Category Archives: Journal

High Desert, extended version

Our first stop after departing Portland was Camp Sherman, an outpost on the Metolius River, outside of Sisters, OR.  We discovered this gem on our last trip and we were excited to return to the area.

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The Metolius River is a designated Wild and Scenic River that is birthed from springs just above Camp Sherman, and runs at a steady 100 cfs or so constantly, with an average temp around 48 deg.  This makes for an amazingly stable, chilly, and productive river = big, smart, well-fed fish. You know the odds  aren’t in your favor when the first  three people you encounter related to fishing the river note that it is an “expert fishery”.   Even still, I bought my three day license and hooked a few fish, lost a few flies, and had a great time.  I met a mysterious, wise-in-the-ways-of-the-river native american man one evening, and shamelessly asked for advice.  Bud light and cigarette in hand, he looked as if he was done fishing for the day.  He was beyond helpful and humorous, sharing his own disappointments and battles from years of trying his luck with these elusive bull trout.  I walked away from that exchange and realized that I was actually fishing for ghosts.  That took the pressure off.

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Camp Sherman was supposed to be the launching point for Crater Lake and then Redwoods in California.  We decided it was best for us to stay put for a week longer, skip Redwoods, and day trip to Crater instead.

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Crater Lake was awesome in every way.  It is a truly beautiful, natural wonder.  It is hard to take your eyes off of it.

We settled in the Bend/Sunriver area for the next week or so, and took it easy.  We kayaked on the Descheutes, and pretty much laid low.  We thought about heading home at that point to take care of family issues, but decided instead to head on to Lake Tahoe.

We very much enjoyed our high desert time and know we will return.

 

Portland: Heather’s basement and beyond

For our Portland area adventures, we base camped at Ainsworth State Park due to lots of hound dog personalities to manage.  Heather’s basement still factored prominently in our visit, with several rounds of Just Dance! We had to work off all that awesome beer and food somehow!!  


Our first full day began with checking out some of the amazing waterfalls minutes from our campground.

Following the falls was a jaunt to Hood River with Heather as our guide. Lunch at Pfriem (so good),  a walk along the river, and of course a drive along the Fruit Loop. We loaded up on cherries, blueberries, lavender, and veggies. 


Day two we lunched with Kris and Heather, checked out Pittock Mansion (of Wildwood fame for us) and hit the park for a bit with the doggies. 


Day three we relocated our camper to the front of the Alexander residence.  We had lunch at Cascade (House of Sour!!), took in the local street fair, and relaxed watching some Olympics. That evening we splurged on tickets to the Cavalia Odysseo production. It was fantastic! 


As always…can’t wait to go back!!!!

Our view from Utah

We had a great time staying at the Wasatch Mountain State Park. The park is about 20 min outside of downtown Park City. Our first foray into town for a laundry run was a success. Quaint and super fancy shops, a yummy deli for lunch, and a few conversations with delightfully friendly locals.  So, as often happens with us, we look at each other and say “yeah, I could live here!”  We know that feeling will happen over and over on our trip so we move on. 


I was able, with some helpful directions from a guy in Fish Heads (a nice fly shop in Heber), to make my way to a public access on the Provo River and caught a beautiful brown trout!  As Brad put it, I knocked the stink off. It felt good. 

The next day Brad planned to ride down the WOW trail (Wasatch over Wasatch). We shuttled him to the top of the mountain. No sooner did we return to the campsite, where he would be ending his ride in an hour or so, when I looked up and saw a big black cloud heading towards the mountain top behind us!!  I knew he would be in for an exciting ride, and just hoped he would not be hit by lightening!   Indeed it was exciting, and some torrential rain briefly, but no direct lightening hits, thank goodness. 


Our last day we headed to the Utah Olympic Training Center. Such a cool place. We took the chair lift up, Kimberly and I rode back down while Brad and Virginia rode the Alpine slide!  After that, they did the zip line, tubed down the huge ski jump, and did a high ropes adventure course. Fun day!!

We departed Utah for Oregon, via two long days of driving. We were rewarded with great times in Portland. Details to follow!

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Rocky Mountain High (revisited)

So, I am already a bit behind on our updates for those interested.  I guess, ultimately, it is a good thing as we have been without internet service (except for phones) since we started out all together in Denver a week and a half ago!  I have hijacked the wifi at Heather’s house in attempt to get back on track.

Th girls and I kicked off of the #2016summeroffun trip (as Brad has dubbed it) with a shuttle from DIA to the rental car area where our chariot awaited. Brad and the dogs successfully crossed many miles from NC to CO once again to allow for an easier launch from Denver. Many thanks to the Bloomers for feeding and housing Brad and the four-legged ladies, allowing them to meet up with us ready to roll!

We headed out on 70 and turned North to reach our destination just outside of Grand Lake Village, at the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. This was our first park in 2014 as well. Our campground specialized in campers with horses so there were many for us to ohh and ahh over. We took a beautiful drive along the portion of Trail Ridge Road that we missed last time. It is always breathtaking, in more than one way!

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12,000 feet and all smiles!

The first night in our campsite we saw two large male moose (from a safe distance) grazing in the pasture next to our campsite, they were huge! The morning of day two brought momma moose and her baby into the campsite…we definitely kept a safe distance from her!

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Blurry shot of the backside of momma and baby moose…clearly I did not have my camera handy when they arrived!

Our second full day Brad and Virginia even went for a trail ride on “Jewel” and “Cowboy”, where they crossed the Colorado River on horseback! We also planned to rent a pontoon boat to take onto Grand Lake, but the weather had other plans. We decided instead to head out a day early and stop over in Steamboat. What a fun town! We had a great dinner and graced the Walmart parking lot with our shiny rig for the evening.

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Friday morning we continued west towards Dinosaur National Monument, our next stop before finally getting to our second campground at Wasatch State Park in Park City, UT.

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View from our campsite in Utah…ahhh!

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Texas in the summer…sure, why not?!

Up until the week of July fourth our summer travels had not taken us further afield than the cabin in VA or a NC beach, a stark contrast to the wanderings of last year!  Sometime in mid-June, we couldn’t take it anymore and planned a quick but super busy trip to Texas Hill Country.  I can’t say July is likely the ideal time of year to be in that region, but when the music calls…you must answer!

We combined two musical events to make the trip to Austin for five days.  All four of us went and it was a blast!  The weather was ideal, flights were without issue (miracle of miracles!), and our accommodations were just right.

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Luckily for us, as time to plan before we went was minimal, Austin, TX makes it super easy. Just drive around and you will find so many cool things to do and see!  Brad and VA had their first SUP experience on Lady Bird Lake while Kimberly and I kayaked.  Yummy food was everywhere, seriously.  Good beer, awesome local kombucha, food trucks on every corner…

Our airbnb guest house was  the perfect fit and landed us 20 minutes SW of the City in a very peaceful area.  Major plus, it was only 10 min from our new favorite brewery/pizza kitchen combo: Jester King Brewery/Farmhouse Pizza…on a working ranch, no less!!

The July 4th show at the Circuit of the America’s Amphitheater (inside a formula 1 racetrack?!) was fun, but made for a long day in the inescapable sun.  Our three favorite acts did not disappoint though, so the sunburn was worth it for sure!

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San Antonio was interesting, but I much preferred Austin.  We checked out the riverwalk and the Alamo…now we can say we have been there 😉

The icing on the cake of this trip was certainly the show at Austin City Limits Live @ Moody Theater….it was surreal having seen so many shows on TV over the years and wishing so much I was there in person.  Again, several of our favorite artists were there for a tribute concert to Waylon Jennings…it wrapped up with a finale of “Luckenbach, Texas”, sung by the likes of Willie Nelson, Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Alison Kraus, Robert Earl Keen Jr, Kris Kristofferson, and the list goes on…

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Just when we thought it all couldn’t get any better, we had the opportunity to meet and speak briefly with Alison Kraus herself at the airport the following morning.  Being a fan of hers for over twenty years, it was a special moment indeed.

The trip was quick and dirty, but worth it for sure…we most certainly will be going back once the airstream is done.  Speaking of which, I think I have some new photos of that to add as well.  Happy traveling!!