During the 3rd week of April 2016 we meet up with a group of Fiberglass Trailer enthusiasts from the FiberglassRV.com forum at Waterloo County Park near Sweet Home Oregon. Since the gathering was within an easy 30 minute drive from Quartzville Wild and Scenic River, locals simply call the area Quartzville. In other posts we’ve mentioned this is a must-visit area for my wife and I every year. Here are some notes I put down during the trip.

We set out from the coast just before noon Tuesday April 19th. Van loaded to the max just under GVWR of 7100lbs. This trip was the maiden voyage of the van set up with the Aluminess bumpers and galley box.

Once on Quartzville Road we took note of the no-camping signs posted near the entry of the Santiam River into the Green Peter Reservoir. In the past this area was so used by Power Boaters and honestly? their camps looked and sounded like they were party-animals! The area was so abused by those groups that the BLM was forced to close the area that allowed easy boater access to the Reservoir. I will share I’m saddened at the lack of decency and care for the area by some who visit.

Fortunately there were plenty of choices up River to set up camp. One of our favorite sites was open so we grabbed it as it has easy access to the river for Cari’s gold panning, nice pink noise, and cooling breeze back at camp.

Our small planet from Tuesday night through Thursday by the river:


This was also the maiden test of our 12ft x 18ft “Cool Tarp“. It does what it says, I am noticeably cooler under the tarp. This is an image showing the tarp test set up:


What we imagined doing, and tested, was simply tossing the driver-side lines we’d pre-attached to the tarp over the van’s high top roof and tying off appropriately. Then taking the passenger/camp side lines out from multiple Kelty tent poles. Here is a photo collage that shows the van from driver side with lines from tarp:

2016-04QCawd01The tarp worked well during the trip. There were winds in the mid 30’s one afternoon as a storm brought wind and rain. While the tarp flapped and lifted we were kept dry. In prior seasons with the Fiamma F45 we would have brought the awning in and just weathered out the storm or rain inside the van. Having an out-of-van dry area was nice.

Cari found some “color” in an unusual spot. A tree stump about 15ft above the current water level. She saw some River Rock and packed dirt and remembered the flood of 2009 that covered the area. Sure enough after playing down at the river with her pan and the bucket of dirt out from the stump her pan had some glitter. For her it is as much the hunt for gold as actually finding it.

My time in camp is typically spent under the shade of the tarp by Van, or tree by River, and passing the time reading or jotting down thoughts. Sometimes if Cari is back at camp (she goes down to River in ~1 hour or so sessions a couple times a day) I can don on my headphones and doodle with some music software on the iPad, but I won’t do so unless she is in eyesight since i have her back safety wise. I’m not overly concerned we will see any wildlife, yet I know those River rocks are slippery!

Ocampkeltytentpolen a funny note…

Cari calls them our “Campground Flutes”… What? A nice breeze came into camp from the river while we were having lunch (insert picture of veggies and salsa hummus)… We were both hearing a soft whistle, almost like a melodic hoot-owl. Then I figured out it was the wind hitting the holes of the Kelty tent poles just right to play a random tune.

I’m going to fast forward to Thursday afternoon…

Today’s drive from QC ring to Lebanon area included a stop at Walmart to restock the Engle cooler just cuz, and to also pick up a desert for the upcoming pot luck with the fiberglass gang at the NOG event (Northern Oregon Gathering).

Waterloo County Park is nice for a pack-em-in style park. Not really our style, but as parks go it works. We camped with our Fiberglass Forum acquaintances for the next three nights with the NOG gang. These annual outings have been occasions where we plug into shore power…otherwise it is all boondocking for us, our preferred mode of adventure. I don’t have many notes as we kept ourselves busy visiting and such. The one highlight was a visit to an acquaintance’s small fiberglass trailer. Here are my notes from the visit:

Had a nice chat with Jeff (Scamp trailer with a “Cub” cubic mini wood stove) He reported that it actually didn’t get him quite as warm inside the trailer that he had imagined. While we were inside the trailer it was a measured 62F and outside temps were ~50F. We were all quite comfortable. He will continue to test and post findings. The physical size of the stove interests me, though if we can’t get adequate heat from it in a hot-tarp set up it is all mute.

I’ll be doing some serious research to see if something like that would make sense to add in camp vestibule area as we move forward with the idea of including the winter season in our adventures. Might be a couple years before that happens. The big issue I see is fuel for camp stove, the Cub is meant to burn on found wood or pellets. Part of my thought process is to bring a fuel source and not have to resort to gathering and cutting wood (into very small chunks!). It is a rare morning that the ground is dry in our preferred PNW, so the gathering would be in the afternoons and then prepped and stored under tarp for the evening burns. I’m not sure I want to include that in my camp routine. OH, and of course when we would be typically desiring the heat from such a device there would be rain or even snow, which would make gathering fuel even trickier. So…maybe we will just follow the path of the sun to some degree and not deal with trying to heat camp beyond what we are doing now?

On bringing pellets…It’s one thing to bring along ~10 cups or so in a gallon zip lock bag for the StoveTec FireFly Lantern, another to have enough to adequately fuel a much larger stove such as the cubic mini. The FireFly Lantern does put out some nice ambiance and arm’s length heat and is an easy compact partial solution.

That pretty much wraps up my notes for the adventure. We packed up Sunday morning and drove back to the coast. The bulk of traffic was leaving the coast heading inland so our drive was pleasant and the conversations were often about tweaks to the camp for our next adventure in a few weeks.

: ) Thom



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