For this year's unofficial, no-rules Pacific Northwest Roadtrek get-together, our spiritual leader Yan Seiner decided to afflict the comfortable and dragged everyone out to a spot in the national forest, a million miles from nowhere. It's literally a set of GPS coordinates – 43.046396 N, 121.062860 W. Very nice coordinates, though, we're in the Oregon high desert south of the town of Silver Lake in a open beautiful forest, with Ponderosa pines, a few junipers, and lots of sagebrush. The brave punched the coordinates into their GPS and drove – and drove – until they arrived at the rendezvous.
For me, coming from coastal northern California, it was literally an all-day drive, across two mountain ranges, the coastal and the Cascades, past Crater Lake, and eastward into the desert. There are NO people out here, so there's not a four lane highway headed in your desired direction. The roads out here are two-lane, very curvy, and paved, if you're lucky. Yan says Silver Lake is the second-biggest town in the county, and it's got 300 people.
The high desert was a welcome break for me, because since the Montana Meet-up in June I have been sitting on the foggy coast, where towels take all day to dry, and the dry, pine-scented air is a delight. Fiona also welcomed to opportunity to get all dusty after too much beach sand, which is hardly worth rolling around in.
I can't really give you any firsthand information about the activities that involved hiking and other strenuous activities, but you know Yan – he had a mountaineering expedition up to the top of Mt. Hager – four miles each way – that consumed most of the participants' Saturday. Us deep thinkers sat around camp and chatted while all this climbing was going on.
It's good to see folks who came to earlier get-togethers at Silver Falls – Nelda and Jerry, Esther, Larry, Lana, Vince and Sara, Catherine, and all kinds of other people were here, so we got caught up. Plus, I got to meet some people I knew online but had never met in person – William Browne, Deanna, etc. I missed the last get-together because my new rig was under construction, so many people wanted to know all about it and how it was to drive and operate. Cell coverage petered out a few miles back down the road, but I ran an internet cafe of sorts, a couple of lawn chairs people could sit in while they got on my satellite internet WiFi network.
Saturday night was the great Cowboy Tree dinner, which most people went to – an all you can eat extravaganza right up the road, out in the middle of nowhere. I think they're open three days a week, but then so is the gas station back in Silver Lake – not enough through traffic to support extended business hours out here.
Everyone is packing up and heading out Sunday morning. It's really nice to get to hang out with fellow boondockers in such a lovely setting. Yan was right – Oregon's a great place. And the best part of it is – here we all are, out here boondocking – no electricity, no water, no cell phone coverage, nothing but a flat place in the middle of a clearing in the middle of a forest. Not everybody had all the latest and greatest technology, but we all used what we had to escape the commercial campgrounds and go out and see what the regular RVers don't. And that is truly priceless.
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