It’s been years since I watched this movie with my kids and I don’t really remember much about it, but we were in the area in October, so we went to take a look.
Spirit of Halloweentown takes place every year for the month of October in St. Helens, Oregon. There isn’t much that is unique about the town in general – until you visit their old town. The Historical District is charming, and would have been a lovely visit even if it wasn’t during the Halloweentown festivities.
There are tons of activities on the weekends in October, including meeting with some of the actors from the movie. There are skits, concerts, photo-ops galore, people in costumes, kids all dressed up, haunted houses, food court…St. Helens has fully embraced their claim to fame by being the town that Halloweentown was filmed in.
The Spirit of Halloweentown was a very cool experience, and I highly recommend going, especially if you have kids that are fans of the movie! You can find more information on their Facebook page.
We at Write on the Road tend to avoid big cities whenever we can – so recently we tackled Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington all in the same week – because we also like to make ourselves cry.
We had to be in Portland for a few days, so we filled our time finding geeky stuff to do.
Who says size matters? The Guinness Book of World Records – Portland is home to the World’s Smallest Park. Mill Ends Park is just 24” in diameter and 452.16 square inches.
Who else says size matters? Me, when a bookstore takes up an entire city block! We visited Powell’s City of Books, America’s largest independent bookstore. It was amazing. It smelled of books, new and old, and coffee. There were a LOT of people shopping while we were there, but it was okay – book people are okay.
We also hung out for a few hours at the Clackamas Town Center Mall. Best stores – Hot Topic and Barnes and Noble. Now I own a badass beanie, and my to-be-read-pile is ridiculously large (and now we’re talking about size again). To finish up our shopping, we visited the StarWarsStore store near the mall. The store is small, but the space is filled with so many collectibles that it was nerdgasmic.
To end our Portland adventure we found The TARDIS Room Cafe. With hopes of fish fingers and custard, we arrived for lunch – only to be disappointed by a closure for remodel.
After our few days in Portland, we were ready to get on the road again.
We headed north, and briefly stopped in Seattle, WA.
I try to be a supportive spouse. I support Mike in most things, and when I don’t it’s because he has had some stupid idea to…I digress. I support Mike in most things, and it was no different when he decided to take a religious trek to sacred ground – CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.
I don’t give any craps about football – but Mike does. He has been a fan of the Seahawks since he was a wee lad, and he was thrilled to stop by Centurylink for a quick look-see. It wasn’t a tour day, so we didn’t really get to see the field open, just through the fence. The store was open there, and although I don’t give any craps about football, I do love me a new hoodie – so guess who’s a Seahawks fan now? Still not me, but I got a new hoodie anyway.
Seattle has a ton of things that we wanted to see and do, but we didn’t have time for this trip. Travel through Washington will be a regular thing for us from now on, as family members have moved up there and we will be visiting often. Looking forward to the Space Needle and the Pop Culture Museum next time through!
After Seattle we kept driving north – eventually all the way to the Canadian border…
UP NEXT – The most northwesternest you can get in the continental US.
Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park is located about 45 miles northeast of Salem. The park is enormous with beautiful hiking trails, including the Trail of Ten Falls. The most visited waterfall is the South Falls, which you can hike behind.
A lot of the main trails are off limits to pets, but there are over 35 miles of backcountry trails that you can take your furbabies on.
There is plenty of interpretive displays along the main trails, with history on the area and the park.
There is also a beautiful lodge that has a cafe and WiFi.
We will be visiting Silver Falls State Park again as there was too much to see in one trip…and we were too lazy to hike the Trail of Ten Falls this time and I am disappointed with us.
Detroit Lake State Park is another 50 miles east of Silver Falls. The lake is huge and is a very popular place in the spring and summer. Plenty of lake for watersports and fishing.
The small town of Detroit is nearby and is the self-proclaimed “motor boat city.” The “motor boat city” has a few small markets, and a few small restaurants and bars. There is also a dog park, which is a small 6’ x 8’ area with a broken fence, but the dogs were happy taking a tinkle there.
We found the only WiFi in the town at The Cedars Restaurant and Lounge. We ate buffalo chips, and lounged so much in the lounge that we were still lounging the next day until about noon.
What I have discovered over the past week and a half is that fall along Highway 22 is quite brief, as this would have been the drive just a few days later.
Okay everyone, Milo here! I need to make this quick while our peoples are napping. Our peoples said it was okay to write dog blogs, but only when they were with us. They’re napping right now, but I couldn’t wait to tell you about this little park just for dogs!
Okay, so you know, the place we come from, I mean before we started traveling everywheres, well that place doesn’t like dogs so much. I mean there are lots of dogs and lots of peoples who like dogs, but they have no place for dogs to hang out. No dog park. It is sad.
So, okay, people who like dogs didn’t like that (and neither did us dogs either). So, this dog named Gracie (she’s even on TV!) got her peoples to build her one! Okay, so her peoples have a business that gets humans to come and buy cars for us dogs to ride in, and Gracie got them to build their own little place for dogs… and any dog can come play and it is called Gracie Land! Rusty and I love going there. There aren’t very many dogs, but that is okay… maybe they just don’t know about the place yet.
Oh! So maybe they’ll know now because I’m telling you all about it! It is not very big, but it is big enough, and there is a table for me to lay on while my peoples sit at the bench! There’s a big bucket I can dunk my whole face in for water, and they just reseeded the grass so it’s all grey and fluffy!
Okay, for the humans, I heard our peoples talking about something called “Ko-fee”… they have it everyday, and there is a little shop inside the building where the nice new cars are (which would be nice to ride in) that you can get yourself a Ko-fee.
Okay, for my first Dog Park Review – I wish there was more toys and more dogs – I thought about giving it two paws – but it is super cool that those peoples, who didn’t need to do this, did it just for us anyway. Okay, because they did, I am going to give it 3 out of 4 paws!
My mom person just woke up from her nap and said to tell you all that they are back on the road and will be posting all regular (like poop?) soon!!
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.
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!