After Washington, we headed down the highway into Oregon City. I was in love with all the green scenery and it reminded me of our honeymoon trip to Kauai. Luke had some family in Oregon City that graciously offered a room to us with only a few hours notice! Sox and Shoester had no idea what they were in for at the house. When we arrived they met Rosie the dog, a brood of chickens, a couple of ducks, rabbits, a cat and three tortoises. Sox couldn’t decide what to be obsessed with first. Shoester usually doesn’t pay attention to animals, but shortly after arriving we witnessed him chasing a chicken across the yard. We showed them inside and Sox decided he and Rosie could get along, and set his sights on the cat, but the cat decided he didn’t want to be Sox’s best friend. Sox came back into the living room and laid down, but out of the corner of his eye, he saw some “rocks” start moving. Sox sat and stared at that tortoise cage for a long time.We had gotten in a little later in the evening so we called it a night, gearing up to explore more of Oregon the next day.
We hung out at the house most of the morning and left to explore Portland in the afternoon. We were able to leave the dogs behind which was a nice break. Downtown Portland was a great people watching place and Powell’s City of Books is definitely a must-go. After we visited the bookstore we decided to grab a drink at a draft Cider bar. Since I’m not a fan of beer this was a really cool spot for me…if I lived there I would probably be a regular. After that bar, we decided to explore Portland nightlife by recommendation of our servers at each place. We visited a total of four spots and each one of them had their own unique people watching experience. The drinks were good and I’d say only one place we went to was expensive. It was a speakeasy though, so that is expected. We ended our night with some food truck delicacies. Our rating on the food trucks? Meh.
The next day Luke helped stack some wood with the guys and I helped the women can tomatoes in the kitchen. I started the morning though at a farm store where the family bought tomatoes and 5 new baby chicks! Then we headed to a farmers market and bought peaches and lemon cucumbers. Have you ever seen a lemon cucumber? I hadn’t and the family thought I must have lived under a rock haha. Everything we tried there was delicious and made it really excited to live in a place with a good local produce market. The rest of the day was spent hanging out together. The Doran family loved to host and spoiled us with delicious meals and good company. We definitely appreciated our time there and the introduction to urban homesteading life.
The next day we headed out and found a place in Mt. Hood forest that looked clear enough to camp. All National Forest’s list their rules on dispersed camping, and some even offer suggestions on places to camp. At Mt. Hood they actually listed a campground that they don’t use as a pay site anymore, so we went there. The thing we didn’t see on that website, was the road was listed as primitive and they recommended only high clearance vehicles drive it. In a previous post I mentioned that Luke is a pretty experienced driver, so he felt confident he could avoid the obstructions in the road. The whole time on the road there was a man in a pickup truck who was less confident in Luke’s ability. At the last turnout, he stopped his truck and expressed his opinion that we would never make it there. Luke thanked him for the caution and then proceeded to drive the road anyway. The man definitely was not the nicest, but he seemed to have experienced some pretty bad drivers on this pass. I wanted to at least talk about the option of turning to an alternate plan, especially since we were only camping one night, but Luke started driving behind the man after this encounter. Also, I was holding onto both dogs at this point, because Sox was trying to move freely around the car and Shoester is terrified of windy bumpy roads, so I just closed my eyes and held on tight. I wanted to believe in Luke, but the man definitely got to me and I had no idea what to expect. Other than the motion sickness the dogs and I experienced Luke made it to the site without any incidents. I was a little angry at the whole situation still so I took a little time out of my own. A couple of guys pulled up to the campsite and Luke started chatting with them, and when the topic of the man in the pickup truck came up, they agreed he was a little offputting and overly cautious. I breathed a little easier and was ready to talk. Luke listened graciously to me and we were both able to share our perspectives. He really wanted me to trust him and his abilities, and I wanted to talk about decisions before we make them. The biggest thing I have learned on this trip is talk things out. When you’re in a small space with one other person burying things, or stewing in anger does nothing positive for you. Also, most of the time you aren’t mad at the current thing that’s happening…you’re mad about something deeper than that. For example: I wasn’t mad that Luke drove on a road, I felt he was being selfish. He felt I was untrusting. Those are bigger topics and areas we are constantly growing. It had a nice firepit and table, but since there were so many forests burning we still couldn’t have a fire. We used our little camp stove we bought to make some soup for dinner. Brooke realized that she could clean out the soup can and use that to boil water on the camp stove since our cast iron was too thick for the small flame. It was exciting to have a hot drink in the cold night and the next morning.
Anyway, the spot was great. It had a sturdy picnic table and a fire ring, but the whole state of Oregon was under a fireban so we still couldn’t have a fire. We used our little camp stove we bought to make some soup for dinner. Brooke realized that she could clean out the soup can and use that to boil water on the camp stove since our cast iron was too thick for the small flame. It was exciting to have a hot drink in the cold night and the next morning.
Since we arrived earlier in the day we had time to go on the three-mile hike to the lake. It was well-paved and not a bad decent down. The lake was serene and there were only a few people around. We hung out for a little bit before we started our hike back. The dogs were having fun looking for squirrels and trying to lead the way. There was one ascent on the way up that was slow-moving for me, but again I didn’t stop and made it all the way. We both realized that I was definitely getting stronger and that was a proud moment for me. The rest of the day we just relaxed our muscles and played some games.
The next day we packed up and started our drive to Hood River. We were meeting up with my old friend, Jakob and his wife Kristen. I hadn’t seen much of them since they got married and hadn’t seen where they lived in Oregon. We sat and drank some coffee and talked for a bit with Jakob before meeting up with Kristen for dinner. It was great talking about life, passion, love, culture and getting more affirmation that our generation is ready for some culture change. I also think we’re at an age where we really question what we want our future to look like. Not what career do we want, what job title or salary can we obtain, but what does life look like. It was a refreshing conversation and really great to see my friends. I hope they can come visit us sometime in Kansas City.
After dinner, we drove back to Mount Hood and found another spot to camp for the night. This place was less than ideal, but it worked for the evening. The spot was full of trash and after a little walk we stumbled upon a murder scene… okay maybe it wasn’t a murder scene (there we go with my True Crime problem again) but something weird definitely happened there. There were clothes, empty purses, an abandoned BBQ grill, a folded up mattress covered in dirt and other personal belongings sprawled out everywhere. I was a little afraid of some crazed mountain man coming and running after me, but Luke (being a self-proclaimed crazed mountain man at heart) investigated with me and it turned out to be abandoned. We speculated someone was living out here and got asked (or forced) to leave. Nothing came up in our Google searches so far, so if anyone camps here and know what happened … email us I’m dying to know everything! The rest of the night was pretty uneventful and since it got dark early, we laid in our tent listening to a podcast for a bit before drifting off to sleep.
We had our sights set on the coast and were ready for the drive the next day.
Oregon, stay weird and the Beaucampers will definitely be back to explore more when you aren’t under fire.