working with AL&L.

Modern Day NomadsFollow Your Dream Job: Top Travel Jobs & Inspiration for Globetrekking, Creative Professionals

Government Volunteer Positions

Volunteer.gov – Find volunteer positions within the government at National Parks, Army corps of Engineers, etc. 

State Parks – Look up individual states to find what workamping positions they may have available, like Oregon

Craigslist – If you have a location in mind, use Craigslist.org to find workamping positions. Make sure to search under Jobs and Gigs. 

Indeed.com – Use the desired location zip code and keywords to find workamping jobs. Keywords: workamping, caretaker, host, fire watch, etc.

 

Complaints from RVers About Other RVers

Complaints from RVers About Other RVers

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!

Gee, Mr. Wilson. Unknot your drawers.

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.

It’s really not that hard to 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.

I feel a little violated just reading the sign.

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. 

You can gripe about these guys.

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.

10 Commandments of RV Etiquette  

Campground Etiquette

RV Etiquette

Dog Park Reviews by Rusty & Milo – Happy Tails in Roseburg, OR

A few weeks ago Milo and I (I’m Rusty!) stole Mom’s computer so we could write a dog blog. It was awesome! I had so much fun that I decided to keep doing it as often as I can get away with it!

Hey! It’s me, Rusty!
…and it’s Milo….

I figured that you don’t all want to read about what other dog’s butts smell like, or about my running tally of bees that I’ve eaten (it’s such a rush, man!), so I have decided to write about the dog parks we go to. Milo and I love going to the park, it’s awesome! We get to run around without our leashes and pee on anything that we want! It’s crazy fun!

So here is my first Dog Park Review

Happy Tails Dog Park – Roseburg, Oregon
East Drive, 80233 Roseburg, United States
Facebook

This is me going into the dog park to meet everyone and pee on the gate.

This park was pretty big. There was plenty of room to run around and get other dogs to chase you. Lots of trees to hang out in the shade or pee on. It was awesome.

It wasn’t too hot, but shade is always good after running around!

There were three fire hydrants! Three of them! It was awesome.

THREE!

They also have a swimming pool! It was awesome!

I didn’t swim in it, but I drank a bunch from it. It was awesome!

We met two other dogs while we were there. One of them had to wear a face blanket. It was weird!

Look! How do they eat? What’s it for? Wait..oh. If I don’t stop barking at everyone in the campgrounds I may get one too? Um. Moving on. Not awesome.
I was getting pretty tired after running around so much.
The fence is falling down in some places, but it looks like peoples are trying to fix it.
Can you smell that tree? It’s awesome!
Oh! Smell this one! I peed on it! It was awesome.

So, for my first Dog Park Review I give this park 2 out of 4 Awesome Paws! 

Book Review – Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Book Review

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Another suspenseful thriller by the author of Gone Girl. Dark Places is the story of Libby Day who confronts her traumatic childhood memories of the murder of her mother and two sisters.  Libby begins her own investigation into the murders, and into the possibility that her brother is innocent of the crime.

Flynn is a great storyteller. She creates interesting and flawed characters that the reader can really connect with. I would recommend, both, Dark Places and Gone Girl.  

“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.”
― Gillian FlynnDark Places

“I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.”
― Gillian FlynnDark Places

“But I was born bent out of shape. I could picture myself coming out of the womb crooked and wrong. It never takes much for me to lose patience. The phrase fuck you may not rest on the tip of my tongue, but it’s near. Midtongue.”
― Gillian FlynnDark Places

 

Stonehenge – Maryhill, Washington

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.

Stonehenge Rocks
Did you know that Stonehenge was made by Chuck Norris stacking blocks as a baby?
Is there a Paperhenge? Scissorhenge?

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.

“Hello, Stonehenge! Who takes the Pandorica, takes the universe!” – The Doctor
“Stonehenge, where the demons dwell Where the banshees live and they do live well Stonehenge, where a man’s a man And the children dance to the pipes of Pan.” – Spinal Tap
“In memory of the soldiers of Klickitat County who gave their lives in defense of their country. This monument is erected in the hope that others inspired by the example of their valor and their heroism may share in that love of liberty and burn with that fire of patriotism which death can alone quench.”
The memorial is worth the drive over the Columbia River, and most certainly worth the time to appreciate some of those that gave all.

If you are interested in visiting other Stonehenge replicas in the United States you can find a Roadside America map here.

Story Time – Old God New by M.D. Parker

It was a soft chime that signaled the readiness of the mixture. She considered it for a moment; a soft chime. There should be bells and celebratory horns of cheer, she thought. If only this machine knew what it had just done.

She gripped the cylinder with all four gloved digits wrapped tight. A thought launched from her lower brain, traveled down the cable into the robotic arm of the lab’s chair and swung her around. She came face to face with the tube. The side was open and waiting, like the arms of a mother. Gently, she laid the canister in and locked it into place. The tube’s walls closed in checkerboard materialization until the sidewall was whole and solid. The chair brought her to the communications terminal of the laboratory. She pressed one button and a familiar, yet unfriendly, face greeted her on the screen.

“It is ready,” she said. The face did not answer. His elongated head and prominent brow ridge just nodded, and cut the visual connection.

On one end of the lab was the quarantine chamber. The large transparent wall allowed for ease in observing whatever subject may have to reside in there. But it was the window at the opposing end of the laboratory that held the subject she was interested in. Out there, beyond the transparent screen, floated a young orb surrounded by the coldness of space.

The chair’s multi-jointed arm lifted and realigned itself, positioning her one-quarter of a meter from the windowed wall. The tilt of the ship allowed her to look downward and stare at the blue-green ball that had so recently coalesced into its planetary shape. From this view she could not see the volcanoes that were bursting across the surface, nor the geologic plates that wrestled each other in a struggle to find position. This world had just been born and was still in the throes of infancy. It was beautiful.

She knew the window’s screen would allow for magnification. She could look down on the primordial soup of the seas that covered so much of the surface, but she did not. She loved the view from up high; to be able to take in the whole of this world at once.

“Doctor, the Admiral has requested that you accompany him on the bridge’s observation deck while the capsule is implanted.”

She had not heard them enter. She turned in her chair and watched as they escorted the tube out the laboratory. It’s silvery-white housing hovering its way through the door guided by the device held in the speaking one’s hand.

“Yes, of course,” she said.

She dismounted her chair and followed them out. Her stark, white body wrap stood in metaphoric contrast to their industrial graphite colored ones. A junction in the hallway separated them from her. They continued down the hall, while she found her way to a lift platform that took her to the Admiral’s observation level.

Many others were there and had been awaiting her arrival. She tried to divert her eyes from them as they spoke her name and gave praise and appreciation for her accomplishments. Some of them truly meant it, she realized. Some cared little for the science and only what they could make of her design. Their adulation was false, and the words which they spoke held a stink that she swore would blacken her mind if she spent more time among them.

“Doctor, thank you for joining us,” The admiral nodded again. His brow lifted and his arms extended as he turned to face the others once she had taken her position within the room.

“My fellows,” he continued. “Today we have embarked on a great experiment. On behalf of the council, I thank each of you for your individual part. Now, I will turn us over to the doctor as she guides us through the final implementation of the project. Doctor… the short version, if you will.”

“Yes, of course,” she said.

She gestured them to the window screen where she began explaining how the project had come from dream to idea to fruition. She quickly took them through each of the steps that had brought them all to why they stood before her.

“… and finally we see the capsule being launched. The mixture of amino acid compounds that define our structural genetic coding is making its way to the chosen planet. This planet. The third from its sun in this isolated arm of its galaxy. From here we will learn if we will become gods.”

M.D. Parker on Facebook and Twitter

 

Book Review – Finding Alice by Melody Carlson

Book Review – Finding Alice by Melody Carlson

Finding Alice is about a young woman attending college that starts to show symptoms of schizophrenia. She quickly learns that of the worst things about being crazy is that you really have no idea that you are crazy.

With the “help” of her family and the exorcisms from her local church, Alice runs away just to feel safe. She spends time living on the streets before she finds a kind woman who offers her a place to stay, which is a turning point for Alice and her “friends” that live inside her brain.

The book is pretty good. It gives the reader a decent insight into mental illness, which is something that we should all try to understand. It does seem to lean toward being a religious story, but with strong opinions against hallelujucination. I may read other books by Melody Carlson, but probably only if I find them in a thrift store. Good to pass the time, but I don’t want to spend full price. 

 

 

 

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.

Cottonwood Canyon State Park – Wasco, Oregon

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 Cottonwood Canyon brand

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.

Kayaks on the John Day
View of the John Day River flowing through Cottonwood Canyon.

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.

Cottonwood Canyon barn – go ahead and sneak in and roll in the hay all night. I will deny telling you that it is okay to do that.
There’s probably someone rolling in the hay in this picture. What? It’s not me…I was taking the picture.
Local cattle brands are branded on the fences.
Super old mower thingabop.
Superman: [hardly breathing] You’re letting them kill Murtha… Batman: What does that mean? Why did you say that name? Superman: Find him… Save Murtha… Batman: Why did you say that name? Murtha? Why did you say that name? WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME? Lois Lane: [enters running] It’s his cow’s name! It’s his cow’s name.
Tack. Tak. “Tak is here now, and he speaks with the voice of the older age;” -Stephen King.
“What? You’ve never seen a guy with a chainsaw for a hand?” -Ashley James Williams
“Would you like to see my pleasure barn?” -Chrisbob Grey.

Pay attention to the fencing around the campground, as it tells a story worth paying attention to.

In wildness is the preservation of the world.” – Henry David Thoreau
“The ways of those who have come before.” -Fence
“Your path is under your boot soles.” -Fence

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.

“Well I followed her, to the station With a suitcase in my hand.” – Rolling Stones
Charging station.
Have a seat. Stay awhile.
Have some lemonade and play some checkers on the porch.
CHOW TIME!!

The night sky is framed by the canyon hills and is a beautiful sight to see.

Night sky over the canyon
The morning sky was worth taking a look at too!

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!