I follow a lot of RV bloggers, and have learned so much from many of them. Of course I have favorites, but I certainly don’t plan to publish a list! Most bloggers have something wonderful to say and interesting to report at one time or another, and in spite of my personal favorites, many of them could be a favorite for a day at least. Donna K and Russ just happen to be pretty high on that list, and are favorites almost every day. With their location just north of us in Eugene, I knew that we would eventually get to meet each other.
We had a leisurely morning at camp, and were especially glad that we had packed up all the outdoor chairs and rugs the night before since the morning was once again damp and misty. The RV dump at Silver Falls is at the far north end of the park, a few miles from the campground, so we hooked up the baby car and traveled that winding road one more time to dump, and then one last time to travel back south toward Salem and I-5.
I called Donna to confirm our ETA and we continued south on the 5 toward Eugene. It was an uneventful journey, and I had both a printed map from google and the iPhone tracking where we were and where we were going. We had agreed to meet at a pizza parlor on 126. Business 126. The exit east toward Highway 126 is actually on the freeway. I kept looking at the map wondering why in the world it was navigating us so far south and told Mo, “What the heck, take the 126 east to Springfield.” Less than a minute after the turn I saw my mistake, and the phone rang at the same time. It was Russ. “Hey, we just saw the MoHo turning off on 126 and that is the wrong turn!” I lost a bunch of points as main navigator in that moment and we laughed together on the phone while Russ told us how to cross Springfield from our new location and get back to the pizza parlor.
I think it is really amazing how well you can know someone you have never met from their blog and their comments on other blogs. Russ and Donna were exactly as I imagined them, fun, kind, friendly, honest, and lovely people. And funny! We laughed a lot together as we talked RVing, blogging, Oregon, and our families. Thank you for the pizza, guys, and the wonderful visit! I am looking forward to all of us getting together again when Russ and Donna head toward our part of the world. Russ was actually raised in Klamath Falls, and I found out that Donna and I grew up at about the same time within miles of each other in the Southern California world. In fact, I keep wondering if Donna maybe went to the same church camp I went to in Idyllwild, California.
Another fun little resource for me happens to be Facebook and now Google Plus. Laurie (Semi-True Tales) and I are Facebook friends, and even though she hadn’t yet blogged about her travels along the McKenzie River, she had posted a photo on Facebook of the lovely falls. Mo already had suggested that she wanted us to take a different route home over 126 to Sisters. I got out the Gazetteer map for Oregon and perused the route looking for waterfalls, and sure enough there was a trailhead with two waterfalls right near the road.
The drive was beautiful, with a stop at another small donated state park along the river for a walk before we passed through small towns and tiny communities. Not long after the road starting rising to the pass we came to the parking area for the falls, and with an amazing coincidence, the lone space for an RV was empty, even though there were many people parked in the lot. We took it, turned on the fan for the cat and were thrilled that we could hike with Abby on a leash.
By the time we arrived, it was mid-afternoon, and we did want to get home before dark, so we opted for the shorter hike on the east side of the falls. Laurie’s photos of the falls are from the longer west side hike and she has some very interesting information about the formation of the falls and the McKenzie River on her blog. Check it out here. I kept looking at Laurie’s lone photo thinking this had to be the same waterfall. Sure enough, when I arrived home later Laurie had posted her wonderful account of their hike and it was the same place. Thanks, Laurie, I might not have known that the stop was worth finding if I hadn’t seen that photo.
When I got out of the rig, I could immediately smell the huge falls. So much water! The forest was damp and dark, and the elevation was high enough that I didn’t see a speck of poison oak, bane of the western slope of the Cascades as well as the Sierras. The trail was excellent, with lots of steps, some roots and rocks along the way, but only a mile and a half to the lower of the two falls. I would love to return sometime and do the entire hike. It was lovely.
We continued north over the pass and entered into the area decimated by the huge B&B Complex fire in 2003. There are now fire interpretive signs at several turnouts along the way that explain the biology of fire in the western forests. We pulled into one just over the pass to see smoke south of us in the Sisters Wilderness near Mt Washington. As we continued east, the smoke darkened the skies over Bend from the huge complex of fires ignited in Central Oregon from lightning the previous week.
Mo’s brother Roger lives south of Bend in LaPine and we just couldn’t go by without stopping in for a visit. When I called Nancy, it was close to suppertime, but she said, oh yes, come on right now! We didn’t want to eat, so we all sat around and talked about RV’s and travel and good beer. Roger and Nancy just returned from a big RV trip to eastern Oregon and their stories of the nightmare of driving their big, older, wide-body Class A were scary. They actually lost brakes on a steep hill and ended up leaving the rig in Enterprise and sleeping with their kids and grandkids in their trailer.
They spent quite a bit of time in the MoHo with us, asking questions and checking out our smaller rig, making lots of noises about how it was time to downsize. The next day we got a note from Roger saying they bought a new rig in Bend, about the same size as our MoHo. I am so happy for them, especially for Nancy who was the one having to ride in the scary passenger position with all that glass overlooking the cliffs and seeing that back wheel go over the white line on the right side of the road. I hate that! Things should be easier for them now.
When we finally arrived home in Rocky Point after our long meandering day, it was 9 pm and dark out. Driving down highway 97 in the dark from Chemult is one of my least favorite rides, there are deer everywhere. We were spared any big scares, however I was sure glad when we finally turned into Easy Street.
The rest of the photos are linked here