First Time at a Lavender Farm

Sunday despite the over 100 degree temperatures I really needed to go somewhere.  So when we heard about a nearby lavender festival I decided to give it a try.  Asking Lee to go out at noon in that kind of heat is not done lightly, but he loves me, so he decided to come along.  Lavender farms are very common here, and although I don’t like the smell of lavender particularly, I did want the opportunity to photograph them.  It was a small festival, really just two farms, but it was nice and although we didn’t stay long I was happy with the pictures I got. The festival itself was at Eagle Creek Lavender, and it really was a beautiful place.

Eagle Creek Lavender

The fields were in bloom

They had a lavender distilling machine

And a debudder

And some pretty cool drying racks.  You know it’s hot when lee is in shorts and flip flops.

This sign was in two places at the festival. Not sure what kind of crazy lavender accident they were expecting, but it was pretty clear they had no liability if one did

The best part was this really great gift shop

Sachets were super cheap, but despite going to the source I still didn’t like the smell

The honey though was absolutely fantastic and we bought a large jar of it

The house on the property was VERY nice. The lavender business must be a lucrative one

Lee took advantage of some sprayers they had set up to help with the heat

They had some BBQ available for sale

And picnic tables along the water

We saw lots of floats in the river

And you could watch them go by. We really want to do this, but there are limited put ins and take outs along the river, so it will require some planning

Lee’s favorite part was a small car collection

They had old farm trucks and a wrecker which we had never seen

The neatest one was this model which it turns out was a limited release through Sears and only a few thousand were made

Loved the hood ornament

Despite being at many car shows we have never seen one of these

It was pretty hot after looking at the cars so we drove down the road to the next farm.  Our fellow camp hosts had told us they had a beautiful view of Mt. Hood and it didn’t disappoint.  The farm itself was closed when we got there, but we were able to take a couple of pictures.  Their lavender was planted in concentric circles, which was really cool, and was much bigger and prettier than the other farm.

Mt. Hood in the background

It was nice to get out for a little while, but we had to get back to work by 5:30pm, and it was a hot one.  Still, I was glad we at least got to do one thing special during the week.  Monday was a regular work day and then on Tuesday we received a visit from Kat and Bert.  We met them at the 2016 RV-Dreams rally, and they were passing through on the way to a volunteer job in Klamath Falls.  I was a little worried that their rig would be too big for our campground, so received permission from our boss to have them stay next to us and boondock for a couple of days.  It was great seeing them and thankfully the temps were much cooler, so we spent lots of time eating meals and sitting around the fire and talking.  Kat, Bert, and I did take a tour of our river sites one day, and we went in and walked around Estacada a bit.  The town is all dressed up for the upcoming Fourth of July celebration and looked really cute.  Since I haven’t really shared many pictures of the town, I thought now was a good time to get some pics.

Sitting around the fire and catching up with Kat and Bert

I did take them down to see the ospreys

And the town of Estacada looked great with the flowers blooming

One of the best thing about the town is the numerous murals that the art council has commissioned over the years

This one, on the local grocery store, is my favorite

Bert was excited to try the local brewery

And was super bummed that it didn’t open until 4pm

So we went to the book store, but it closed at 3pm so we just kept wandering around

This combination cafe and flower shop is something I have never seen before

And Kat stopped dead in her tracks when she saw this mural

This one is on the side of a local bar and I have to admit the naked motorcyclists is a bit odd. The expression on her face was priceless though

After the tour, we bought some local beer and headed back to the campground for a fantastic steak dinner.  It was so nice for them to go to the trouble of seeing us and we are making plans to meet up in crater lake which will be near their volunteer gig.  Loved seeing them and love our RV-Dreams family!!

Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is also available in paperback.

Keep Portland Weird

Memorial Day ended with a wonderful visit from two friends we met in Alaska, Sue and Jonathon.  They were 6 months into their tour of the U.S. when we met, and I was fascinated because they were full timing with a car and a tent.  We became Facebook friends and I loved watching their travels (her pictures are amazing) and enjoyed seeing their adventures, so when Sue reached out and said they were close I jumped at the chance to see them.  Now they are 1-1/2 years into their tour of the U.S. and almost finished.  They still are in their car, but also stay at Air BnB’s every third day or so to give themselves a break.  Jonathon is from Wyoming, but Sue is from South Korea, and her story is fascinating.  She grew up on a remote farm on a mountain top, and was either going to or in school from 5am – 11pm, six days a week.  Her parents went against the societal norms and sent all four of their daughters, as well as their son, to college.  Sue initially wanted to work for the UN so she focused on her English skills which eventually led her to teaching, and that is where she met Jonathon who was in Korea teaching English.  They still go back to Korea at least once a year for medical care because the cost is so much cheaper than in the U.S. We spent quite a bit of time talking about that subject!  And since my  youngest daughter will be stationed in Jorea for a year or so, I was very interested in getting their take on the recent North Korea news.  Talking to them made me feel quite a bit better and I was excited that Sue has a sister who lives close to where Kay will be stationed.

We had a campfire and a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant, the Cazedero Inn.  Despite having not seen each other in almost a year the conversation picked up right where we left off and reminded me why I love friendships in this lifestyle.  One of the most interesting topics was what was next on their agenda, and they think they will spend a year teaching English in Vietnam.  Asian countries have a high demand for English teachers and since the courses are mostly immersion, often no foreign language skills are required.  They also don’t require a teaching degree, just a bachelors, and since I have my MBA, Jonathon felt my skills would be in high demand.  The entire opportunity sounded very interesting to me, as I have always wanted to travel internationally and it was of particular interest since our daughter will be stationed there.   The only downside for me was the length of the contracts which often are for one year.  It’s possible with my background I could get a shorter assignment and it is definitely something I want to look into further next year.

That’s another wonderful thing I have found about this life.  You have a somewhat random encounter, which turns into a real friendship.  Social media allows us to stay in touch until the next time our paths cross each other.  It was really wonderful, and I was so happy to spend time with them. Lee was a little bummed because he enjoyed their company so much and since they are leaving the country soon won’t get to see them again, but I think you never how these things are going to work out and with certain people it just works out.  I think with Sue it will be like that.

Lee, Sue, and Jonathon at the campfire

Me and Sue

Tuesday we followed our plan to take the day off and we both needed it.  Also it rained all day, so it wasn’t a hardship, although I did get a little restless in the afternoon and we took a drive and explored the area a bit.  More clouds were forecast on Wednesday as well, so we planned a day in Portland. I had a list of places I wanted to see (many recommended by friends and blog readers) and a rainy Wednesday seemed a good day to do it.  We discussed taking public transportation, but it really isn’t that cheap, and besides Lee wanted the flexibility of driving our own vehicle. Turns out early morning mid-week was a good time to go, and we easily found parking spots.  It got tougher as the day went on, but early morning it was mostly no problem.  The good thing we discovered about the parking tickets was we could use them at multiple locations (as long as we stayed in the same district) and that was nice because it was $1.50 an hour to park and paying that every time we moved spots would have really added up.

Parking meter printed a ticket you left inside your window.  Credit card or coins, but no bills

These bike racks were pretty cool

The annual pass price was really interesting.  $12 per month and 90 minutes per day.

I loved that the bus had “Honored  Citizens” instead of senior citizens.  #2.50 for Adults, $1.25 for others

Our first stop didn’t open until 10:00 am so we headed down to VooDoo Donuts.  This is THE place everyone says you have to visit, but I think that is mainly because they have a bacon donut. As an added bonus the Keep Portland Weird sign is right across the street and we had our donut and took the sign picture.




$130 for a custom made coffin filled with donuts. This was actually pretty cool and pretty large

The first of the many similar signs we saw throughout the city, which was interesting given recent events.

We didn’t really understand how it worked, but the donuts were rotating in a glass case so you picked one and paid for it

I liked the ones topped with cereal

Lee pondered the bacon donut

But we both ended up with a $3 voodoo donut which was had a raspberry cream filling

It was a good donut and when you bit into it the filling made it look like blood. Was actually pretty fun.  What wasn’t as fun was seeing the first of many homeless people with signs (behind Lee).  There were homeless people pretty much everywhere there was open space.

I definitely think they have accomplished that. It is a weird town.

Next up was the Lan Su Chinese Garden. This garden takes up a city block in the Old Town Chinatown District.  I had read that it was free and it may have been at one time, but now it is staffed, and costs $10 per person.  It was really pretty inside and they had a nice flower display, but it was just too small to warrant the $10 fee, unless like me you really like Chinese gardens. If I lived nearby I could see being a member, because they have lots of activities and events scheduled throughout the year.  It is small though, and even though we took our time we saw everything in less than an hour. Fair warning.

There was a small crowd waiting at 10:00 am when it opened

The architecture was amazing

And despite the fact the city buildings were in the background you honestly didn’t notice it when you were in there. It was a nice little oasis

They had a beautiful flower display

I also liked the large stone sculptures, which turned out to be Lake Tai rocks which are formed underwater by the lake’s acidic and active waters.

Each building had a different theme. This one housed an an area to honor ancestors, which I thought was really neat since it was the grandparents of one of the staff members.

I also enjoyed the poems carved into wood and displayed on hangers throughout the gardens. If you go take the time to read the translations

This was my favorite


I also enjoyed this cabinet which held fortunes

You picked your favorite number and opened the drawer

Then saw your fortune. Really neat

Glad we did it, but we still had lots of time, so it was on to Powell’s Bookstore. This is the world’s largest independent bookstore and I have to admit it was huge.  It was multiple floors with multiple sections and had hands down the best fantasy/science fiction selection I have seen anywhere.

A standard shelf which was amazing, but the top two rows were always overstocks and only available for staff.

Seven different rooms which was nice because the layout was pretty confusing

The science fiction and fantasy room was so big I couldn’t take a picture of it all. It had 7 long rows of books. I liked how the new and used books were shelved together so you could decide which one you wanted if they had both.

Lee was really excited about this “book on demand” machine.

You all know we love books, and you know our budget often takes a hit from spending too much on them.  So I think it’s interesting that despite the amazing selection neither one of us bought a book. Yep, it’s true.  I am not sure if we were overwhelmed by choice or it was a price issue, but we didn’t buy anything.  Personally every book I saw that I wanted was more than I wanted to pay, and because there was so much choice it was hard for any one thing to grab my attention.  I did like the fact that they had staff picks signs throughout the store that said why the staff member liked the book, but I looked at almost every one of those and nothing struck my fancy.  With Lee it was also about price, but really knowing him it was more about there was nothing he REALLY wanted.  And I have to say it might have been a different story if it wasn’t for the Book Nook here in Estacada.  That store is the nonprofit here in town and no book is over $2.  Since their cookbook selection is amazing and their prices are incredibly low it’s tough to compete with that. No disrespect to Powell’s at all. It’s an amazing store and you absolutely should see it.

That section of town was also the only place where we didn’t see homeless people.  I know I keep mentioning that, but there were people living in almost every available green public space we saw.  Culverts, strips of land next to freeways, under overpasses, lots and lots of homeless people and this is despite the fact that we saw at least 5 shelters downtown and lots of assistance programs.

Shelters in what seemed like every stretch of grass between the roads and private property

This was one of the “nicer” spots

This young woman was sleeping right on the street around 11am, with open businesses on either side

I certainly don’t know what the solution is and I am not making any sort of political statement, but it is so prevalent, that I want you to be aware of it before going into town. Personally I was pretty surprised.  Like I said though, the area Powell’s books is in was an upscale neighborhood, and there weren’t people living near those stores.

The Whole Foods was interesting and took up a whole block

Whole foods from the street

Finally, we went back to our original stop and went to Smith Tea. We have seen their tea in our travels and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to go see their warehouse.  Plus they have a tasting room and offer a “flight” of 4 kinds of tea for $10.  The warehouse is definitely in a rougher neighborhood, but they have parking right in front and the experience inside was great.  Smith’s is really serious about their tea, and go into great detail about where it comes from and the flavors that go into the different kinds.  It reminded me more of a fancy wine tasting than a beer flight tasting, but I loved the experience and am glad I did it.  Lee humored me 🙂

Another sign

The tea “bar”

Awesome selection

My flight

My four choices

And the winner is!!

So our trip to Portland was a mixed bag.  I am happy we saw most of the places we wanted to see there because I am not in any big hurry to go back into the city again.  There is so much wonderful nature to see outside of the city, that for me at least, it really can’t compare.  My take is if you only have a day to spend in Portland, skip the city and go see the waterfalls 🙂


Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is also available in paperback.