With the Old Man off living the dream speaking at a conference held in Lambeau Field I headed west to Bend, OR. My solo time ticking away slowly it was time to try boondocking by alone. The Old Man found me a place just outside of Bend, OR. and away I went! I will admit to being a bit nervous about being out in the wild by myself, but the spot the Old Man found was pretty easy to find and super safe. It was also a bit busy as it was a place most of the locals came to walk their dogs.
With all the coming and goings at my camp the dogs were going crazy and well it was just a weird vibe so I did a bit of research on my own and found a different place. After heading into Bend, to get some food and use a bathroom for the small fee of three books. Thanks Barns and Nobles. I headed to the second camp, it was a bit crowded with other campers, and I was happy to find a spot that didn’t require me to take the van off any scary roads. The wifi signal was great and with that I felt empowered that not only did I find my own site, but found one with plenty of mountain biking trails for me to run and wifi for work.
Between work and not wanting to lose my spot ( a real fear in summer) I decided to hang out in the woods and would hit Bend on my way out of town. I was super excited to head to Bend, but once there as with most places I needed to work and with two dogs in tow and no support it is just easier to stay on the grid as far away from the grid as I can. Plus after a few drive bys I figured the best part of Bend was the outdoor activities and I had a few of those right out my front door. I did manage to get myself lost on those trails and made a 3.5 mile run turn into a 6.3 mile run, but I guess that is a good thing. And I wasn’t really lost just took way longer than I expected on one of the trails.
Full day's work in it was time to head up to Portland to meet up with the Old Man. We have visited Portland last year on our westward vacation so this was really just a place to meet that had an airport and meant we could hit Mt. St. Helen’s on the way up to Seattle.
The Old Man and I worked until noon and then started to head up to Mt. St. Helen’s we got off a bit later than planned so we figured we would camp outside the park and then head up in the morning. A great plan, but one that Google decided to screw with. PSA to readers if you are using Google to navigate to Mt. St. Helen’s put in Mt. St. Helen’s Visitor Center, if you don’t you end up on the climbing side of the mountain, which is great if we were climbers. Basically we ended up on a dead end road on the backside of the mountain. The Old Man still stressed from work and both our mornings not going great and still a 2 hour drive to correct spot we decided to call an audible and find a place to stay in Cougar, WA the last town we had past through. With no real cell service we decided we would see if the RV park we past on the way had spots and if not we were going to just put down one of the many dirt roads and boondock for the night.
Thankfully because of the bad weather the RV park had a ton of spots for not too much cash and it was Happy Hour in the bar so it was a win win all around. We got set up walked the dogs and then headed over for a few beers at happy hour totally expecting to call it an early night. Instead we ended making friends with our neighbor who was waiting on his crew to arrive and another group who was celebrating a birthday. The early night planned turned into quite the rowdy evening with our new acquaintances and so exactly what the doctor ordered. Fun people, adult beverages, and just good conversations.
The next morning we got up with a bit later than planned but we still made out way to Mt. St. Helen’s I was anxious to see how it had changed in the last twenty something years since I had been there. All I can really say is it is greener than I remember, but I think I went in winter last time so makes sense. The movie at the Visitor's Center was great the movie at the Johnson Ridge Observatory was a bit of downer, but had quite the ending.
We toured around checked out the mountain/volcano and headed back down so we could get back on the road and head into Seattle for the week. With the Old Man having to interview a few people in the city I was sure we were going to get more exploring in than normal, plus I am really excited to go back to one of the cities I have loved since I was in college. I hope it has stood up to the test of time.