Today was a good day. We jumped in our Sprinter and headed out for a hike. A few minutes into the drive, HB said: “It feels good to be in the Sprinter.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Alsea Falls was our destination. It is on BLM land in the southern part of the Willamette Valley. The scenery is classic for this part of Oregon. The trees are covered with lichen and moss. The ground is covered in mud.
It was raining and not all that warm. Twenty minutes into the drive, I realized that I had forgotten our jackets. CD packed rain jackets and pants for the kids and himself but couldn’t find mine.
When we parked and headed out for our hike, he offered me a beach towel to keep me dry. I typically would have laughed and declined but recently the kids have made a point to let me know that I embarrass them. Wrapping myself in a beach towel while hiking seemed like a perfect opportunity to really be ridiculous. They laughed at first but soon forgot about it. I was stuck carrying a beach towel for the next hour or so.
We headed towards Green Peak Falls. The trail was nice and easy to follow. There were plenty of other hikers ringing in 2020. We got side tracked to the river and through the woods a few times and this ended up being our turn around point.
It seemed like McBee Park may have seen better days. There were outhouses but all seemed to be in a state of dis-repair. I expect that by the time the rainy season is over, things will be looking better again. There were tons of BLM campsites along the river here.
Despite the nearly constant winter rain of the Willamette, I really prefer dry campsites. I may come back and camp here in the spring when the rains slows but wasn’t tempted to camp there today. These campsites are likely popular in the summer as they are on the river, huge, and easily accessible from the road.
Back at the Sprinter, we took off our boots and settled in to some snacks. The kids didn’t waste any time getting comfortable on the bed. CD was happy to use his new gadget. The Camp Chef Mountain Series Striker was tasked with the job of whipping up hot cocoa. I was so proud of CD for moving beyond his back packing mind- set and getting excited about such a luxury. It really was much faster and easier than boiling a pan of water on our camp stove! It was so fast that the kids even had two cups each.
It worked! The kids and CD were happy. I have a feeling there will be a lot more Ramen, Cup of Soup, and Hot Cocoa in my future!
The mom in me asked CD to stop refilling propane bottles. He picked these up and we are all happy for now. He is just humoring me until we decide to start carrying a much larger propane tank and cut out these less earth friendly items.
Just as we were about the fire up the Little Buddy Heater, another family stopped by to chat. They had a Sprinter 170 passenger van camping conversion. They were well beyond us regarding the extent of their conversion.
They admired our idea of putting the kids in the third row instead of the second and were going to do that themselves in the future. That was about all we had to offer them. They gave us tons of tips regarding exchanging windows to improve air flow, adding insulation, and even removing the rear AC to make space for a large solar panel. They personally knew many of the people that CD had already spoken with on the phone regarding modifications and supplies. They gave us their number and invited to stop by and see their Sprinter.
They validated our path with our Sprinter so far. They were able to share our vision and bring back the “fun” in the Sprinter DIY dream.
In talking to them we felt hopeful, inspired, and energized! With that, we head into 2020! Cheers!