Sunday, June 30, 2019

Historic Deepwood Estate

   Built in 1894, Deepwood is a beautiful example of turn of the century Victorian architecture. It sits on 5 acres of formal gardens and natural woodland which is now a city park and free to the public. Tours of the house are available Wednesdays-Saturdays at 9, 10, 11, and noon for a small fee.

   The house is not accessible due to steps. The formal gardens and the nature trail in the wood are accessible. The gardens are very small so the estate is not worth going out of your way to see if you cannot access the house.
   The parking lot is large enough for RVs. Estate 44.93003, -123.03157

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Fisherman's Bend Recreation Site

  Most of the time camping on BLM land means finding a nice dispersed camping location. Occasionally an established campground pops up but these are usually primitive with nothing more than tables and vault toilets. Fisherman’s Bend is quite different - it has hot showers, electric hookups, a dump station, and potable water.

   All of the sites are designated as accessible which means they have tables with extended tops and wide parking pads. The living areas are large and surfaced with finely crushed stone. Most are fairly level. The sites are spaced nicely and separated by trees and bushes to provide a degree of privacy.
   Several miles of trails loop through the trees and along the river. Two 1000’ sections are paved and accessible. Access them from the picnic area parking lot and from the River Loop across from the camp host’s site. Campground  44.75703, -122.51645

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Boondocking in the Bear Grass

   Wow! We crested Santium Pass in central Oregon and found thousands of blooming bear grass plants. We’ve never seen even one in all of the years we’ve been traveling in the west so it was pretty exciting. We pulled into the parking lot for the Pacific Crest trailhead, took a zillion photos, and decided to stay overnight since the parking lot was almost empty.

    This is a good place to spend the night but it may get busier as the weather warms up. If that’s the case staying in one of the numerous Sno-Park lots is a good option.

   The parking lot is paved so rolling around is easy. The Pacific Crest trail at this location has loose sandy soil and logs across the trail to prevent erosion so it’s not accessible for even a short hike. Trailhead  44.4254, -121.85024

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Sunriver Bike Pathways

   Above 40 miles of paved bike trails circle around the residential sections of Sunriver, passing by businesses and traveling through  meadows along the Deschutes River bank. We parked at the Sunriver Nature Center and followed the trail north for a few miles. As many trees as possible were left standing when the community was built in the late 1960s so the paths are shady. The meadow path to the west has little shade making it a better route in cool weather.
     The nature center lot is large enough for RVs. Pathways  43.88472, -121.44689

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Sunriver Nature Center

   This small nature center is a rehabilitation center or permanent home for a handful of injured owls, hawks and an eagle. Other exhibits include snakes, lizards, frogs and salamanders; a bee hive; pieces of meteorites; a tiny botanical garden; and an observatory.
   The nature center is mostly accessible. The top tier of reptile enclosures is too high to see from a seated position, the raptors can not be seen if they are on the floor, and deep wood chips in some areas of the garden making pushing difficult. We did not visit the observatory.

   The parking lot is large enough for RVs.  Center  43.88484, -121.44739

Deschutes National Forest Boondocking

  Not all boondocking spots are beautiful – some are downright ugly. I use Google satellite view a lot to find potential boondocking spots and am often surprised at how humans leave patterns on the earth that can be seen for miles away in space. The forest in the image below has obviously been logged more than once but what are all of the lighter colored clearings? As it turns out they are not good clearings for boondocking but rather lumpy wastelands of woodchip piles and discarded branches. I think this may be an attempt to allow the wood to disintegrate as it would if the trees had died naturally but it sure isn’t pretty.
   Even so this is a fine place to spend a night – easy to get to and fairly quiet except for highway noise from US 97. I can even make it look good by taking a photo from a different location and cropping out the debris. :-P   Forest  43.43123, -121.70709

Monday, June 24, 2019

Williamson River Campground

  There are so many nice places to boondock on Oregon but we had a few things to do that would be easier to accomplish at a flat campsite with a table so we scoped out a couple of the nearby public campgrounds.  Collier Memorial State Park, our first stop, is nice but the campsites are crammed together with very little room between the sites. We moved on to Williamson River Campground, a national forest campground just 1 1/2 miles down the road. Much better – large roomy sites in a mature forest of ponderosa pines. The pull through sites are long enough for any RV.
   Collier has easier access to the water plus Williamson River and Spring Creek converge near the campground so the river is much nicer. The river near Williamson is shallow and the trail to the water is overgrown.
   Don’t miss Collier State Park Logging Museum which is located on US 97 a little bit south of the road to the campgrounds. We visited this outdoor museum a few years ago and highly recommend it. Unfortunately even though the equipment and logging history is interesting wide scale clear cutting has devastated much of the old growth forest in Oregon.

   None of the campsites at Williamson River are accessible. The sites are surfaced with large, loose gravel making rolling around very difficult. The trail to the river from the day use parking lot is narrow, overgrown, and steep.  Campground  42.6586, -121.85489

Friday, June 21, 2019

Leaving the Forest

  The van build is finished and it turned out great! All of the applications will be evaluated and, hopefully by the end of July, a  minivan home owner chosen.

   Over the last week, new shocks were installed, a few mechanical problems were fixed, the mattress was cut down and the cover refitted, and all of the donated items were loaded into the van. A video of the completed van should be appearing on the CheapRVliving YouTube channel soon.
   I’ve been working on documentation of the build which will be provided to teams who want to build a minivan conversion for HOWA. If all goes according to plan there will be groups across the country building minivan homes.  Applications can be found Here.

   We’ve said goodbye to all of our friends and fellow volunteers and left our pretty camp spot in the forest. On the road again!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

We Have Light!

   All of the solar supplies arrived and the volunteers assembling the solar system have been hard at work.
   We also received more generously donated items. Thank you to all who donated!
    Applications for this little rolling home are available: Here.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Waiting for Parts

  The interior of the build is finished except for a few minor details so now we’re just waiting for all of the solar components to be delivered.

   A lot of wish list items have been generously donated.
   A little free time means other activities are being enjoyed.