Busyness

Busy, busy, busy. We’re always busy with something. Lucky for us, it’s almost always fun!

We’re at Cottonwood Canyon State Park until the end of June. We’ve been working on a few various projects for the park and ourselves and we’re still working on the the whole “relaxing” thing. We’re getting better at it, having big yards of lush grass and a river at our doorstep helps. We’ve been fishing, floating and swimming to stay cool.image

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A couple weeks ago we updated our RV kitchen. More pictures and details later! image

We also had some unexpected car repairs come up just days before our upcoming roadtrip. New O2 sensor and another catalytic converter, woohoo…image

At the park we’ve been wrangling rattlesnakes, cleaning bathrooms, pulling noxious weeds, and working on trails. We have a trail named after us! Temporarily anyway…image

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We’ve also been helping with the installation of some new interpretive displays. image

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Last weekend our friends from Washington came down to hang out and play in the river. Lots of fun and food, but no pictures…

As always, we’re having a blast at Cottonwood. But this weekend was HOT!! The AC couldn’t even keep up. Blah… image

This week we are on vacation! Right now we’re enjoying an afternoon siesta after another delicious, filling, home cooked meal in La Grande. Kathy has been cooking for us and Dave is earning our keep and meals by helping Mike with some projects around the house.

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And Dizzy has a new friend, Lexie! They wore each other out yesterday and have spent most of today sleeping. image

Cascade Locks Ness Monsterz

Ok…. Not for real. No monsters here in the Cascade Locks of Oregon but there IS a lot of history and a lot of stories.

http://www.cascadelocks.net/

We just spent the last two days participating in the Pacific Crest Trails Trail Skills College. Here is a link to their web page: http://www.pcta.org/volunteer/trail-skills-college/

We gained some valuable skills while helping to restore some trails in the Cascade Locks area. Now we will take our new skillset and improve more trails as we continue to volunteer as trail Ninjas…

But now it is time for some rest and relaxation – before we meander into Cottonwood Canyon to play with the real rattle snake population… And of course work on trails there too. Along with a little fishing.

MUD!

This week we’re working with a group from the Northwest Youth Corp. They are amazing workers and are flying through a turnpike project. The last 3 days has involved a lot of log lifting, loading, unloading, and carrying. And it’s course is been raining and we’re on the MUDDIEST and one of the steepest trails in the park. We’ve been having a blast though!

Sunny day road trip

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We’ve been stuck in a fog (literally) for the last week… The weather website says it’s been sunny and warm but we haven’t seen it. So, we took Monday off and sought out the sun. We left bright and early to drive west to the coast.
We stopped at Camp 18 Restaurant for coffee and the biggest cinnamon roll we’ve ever seen! It took us 2 days to eat it all and it was delicious!

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Our first stop once we hit the coast was Seaside. We stopped for more coffee and after meandering through the touristy part of town we drove about 10 miles up the beach. Not quite a leisurely stroll in the sand but still fun.

We hit Fort Stevens after that to explore the Old Fort a bit, saw the museum (finally), and took a drive out to see the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale.

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It was a gorgeous day but still too windy to really enjoy the beach.

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After a quick lunch we took a stroll on the non windy paved path on the river in Astoria and saw (and smelled) the Sea Lions on the docks. And, yea, that is a finger in the picture, I think I had a death grip on my phone to not drop it…

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We ended our beautiful day on the coast at the Astoria Column. Missed sunset though, the clouds rolled in just in time.

We haven’t been up to much else but working. This week we started cleaning up the newt pond at our trailhead in Buxton. Years of downed branches and leaves have left it looking a little dark and eerie. Mucky, stinky work but it will look great when we’re done. And it’s fun for us!
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Oh, did someone lose a toilet?
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2014 in short(ish)

Happy 2015 everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s!

Here’s our 2014 year in review:

January: A somber beginning with the passing of my Mom. We spent the month in Arizona with my Dad and brother. Before returning to Oregon we made a trip up to Washington to see Mom’s friends and former Scouts and deliver dolls, books and Girl Scout memorabilia according to her wishes.

February: Back in Oregon at the Umpqua River Lighthouse. Not much excitement, just replacing our shower, adding fancy new LEDs and fixing our toilet.

March: Still at Umpqua River Lighthouse. We met up with a few friends and enjoyed a day out on the Dunes on ATVs.

April: Made the voyage out to Cottonwood Canyon State Park where we stayed until the the end of June. It’s the newest State Park in Oregon and had only been open a few months at that point. There was a lot to do!

May: Lots of Bighorn Sheep watching, star gazing, fishing, tick picking and snake relocating plus a few road trips. In the park there was a LOT of work to be done trying to keep the invasive weeds from completely taking over the new campground, not an easy task!!

June: Years ago my Mom started the Girl Scouts of Western Washington Bridging the Narrows. It was always a dream of hers to have the troops in the area Bridge by walking across the Narrows Bridge in Washington State. With help from the council there she made it happen shortly before moving to Arizona. This year’s event was held in her honor and she was memorialized by the hundreds of girls and adults who experienced her love of the Girl Scout program. We made the journey to Tacoma to attend. It was amazing to see my Mom’s legacy living on.

We also made a quick 4 day road trip into  Eastern Oregon to scout out some places to go back to in October.

Before we left we made a float trip down the river with the other hosts. We had a ton of fun even with the rough start… Less than a minute in to trip we managed to hit a rock and flip our tandem kayak. We lost everything out of the boat but our friends and another couple in kayaks retrieved it all as it floated past, except my fishing pole, that must had sunk straight down. We made it back into the kayak and continued down the river. It was a perfect day for a float and a great day for fishing (even with just 1 pole between us).

July: We made our way back across Portland to Stub Stewart State Park to spend the rest of our summer working on the trails there.

We were excited to have Dave’s oldest grandson Isaac for 10 days this month. We took him to as many places as we could manage while he was here and added about 1100 miles to my car. We all had a ton of fun and wish he could have stayed a lot longer.

August: Mostly just working and exploring all the local farmer’s markets.

September: Been busy all summer pruning, mowing, blowing and raking over 20 miles of soft surface trails. We love what we do and the hikers, bikers and horse back riders are appreciative! We traveled over to Cottonwood Canyon for a host gathering and I got my fishing pole back! It was found in the river by our friends who were with us on the river in June and after almost 3 months underwater it needed some serious cleaning.

October: Vacation time!! We finally took the vacation we’ve been talking about for years. We spent October with just the RV (cars and trailer in storage) and wandered Eastern Oregon. We started off with an itinerary and plans to make a huge loop around the state but gave that up within a week. We fell in love with the Northeastern part of the state, from Baker City north to the border, and didn’t want to go much further. We took our time exploring, spent time in amazing places and met up with some amazing people (old friends and new!). We found a “home” in the little mountain town of Sumpter and cannot wait to go back for a longer stay!

In the Elkhorns ATV tour of Sumpter The Steam Train in Sumpter Camping in the National Forest Soaking up the sunshine in the Wallowas The Wallowas are amazing!

At the end of the month we headed north back into Central Washington to babysit our favorite little lady, Shelby. We spent a week and a half with her and had a blast! We got to take her trick-r-treating!

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November: We left Washington and moved across the Columbia River to Viento State Park to spend a week “scouting” current and future trails. We weren’t too helpful this time around though, the day after we got there a storm came through that left about a foot of snow on the ground. We love the snow but it’s not too helpful in finding trails… We still did a lot of hiking though and had fun in a gorgeous area.

From there it was off to Newport on the Coast to Pacific Shores Motorcoach Resort. We were brought on here as “work-campers” to clean up their trail system. In return we had access to the pools, hot tubs, saunas, gym and clubhouse! We didn’t know what to do with it all!

December: Loving the resort here, work hard on the trails all day and then take advantage of the amenities, pretty sweet gig! The trails were ignored for about 8 years and are in major need of repair. We lucked out with the weather and in just over a month we managed to find and clear out the overgrown trails. Everyone so far is excited to have them walkable again. There is still a lot of work to be done but it’s a start! We’ll be back this coming spring.

Finally, in this 2014 summary of the Cross family, some news! We finally bought ourselves a little spot of our own here in Oregon. We loved Pacific Shores and the town of Newport so much we bought an RV lot! It’s not the acreage we’ve been looking for but it’s a great spot for us to start. We’ll still be hosting occasionally but we’ll also be taking some time off to focus on ourselves. We have some remodeling we want to do on the RV, we have plans for building up our new lot and we both want to get back into our arts, things that we just don’t have the spare time or energy for when we’re working.

Well, that was a “brief” look at our 2014. We hope everyone else had a good year!

Page 55

We’ve been on page 55 of our Oregon Road and Recreation Atlas for 6 days now. We’re getting to know the area from La Grande south to Baker City and west to Sumpter really well. In the process we’re realizing that some of the roads that lead into the Blue Mountains are probably not meant to be traveled by RVs such as ours, we think they are really meant for Jeeps, 4x4s and ATVs. But, what can we say, we’re on an adventure of sorts.

Last night we found a really nice camp spot in the forest and we were hoping to find something similar today a little further north. We headed to Anthony Lakes to check it out then turned around to look for camping at a lower (and warmer) elevation. Since we were in the National Forest we thought we’d be able to find something pretty easy. Not so…

The first road we took went from public to private land repeatedly and with each change in ownership came a change in the road quality; good, level, gravel road to rutted, uneven, potholey road, over and over. There was no possibility of turning around so we had keep pushing on. The whole time we were hoping no one was traveling on the same road in the opposite direction, someone would have to back down the mountain and that wasn’t going to be us. We drove along a cliff side for awhile before finally ending up at the road that would lead us back to the pavement.

After that adventure we took a right down a road that follows the base of the mountains hoping that it might lead us to a campsite. It was a horribly wash boardy road. We couldn’t go above 2mph without the dishes in the cupboard bouncing violently into each other and threatening to escape out onto the floor. And then there were the cows who broke free of their fence and were standing confused in the road, they didn’t know whether to run away from or get closer to the rattling beast coming their way. Eventually that road started to head into the mountains like we wanted. It was getting dark and we were getting hopeful, until the nice, groomed, gravel road became someone’s driveway and we were once again on a gnarly dirt road. This time though we had the addition of giant rocks sticking up like teeth waiting to bite into the tires and trees that wanted to reach out and touch the rv, which they did, every surface of it. After about a 1/2 mile and 30 minutes we finally made it to a spot about 12’wide where we could turn around our 32’rv. It took walkie talkies and about a 20 point turn but we did it and as slowly as possible made our way back down. No damage, just a bit of pin striping and a mildly bent generator pipe, and maybe some scratches on the cargo rack but nothing major or worth note.

So, by then it was dark, we were hungry and frazzled and craving pavement. We drove south back to Baker City and found a parking spot at the truck stop we had visited this morning. It’s noisy and we’re under a street light but whatever… we had enough adventure today. We might just stick to the pavement for awhile, at least for 1 day.

Ahhhh, vacation

We’ve had a really awesome vacation so far. We’ve done a lot of hiking, had a lot of campfires, done a little bit of relaxing, we’ve visited great friends and made new great friends!

We spent the last 4 days in Sumpter, Oregon riding ATVs, exploring old gold mines and dredges, eating delicious home cooked meals, watching the deer and wild turkeys walk through the neighborhood, and really just enjoying time spent with wonderful people. We could have stayed there forever. It was difficult to leave.

Right now we have our Forester in the forest and we’re sitting around another big campfire.

More stories and pictures to follow eventually. Probably after vacation.  :)

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Our Forester in the forest.

Ahhhh, vacation

We’ve had a really awesome vacation so far. We’ve done a lot of hiking, had a lot of campfires, done a little bit of relaxing, we’ve visited great friends and made new great friends!

We spent the last 4 days in Sumpter, Oregon riding ATVs, exploring old gold mines and dredges, eating delicious home cooked meals, watching the deer and wild turkeys walk through the neighborhood, and really just enjoying time spent with wonderful people. We could have stayed there forever. It was difficult to leave.

Right now we have our Forester in the forest and we’re sitting around another big campfire.

More stories and pictures to follow eventually. Probably after vacation.  :)

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Our Forester in the forest.

Suppin at Sumpter

Americana… Only found in “small town” America.

We made our way through Eastern Oregon to the town of Sumpter. There we met some folks who kindly invited us into their home. We met their friends, rode their four-wheel quads on a tour of local gold mines and ended up breaking fresh home-made bread with our spaghetti dinner the host prepared…

Sigh… Such hospitality. Genuine American hospitality.

OH..Did I mention they put us up on their RV pad (with full hook-up) in the driveway?

Today we will help cut firewood for some folks in town that can’t do it on their own.

Our reward? Getting to be a part of the genuine Americana we found in this lovely town…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumpter_Valley_Gold_Dredge

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