Friday, June 30, 2017

Al Griffin Park - Bay City Campground


  Al Griffin Park is a tiny city park featuring a skateboard park, tennis court, a playground, and a campground with four full hookup sites and twelve tent sites. Tent campers get few amenities because there isn’t a restroom, just porta potties, and the picnic tables and fire pits are lacking in number.  We parked in the grass ( pictured above) which isn’t an official site. I don’t recommend this because the ground may be soft.  All in all this is a good, quiet, and inexpensive place to camp if you want to see the sights in the area.

   The main reason we camped here was to meet up with Danny and Shula of “LIVING OUR DREAM SINCE 2002”.  We’ve been reading each others blogs for years but our paths haven’t crossed until now. Danny and Shula live in Israel and come to the US every summer to travel and camp in their fifth wheel which is left in storage over the winter. Their blog is packed full of great photographs and interesting places to visit. Check it out especially of you like waterfalls. Thanks for the nice visit Danny and Shula. It was great to finally meet you!


Park   45.52633, -123.89159


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Pacific Northwest Get Together


  We spent the last week camping with new friends and old friends at the second annual PNW get together of Cheap RV Living members. The gathering also included the Vintage and Classic Roadtrek Facebook group so we had a nice mix of full and part timers, newbies and experienced van dwellers.  A great time was had by all!





  Thank you to Nelda and Gary for organizing everything!


Monday, June 26, 2017

Fernhill Wetlands


  Fernhills Wetlands is another example of continuing the treatment of clean waste water by filtering it through a system of ponds and waterfalls. The wetlands are enhanced with landscaping of native plants and provide a home or stopping point for over 200 different species of birds.

   IMG_5223 IMG_5225IMG_5249   IMG_5243  IMG_5257   The trails are accessible but first section is surfaced with finely crushed stone which hasn’t packed down yet so pushing is a bit difficult. The rest of the trails have medium size gravel and are bumpy.



   Drive past the first parking area to the next spot for easy wheelchair access to the trail. Room for any RV.  Wetlands  45.50901, -123.09037


Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve


The wetlands basin is part of the flood plain of the Tualatin River. Early setters cleared, ditched, and drained the land.  Invasive grass was planted as cattle feed. Later the area was a dumping ground for construction and cannery waste. In the 1970s concerned citizens began restoring the wetlands. The restoration is still a work in progress and includes wetlands, ponds, marshes, sloughs, meadows, and forests.


   A small education center features interactive displays and a huge eagle’s nest that was salvaged after parts of the tree that supported it fell over.


  A display garden and short loops of interconnecting trails, located near the education center, are accessible. The education center is accessible. The rest of the trails, approximately 3 miles, are not accessible due to a steep hill at the beginning, loose mulch, and rough, grassy trails.


The parking lot is large enough for RVs.  Wetlands   45.50056, -122.99067


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Willamette Mission State Park


  Willamette Mission State Park is the site of the first mission for Native Americans in the west. Nothing is left of the mission but an interpretive trail with simple frame outlines depicting the original building location and size gives visitors an idea of the mission’s scope. An educational nature trail, paved bike trails and horse trails are also in the park.


  The mission trail and the nature trail are grass and lumpy so neither is accessible. The bike trails are almost flat and in good condition except for a few rough patches.


  The parking lot is large enough for any RV. We were planning to take the ferry across the Willamette River but couldn’t because our rear overhang would have scraped due to the angle at the junction of the ramp and road.  Park   45.0803, -123.05506



Thursday, June 22, 2017

Oregon State Psychiatric Hospital Museum


  The hospital which was built in 1883 using prison labor was the setting for the movie One Flew Over the Cockoo’s Nest.  Each actor shadowed a patient, even going as far as sleeping in the wards. Some of the patients worked as crew members.


   Although the hospital was considered superior to previous hospitals by the early 21st century it suffered from overcrowding and lack of maintenance. Treatment of patients was often inhumane. In 2011 an extensive restoration and expansion of the hospital was completed which included an area for the museum. The museum tells the history of psychiatric treatments and the stories of patients and hospital employees. Artifacts from different eras are on display including some of the props from the movie.




   Follow the sidewalk to the right side of the museum entrance to the accessible entrance. The museum staff must be notified so that the door to the wheelchair lift is opened. The museum exhibits are accessible.

  The museum parking spaces are short. Our 25’ RV fit but anything longer will not.  Museum   44.93946, -123.00549


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Talking Water Gardens and Simpson Park Trails


   These two very different trails can be accessed from the same parking lot. The trails in Talking Waters circle around small ponds in an open, sunny environment. The Simpson Park Trail travels through a dense forest with mature trees. Neither is long so both are easily done in a few hours. An additional short trail, the Cox Creek Trail, leads to Waverly Lake.

  Talking Waters has been designed to naturally finish the treatment process of waste water by running it through a series of ponds and waterfalls before releasing it into the Willamette River. The landscaping, using native plants and carefully placed rocks, gives it a park like setting. Almost half of the trails are hard packed crushed stone, the others are mulch.  Most of the trails have a gentle up or downhill grade.  




  The Simpson Park trail is a peaceful walk that follows the river but does not have a river view. A short steep hill provides access and the first section of the trail is surfaced with large, loose gravel so wheelchair users will need assistance. The trail levels out and has a hard packed dirt surface which may be muddy in wet weather.


   The parking lot is large enough for any RV.  Talking Water    Simpson Park  44.64452, -123.07412


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Albany Historic Carousel & Museum


  Fourteen years of work has gone into creating dozens of beautifully hand carved animals in the style of early 1900s Dentzel carousel animals. An antique 1909 Dentzel carousel mechanism was donated and has been refurbished. The project started as a revitalization effort for downtown Albany with everything done by volunteers. They’re doing a wonderful job!

        IMG_5113IMG_5120                   IMG_5121

  The carousel building is almost complete and the animals that are finished will be installed on the carousel in July. The building will also have a gift shop and museum. Since all of the animals are not finished and repairs will be constant a workshop will be located on the lower level.


  The location where we visited to see the animals being carved will not be used once the carousel is in operation so I don’t have any information about accessibility or parking but parking should be available on the streets.  Carousel    44.63726, -123.11029


Friday, June 16, 2017

Darlingtonia State Natural Site


  Darlingtonias are a type of pitcher plant that trap insects and use enzymes to digest them. A very short trail leads to a fen where the bizarre plants crowd together to form a dense death zone for any unwary insects. It such a strange sight to see so many of these large, weird plants – stop if you’re anywhere close!


  The trail starts as a paved path, becomes boardwalk through the fen, and completes the loop with paved path. The path does not fit flush with the boardwalk but has a steep hump at either end. Most wheelchair users will find accessing the boardwalk very difficult without assistance.


  Most RVs will fit in the small parking lot.  Trail  44.04745, -124.09719