Spring in the Northwest

The gap between sunny days shortened.  Daylights savings came and passed without incident as spring finally a rived in the Pacific North West.   Passing the time before summer,  I bounced between the coast and mountains. Here are a collection of photos shot from March to the end of May in Washington and Oregon.

Hollowing out a Doug Fir.


Howling at the moon.

Cherry Blossoms in South East Portland.

A double rainbow at The Cinder Cone.

Volvo 240's kick ass.


Slicing up a home grown turkey.

Nick Dirks, Scotty Wittlake and Alex Burton lounging at Pacific City.

Early spring in the Gorge.

Waking up by covered in dew.

Parked on the 101.

Frying up some potatoes.

Showing Tucker Cape Horn

Downing a Doug Fir by hand.

Dean and Marie's bacon pigs.

Lucy look out towards Manzanita.

Ned trimming the beams for the decking of the tub.

Ned and Alex tending to the wood burning tub's fires.

Scotty Witlake's 4x4 Chinook Camper on the Oregon Coast.

Looking up the mouth of the Klickitat River from Mosier, Oregon.

The tried and true Toyota truck and a canopy. 

For more photos from this time check out, thecindercone.com, a tumblr I started to document the building of two tree houses and a skatepark on a hill top in the Columbia River Gorge.

Here are some more links,

The Cinder Cone (Tumblr),


I'm going to Jackson

Google showed two ways to get from the Columbia River Gorge to Jackson Wyoming.  The first, suggested that I take 84 all the way through Oregon and get off at Twin Falls to head over the pass in to Wyoming.   The other, route, had me go down through Madras and then  cut through central and eastern Oregon, eventually crossing in to Idaho near Ontario.  This route added a few hours of total travel but saved countless tedious hours slogging with trucks at 55 MPH in a 75 MPG zone.  I was in no rush and opted for the long route. Leaving on a Monday morning,  I took the familiar route over Mt Hood and dropped in to Central Oregon.  The April weathered oscillated between mid winter and spring as I head east.  Over the passes,  the occasional rain showers turned to snow, giving the feeling that the seasons were changing from winter to spring every half an hour so.

The days were getting longer, with sunrise happening shortly after 5 and setting around 7:30,  traipsing around mountains late in the afternoon felt out of season.  These photos are from 10 days spent chasing snow and hot springs during the last half of April.


Following Alex Yoder's camper into National Forest for a night of camping.

Lucy, Alex's constant companion.

Kale waking up in Eastern Oregon.

Warming up at a hot springs.

A view west from Jackson Hole.



Letting the flames die down to start cooking on a cow pie fire.

Lucy Guarding my snowshoes.

The start of mud season in Idaho.

A meet up of fellow travelers in the Jackson Hole parking lot.

The Tetons at sunset.

Hunkered down waiting for the storm to pass.

Sleeping under the stars.

Ala Ansel.

This marks the end of my third winter living in a camper,  I'm ready to dry out and enjoy the longer days.

Here are some more links,

Square State (Tumblr).

Jackson (Johnny Cash).


Closed for the Season

The campground looked empty from the road.   Rolling past the welcome sign, I cranked down my dirty window and stuck my head out,  scanning for a dollar sign.  $15 per night.  I let off the clutch and continued on the dirt road.  Avoiding the chilly breeze,  I rolled up the window.

"Might as well be free," I chuckled to myself.  The afternoon sun was dropping quickly and the north side of the adjacent hills was already clocked in shade.  Driving around the perimeter of the campground,  I looked for familiar sights.

 Sixteen years before,  my family rented an RV and explored the eastern Sierra for a month in early fall.  Although somewhat hazy,  the trip stands out as a highlight of my childhood.  Motivated by a sense of restlessness brought about by lack of surf and nostalgia,  I cut out from the coast the week before and headed up 395 towards the Tioga Pass area.

Basing my plans on a few calls with my parents,  I bounced around the Tioga Pass area for a week in late October.  During the week,  I headed over towards Yosemite, and as as the crowds picked up, I retreated back towards the Mono Lake area.  In passing and without cause, some of the sights touched on memories from my first trip.

Boarded up for the winter.

Those dots in the middle of the wall are two groups of climbers bivvying for the night.

Home is where you park it!  I also run a site called Vanlife.

Sunset at 9000 feet.

Looking back through Tioga Pass.

Chains required.

Half Dome, in Yosemite Valley.

I wonder if they will keep the sign in the spring?

Aspen groves.

Custom Camper on a 1967 Dodge PowerWagon.  This baby has 600k miles on it, and has run over a cow.

These mountains are now covered in snow.

Wish you were here.

Looking east towards through Tioga Pass.

Traveling alone affords you the time and flexibility to linger in some areas and pass through others.  The Tioga Pass region is one I advise lingering in,  especially in the off season.  My weeks spent there 16 years ago and last month are highlights of different eras of my life.  Somethings don't change.

Here are some more links,

Out Of Reception (Tumblr),

A Restless Transplant (Facebook).


Rain Shadow

When people talk about the Northwest,  they most often refer to to a 100 mile section from the coast to the Cascades. The Cascade Mountains run from northern California to southern British Columbia, separating the area into two distinct sections.  The western part has the cultural centers, coastal climate, and the majority of the population. The eastern part falls in the rain shadow and takes up most of the real estate and houses most of the Republicans.  West of the Cascades, people drive hybrids with bike racks. East of the mountains  people drive lifted pickup trucks with gun racks.   Growing up I spent time between the two areas and have both pickup and hybrid in me.

Months in the desert and the California sun had made me soft, or so my family claimed, and  after two weeks of constant fog and rain, I had to get out.  Leaving Washougal,  I drove east on highway 14,  a two lane scenic route through the Columbia River Gorge.  Each mile east of Stevenson equates to one and half less inches of annual precipitation.  I kept driving.  Like clockwork, the clouds  opened up around Underwood.  I drove farther.  At Lyle the clouds were gone,  exposing sun.  Sunglasses.

A break in the clouds.

An aspen grove.

Running from the rain.

Tim on a hike.


Some times a little change in weather is all you need, or sometimes it just whets the appetite.  A little is rarely enough.

Here are some more links,

Running up the hill (Picasa),

A Restless Transplant (Facebook).