Spring please

This winter has been the most challenging since moving to Portland. The weather has been contributing to our slow start to this years adventuring. We were greeted with an ice storm early December which was followed a month later with a snow storm that dumped ten inches of snow in Portland.


Portland ice storm December 9, 2016

The city shut down for a week with temperatures hovering between 20 – 32 degrees. It’s rare to find a shoveled sidewalk since most people don’t own a shovel for the once a year one inch snow fall. I used our dustpan to remove snow from the steps so Wiley would tolerate going out. The sidewalks became packed down and turned quickly to thick layers of ice. My Sorel boots worked wonderful the first couple of days but as the snow turned to ice they were useless. Those metal spikes for the bottoms of shoes seem like a white elephant gift, but are sctually practical. I broke down and ordered a pair but they arrived a week too late. I am prepared for next year!


Portland snow storm – January 11, 2017

Having grown up in the Midwest, it was a strange site seeing cars and busses driving around the city with chains for a solid week. The streets were the quietest I have ever seen. The first few days it was easier to walk the street than the sidewalk. Nights were lively with adults and kids playing in the snow. So much snow art could be found throughout the city.


Southeast Portland snow art

By the third day of work from home, I was restless and needed to get to the office. I rummaged through our Minnesota bin to find the essentials, snow pants, mittens, hat and the warmest coat I own. I hobbled on the snow and ice covered side walked to my bus stop. Pro tip, the schedules are never right with bad weather. The TriMet app will say one minute till arrival and the bus never shows. I have concluded the city is filled with ghost buses. When the bus actually does arrive it was so packed the driver would not pick up anyone else. So I started walking towards the next stop. Lucky for me, the next stop one person got off and I was able to hop on. Chains can be noisy and vehicles should only go a maximum of 25 mph. On the bright side it makes for a scenic commute across the Burnside Bridge.

Exactly a month later we reserved a site at Cape Lookout State Park for our first R-pod adventure of the year. The temperatures were promising highs in the 50’s which felt quite warm after the chilly January weather we had been experiencing.


First camping of the season – February 11, 2017

Removing the cover was much easier than expected. Mike, thinking ahead, bought a pump to fill the tires. We added a few belongings for our one night stay and we were quickly on the road. The R-pod isn’t that large but requires extra attention and being alert in traffic.

We came across a few challenges on our first R-pod adventure. Our first discovery was the battery no longer holds a charge. The battery is five years old so that is not much of a surprise. The second surprise came at Cape Lookout State Park. They have incredible RV sites with water hook ups, electrical and sewer dump at each site. We took this opportunity to fill the tank with water. While organizing the bedroom, I peaked in the bathroom and saw a steady stream of water flowing down the drain. The pipe connection at the base of the toilet was spraying water. Thinking back on it we forgot to use the pressure value and may have just had too much pressure causing the water to spray. We’ll need some further investigation. I swear that toilet has it out for us.


Cape Lookout State Park, Oregon

The rest of the weekend went smooth. On the ride home we did find one minor hiccup that the sewer water cover had fallen off during our drive back and had been bouncing as we drove. Now the cover won’t stay on due to a few prongs busted off. Easy fix though – we’ll just need to order a replacement.

I have to say, I am proud to have Mike as my partner. We have an ability to work through the unexpected together without fighting but rather laughter. Seriously he is the best.

Finding Comfort in the Discomfort

By my very nature I am a planner. In my work life I am a project manager and in my personal life I create spreadsheets to plan for every trip or major life event. 

There is something exhilarating and terrifying  about traveling with no plan in place. The stress of where will I sleep tonight or where is my next bathroom option are top of mind. This past weekend we did just that, left the city with a general goal of seeing the Painted Hills but nothing concrete was planned. 

As the sky grew dark and the long day fell upon us we started the hunt for a campsite. We passed by a KOA which gave me comfort there was a backup plan a few miles away. Our first stop was Haystack Reservoir Campground and to our surprise it had a few sites still available. We setup camp on top of the hill facing the lake. As the yellow morning glow grew across the hilltops we were greeted with the site of Mt Jefferson in the distance.


The Ochoco National Forest provided a maze of exciting and scenic gravel roads for Clifford, our loyal 4Runner enjoyment. Painted Hills in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument was a heavenly site of magical rainbow ribbons paired perfectly with the bright blue sky backdrop.


Living for the Adventure

A solid staple in our relationship has been our combined passion for adventure. This was apparent in a recent camping trip to the coast. In Mike’s true adventurous spirit, one of the many reason he stole my heart, called me Friday afternoon asking if I would be willing to go camping that night.
Cape Lookout State Park

Cape Lookout State Park

My day had already been exhausting on top of being tired and crappy. The thought of racing home to frantically pack up the camping gear was daunting. Mike assured me to not worry he’s got this. And sure enough, an hour later Mike and Wiley picked me up from work with the car fully loaded and we headed straight to the coast.
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

There is something magical about living in Portland and being able to drive less than 2 hours to discover the many diverse types of beauty. Waterfalls, to hot springs, lush green hikes with babbling creeks or to explore the many sites the ocean offers. Having lived most our lives in the Midwest it still is mind blowing having all these options. We have a common goal to leave every weekend possible and surround ourselves Oregon’s beauty.

Driving the Coast