Let Her Sleep – Mt. St. Helens National Monument, Washington

We don’t treat our Mother Earth very well, and occasionally She likes to return the favor.

Oh! Do you kiss your mother earth with that mouth?

On May 18, 1980, She threw a fit. The eruption caused a cloud of gas and rock debris to blow out of the mountain, removing 1300 feet of the mountain’s summit. Everything within eight miles of the blast was destroyed almost instantly. The shockwave caused by the blast dropped everything over the next 19 miles. Beyond the “tree down zone” the damaged area  was over 260 square miles.

Dead tree zone – some still standing after 37 years
She dropped her top…and everything else.
Dead Tree Zone – all downed trees after the May 1980 eruption were on the ground, pointed north.

The eruption caused a mushroom cloud of ash and gas 12 miles into the air, resulting in ash falling from the sky in seven different states.

The ash darkened sky caused the street lights in Spokane (300 miles away) to turn on in the middle of the day.

The Mt. St. Helens eruption is considered the most destructive volcano in U.S. history.  At least 57 people died, over 200 homes were destroyed, and more than 185 miles of roads and 15 miles of railways were damaged.

It is hard to imagine this being anything less than breathtaking – but I suppose about 540 million tons of ash was pretty breathtaking as well.

Mt. St. Helens National Monument now is evidence of us trying to rebuild that damage that was done. We have replanted trees over the years, a lot of them. The rivers and creeks that were dammed by fallen trees and damaged by mud rivers are flowing again. Mt. St. Helens became a national monument in 1982, making it easier to get grants and monies to help fund the replanting and repair all the damage.

Between 2004 – 2008 the mountain showed volcanic activity as a continuous eruption with a gradual sploosh of magma. Basically, it was a very long, very unladylike burp – just to remind us of Her power.

Mother Earth – beautiful, dangerous, and first place prize winner of any burping contest.

Since 2008 Mt. St. Helens has been considered dormant – but one should keep an eye where sleeping bitches lie. Amiright?

Visiting the National Monument is a must if you are cruising through Washington. It’s really a blast!

Coming Soon – Halloweentown!

 

Northwesternest Corner of the Contiguous U.S. – Whatcom County, Washington State

(Disclaimer - Sometimes I am dumb. Last blog I wrote the Northwesternest Corner of the Continental U.S., which is wrong. Alaska is part of the continental US and I should open a geography book and a dictionary to get my crap together.)

Whatcom County, Washington State
I am tempted to make some dumb joke about the name of the county, but I can’t figure out whatcom that would be.

We recently visited my kids who just relocated to the Bellingham area and asked them to show us the sites.

Sumas
Sumas is a tiny town right on the Canadian border. We stayed at the Sumas RV park for a week. The price was GREAT, and it was really quiet. There were some obvious long-term residents were there, but with the price I can understand why.  

Sumas – voted best tasting drinking water 2012. Also voted stinkiest cow poop 100 years running

Sumas has a lot of cows, and therefore, cow poop. It’s pretty odorific, but if you’re in love with the smell of cow crap like our dog Rusty was then you’ll be golden. 

See? He’s golden.

Fall Drive
I asked the offspring to take me on a fall colors drive, so we drove towards Mt. Baker. It was beautiful. I could give you a sweet quote on how fall shows us that letting go is beautiful…but really, it was close to Halloween and death looked damn good on that road.  

Fall road trip…
Leaves are falling almost as fast as Trump’s approval ratings…
What did one leaf say to the other? I’m falling for you.
Why did the tree worry that he would never get his leaves back after autumn? He didn’t be-leaf in himself!
Just wanted to leaf you with my best wishes for fall. Orange you glad the leaves are turning? I’m so happy, I could yellow ’bout it.

Birch Bay
Birch Bay is a little seaside tourist town that is completely adorable! Lots of little shops, cute cottages to rent, and a state park. Also – a rock painter’s paradise!

All of the beautiful round rocks awaiting their art.
Beautiful, beautiful rocks…the ocean was lovely too.
Just a heart on wood

Peace Arch Park
Peace Arch is a monument located on the border of Blaine, WA and Surrey, British Columbia. The park on both sides is well kept and lovely. The meaning behind the arch is even lovelier. In 1916 Samuel Hill commissioned the building of the Peach Arch Park (he also commissioned the Maryhill Stonehenge in Washington). The park was built to symbolize a long history of peace between our nations…perhaps we should build more Peach Arches and less walls.

The Peach Arch viewed from Blaine, WA
The Peace Arch viewed from Surrey, British Columbia
Canada has some cool foliage on their side.
This hardworking gentleman was in the majority of the photos that I took. He was like a landscaping cylon.
It was tempting for…reasons, but we came back. <3
Crisp air and color everywhere… we hope this autumn LEAVES you feeling refreshed. Okay – I am done with the jokes now. I’ll leaf it alone. 

Trips visiting my kids are always too short, but they tire of me using their washer and dryer quickly so we pointed Matilda’s nose south toward Mt. St. Helens – UP NEXT!

It’s Just How Geeks Roll – Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington

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 got it raw…

We had to be in Portland for a few days, so we filled our time finding geeky stuff to do. 

…and lots of books.

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.

Mill Ends Park
This is it. No really. This is it.

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.

A bag of books. Just add wine for instant happy!
Sniff them. Do it. All the cool kids are.
A city block full of books. This is just one section of heaven here.

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. 

Are you okay, Anni? Anni, are you okay? Are you okay, Anni?
Maximum effort!
Made the Kessel Run in 12 parcsecs…

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. 

The construction workers have the phone box.

After our few days in Portland, we were ready to get on the road again.

Portland, Oregon, thanks for being nerdy with us!

We headed north, and briefly stopped in Seattle, WA.

How do they thread the space through the needle?

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.

“…it’s one thing saying you’ve got the best god, but sayin’ it’s the only real one is a bit of cheek, in my opinion.” – Terry Pratchet

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.

Wave your flags and banners, sports fans!
12 is okay. 42 would have been a better answer.
The view from the cheap seats. Really cheap seats. The free ones outside the locked fence…
Or the 42’s!

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.

 

Fall In Love with Highway 22

Fall In Love with Highway 22

There are two state parks along highway 22 in Oregon, as well as a buttload of forest service parks – and the drive is breathtakingly beautiful in the fall.

Seriously…an buttload of forest service parks.

Silver Falls

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.

South Falls
South Falls….falling south
The trail leading behind the south falls, to the elephant graveyard… #alternativefacts

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.

Rusty and Milo were upset that they were not permitted on some of the trails, so they peed on everything that they could.

There is plenty of interpretive displays along the main trails, with history on the area and the park.

There are a lot of bridges in the park.
Oh, just get over it.
Older bridge covered in moss.

There is also a beautiful lodge that has a cafe and WiFi.

Cafe and Lodge

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

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.

Dawn over Detroit Lake brings with it The Mist.
While looking at the photos from Detroit Lake, I am starting to think that it should have been named Crystal Lake.
Um. Jason? Is that you under there?
The mist floating along the waters of Camp Crystal Lake.

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.

Welcome to Detroit Motor Boat City
No. Just No.
Speaking of motorboats, I came across this happy tree.

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.

I will admit to overlounging, but I am still sure that this is NOT what I had for dinner.

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.

Mother Nature!! Just stop it! We aren’t even a month into fall.

Next Blog: Portland, Oregon

Gracie Land Dog Park – A Review by Milo

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!

I’m about to bite Rusty’s face…
Oh. Well. I will let him get me, and I will bite his face next time.

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.

Here it comes…ninja dog…Rusty won’t even see it coming.
Ha! I bit Rusty’s face!

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.

I haven’t sniffed Gracie’s butt yet, but I think she’s kind of cute.
Grey grass is the best! You can find Gracie Land behind Coos Bay Toyota, at 2001 North Bayshore Drive Coos Bay, OR 97420.

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!!

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! 

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.