Oregon Part 3: Cousin AdVANture, Roseburg, and OREGON IS TAKING TOO LONG!

Cousin AdVANture!

As we drove down the coast, we met my cousins Jay and George, and Jay's wife Morgan, in the pretty little city of Eugene for an adVANture! Jay and Morgan have just recently purchased a built-up E350, with a 4x4 conversion by Quigley (no, not the Tom Selick Quigley, the motor company Quigley). Their rig is pretty cool, and all the hard parts (slamming an F350's suspension and driveline under an E350) were already done, but all the fun bits like customizing the interior are awaiting their hard work and design.

We headed out on the Coos Bay Wagon Road, a mostly paved, sometimes forested, and often steep road from Eugene to the coast. We had a great time, and Little Foot only broke down once!

Team photo!

Team photo!

My excitement about the chance to have our photo taken going through a covered bridge caused me to stall out Little Foot, and upon trying to restart him, he wouldn't fire. I had a sneaking suspicion the spark plugs needed to be replaced, and THANK GOD we had picked up a spare set the day before. After trying a few normal and easy fixes, like letting the engine breathe, starting with and without choke, and feathering the throttle, I decided to rule bad spark out of the equation by performing some roadside maintenance. New plugs, gapped to 32/1000 of an inch had Little Foot back up and running. For those wondering, Little Foot has an aftermarket solid state ignition manufactured by our friends at PinzSSI.com.

Broken down!

Broken down!

Tuttle cousins and some handsome rigs. Notice the size comparison between LittleFoot and a E350. The bodies are nearly the same length.

Tuttle cousins and some handsome rigs. Notice the size comparison between LittleFoot and a E350. The bodies are nearly the same length.

We set up camp in the rain, but had a great time under Jay and Morgan's excellent tarp. We made a fire, had some dinner, and generally carried on. It was a great adVANture!

Luckily all five of us hold honorary master's degrees in "Tarp-ology", so setting up the shelter was a breeze. Notice the crucial ladder.

Luckily all five of us hold honorary master's degrees in "Tarp-ology", so setting up the shelter was a breeze. Notice the crucial ladder.

Roseburg: Reorganization, Solar Power, and Shower Version 1.0

In Roseburg we stayed with Chelsea's fantastic Uncle Paul and Aunt Debbie. They opened up their driveway, home, and workshop to us for a few days, and man we needed it. Chels tore all our storage stuff out of Little Foot for a reorganization and pairing down of gear. We sent away a pair of skis to my brother, sent a box to storage with the rest of our moth-balled gear, and reorganized everything else.

Also, I spent some time finally wiring up our solar components, and fully charging our batteries. We also built what would turn out to be a leaky solar shower. We hadn't planned on failing, but we learned that you need to use big, full strength PVC instead of the lightweight irrigation tubing we used. Because we failed, we'll do a full post on our final product in the future, but there's some shots of me drilling holes and such below.

We can't thank Paul and Debbie enough for taking us into their home for a few days. Everyone out there who has helped and hosted us, thank you SO much, especially for the use of your bathrooms! Showers are like gold to us.

Taking stuff down.

Taking stuff down.

Taking stuff out.

Taking stuff out.

Our solar shower (version 1.0, super leaky!) was constructed from 4" PVC irrigation tubing , two caps, and a T-joint with a screw on inspection cover we use as a fill port. We included a tire tube valve to pressurize the chamber and a radiator drain plug to allow for the water gravity feed without air locking. Like I said, we'll do a whole breakdown in the future with version 2.0.

The solar power also got wired together, finally, and is charging our house batteries and powering our Whynter Fridge as I type. Pretty cool!

Installing valves into the screw cap on the T-joint.

Installing valves into the screw cap on the T-joint.

Wiring VERY CAREFULLY!!!

Wiring VERY CAREFULLY!!!

Chelsea painting the shower.

Chelsea painting the shower.

Finishing Out the Oregon Coast

Oregon took a while, in real life and in Blog updates! We're going to try to cram together some weeks of travel in the next updates. The end of Oregon was punctuated by AMAZING coastal views. We spent some time wandering around beaches, impersonating statues in seaside hamlets, and hiking up a forested trail to a coastal peak. Long story short, visit Oregon. There are too many adventures to be had in a single lifetime just inside this great state.

We found some statues. I had to impersonate them. For more BAD performance art, see our  Rusty Does Arches  blog post!

We found some statues. I had to impersonate them. For more BAD performance art, see our Rusty Does Arches blog post!

I  am  the seahorse!

I am the seahorse!

The beaches are outstanding. Check out the driftwood! It collects and naturally barricades the exit from the stairs in this photo. Pretty cool.

The beaches are outstanding. Check out the driftwood! It collects and naturally barricades the exit from the stairs in this photo. Pretty cool.

Chelsea looking pensive.

Chelsea looking pensive.

A great hike on Humbug Mountain

A great hike on Humbug Mountain

Me at the peak of Humbug, doing my Peter Pan stance.

Me at the peak of Humbug, doing my Peter Pan stance.

The light coming through the trees was AMAZING.

The light coming through the trees was AMAZING.

Moss on the trees in a coastal forest.

Moss on the trees in a coastal forest.

Chelsea looking a bit disheveled after nearly slipping and falling down some mud.

Chelsea looking a bit disheveled after nearly slipping and falling down some mud.

Oregon Part 2: Portland to the coast.

Chelsea got her big camera out of the drawer this past week and it shows. The following post contains some great images in the latter half. We both mostly shoot on our iPhone 6+ cameras, partially because they are always on us and partially because they produce above average content, but when Chels brings out the DSLR, it shows.

Portland was fun. We saw some of Chels's old friends, visited the previous owner of Little Foot, and slept on the streets with the homeless van-dwelling population of the city. More importantly though, we went to Ikea and Chelsea finally got the mattress she's been dreaming of for an entire year. (That's right, we've been sleeping on sleeping pads since we did the build out on Stubbs the bus!) 

Friendly IKEA instructions!

Friendly IKEA instructions!

Everyone in the city was friendly, homeless included, and while driving around city streets is stressful in any vehicle, it's that much more in a 34 year old military surplus van that likes to start in 2nd on the flats but needs to start in a non-synchorized crawler gear on hills.

Toby, the previous owner of Little Foot, welcomed us back and assessed our work. He also offered us MUCH needed showers and a fantastic breakfast. On our way out, he also surprised us by hooking us up with a an expert european car mechanic who tuned our carburetors quickly, pointed out some things we needed to fix, and told us we've got the right idea about hitting the road and escaping. 

A shot of Little Foot adorning the on-street parking outside his old home.

A shot of Little Foot adorning the on-street parking outside his old home.

Little Foot joined the ranks of the car/rv-dwelling homeless for a few nights on the Portland streets.

Little Foot joined the ranks of the car/rv-dwelling homeless for a few nights on the Portland streets.

Powell's Book store…always a favorite, but Portland's 90 minute parking limit meant we had to browse quick!!!

Powell's Book store…always a favorite, but Portland's 90 minute parking limit meant we had to browse quick!!!

Brady, a wonderful mechanic in Portland that the previous owner of Little Foot put us in touch with to check out our carbs.

Brady, a wonderful mechanic in Portland that the previous owner of Little Foot put us in touch with to check out our carbs.

After leaving the city we headed towards the coast for beauty, and stopped along the way for cheese. Tillamook, OR is like a gateway city to the coast, and also home to the world famous Tillamook Cheese Factory. We had to check out the cheesy automation, factory lines, and of course the cheese samples. It was fantastic.

Another glorious campsite, this time in a State Forest.

Another glorious campsite, this time in a State Forest.

Checking out the cheese line!

Checking out the cheese line!

After the cheese, we started driving down the coast, making many stops along the way. Chels had us stop at a beach she'd been to on her previous trip up the coast four years ago that had a cool tunnel through one of the sea cliffs.

Ocean!

Ocean!

Ocean tunnel?

Ocean tunnel?

Ocean tunnel!

Ocean tunnel!

Oregon's coast is AMAZING. Go there.

Oregon's coast is AMAZING. Go there.

This is my lighthouse dance.

This is my lighthouse dance.

Breathtaking views everywhere.

Breathtaking views everywhere.

Breathtaking seagulls everywhere?

Breathtaking seagulls everywhere?

Little Foot posing by the Pacific, no big deal.

Little Foot posing by the Pacific, no big deal.

Views.

Views.

Loulou views.

Loulou views.

More views.

More views.

More Loulou views.

More Loulou views.

There were a million places to pull over, and we pulled over at many of them. We couldn't not play by the beach a little. The Oregon coast has a power you can feel from hundreds of feet above the shore as you drive on highway 101, and when you're down on the water's edge that power becomes incredibly apparent in an immediate sense. The waves are large, and the signs warning of playing near the edge of cliffs are certainly necessary. Explore wisely.

Playing by the seaside.

Playing by the seaside.

The wave action, both crashing in and draining out, was phenomenal.

The wave action, both crashing in and draining out, was phenomenal.

Me playing like Mickey in Fantasia's  Sorcerer's Apprentice .

Me playing like Mickey in Fantasia's Sorcerer's Apprentice.

We found a deserted campground up a forest road that night, and settled in. Loulou got to explore the forrest floor, Chelsea had some fun with crosswords, and I tried to split and set fire to REALLY wet wood. Everyone was successful, except for myself.

Maybe wet wood will light for me? Nope.

Maybe wet wood will light for me? Nope.

Loulou acclimating.

Loulou acclimating.

One of our best free campsites to date…thanks to some intel from a National Forest Ranger.

One of our best free campsites to date…thanks to some intel from a National Forest Ranger.

We went for an amazing walk the next day, through some very-near rain forest and right down to a deserted beach. The walk, which was short, really illustrated the craziness the Oregon coasts' ecosystem. One moment in a lush rhododendron forest, and the next moment walking on sandy shores. 

A near fairy tale walk.

A near fairy tale walk.

More stunning Oregon coast.

More stunning Oregon coast.

I can't help but play in waves! I was chasing them. They chased back.

I can't help but play in waves! I was chasing them. They chased back.

Walking back up.

Walking back up.

Admiring the forest.

Admiring the forest.

I ran ahead and hid, and then Chels found me. This is my mischievous face?

I ran ahead and hid, and then Chels found me. This is my mischievous face?

Little Foot's first covered bridge!

Little Foot's first covered bridge!

Oregon Part 1: Eastern Border to Portland

Wilder, ID, is very nearly on the state border, so it didn't take long to make it to the border. We had time-budgeted nearly a week to get from Idaho to Portland, but I must have done some math wrong, because we ended up making it to just outside Portland in three days.

Our path took us along side the historic Oregon Trail. At one point, we passed a good looking historical point, with what seemed to be a small hiking trail leading up to a small hill. We couldn't miss a quick morning walk, so we doubled back on a dirt road to make it to the trailhead.. It felt good to get Little Foot's tires dirty, if only for a minute. After the dirt road delivered us to the historical site, we climbed the hill and realized we had been driving remarkably close to the actual Oregon Trail! It is really cool to think we were navigating in terrain very similar to some of the original American pioneers.

Our campsite that night was a little pull-off on a BLM road near Dayville, OR. Very beautiful land, and it seemed to be past the prime of hunting season, so there was little traffic.

Like a starting line, but slower and lonelier.

Like a starting line, but slower and lonelier.

Driving real close (or maybe very nearly on?) the Oregon Trail.

Driving real close (or maybe very nearly on?) the Oregon Trail.

On a BLM road near Dayville, OR.

On a BLM road near Dayville, OR.

Collecting firewood at camp, the Cubic Mini Woodstove burns mini wood!

Collecting firewood at camp, the Cubic Mini Woodstove burns mini wood!

We're starting to realize that every blog post may very well have some aspect of Pinzgauer maintenance or repair. If you have an older vehicle, or really any vehicle, realize that maintenance and repair needs to happen. Don't neglect a potential problem. Not a huge problem this time, just a loose wiper motor mount. We got the wrenches out to tighten some nuts and bolts, because a few minutes of maintenance might be the difference between a working wiper motor and a serious headache of sourcing a 30 year old, foreign military surplus part.

Fixing.

Fixing.

Our drive the next day started with a beautiful blue sky and Chelsea behind the wheel. We had found a "short cut" across the state by using a dirt road that started just a few miles past our campsite. Chelsea started driving, thinking that she needed some practice, and just kept on going! It ended up being a great drive, and it sure was nice to ride in the passenger seat.

We didn't get any photos of the drive but it was beautiful! Because Chelsea was driving, I was on photo duty, and only took videos instead of photo. Unfortunately its hard to embed those in our blog without some serious editing, so maybe they will show up in a movie later. Whoops! We did get a photo of me making lunch at the high pass on the drive, so you can get an idea of the road.

Parked briefly next to a tree covered in shoes! It had a sign on it that said, "Just a bunch of old soles hanging around."

Parked briefly next to a tree covered in shoes! It had a sign on it that said, "Just a bunch of old soles hanging around."

Behind the wheel for one of the first times!

Behind the wheel for one of the first times!

Loulou likes to join us in the sun in a camp chair that she's claimed as her own. (On that note…we need to purchase a third camp chair…)

Loulou likes to join us in the sun in a camp chair that she's claimed as her own. (On that note…we need to purchase a third camp chair…)

We spent a night camped in the National Forest near Bagby Hot springs, choosing to stop driving before twilight instead of pushing on into the darkness.  The campsite was secluded and beautiful, and even featured a dirt road detour with almost no other traffic but us. The next morning we got up and drove, making it to the hot springs parking lot before 10AM. We bought our passes ($5 each…and a first for us for hot springs in a national forest) and headed up the trail, but only after fielding a handful of questions from the nice parking lot attendant.

Again, beautiful and deserted.

Again, beautiful and deserted.

Little Foot diving through the morning fog towards Bagby hot springs.

Little Foot diving through the morning fog towards Bagby hot springs.

Parking pass and wrist band in hand. $5 each, parking included.

Parking pass and wrist band in hand. $5 each, parking included.

Loulou coming out of her cocoon of quiet after we parked for the afternoon.

Loulou coming out of her cocoon of quiet after we parked for the afternoon.

Bagby hot springs is a 1.5 mile walk up a well built, and relatively flat trail. Honestly, until the end, it is very nearly ADA accessible. I think that the vast majority of people could make it up the trail, so if you're on the fence, just go. The stroll alone is worth it, with the trail meandering through old growth cedar forests and beside a picturesque river, complete with plunging waterfalls and beautiful bridges.

The spring water is channeled through some pipes and open wooden aqueducts, and fed into a man-made pool. There is a communal soaking room with a handful of large pools for groups, a series of five private soaking rooms containing hollowed out tree trunks, like stationary, half finished canoes. The trunks vary in size, but we found one that would comfortably fit the two of us.

We gave it a scrub, and opened the taps for the glorious hot spring water to collect. It took a while, to be honest, to fill the tub, so we ended up carrying 5 gallon buckets of water from another nearby overflowing tub, to speed the process.

The walls of the bath houses are partially covered with graffiti, most of it records of other bathers and of a PG nature, with a little of it being crude and immature. The graffiti, the worn soaked wood structure, the steam, and the natural pacific northwest rain forest setting all combine to create a strange, nearly dystopian setting. There's definitely a forgotten-land vibe going on. 

Chelsea, looking at me after I said something stupid.

Chelsea, looking at me after I said something stupid.

The majority of the path was flatter than this, and a large portion was paved. 

The majority of the path was flatter than this, and a large portion was paved. 

Bathhouses steaming in the rainforest.

Bathhouses steaming in the rainforest.

Me inspecting one of the hollowed out tree bathtubs. We scrubbed the tub before and after our soak, so as to bathe cleanly and leave a tub ready for the next folks.

Me inspecting one of the hollowed out tree bathtubs. We scrubbed the tub before and after our soak, so as to bathe cleanly and leave a tub ready for the next folks.