About Us

Chris and Dennis are traveling around the country seeing the sights and occasionally volunteering at select locations. We avoid the interstate as much as we can and tend to stop for squirrels and shiny objects. Ask us where we are going and we're apt to simply point and say "That away."

Sunday, August 14, 2016

We have returned – Flaming Gorge 2016

 A_birdWhat a busy two weeks!

As we were pulling out of Champoeg we received a call that our replacement air conditioner was in and we had been scheduled for a service call. Still riding the high of selling our house this extra bit of good news came as a wonderful surprise and really eased my mind about handling the hot weather of the high plains deserts of Utah and Idaho. So, with a quick routing change we headed back to Coburg staying at the Premier RV Resort and using this bit of downtime to hit up Costco for a last chance at stocking up - sales tax free.

 

A_snowflakeWe had planned to take our time using a route we had not traveled before but with the loss of two days we were “forced” to head east taking the quickest way possible. Did you believe that? I hope not.

Leaving Coburb going due east takes us through to the Sisters and close to Bend. Of course from there it is pretty logical to take highway 20 across Oregon to Boise and lookee there, with an ever so slight detour there just happens to be Crystal Crane Hot Springs at about the half-way point. Detour? Stop?

 

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Oh yes we did!

A_motorhomeReluctantly we could not stay any longer than overnight. We did manage to hit up the ponds for a couple of soaks and admire a glorious sunset that changed the colors of our motorhome.

 

 

Even though we both grew up in the area, neither of us had taken the I-84 route between Burley Idaho and Brigham City Utah so here was our chance, bypassing Pocatello and seeing new country. Eh, not so much; scrub sagebrush intermixed with alfalfa fields look very much the same regardless the route. To be honest though, once we started getting into the hills most of our view was obscured by smoke and haze from nearby wildfires. At one point, the smoke was thick enough to warrant headlights and a bit of a slow down to be safe.

A_townA_barn_2With different routing came an opportunity we couldn't pass up – a visit to the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville, Utah. We wrote briefly about this place last year but this time round I received a personal guided tour from my brother-in-law (his name is also Chris) who works here. This family friendly, educational and fun place makes for a wonderful inexpensive stop for any traveler. Access is RV friendly with parking and plenty of room for even the largest rigs. (Sorry about sounding like an advertisement but this gem deserves the exposure.)

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Four days of refreshing family ties and catching up brings us to this blog's conclusion and our destination for the next two months – Flaming Gorge. Over the past year there have been some significant changes. The visitor center we worked in last year has been remodeled with new flooring, exhibits and furniture. We'll get more into that when our schedule has us returning to working there after Labor day.

A_launchA_fishermenFor now though, we are split up and working a booth at the dam's spillway boat lauch and down on the launching ramp. These two spots are about a half mile apart and with no cell or other phone service available; portable radios are our only contact.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Champoeg (Sham Poo Ee) The Departure

DSC_0015Trying not to sound like one of those old time travelogues I watched as a kid (yes, television had been invented back then), we do bid a fond farewell to the Champoeg Visitor Center and the new friends we've made while here. We'll be heading east for the annual family reunion and then a bit further yet to end up back where we started at our first hosting gig – Flaming Gorge.

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DSC_0266There is a whole gamut of emotions we've run through this past week. First are the obvious ones of sadness as we part company with a whole bunch of new friends. Special mention goes to the Rangers we worked with: Dan, Janet, Kim and Kevin; a more dedicated group of folks would be hard to find. We learned a great deal from them even though I still failed the walk and chew gum course. Our fellow hosts are awesome people and we sincerly hope we meet up again sometime in the future on our travels.

DSC_0241DSC_0235Overriding the sadness though is the excitement of heading back to where we started the hosting adventure – Flaming Gorge. After a short stay at the annual family reunion (also pretty durn exciting) we'll be heading up into the back country to host once again at the Red Canyon Visitor Center and at the Green River boat launch.

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Putting icing on the cake is absolute joy finally being houseless! After a whole year, countless teases and a couple of earnest offers and final change out of realtors we actually closed on our house. This has been a tremendous weight lifted from us and without the anchor of a house holding us back we are now free to really cast off and explore in our land yacht.

IMG_20160730_163827490_HDRSo, we're east bound and down, loaded up and RV'ing. Stay with us, its sure to be a fun ride.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Champoeg (Sham Poo Ee)Part Deux

IMG_20160702_142627385This place is BIG! I thought our last gig in Washington with its 104 sites on 80 acres was good sized but here we are on 640 acres. Wide open spaces, 85 RV sites, some tent sites, cabins, yurts, an 18 hole frisbee golf course, boat launch and several group sites. Not to mention several acres of grass land, forest and just plain lots of nature stuff. IMG_20160702_143009689

Our work schedule allows us to really explore the area and we plan on doing just that - as soon as life gives us a break. This past week on our days off for instance, we were back in Coburg at the service center to get our air conditioner fixed. Sort ofa good news, bad news thing. Bad news, it requires a replacement. Other bad news, its on order. Really good news, the unit is covered under warranty. Other good news, the service center is only an hour and a half away so once the new unit is in, it will be a short jaunt south to have it replaced. Our next stop is in southeast Idaho and their temperatures have been hovering near triple digits so having two operational A/C's is sort of critical for us. Oh well, we did get another chance at Coburg Pizza and Chief's Tavern for some excellent lunches.

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As visitor center hosts our little corner of the world consists of about 4 acres containing a field with a variety of grains, a small 1860's kitchen garden with heirloom plants and of course the visitor center itself. In the photo you can see a portion of the center painted red, the whitewashed picket fence surrounding the garden and the weathered barn.
IMG_20160716_133814034_HDRAt over 150 years old, this is the oldest standing barn in the state of Oregon.

pump_corntobaccoBehind the barn is an interesting combination of crops. We have barley, oats and corn and a small patch of tobacco. Moonshine and cigars anyone?

Oh, to make it kid friendly there are a couple of pumpkins as well. 
IMG_20160716_133740525Normally we don't see that much foot traffic but this weekend the rangers put on Blacksmith Day and for four hours there was a good 100 people wandering about. Our volunteer coordinator happens to be the resident blacksmith so he and his wife, who is also a blacksmith, gave demonstrations and a bit of education over an authentic traveling forge.
While it might have been the “title” of the event it certainly wasn't all that was going on. IMG_20160716_142716644Inside we had the interpreters who provided oral history of the area and specifically the park. Outside we had wainrights to demonstrate how they used to put an iron tire on a wooden wheel, a lumberman and a shaker.
IMG_20160716_134311598Probably not intended but it fell in line with our perspective was one RV’er; the tinsmith who  in addtion to his work on tin cups and copper pots built this own caravan. A very popular exhibit so we couldn't get in to take pictures of the interior. Suffice it to say, it was built well and is beautiful outside and in.
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Another historical spot is just outside of the park in the town of Butteville where the Butteville Store is believed to be the oldest still running store in Oregon at 153 years.
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Its been a great couple of weeks and time has really flown by. Can’t wait to see what happens next!