Life on the Open Road (April 2006 - May 2008)

The continuing saga of a single fulltime RVer who travels the western US. This is part one of my journey, from April 2006, when the blog started, to May 2008, when the blog continues at

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I have been a full-time RVer for 18 years, primarily "boondocking," camping free without hookups, in the Western US. I am connected electronically with the world via satellite TV, phone and internet. My batteries are charged solely by solar panels. I welcome your comments and emails.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Where Did All the Hippies Go?

The great mystery is solved! They went to Eugene, Oregon, bringing peace, love, and flowers with them. They infiltrated the City Council, passing green, green laws, establishing mile-long parks, bicycle paths that criss-cross the city, community gardens, compost sites, recycle stations, and most strikingly, Saturday Market, where they gather to sell their wares.

"Frog" sells the world's funniest jokes.

The art of tie dye is definitely alive and well here.

You can even get tie dye toilet paper!

Great food, good music!

Fresh and organic are big words here.

Didgeridoos and free prayers too!

Trash is taken seriously in Eugene.

Not surprisingly, Randy was moved to song.
(To the tune of "Big Rock Candy Mountain")

Beneath a summer sky in the month of July,
A gypsy pair came a-callin’
On a city pristine by the name of Eugene,
Where there ain’t no snow a-fallin’.

As they rolled along, they sang a song
‘Bout a city of milk and honey,
Where vagabonds stay for many a day,
And they don’t need very much money.

Hear the whispering trees, feel the gentle breeze;
Walk a rainbow ‘cross that stream
To a garden of roses to thrill your noses
It’s heaven in a nomad’s dream.

In this town so green, the air is clean;
All bike paths run downhill.
There ain’t no skeeters and no parking meters,
And we pay no ‘lectric bill.

There’s hippies from the woods selling natural goods;
The veggies are all organic.
Every vine has berries and the trees have cherries,
And the music is all romantic.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Boondockers' Paradise

Find your way to the giant parking lot behind the Valley River Mall in Eugene and enjoy one of America's great spots---and it's free, with a 3-day limit.

The beautiful Willamette River flows by your door--just beyond the bike path that follows it for miles on both banks.

A rainbow-shaped bridge for bikes and walkers spans its waters.

Then a short bike ride away, on the other side, a rose garden draws you inside and restores your faith in humanity.

The western flank of the parking lot offers free food---blackberries by the bushel. We ate our fill.

And just beyond the berry patch is a nature walk across a lively slough that all sorts of creatures call home.

The mall itself is a one-minute walk away---14 theaters, terrific food court, book stores, and a hundred other shops to tempt you.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Quantum Leap in Quilting

Saturday was the big Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, OR, the biggest in the country. We thought we got an early start, but there was a 4-mile traffic backup getting into town.

Even the cowboys were headed to the Quilt Show!

Finally! Over 1200 quilts were on display.

And over 20,000 quilt enthusiasts overran the town.

Here's the quantum leap--quilts are no longer squares like your Grandma did. They're now beautiful, intricate pictures. This one attracted a huge crowd and had a price tag over $10,000!

Sisters' version of a Dollar Store??

Randy had an "incident" that moved him to poetry:

Randy at the Quilt Show

Oh, did I shine brightly
At the Quilt Show down in Sisters;
Thousands of middle age ladies,
Only a handful of misters.

Yes! I’m that rare breed of male,
Secure in masculinity;
Can swim with lady fishes,
At ease with femininity.

And I was admired by the ladies;
I saw them glance and sigh
At this mighty macho man,
This strong, but gentle, guy.

So I strutted about the Quilt Show,
Spreading charm and winks–
A stud horse ‘mongst the fillies,
A man among the minx.

I was sailing my ego ship
Till suddenly the ladies sank it.
I made a tiny faux pas:
I called a quilt a blanket!

What?!? They said in unison,
Their smiles turned upside down.
“That’s an unforgivable sin!”
They suggested I leave town.

“A blanket’s for comfort,” they said,
“A quilt’s a work of art.
You crude man, they’re as different
As a kiss is from a fart.”

My cup of shame was full;
I shuffled away and drank it.
A lesson so painfully learned:
Don't call a quilt a blanket!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cascade Lakes

We've settled ourselves at a Sno-Park on the Cascade Lakes Highway, designated in 1998 as a National Scenic Byway. The elevation is 6000 feet, so we have escaped the heat of Bend. What a difference 15 miles makes! On Tuesday we went lake-hopping.

Sparks Lake is especially beautiful and interesting. It was selected as the site to commemorate Ray Atkeson, Oregon's Photographer Laureate. Who knew there was such a thing! It is geologically interesting because it illustrates the short life of shallow mountain lakes, as they slowly become a meadow.

For more lake pictures, go to Diana's Flickr pictures here.

Randy hasn't been getting enough sleep!

A visitor dropped in with a house-warming gift! WIN member and fellow 22H trailer owner Allan Moore showed up to share the cool mountain air.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Serendipity Along Green-Dotted Highways

From Boise to Bend, we chose the green-dotted scenic route, traveling in short daily hops of 50 miles or so, escaping the heat by camping each night at a different mountain pass. Almost always you can find acceptable camping at a mountain pass. All are given names like Eldorado, Dixie, and Ochoco summits.

A town gone dead -- Ironside, OR

How sweet to wake up in the morning to sweet peas!

Adventure wagons - the old and the new.

Start a new game, like "shoe tree." Others will play. A sign says: A bearing tree - no cherries or peaches, just a few pairs.

A female horse for sure! Check out the painted toenails. We dropped in on the 4th of July parade in Redmond, OR.

Show-stopping Clydesdales!

What sensible people do on Oregon's hottest day. Deschutes River, Bend, OR

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Advanced Boondocking 4 - Satellites and Sno-Parks

Whatcha gonna do when trees are blocking satellite reception? Give up TV for a night? OR, use your compass to find a crack in the trees where the signal is coming through and place your satellite dish there. For these situations, Randy carries extra-long TV cables and a small device he constructed to hold the dish. He "nails" it to the ground and tunes in. Mountains are rarely a barrier because the signal comes in at a very high angle.

Sno-parks are wonderful places to camp - and there are hundreds of them in CA, OR and WA. Each state lists them on the internet:


This one at Ochoco summit in Oregon even came with a couch!