Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Clear Lake, McKenzie River Scenic Trail, and McKenzie Pass, June 27

Blue Skies greeted the morning!  So Joel and I  loaded up the car with our day packs and hiking boots and headed up to Clear Lake, the head waters of the McKenzie River. The trail around Clear Lake starts at the Clear Lake Resort and then  intersects with  The McKenzie River Scenic Trail along the east side of the lake.  After about 3 miles the trail forks near the head waters of the McKenzie River and the MRST continues on but we followed the Clear Lake trail making a complete circle of about five miles ending up back at the resort.  The trail was real ups and downs...a plus for know he doesn't "do hills".

Overview of Clear Lake.  Its really calm, a great place for a leisure paddle.

 This was a unique bridge: One single, very long log, over a creek feeding into the lake.
 Clear Lake is really clear.  The water in this picture was at least six feet deep, if not deeper.
 The MRST on the east side of the lake traverses through some interesting lava fields.
 These flowers were growing out of the lava.
 Clear Lake looking back and at the head waters of the McKenzie River.
 Headwaters of the McKenzie River.

Next we returned to the Junction of Highway 126 and 242.  Highway 242 is the  McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway, and scenic it is.  When we drove by the junction on our way to Bend a few weeks ago the road was still closed. We lucked out and the road was open and in really good condition now.  Vehicles with a maximum total length of over 35 ft are not allowed on part of the road.  It's very narrow and windy in parts.

Views of the Middle Sisters are spectacular!

 Half way up is the the Belknap Crater  and lava flows :
 And views of Mt. Washington:

The Observatory

 is not your average Observatory:
 Inside there are portals pointing to the different mountains.  Very cool.  This is the North Sisters (I think)
And this is another one of the Middle Sisters.

The Observatory is located very near the crest of the McKenzie Pass and is made totally out of lava.

The Pacific Crest Trail crosses the road near by and just before reaching the observatory we stopped to talk to a family of thru hikers.  It turned out they had just hiked through the Sisters over the last few days during all the rain (snow for them) and they were going to head into the town of Sisters for supplies.  We shuffled stuff in the car and squeezed Vicky, Kevin, 13 year old son Jay, and 10 year old dog Utah in the back seat  with their packs.  Very cozy. I was really excited to talk with these folks because they had hiked a portion of the PCT in California that I am planning to do sometime this summer.

We drove to Sisters and stopped at, where else, the Three Creeks Brewery for a brew and dinner, then we dropped the family off at a motel where they were planning to shower and regroup and sleep in a bed. They had started out in Medford, Oregon about three weeks ago, and were planning to be in Canada by mid-August...pending snow conditions.

I'm not sure what is coming up next.  Fourth of July is next week and we have no plans. ...yet, but I'm planning to return to Portola  soon for a few weeks of backpacking and hiking and hopefully no rain.

The Black Sheep Gathering, June 24

The Black Sheep Gathering is an annual event and the Lane County Fair Grounds in Eugene.  I had visions of herds of black sheep so I couldn't image what the big deal was.

Well... there were more than just black sheep. There were all kinds of sheep, goats, angora goats, and alpacas...all showing off their wool.

No, this guy has not been dyed.  Apparently he/she was bred for a recessive gene and this was the natural color of the wool.
Actually, the gathering had more than animals for show.  There were all kinds of crafts, yarn and wool for sale including these marionetts.
Lots of different type of spinning wheels:

and there was a sock knitter.  Not sure how it works, as there wasn't anyone demonstrating it.
 There were beautiful colorful scarves on display as well as other textiles.
and lots of wool for spinning
Colorful baskets greeted you at the entrance.  You could use one for shopping.
I'm not sure this guy wanted to give up his wool.  Its not been that warm. But it was
fun to watch.  The whole process took less than ten minutes.

This bag of wool weighed about seven pounds.  Some of the wool is discarded because it can't be cleaned. (some of the pieces were pretty gross looking)

A before and after picture.

These were my favorite: Alpacas.

How could you not like these little faces.

The Black Sheep Gathering was a fun experience.  Best of all it was free!

Fun on the McKenzie River, June 15

Our summer parking is really just a stones throw from the McKenzie River.  In fact, the front of the house faces the River and the Reims have a fishing platform they use during the summer for fishing salmon.  Joel has been itching to get a boat with a motor and Walter (Joel's brother in law) also thought it would be a good idea so they ordered a SeaEagle FoldCat, along with a small trolling motor and marine battery.  It is one of those inflatable boats that are suppose to be easy to put together and transport. It didn't take Joel very long to inflate it and put it together, but it looked pretty complicated to me.

The boat fits perfectly on the car, but the seats and oars have to go inside.  Joel and Walt set off for their maiden voyage and launched the boat  just a few miles up the river above the Leaburg Dam.  I followed them and put in my  Kayak and trailed along behind them.    The guys were having a great time fingering out how to use the boat in the river.  When the anchor was lowered to see how the boat would do, the current caught the boat just right and flipped it over and dumped Joel and Walter and belongings in the cold river water.  It was a good thing everyone had PFD on! The water was really, really cold and it took all three of us about 30 minutes to get the boat flipped right side up.  The anchor was stuck and Joel had to cut it loose and the casting bar was also stuck and wouldn't release. I can't emphasize how important it is to wear your PFDs when on the water. They were in calm, flat water with the boat flipped.  Sadly, the next day,  a father and his adult son who were paddling in a canoe not far from us  flipped over  and the father parished.  The father was not wearing a PDF.  So be sure and wear those Personal Floating Devices!!

On a lighter note, a few days later Joel and I put our Kayaks in the water just below the Leaburg Dam and floated by the Reim's house.  Walt was on the deck and took some great pictures.  Below we are checking out the best route through some minor rapids. 

Wow, that was fun!!  

We beached our kayaks on the little beach across from the Reims.  That's their house and the fishing platform. There is a huge drop off on the banks so there is no way to launch or dock the kayaks there. We have to go about 1/2 mile down river to a ramp.  

 I think this is a better picture of the house.

Joel has been too busy to put the sea eagle in the river and the weather has been raining, raining, and more raining.  Stay tuned for the next clear day!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Birthday Boy, June 10

Happy Birthday to Joel!

First thing in the morning we were off to Joel's favorite breakfast place: Tom's Pancake House, in Beaverton.  Its an old established breakfast and lunch establishment that has been around for years. Joel used to live in the Portland area and says the same waitresses work  at Tom's.

Joel's son Bradley hadn't called to let us know what time to meet him for birthday celebrations, so we spent some time exploring the area and tracking Bradley down as well as picking up Jennie.  On the way we stopped at the Willamette Falls.  The buildings across the river used to be mills.  The falls were much larger at one time but the river was dammed up/rerouted for the mills.

We met Bradley and his partner Iris for dinner and birthday celebrations and then called it a day.

 Iris and Bradley :
The Birthday Boy and Jennie:

 Monday we left Portland for the Champoeg State Park, a beautiful state park located west of Portland.  We were lucky to find one of the few vacant spaces.  It's a very popular park and reservations are suggested.  Most State Parks usually set a few sites aside a few nonreservable spaces, but I guess this one doesn't follow that procedure.  There are some beautiful bicycle paths and an old historical area to explore. Tuesday morning it was poring down rain and decided rather than hassle  with securing a site for another night  and  return to Leaburg.  Next time we will make reservations.

We are now back in Leaburg.  The rear end of the Big House is still torn apart.

 Joel has removed the radiator and intercooler and had them cleaned and is working on repairing some old water damage in that area on the sub floor.  It is turning out to be quit a project.  While fixing one problems he seems to find other things that need fixing.  Guess that is why I call him "The Fix It Man". At least the Born Free is up and running and we found out that the two of us can survive a week in it and still be talking. :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Portland area June 4-11

We were able to get an early start and meandered towards Portland  on Highway 22.   There are several lakes and campgrounds along the way, which warrant more exploring, but we wanted to get to Portland by night fall.  I'm sure we will return to Detroit Lake or Suttle Lake sometime down the road.

Gateway Elks has overnight parking with hookups and is located close to the train and bus.  We settled in and then hopped the train to downtown Portland.  Us "old people" pay only $1.00 for a ticket that has a time limit, but there was plenty of time to head downtown and see some sites before it got too dark.

The Grand Floral Parade takes place every June in downtown Portland and it just happened to be on Saturday.  Joel's daughter agreed to meet us at 8:30 A.M. at the Rose Quarter Square which is where the train stops.  Yikes!  That meant we should be at the train station near Gateway by 7:30 A.M. because we were not sure how crowded the train would be due to the parade.  It turned out extra trains were running and we were just a head of the crowd. Also, because we are considered "old" we qualified for an all day pass for $2.00 each.  What a deal!

The parade didn't start until 10:00 so we had plenty of time to wander around and find a good spot after the train arrived at the square and met up with Jennie.  We found a great viewing spot. For the first time in a very long time I didn't have   anybody standing in front of me and blocking my view. So get ready for lots of pictures.  Just kidding.  I'll just post some of the highlights.

While waiting for Jennie to arrive we saw this little plane buzzing along with the Portland skyline in the background. 

It was pretty early and even the parade participants lined up for Starbucks .
The motorcycle brigade was also getting ready.
As were all the rodeo queens. Look how decked out she and her horse are. Look at all of the flowers!
I was fascinated by the flowers on the hoofs of this horse.
Then there was the Mexican cowboy with his lariat.  He was kind enough to perform for me.
The parade had a lot of beautiful floats.
and lots of international and colorful presence
Below is the "Play It One More Time Again" band.  They are all local volunteers who play instruments, perform as a drill squad and baton squad.  At one time there were over 500 hundred volunteer participants but numbers have dwindled to several hundred. You'll see they got their name as you look at the  four pictures below.

Did you pickup on the ages?  These are not high school students.

Alaskan Airlines was one of the major sponsors and their float was pretty impressive, but
I think the guys were more interested in these participants following the float. We were located near the beginning of the parade which is about 10 miles long.  Can you image walking all that way in heels towing luggage?
There were ponies and other animals
like llamas
Remember the little airplane in the earlier picture.  He was still buzzing along.
The Centennial Float.  This was the centennial of the parade, so there was cause for celebration.
Portland has close ties with Asian communities as evidenced by these colorful participants.
Then there was the Scottish bagpipes (they apparently got enough caffeine from Starbucks earlier)  as well as many other bands.
Did I mention this parade is billed as the cleanest parade on earth?  There were many horses along the route and horses, well,... leave apples, so after every group of horses, the sanitation wagon came along and cleaned up and then spread roses to mark the area.  This was one of the clean up crews.
As a side note,  before the parade started, garbage bags were distributed to the participates and asked to please put all trash in the bags to be picked up at the end of the parade.What I didn't realize is that the garbage bags were to be thrown in the street
and the clean up crew came along immediately behind the last parade participate, but that was not all.
Immediately behind the pickup crew came came the street washers! I barely had time to get out of the way or get a bath!
This parade is definitely a family function.  There were lots of families with small children and between parade exhibits the kids were allowed to go out in the street and play.  Most had chalk and had drawn graffiti on the asphalt...i.e. hopscotch squares and funny faces.   I guess this is one of the reason the street cleaner came through so quickly.  Anyway, it sure makes for clean streets!

We headed over to Pioneer Square and caught a nice concert by the Gay Men's Choir.  Very impressive.
But was more interesting, were these displays to bring awareness to help the hungry.  Different organizations were competing for recognition.  It was hard to read the lettering, but the camera really picked it out.

The day was not over yet, so we headed down to the water front and watched the dragon races.  This was all new to me.  It is really popular and many, many teams sign up to participate.  They race in heats with four boats competing.  The dragon boats are rotated between the teams.  It is really a big deal here, and fun to watch.
One of the dragon boats up close.
Well, it had been a very long day and it was time to catch the train back to the Gateway Elks.  This time we weren't so lucky.  Everyone must have decided to return about the same time so we had to wait a while for a free space,  and then when we got on the it was really packed.  I had flash backs of the "chicken buses" in Guatemala.

Tomorrow is Joel's birthday so we will be returning to the city to pick up Jennie and meet up with Bradley for birthday celebrations. Stay tuned.