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.

 

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.

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!

 

Columbia River Gorge – Oregon

Columbia River Gorge

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.

Multnomah Falls
Union Pacific Railway near the falls. 
Doesn’t everyone get this shot?
Shades of green.
Are we going that way? – Milo
Or that way? – Milo
The trail up can be a little crowded.
The scenery is worth it.
See!?
Views from above…
A young mother and her son stopped to talk to me and asked me if I would like to accept this gift of love for a few days and then pass the love on to someone else – um, of course!!
Multnomah Falls Lodge

We stopped at Bonneville Dam on the way by. 

The Rose Garden is beautiful!
Seems kinda vague…
This one smelled amazing!!
A field of smiles. 🙂
Lavender!
Osprey nesting on top of one of the dam structures.

The Bonneville Dam fish viewing windows give you a glimpse into…hell, apparently.

This is not an eel, it is a fish. Called a Pacific Lamprey. It’s creepy!
Lamprey is fish talk for “mouth from hell”
*shivers*
Blehh….

The visitor center has a ton of information and history.

John Jacob Astor played by Lucius Malfoy.
Captain Bonneville played by John Goodman
You spin me right round, baby, right round.
Well, dam!

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.

Origin of the Bridge of the Gods.
Mural under the bridge.
Bridge of the Gods crossing the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington.
The perfect home for a troll god.

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.  

FOOD –  Mike made me the best ribs that have ever touched my taste buds!

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! 

Seahawks Teardrop Camper
Home of the 12th Woman.
Decals on the trailer
Seahawks Lounge
Waving their flags.
On the teardrop

 

 

LL “Stub” Stewart State Park, Forest Grove, OR

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!

Train Car at Camp 18
This super big cool thing.
Camp 18 water wheel
Water wheel
World’s biggest fishing weight?
Camp 18 viewed from the creek
All aboard!
These are deer made from wire frames to grow plants inside – the plants are all dead and it made them super creepy.

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. 

Picnic Table Centerpiece

There is a fenced off-leash area for the dogs to run, which is always a plus for us!

Rusty enjoying leash freedom!!
Yay! Shade! Shade is good!
Mr. Rusty enjoying the day!
Milo found a tasty tree-bone!
Yum!
Tastiest tree-bone ever!

The nearby town of Forest Grove has the world’s tallest barber pole, so we had to go check that out!

World’s Tallest Barber Pole
72′ Tall Barber Pole
Rusty and Milo were impressed!
I didn’t realize that the barber pole was in Lincoln Park – but I find bliss in ignorance.

After our time at LL “Stub” Stewart, we headed over I-84 to check out the Colombia River Gorge – up next!

Astoria, Oregon

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.

This one was pretty gimpy – if you look at his right back leg, it looks swollen.
These elk were just a few feet from us.

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.

I’m sure the men that constructed this did not intentionally create a phallic symbol….

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 phallus is a symbol of power and male sexuality. — You know what they say; Big column, little….
The men of the phallus.

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.

There will be no truffle shuffle here.
You schmuck! Do you really think I would be stupid enough to kill myself?
Goonies never say die.

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.

Scene from The Road.
View of the Peter Iredale Shipwreck
The wreck waits for the apocalypse to bring the rest of the world to the same condition.
Wear your life preservers in case of sinking ship.

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. 

Gorgeous homes!
The Astoria Bridge.

Visit the City of Astoria. 

Fort Stevens – Hammond, Oregon

Fort Stevens near Astoria, OR was constructed in 1863-64  to defend the mouth of the Columbia River. On June 21, 1945 Fort Stevens was attacked by a Japaneses submarine – for reasons still questioned, the fort did not return fire.

Structure known as Battery Russell.
In the event of the zombie apocalypse, we at Write on the Road have stated “Claimed.”
I have always wanted a winding staircase.

The fort is now an Oregon State Park that includes camping, hiking, biking and the ability to explore Fort Stevens remains and buildings.

Big Boom Maker – even better than a boomstick, baby.
Jeep outside the Fort Stevens Interpretive Center
Large gun pointing toward the mouth of the Columbia River – and they say size doesn’t matter
Display inside the Interpretive Center.
Historical artifacts and information on display. Also –  this guy know what you did last summer.
Ancient bowling ball used by a giant-thumbed man in prehistoric times (he was also really good at hitchhiking). Also – that is made up – it’s a cannon ball.

The majority of the buildings and structures in Fort Stevens are still intact. You are able to enter most of the structures, though some only on scheduled tours. There are plenty of volunteers around for the guided tours, history lessons, and information. We did not take a guided tour while we were there because once we arrived, we knew what we needed to do right away….

 

As always, our trusty sidekicks were up for anything!

And that was the of the start of Completely “Real” Analysis of Paranormal & Psychic Entities Research, or CRAPPER. CRAPPER is a team of two travelers seeking made up stories and fictitious hauntings, using imaginative falsehoods to fib to you about hauntings, possessions and all other kinds of paranormal malarkey.

Inspiration for CRAPPER
Mike – Co-founder of CRAPPER
MeLisa – Co-founder of CRAPPER

Our CRAPPER investigation started at the structure named Battery Russell, which is a gun battery that sits away from the rest of Fort Stevens. This building stands alone, which means that ghosts and spirits that are more introverted will haunt these types of areas.

Knowing how the ghosts are likely to be introverted, I avoided taking pictures of them as much as possible.
This pit on the upper floor of the Battery Russell was obviously used by the military for getting pumped up for battle by playing “THIS IS SPARTA!”
These holes were meant for something very militaryish, but are now used as glory holes for spirits with a sense of perverted humor.
Hooks in closets for storage of hoses, chain hoists, and shell tongs. Paranormal entities may now use them for storing their own chains, and shrouds during hot weather.
Lantern Niche originally used for…lanterns. There are also blind niches found throughout the battery, which is convenient for the spirits with optical impairments.

Concluding our investigation at Battery Russell, CRAPPER moved on to the main areas of the fort. The ghosts and spirits that reside in the main area should be more extroverted, which means we may find some interactions.

This large iron hoop was used for hoists and pulleys, but is now used to control gargantuan hell hounds.
The structures at Fort Stevens have multiple staircases, which means that the ghosts can float or climb the stairs depending on their personal preferences.
First interaction here! We are the Parkers – the haunting spirits here are obviously trying to make contact!
The remnants of an angel bursting into flames on the wall leads me to believe that there was a great battle between good and evil here – and evil won. Does it still remain?
Indisputable evidence that it does.

We continued on with our investigation, exploring as many nooks and crannies that we could. There were rooms in complete darkness, old weapons in storage behind locked gates, and even more evidence of attempts to make contact with CRAPPER.  

A few sections of the buildings were off limits due to not being structurally sound. It is unknown if this was caused by natural elements or by battles between the light and the dark.
The tracks along the ceiling were used to move the large ammunition throughout the battery. While walking underneath them I heard an eerie voice crying “An upside-down roller-coaster! Look Ma! No hands!”
A locked portion of the fort that leads to underground bunkers. I am unsure what may remain behind the gates.
Behind these locked gates is sporting equipment that more adventure seeking ghosts have obviously stolen. – They lost everything when they died, don’t you think that includes athletic equipment?
Here is an example of a blind niche (mentioned earlier) that is used by the visually impaired spirits.
Another message received from the spiritual realm. We tried to assist with GPS coordinates, but seemed to only cause frustration.
The spirit showed CRAPPER their frustration by possessing this harmless bird. After possession, the bird swooped toward us with fury and anger on it’s little bird face. Eventually it flew down a dark corridor to find it’s master.
A lantern niche with iron gates to keep the spirits from blowing out the lanterns and then yelling “BOO” in the darkness.
This looks similar to the “THIS IS SPARTA!” hole from earlier, however this one has tiny bleachers for audiences of gnomes or fairies to watch the Spartan pep rally’s.
The shell room originally used for storage. Sadly, there are no remains of the sea shells that were stored here. We believe they were moved out of the fort to be used in a Grandma’s ocean themed garden.
The final contact. Upon leaving the shell room, we discovered that the spirits changed the name – we assumed it was another attempt at contact with CRAPPER. Upon this discovery we rapidly re-considered our decision to CRAPPER, and left before we shit ourselves.

DISCLAIMER – All CRAPPER “facts” are crap.

Fort Stevens State Park and Historical Site

 

 

Oregon’s Central Coast

Oregon’s Central Coast

I have managed to wrestle the computer away from the dogs so that I could get back to work on my own blogging, but I imagine that they will take over again! Once they learn a new trick...

Beverly Beach State Park is about five miles north of the city of Newport along the central Oregon coast. I would love to tell you wonderful things about the park, but we barely left our trailer because they have mosquitoes the size of tanks.

Actual Size.

The one thing we did notice at Beverly Beach is some really cool trees they have there. These high-rooted trees grow this way because of high water in the soil.

The trees make the park feel like a magical realm where gnomes and fairies could be hiding.
Sir Didymus awaits your arrival to help guide you through the bog of eternal stench.
And none may pass without my permission!
A wraith guarding the tree nymphs
A gnome home.

Tillamook Cheese

If you are traveling the Oregon Coast, Tillamook Cheese Factory is a required stop. I have an unnatural love for cheese – and free cheese really tickles my pickle. 

Slug Bug

Once inside, at first glance, I thought I was going to get to pet some cows – but, sadly, they are just plastic, which explains why it doesn’t smell like cow crap inside the cheese factory.

Not a real cow.

There are a bunch of displays explaining how the milking process works, along with information on how they make (and age) their cheese.

A farm milking station – or maybe something from the farmers pleasure room. I try to not judge what tickles someone else’s pickle.

This huge line is for free cheese.

Because Free Cheese.

 

Redwoods and Trees of Mystery

Majestic.

Awe inspiring.  

Magnificent.

Grand.

Splendid.

BIG.

Just some descriptive words that come to mind in the California Redwoods.

That’s some big wood…
…that’s what she said.

We just visited the northern parts of the Redwoods, near Jedediah Smith National and State Parks. We spent a few days exploring the forests, rivers, and parks.

Howland Hill Road. An excellent motor tour through the giant trees.
How many trees can you plant in an empty forest? One. After that, it’s not empty anymore.
It takes a long time to say anything in Old Redwoodish -and we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say.

Our favorite part of the visit was Trees of Mystery. Trees of Mystery allows you to bring your four-legged friends in with you! So, Rusty and Milo got to go play tourists with us and even got to ride a gondola up the SkyTrail.  Trees of Mystery is gorgeous and worth the ticket price!

Paul Bunyan and Babe are at the entrance to welcome you to Trees of Mystery.
Rusty and Milo were VERY excited about Trees of Mystery!
This guy makes me think about how I feel after too much to eat and not enough nap.

 

The Elephant Tree
Nature’s Underpass
Nom. Nom. Nom.

 

What are we doing next? We already peed on every tree here!

 

SkyTrail Gondola

 

Um. Someone is taking the ground away. We should get out. – Milo.
Rusty enjoyed the view!