One of the downsides to RV living and traveling is being away from family and friends for long periods of time. The distance seems more dramatic because we cannot just stop-in when we have an afternoon available. All of our family (except the kids) live in Oregon. Some complicated planning is required to visit Oregon in summer months during the most popular season for RVers!
It’s seems hard for people to understand our way of life especially my family, none of whom had never seen our new home. Some friends were even surprised to learn that we can cook and shower in the RV. Just like a home, we even have a dishwasher and washer and dryer. Others don’t understand why someone would want to clog the roads with a massive vehicle that gets in their way when they want to go on their own road trips. It’s clearly not as common for people to understand this way of life.
One of the best things about RV living is bringing our own guest house with us wherever we go! This May, we looked forward to seeing everyone after 9 months away. I especially wanted to see my youngest sister, Cindy who had just undergone brain cancer surgery in April. We spent a lot of time driving the Jeep an hour each way to see family and catch up on doctor visits and other business, but it was worth it.
That first bar-b-que in at the end of May where I saw my parents and siblings all-at-once was very emotional and very special. It was the first time I saw Cindy after her diagnosis. We laughed, cried and visited until late into the evening. Having most of the family together at one event instead of trying to catch up to everyone separately was really nice! I drove Cindy to a few treatments, errands, shopping and nice lunches. I’m glad she still has an appetite. Cindy is doing so well after all the procedures and treatments, we are proud of how brave and determined she is. A high school graduation party for Cindy’s youngest was a nice surprise for him. Congratulations Christopher!
One of my favorites was a party at Live, Laugh, Love in Tigard, Oregon where we created awesome ‘pour paintings’. It was easy, just pour paint into a cup, dump it on a canvas and tip the canvas until the paint covers all of the edges. A few drops of silicone and a torch create some cool effects. We are all creative souls and it was great fun to see each unique creation come to life!
We always enjoy visiting with Bruce’s family and it worked out well to stop by whenever we had doctor appointments nearby. A favorite pub or pizza dinner is a bonus!
A few days at the end of May and again in for a week in June, we stayed at Wilsonville, Oregon: Pheasant Ridge. The location is pretty close to family and that’s the best thing about it. This is not our favorite type of park but proximity to family is convenient. It’s hard for big rig RVs to navigate the tight turns and the sites are too close together, however, it is a popular park with full hook-ups. In June, my parents came over for lunch and toured the RV for the first time! I think they were surprised at how homey it is.
Oregon’s iconic McMennamin brothers refurbish old buildings into pub restaurants. One day, we stopped at the Old Church location in Wilsonville where a band called Whiskey Darlings was playing on the patio amphitheater. The music was awesome and the beautiful setting was a nice surprise.
Bruce’s nephew, Colin graduated from University of Oregon mid-June and we stayed at Coburg, Oregon: Premier RV Resort. This park is a few minutes away from U of O. Bruce’s parents stayed in the same park and his bother, and sister-in-law stayed with us as the first overnight guests in the RV. We enjoyed some nice family dinners and several graduation ceremonies for Colin. Congratulations Colin!
A busy county park close to family at Boring, Oregon: Barton Park was a welcome change from private RV parks. The Maxwells joined us for a combo celebration of 4th of July and Susan’s birthday. Happy Birthday Susan! We celebrated Bruce’s birthday fly fishing at a pond in Washougal Washington with Orvis. Fly Fishing is a new activity for us and Bruce is a natural! He caught the most fish from our group. Happy Birthday Bruce!
Family Camping & Dinner in the Forest
Hosting family gatherings in our neighborhood home in Portland, Oregon was something I missed when we began traveling full time two years ago. I wanted to do something special for Mom’s 80th birthday while we were in Oregon, even though her birthday isn’t until December..
To host a gathering for our large family seemed really challenging because there isn’t a home venue large enough anymore. Summer weekends at most parks were already booked by March and everyone’s schedules were up in the air.
I decided to try a family camping trip for late September in Estacada, Oregon at Milo McIver State Park which was close enough for any non-campers to join us for dinner and return home to sleep. We settled on Friday and Saturday night camping with a main ‘dinner-in-the-forest’ Saturday night. My parents stayed in the RV with us, three other families camped and the rest came in for dinner. We had a good turn-out, and Cindy’s family joined us even though she was feeling poorly from the chemo treatments.
A family tradition of celebrating three generations ‘even’ birthdays that take place during the year was a good photo op. This year was niece Kaitlyn’s 20th, my 60th and Mom’s 80th Happy Birthday Ladies! The dinner and birthday party went nicely and the setting was perfect, people were able to spread out, camp or not, bring their dogs, and be together in the forest! It only rained one night, it is fall in Oregon after-all.
Friends & Winemaking
Staying at dear friends, Steve and Kelley Styring’s home for a few weeks during the last week of May was very soothing. Styring Vineyards has become a favorite retreat during our visits to Oregon. The Styring’s were just returning from their son Collin’s graduation ceremonies at Harvard. Congratulations Collin! It’s so nice to see old friends and help them where we can. We did some winery work topping off the barrels, filling the wine-club boxes and pouring for the Memorial Day weekend wine-tasting with our friends, the Parkers. We caught up with each other at dinner and celebrated Gillian’s high school graduation. Congratulations Gillian!
After a summer trip to Wyoming and the Dakotas, we returned to Styring’s for a couple more weeks. They were on their own road trip settling Gillian in at her East coast university. We did some more winery work, picking up wine from the Abbey storage facility, pouring wine for the Labor Day wine-tasting, and preparing and bottling nearly 400 cases of wine. We love learning more about the wine-making process each time we visit. The best part of our visits is spending time with the Styrings.
We enjoyed several visits with other friends and made some new friends too. Overall, we were busy.
Honestly, all that driving left us ready for some down time.
Neskowin Oregon: Neskowin Creek Campground We spent a restful week at the coast in June where we didn’t even go to the beach. We just enjoyed the forest views. We were pretty happy to stay put and not drive, except for a store visit to Lincoln City with a small stop to look at the Ocean.
Buxton, Oregon: Stubb Stuart State Park On the way back from the coast in June, we enjoyed a stay near Vernonia, which is still an hour from family. We love the large and woodsy sites at this park and the beautiful trails. It’s our favorite type of park.
A first time ever playing disc golf was on a pretty difficult course hidden in the trees. The setting was amazing. We lucked out and ran into an experienced and patient guy that taught us to play. He had played over 1,000 courses internationally. He helped us spot our errant discs in the huge ferns lining the course. It is a great new way for us to enjoy the outdoors.
Until we Meet Again!
We left Portland area feeling good about the time spent with our friends and family. I think they are starting to understand why and how we travel all the time in our cool house. We made new friends and added new skills like Disc Golf, Fly Fishing and family camping coordinator!
Refreshed and ready for the road, until we meet again!