Airstream Rally in Maryhill, WA

Last weekend we got our trailer out for the first trip of the year, and joined the Oregon Airstream Club at a rally in Maryhill, WA. This was the first time we had been out with the club since rejoining last year and going to the Eclipse Rally. We had been in the club when we first bought the trailer, which was 15 years ago, but they had been a bit stodgy for our tastes back then, and we only stayed in it a few years.

So we were not sure what this rally was going to be like. We showed up on Friday evening, since I couldn’t leave until after work on Friday. I suppose I could have taken the day off, but I had already scheduled the following Friday off for Memorial weekend, and I didn’t want to lose too many PTO days. So we rolled in just as it was getting dark, and were greeted by friendly folks who immediately invited us down to dinner, and we got to meet a bunch of other campers as they all fussed over getting us some food (they were just about all ready to turn in for the night!).

We are on the left end. Our trailer was the smallest and oldest by far 🙂

So, there were about 15 trailers, and we did not know any of the people there for a change! We have been camping with our regular group for so long, that was really different, but everyone was really friendly and welcoming. We got a few tours the next day, and gave everyone who was interested a peek in our wee little trailer.

One fun thing we do on AirForums sometime is post ‘the view from my front door’. Not so spectacular this weekend!

The view out the other side was much nicer.

It got pretty hot on Saturday, so I’m glad we didn’t have the dogs with us. After breakfast with our new friends, everyone headed off in various directions. We went to the Maryhill Museum. Along the way I stopped to snap a few photos of the windmills.

I know they aren’t natural, but I think they are pretty cool.

The scenery here is so different from home, just two hours away. Not everyone knows that WA and OR are split in two by the cascade mountain range. The West side is damp and green and treed, the East side is dry and brown and full of spectacular plateaus. Out here it feel like the sky goes on forever!

After the museum we came back and relaxed, read a book, took a nap, and just really enjoyed having no chores or errands or responsibilities. I finally finished reading Travels With Charlie, which Michelle gave me for my birthday a couple years ago! We need to camp more! Dave just rested because he had pulled his back moving the kayak last week.

For the Saturday evening potluck I made a cheesy cauliflower dish, since our low carb diet isn’t approving or the old Potato Dish we always made for potlucks. The cauliflower dish actually turned out really nice. The hosts made tri-tips and there was plenty of food! We had a great time visiting with more folks we hadn’t had a chance to chat with yet.

After dinner everyone pulled up a chair around the big firepit and we had a nice campfire, and someone got an ice breaker going by asking folks to tell something interesting about themselves, and folks had a lot of really good stories. Of course Dave could say he had been an extra on TV shows. I passed, I couldn’t think of anything too interesting to say.

The next morning we all had a relaxed breakfast and packed up to head back home. We had one more stop on our way out of town.

Stonehenge! This is a WWI memorial built by the same guy who built the Maryhill Museum.

A beautiful view from between the stones. Mt Hood in the distance, hidden in the clouds.

So that was our little adventure. Good to get the trailer out for a little test run. Last year we missed Trout Lake because of a broken water main, but everything is running fine again now. And it’s our 15 year anniversary with the trailer, so I hope this is a good year with lots of camping coming up this summer. Sometimes it seems like the trailer is more trouble than it is worth, but times like this are just so much more relaxing than a hotel trip has ever been, it feels very worth while.


Latourell Falls

I headed off for another adventure in the Columbia River Gorge, but this time I went down the Oregon side, headed for Angel’s Rest, which is a short hike to an overlook.

I got off in Corbett, OR, and took the Historic Columbia River Highway. There are lots of great overlooks, like this one at the Portland Women’s Forum Overlook, with a view of Crown Point, and Beacon Rock in the distance.

I enjoyed top-down cruising on this little adventure, thanks to Mr Miata. Here we stopped at Crown Point, Vista House.

Vista House is a classic stopping point on any trip in the Gorge. I can even see it from Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge back home.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised I can see Steigerwald from Crown Point! Hey, it’s right down there!

I continued down the old highway, enjoying driving through the tunnel of trees, when I came to Latourell Falls. I stopped to stretch and have a look at the falls which was an easy stroll from the parking lot.

The water was coming down so hard I had a tough time keeping my lens dry!

I had a black & white assignment to do for photo club, so I used one of these shots. I liked the contrast of the water against the rocks, and the texture of the rocks.

I returned to the parking area and pulled out my Curious Gorge Guide, and saw that Latourell has a 2 mile hike up to the upper Latourell Falls, and it rated it as easy to moderate, where Angel’s rest was rated moderate to difficult. Since I’m just getting in shape, I decided this sounded like a better option. I grabbed my pack and headed up the trail.

The trail is pretty, winding through the woods. Lots of little wildflowers here and there. It was shady and cool.

A few more peeks at lower Latourell Falls between the trees.

What a peaceful walk. There were other people on the trail, but not enough to be annoying. In fact I felt safer with a few people around, since I was alone.

I got tired and stopped for a break to drink some water, and laid back on a log and looked up at this amazing tree for a bit. Just think about how old that tree is! Think about the people who preserved this so we could enjoy it! We are so lucky to live in a place where that is a priority and we can afford to do so.

Finally I reached Upper Latourell Falls.

This picture doesn’t do it justice! It was pounding! There was a lot of water coming off of it, a mist reaching me even though I was still quite a ways back. Maybe this video will help: Upper Latourell Falls from Stephanie Roberts on Vimeo.

It’s all downhill from here…

More pretty flowers.

Finally I came to a rest stop with a view of the Columbia River and a nice bench for sittin’ and thinkin’.

Continuing down the trail, I came to this crazy tree!

And I saw a snail, which I guess isn’t too exciting, except we just don’t really have snails in the Portland area, I have hardly ever seen snails just hanging around. We got SLUGS, oh boy do we ever, but not snails.

Thank you, Mr Talbot!

Then the trail went back to the Historic Highway, and it was a short walk back to the parking area.

This was a really nice, easy hike, and the waterfall was totally worth it. I’m so glad I stopped to check it out!


Beacon Rock State Park

I spent a lovely afternoon at Beacon Rock State Park, right up the road in the Columbia River Gorge.

I have not spent much time up there. I did a little scouting trip a few weeks ago to check it out, and went back to spend more time photographing and doing a little filming, which I turned into this little video: Beacon Rock State Park from Stephanie Roberts on Vimeo.

On the way down I stopped at Cape Horn for a look at the Gorge, and Phoca Rock, out in the middle of the river. Down the left bank you can see Beacon Rock in the distance.

Someone planted a flag on the top of Phoca Rock. Apparently it’s been claimed for another nation now 🙂

I got to Beacon Rock and went for a nice stroll around the big meadow. I’m getting in shape this summer, so it was challenging for me. I was pretty tired by the end of it, and I was lugging a tripod and camera gear.

Saw this guy along the way, just sunning himself on the path.

From across the meadow I took a zoomed in photo of Beacon Rock, and by zooming way in on that I could see the path to the top. Apparently it is currently closed because of wind damage from a storm last winter.

After the meadow walk I strolled down to the docks. I want to come back and get a reflection of the rock in the water some morning. A friend took a picture like that and I was really impressed.

Cool rock formations on the Rock.

This was a very relaxing afternoon. I could not have asked for any better.


Trout Lake 2015


Time again for the annual trip to Trout Lake to hang out with my Airstream friends. We packed up the trailer, the dogs, and it seemed like more miscellaneous ‘stuff’ than ever before. Maybe it just felt that way because the Flex is so small and the Van was so big! We headed off after work on Thursday so we could get in an extra day.

We rolled into town to find a thunderstorm hiding the mountain top and obscuring the sunset.


We got settled in, said hello to everyone, and soon after crashed for the night. As I lay in bed in the complete darkness, I thought my eyes were playing tricks as I saw flashes, but the thunder told us it was the lightening storm. Kind of cool.



The next day the Airstreams kept rolling in. All our usual friends, and a few we had missed last year. A sad trip for our friends Carolyn and Loren, as they had just lost their beautiful German Shepherd Cosmo. Cosmo had been a fixture at the rally for 7 years, where he would hang out by the campfire with them, but if Mom and Dad weren’t together, he would patrol the camp going back and forth between them, checking on them. Such a good boy. It was so sad to hear of his passing.



Soon there were enough people to stir up a card game, which Dave got in on.




Puzzles came out too …



and guitars. Camping is the life!




The dogs hung out in their dog-yard. I had started prepping the trailer a couple weeks before we left, and was happy to find everything worked. We used the fridge all weekend, and only needed to run the furnace a couple nights because the weather was so mild. With the LED lights, we didn’t even come close to running out of power.




Our friend Chris showed up with his Caravel, and his new/old Bronco.



Cory, Carolyn, Jerry, Patsy, Karen, Dave and Loren entertain themselves. I think this was shortly before they decided to ‘make it interesting’ and start playing for pennies!



Barclay can watch the activities from bed!



When we have the dogs we usually fold the dinette down into a bed all day.



Both dogs like laying in the ‘doghouse’ under the bed. Navi decided it was hers and growled furiously if Barclay tried to invade it. Which he occasionally did, just to annoy her.




Airstreams of all shapes and sizes – vintage, Interstate, and Argosy!



Greg got the fire all stirred up



Sunset over the creek behind the campground



So many friends, good food, jamming around the campfire at night (I even brought my guitar this time) – wears you out. I’ve never slept so well in my life!


The next morning we headed over to the county park to partake of their showers. You can shower in the Caravel, but why make a mess in there, when you can make a mess in someone else’s shower instead? Seemed like a good deal to me! Then we went to the Ranger Station and got a map and directions for the local attractions.


We wandered off into the woods to find the Big Lava Bed. Turns out it is indeed big, but hard to access, and I didn’t even really get any pictures of it!



Back to camp, this is the view at the porta-john – one of the prettiest in camp!



Flags were flying in the wind. All that wind blowing through the trees around camp made for a fabulous afternoon nap while Dave went and played cards.



Peanut butter kongs keep the dogs occupied.



In the evening I play guitar until my fingers were too sore to play anymore, so I packed it in, and grabbed my camera. The wind had blown away the clouds. I finally had a chance (and the equipment and know-how, to do this:




Cozy little trailer.


The next morning we headed up to see Langfield Falls. Along the way we stopped for views of Mt Adams and Beargrass.




Thanks to the dry winter, the falls was only running down one side, instead of covering the whole rock.





We saw a sign to Mosquito Lake, and decided we HAD to check that out. A whole lake of mosquitoes, how fun! (sarcasm) But alas, there were no mosquitoes. It was actually very nice. Must have hit it at just the right time of year. It made us wish we had a kayak!

On the way up there we had to stop to let a small group of Elk stroll across the road. Of course I didn’t get a picture of THAT!

On the way back, we stopped by the Big Tire. Seriously, it’s on the MAP.


Yup, that’s big alright.



Coming back we had a peek at Sleeping Beauty from a different angle. Not quite as face-like from over here.

We went back through town and headed out past the campground in the other direction looking for the biggest Ponderosa Pine in WA – known as The Big Tree.


I suppose it’s kinda big.




Pretty, delicate little flowers in this area.




Back to Trout Lake, to stop for lunch at the Café/Gas Station/Espresso/Ice Cream Shop


As you might guess, the only place in town. But actually kind of awesome.



Back to the trailer for lunch..



And Siesta. I cleaned out a drawer in the trailer and found a bunch of paperbacks. Dave started reading a Star Wars book he had tried to read on previous trips, and I found an old X Files novel. What a great way to geek out during afternoon downtime!



I take this picture every year!



I never get tired of looking at the mountain!

At sunset I took the dogs for a walk, looked up, and saw the setting sun had somehow created a rainbow in the clouds, right over Sleeping Beauty’s face! I ran the dogs all the way back to the trailer to get my camera and get a shot before the phenomenon disappeared!



I love it! And I love Sleeping Beauty.



One more night of singing around the fire, followed by a peaceful night’s sleep, and in the morning, it was time to go.


Trout Lake is always over too soon! We love visiting with our friends, catching up, singing songs, watching the campfire, sharing potlucks, playing games, taking naps, and playing music. We will get together again before summer is over, but Trout Lake is an awesome start to the season. Many thanks to our friends Janet and Gary for pulling us all together for another year.



CA Adventure Part 5–San Francisco


We headed out of Yosemite into the endless flat farmland of the central valley. Not much to say about that. We ended up in:




We stayed at a hotel right in town. ON the way in I had looked up a place for dinner, and Yelp recommended a pizza place attached to a motorcycle shop. When we checked in we mentioned it to the guy at the front desk to get a local’s opinion – ‘oh, that place, no, that’s a dive. Besides, it’s too full of kids and families. I’ll tell you where to go…’ He gave us the name of another place. When I looked it up on Yelp, people pretty much said it was a dank dive bar. We went with the pizza place, and it was good!



Not much to say about Modesto, but in the morning we had a walk around and saw this historic mansion right behind our hotel. Kind of cool. Unfortunately, not open on Mondays.



We continued the long, boring drive back to civilization.



One of the things on my to-do list was to drive over the Marin Headlands and get a picture of the bridge from up high. There were a surprising number of people doing the same thing, and the pull-offs were actually packed full! I was really happy with this shot though.



We continued up to this old battery Rathbone – McIndoe.



Back around to the bridge, we took another loop up to see if we could stop at any of the other overlooks, but they were packed. Though we had some nice views of the beaches.



There’s something about seeing that iconic bridge that is breathtaking every time. It’s so amazing to be looking at it in person!




We finally headed across it to spend some time in the city before heading to San Jose for our flight.




The Palace of Fine Arts. We walked all around the outside. They were between exhibits, so they only had a tiny inside area open to the public.



Dave found a Weeping Angel. Well, maybe not, but a bit creepy, all the same.





Down to Fisherman’s Warf…We wandered around and stopped for an In & Out burger then went and found a bench to eat at while watching the bay. We actually planned this lunch specifically to have one of those before we left CA, because we kept hearing how great they were – it was the most bland burgers we’ve had! Now I have to question the taste of anyone who tells me they thing those are awesome. They were the same quality I would expect out of your basic cafeteria – nothing to write home about.




With lunch out of the way we went and drove that steep windy road, because we hadn’t done it before, and it seems like everyone should do it at least once! Then we went and checked out the tower on the hill. But time was running out, we had to head back to San Jose.



This is how the San Jose Airport greets you. Is it just me, or are the disembodied hands kind of creepy? It’s not just me, right? Up close it was kind of a cool artwork. It was mesh panels with round white pieces – think of large pop bottle caps stuck into a chain link fence –that were the pixels to make up the image. Creative!




The airport had this crazy piece of security art. It had cameras and screens showing what it’s cameras saw, and the insect-like body rotated around as it took in everybody in the area. It was pretty fascinating.

And that was it. Well, almost. Dave missed a quarter in his pocket, causing him to get singled out for the rubber glove treatment. Once they discovered the quarter, it seemed a bit punitive to continue feeling him up, but hey, TSA’s got to do what they got to do. Soon as they were done with that, we were back on a plane identical to the one that had started our adventure, and a short time later were back on the tarmac at PDX. Picked up the dogs from Scott & Sherry, and went back to our regular lives.

It’s so hard to go back to work and sit in a cubicle after having an adventure like this. Hopefully we will squeeze a few more in before summer is over.



CA Adventure Pt 4 – Yosemite


The next morning we got up bright and early, packed up and piled into the rental, and headed off to spend our day at Yosemite. Because we had had a big dinner, neither of us was interested in breakfast yet, so we headed straight for the park.

First thing you see as you come into the park is this cool granite tunnel. Would an Airstream even FIT through there?!


Initially I was frustrated because I knew there was a great view of the valley, and as we followed the road in, I understood where that view was, I just couldn’t see it from our side of the loop road. It is from an overlook that you only see on the road on the way OUT of the valley! So we drove in and stopped at the sights along the way as we wound our way back there.

The first sight once you get to the main loop is El Capitan across the meadow on the other side of the river..


And Bridalveil Falls on the road side. We didn’t walk back to it, we’ll save that for when we have more time.




Lesson 1: Everything at Yosemite is bigger than you ever imagined! It’s breathtakingly HUGE, and around every corner is another jaw dropping, amazing mountain of rock rising up impossibly high. It’s just stunning.

We continued along the loop and as soon as there was a place to turn around we went back towards El Capitan Meadow, stopping there for a few minutes to look around. Now we could see Cathedral Rocks and Spires, which we couldn’t see from the other side of the loop when we were at their base! Again, they are impossibly huge and imposing.



Dave snapped a picture of me searching the walls around El Capitan for rock climbers.



Bridalveil again, but from the other side of the river…



We continued down the road and missed the turnout, had to park and walk back to it – we finally found Valley View. THAT’S what I was waiting for!


I could have looked at this all day.

Dave snapping a picture of El Capitan



We finally got going back on the loop towards the visitors center, and stopped to pull off at the Swinging Bridge with a view of Yosemite Falls and Sentinel Dome.



Grabbed a friendly stranger and had them snap a pic of Dave and I



Continuing past the visitor’s center we finally got a great view of Half Dome on the right, and Royal Arches and North Dome on the left.


Again, just so so big. So big. I don’t even have words for how impressive all this is. If I had time I would have liked to just pull out a chair and sit there all day watching the light and shadows change on the rocks as the sun moved across the sky. But this trip was just going to be a quickie.

We headed back to the visitor’s center, talked to a helpful person at the desk and decided to take the Mirror Lake trail after lunch, as a way to get off the main road and see a bit more before the day was out. We went in the visitor’s center and watched a short movie about the history of Yosemite. After watching it I felt so grateful and touched that people so long ago had worked to preserve it for us to visit today!

And here’s the other thing. I know it was partly because we were there in the off season, but it felt like we almost had the place to ourselves. There were a lot of people there, but it didn’t really feel that way at any of the stops. It wasn’t annoyingly crowded anyway. Lots of foreigners, which was interesting, it seemed like every person we heard talking was speaking a different language. But still, when we wanted to stop and just stare in wonder at something, we could do it and didn’t feel pushed to hurry up and move on.

After resting at the movie, we tried to swing by the deli and pick up lunch, but everyone had the same idea at the same time, and the place was slammed! There was a little store there and so instead we picked up some pre-packaged snacks – jerky, a muffin, chips, some drinks, etc, and jumped on the bus to get to the trailhead for Mirror Lake.

The path to Mirror Lake was beautiful. It wound through tall trees, and giant boulders. It was an easy walk, reminded me of the trails at BG Lake.




Mirror Lake was really just a wide spot in the river.  There was a big stone out there, and the lake reflected the granite walls of the valley.



The river went over a little natural dam and down some rocks, and we sat on a boulder at the bottom of that and ate our lunch and watched people carefully pick their way across the log jam, waiting to see them fall in!




This was one of my favorite shots of the trip. They made it!



We headed on back, and I took a picture of Dave on the trail


Right before a giant rock fell on him – ha ha



Nah, just goofin’ around! Here I had him pause on the trail to give some scale to the boulders on either side. I couldn’t believe we were just walking through this amazing rock fall.





Along the way we stopped and watched as this couple decided to wade across the river.



Back through the tall trees on the way back.



Unfortunately, this was all the time we had, we needed to get started back towards San Jose before it got too late. We rode the shuttle back to our car and headed out, stopping at Valley View one last time for another picture now that the sun was lighting up this side of the cliffs. It’s so magnificent, it’s just amazing.



We headed out of the valley, up a long hill, and along the way we saw a couple pull offs. We stopped at the last one before it looked like we would be over the hill and gone. We looked back towards the valley and what did we see? A breathtaking view of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Cathedral just over the ridges.



The pull out had a marker with a 3D Half Dome to compare to the real thing.



And that was our last glimpse of beautiful Yosemite Valley. But we’ll be back again. I definitely did NOT see enough of Yosemite.



The Kalakala


Today we drove up to Tacoma, WA to pick up some car parts for the Miata, and decided to spend a little time adventuring around the Hylebos Waterway looking for the Kalakala. I have been fascinated by it since I first heard about it – after all, I love old things, especially stylistically cool old things, and this is a pretty cool looking ferry. I had hoped the efforts to restore it would work out, but they seemed to be cursed by bad luck from the beginning, and now the talk is that it will be hauled away and scrapped soon. So sad! Luckily it is visible in Google maps, and they are recent enough pictures that it is still in the same location (I wasn’t sure because I had seen some recent articles about it being moved).




But through the wonder of modern smartphone GPS navigation, we managed to wander our way right to it. Unfortunately the view was blocked as it was behind locked gates. It was still a thrill when we found our first peek at it.






It is in rough shape, to put it mildly.

Looking the other direction on the waterway, beautiful Mt Rainier was rising up out of the haze.




It was fun cruising around looking for it. Me driving while Dave navigated. The Stealth is such a nice driving car, I don’t give it nearly enough love. Looks damn good too.




At the west end of the waterway is the Hylebos Bridge, and as we drove over it we realized it actually had a great view. So we parked and walked up the bridge to take some pictures with Mt Rainier in the background.





So sad for it to have been rescued from Alaska and brought home to Seattle, only to get scrapped after all Sad smile

I’m glad we got a chance to see it before it was gone.



Hiking to Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge


Sunday I headed out with a few friends to walk on the Washougal Dike Trail. It starts at Steamboat Landing (note: there are no steamboats anymore!) and goes to Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge. It was a bright sunny morning, and the Columbia River looked pretty and blue. I’m glad it gave us a little taste of that before returning to March’s standard—issue grey.



As we walked along the Dike we enjoyed the cottonwood trees that lined the river.



Steigerwald looks a lot like Ridgefield, and it’s probably closer to our new home, so I guess we should get used to coming out here.



This shot of the ducks with Mt Hood in the background was my favorite shot of the day.



I was a little partial to these leaning cottonwoods too.





We saw evidence of wildlife other than just the feathered kind.



Soon we came to the end of the road…


Time to head back.




On the way back we stopped at Cottonwood Beach for lunch before continuing towards town. We saw (though I did not get pictures of) several people horseback riding on the beach.



The sky was overcast and grey as we trudged back to the car. It was six miles all together, not a bad distance for a first hike of spring. It was nice and flat, just to get us in the mood for hiking again! It was very windy the whole way! But a nice walk with friends all the same.



Stop and watch the sunset

We have been busy busy with the new store! I promise I’ll catch up on my emails soon 🙂 Jodie, thanks for the comments, so nice to know you dropped by!

Last night we had a spectacular sunset, with what I like to call ‘God’s rays’ shooting out from the clouds. It was a jawdropper, and a reminder to be busy, but occasionally stop and watch the sunset. I adjusted the colors a little to help bring out the rays, but it was ‘all that’ in person. Click on it to see it full sized.