Archive for the ‘Northwest’ Category
Spend any time at all on the American highway and you’ll see one: the world’s largest [fill in the blank].
The Frazee, Minnesota turkey. The Vergas, Minnesota loon. (Giant fowl are popular in MInnesota). The Medicine Hat Teepee in Alberta, Canada. The list is endless; their aficionados, legion.
If you have a very long Airstream you’ll have trouble turning it around—especially if other gawkers pull in behind you—at the site of Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein Cow, who makes her home at the top of a steep hill in North Dakota.
Diamond Lake—Crater Lake’s redheaded stepsister—is a campin’ bikin’ fishin’ kayakin’ boatin’ (mostly fishin’) fun center right on Hwy 138, only a hundred miles from our backyard in Bend.
Patty and her husband, relative newcomers to the state, heard good things and booked us a week on the lakefront during Central Oregon’s annual peaceful, halcyon days: after the kids return to school, before the first frost.
R&B Events really knows how to throw an Airstream rally. Or educational seminar. Or festival. Or whatever that nonstop party was last week at Seven Feathers RV resort/casino/convention center in Canyonville, Oregon.
To expedite this post, please imagine I’m writing the the usual glowing review (food/excellent, entertainment/fabulous, activities/fun, etc. Insert your own superlatives). Dare I say that my Great Destinations seminar and Airstream Cookie Decorating workshop were highlights?
I accompanied BFF Patty on the shakedown cruise of her cuddly new T@B trailer at Paulina Lake, an easy 35-mile drive from our homes in SE Bend.
Not quite an Airstream (but not a white box nor hillbilly tent trailer either), the new T@Bs look to me like a next-best alternative for those, like Patty, with a Subaru Outback and a spouse on a budget who’s suspicious of used Type B motorhome engines. (If pressed, Patty will tell you that if she won the lottery, her preference would be to forego towing forever and purchase the Interstate.)
In the meantime, the T@B is an enormous step up from sleeping in a tent.
Early this spring I reached out to 1859 (the magazine named for the year Oregon became a state) and pitched the WBCCI Oregon Unit as the subject for an article.
“In an intelligent and beautiful format, 1859 explores the landscapes, the personalities, the movers and shakers, the history and the architecture that is the jewel of the Pacific Northwest,” states their website. We were thrilled (I think, mostly) to learn that the Oregon Wally Club would be featured in the July/August 2013 issue.
A real live professional photographer was assigned to attend our rally…
Every site was spoken for on the sweltering weekend we overnighted at Battle Ground Lake State Park; advance reservations were required to secure one of the cheek-to-jowl spaces.
The grounds are shady in July, but many cons outweigh this pro: the cool canopy of towering trees also blocks X-M Radio reception and prevents solar panels from charging. One dirty, coin-operated shower stall serves forty sweaty campers.
Ahhh. An unplugged weekend in the Washington drizzle. An itty bitty town. A laid-back, rural campground deep in huckleberry country. Uncoiling with friendly Airstream folk and some fine musicians.
On the first day, the clouds parted to reveal a gobsmacking, up close & personal view of Mt. Adams.
After five years of ‘streaming with the DWR we traveled again to Timberlake Campground (aka “Leroy’s Place”) in the green Gorge. The reason: party with the local Wally Club at the first rally of the Oregon Airstream season.
It was dark, dank, and bitter cold. Driving up to I-84 from Bend we could see the spring cloud pattern laid out before us like a weatherman’s graphic: blue on the right, socked in on the left.
How do you tell the quality of a diner? By its chicken fried steak, of course.
Maybe it was just the mid 80’s, when everything was better, but the finest I ever tasted was at Boz Scaggs’ Blue Light Cafe on Union Street in San Francisco. I’ve been chasing that high for three decades. (The Blue Light today, minimized and lost to new management, serves greasy, monotonous bar food paired with Jello shots.)
The award for Second Best Chicken Fried Steak went to a diner outside Grand Coulee Dam. Actual steak, with a bone, real and delicious. The coating, crispycrunchy. The gravy, oh god, the gravy: not too salty, and lumpy with pork sausage.
For five years I’ve been towing alone, passing myself off as some kind of RV studette. Repeatedly on the road I hear, “oh my, a woman all alone with your Airstream, crossing the country, how do you do it?” “Nothing to it,” I brag, with a smug wave of my hand.
I’m a fraud.
I’ve been cheating. For five years I’ve been using the trailer as a glorified tent, essentially car camping. I’ve never showered in it, washed dishes in the sink, or used the commode for its intended purpose. I’ve never replaced the propane tanks myself, put up the awning, or, god forbid, visited a dump station. (Sexist alert: I have my man for that.)