Weekend in Vegas!

Weekend in Vegas!

A few days before Christmas, we decided to head to Las Vegas for a weekend getaway. And instead of wasting valuable poker money on hotel rooms, we decided to take Matilda with us. The plan was to park in the Rio parking lot, and stealth camp for two nights there.

Matilda

Plans are fun. And pointless.

As we were leaving Preferred RV Park in Pahrump, we stopped at their on-site propane fill and filled up. I napped the 60 miles to the Rio. Upon arrival we found a level spot in the back of a large parking lot and went to turn on the propane. And it was broken.

We went to Lowe’s to find a knob replacement, but they didn’t have one. We called multiple camping and RV supply stores, but no one sold just the knob. We finally called a place called CampOut Inc. and Trailer Supply. They didn’t sell just a knob either, but said they would take one off of an extra tank they had in storage.

Not all heroes wear capes!

Mr. Write and the customer service guy at CampOut Inc. tried their best to fix the knob. But to no avail, because the older fellow that had filled our tank that morning at Preferred RV was actually an undercover superhero that forgot to check his strength while making sure our propane was turned off, and now it was fucked.

I’m just gonna turn this knob a little bit more, Bub.

The entire valve needed replaced. CampOut Inc. became our own superheroes when they told us they would be able to get us in the next day for repairs. Yay! We had to empty the freshly filled propane tank before they could work on it. Between the emptying of the tank and the repairs, it would take about 3 hours and  $300.00 – so much for saving that valuable poker money.

Without a working propane tank, we needed hookups, so our stealthy parking lot camping was out. We ended up getting a space at Main Street Station RV Park – $20 for the night…but they also hold a $100 deposit. It was a bit of a hassle getting the space, but we did manage to have a good night anyway.

Why do you need a $100.00 deposit for a $20.00 RV space? …”because it is our policy to have a $100.00 deposit for all of our rooms…” Um…what?

We ate dinner at a Las Vegas buffet, and we played poker at Binion’s Gambling Hall – the place that made poker famous.

Shuffle up and deal!
The Original Home of the Poker Hall of Fame
I’m not the short stack, yet!
The place that made poker famous.

Leaving the Main Street Station RV Park the next morning was almost as much hassle as getting in, but we managed to get back to CampOut Inc. with time to spare for our repair appointment. We wandered around with the dogs for a few hours while the repairs were being done, and got to see a few cool things.

Like this RV that pulled in for repairs, too! 
The Mighty Thor
Bumblebee and Wolverine
I may have had a nerdgasm while checking this thing out.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an RV!

also…

Whatever the fuck this is…

CampOut Inc. got us up and burning again pretty quickly, and even filled our tank back up for us. If you’re in the Las Vegas area, go check them out on Fremont Street – great people!

Upon arriving back at Preferred RV Park in Pahrump, we told the manager about the repairs we had to have done, and they issued us a reimbursement check with no problems.

Good customer service can make crappy situations so much better!

Thank you, CampOut Inc., and Preferred RV.

The Spirit of Halloweentown – St. Helens, Oregon

Where do adult rving nomads go for Halloween?

 

Halloweentown!

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.

Time for Halloweentown!
If you’ve seen the movie, you should recognize the building – City Hall, St. Helens, OR
The Spirit of Halloweentown in St. Helens was voted that best Halloween celebration in Oregon.

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.

The Historical District of St. Helens takes their Halloween celebration quite seriously!
“Scarecrows” line the streets…
The businesses in the historical district really go all out for this yearly celebration.
Milo and Rusty were pretty excited about Halloweentown, too!

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.

A lot of the houses in the historical district play along too!
Need a ride?
This little girl loved this little fluffy puppy…
Just some skeleton critters climbing a tree…
Animal skeleton, human skull, with a rat in its mouth. Hello nightmares.
And the band played on…
Rusty and Milo trying to hail a cab…
“Why don’t we talk about how illegal it is to drive without eyeballs?” – Dylan Cromwell, Halloweentown
Michael Jackson made an appearance.
Jack was hanging out there, too.
Views of the crowd – and it was a slow day.
This lovely lady, Winnie, was doing a little Hocus Pocus right in front of City Hall!
Sarah and Mary hanging out behind their big sis…because she is slightly terrifying…
See? Just slightly…

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.

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

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

 

BRAKE ASSIST

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 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!