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.

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!

Book Review – Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

If you want to feel better about yourself as a parent, you should read this book. It gives you some pretty descriptive detail about how to be the shittiest parents possible.

Fourth of July Creek takes you back to the early 80’s, and introduces you to the Pearl family. This family is extremely religious, and heavily lean on conspiracy theories to keep themselves thoroughly crazy as they live in the wilderness, completely off-grid. A CPS worker, Pete Snow, gets wind of the family and shows up to try and help – and it eventually leads to ATF and the FBI searching for the family – and for Pete.

Maybe the conspiracies aren’t just theories anymore.

Even though this type of story is normally not my thing, the novel was good. The characters are colorful, giving you an in-depth look into some pretty serious cuckoo birds, and some pretty intense assholes.

My full opinion – worth the read, but probably only once.  

 

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.

 

A Book Review – When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
A Book Review

In a world similar to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Hillary Jordan’s world of When She Woke takes place in a future where women have little, to no, choice on what they can do with their bodies.

Criminals are not often kept in jails or prisons anymore, instead their skin is dyed a color that matches their crime. The protagonist, Hannah, wakes in a temporary cell with her skin dyed a deep red. Scarlet. The color of murder. The victim was her unborn child.  

The current political climate of the United States makes this novel seem less like science fiction, and more like a premonition. Religious leaders, such as Pat Robertson or Joel Osteen, try so desperately to make us (especially women) live a guilt-ridden life, terrified of upsetting a very angry god. In this story we watch Hannah wake up to the reality of life and religion – and maybe start making choices to follow her own beliefs and not those of the “righteous” men that run the country. 

Book Review – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
A Book Review

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel that takes place in the future in what used to be the United States. The novel shows us a future that the majority of women have fought quite hard to prevent. The land is ruled by men and religion. Most women are infertile (according to the men), so those that are fertile are trained to become handmaids.

“And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.” Genesis 30:1

The handmaids live with a Commander, and their wife, and are forced to have sex with the commander every month during their most fertile time. This story follows Offred, a handmaid to Commander Fred, and his wife, Serena Joy. Offred used to be known by another name, and used to be known as a mother and a wife. Offred yearns to find her way back to her daughter and her husband – if they are even still alive.

The Handmaid’s Tale is terrifying – and touching. In a world where your choices are taken away, would you make a final choice for yourself anyway?

 

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

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

 

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