This may have been the first time in which #vanlifereality matched up with the #vanlife fantasy someone may see on Instagram. We spent the night on a small farm with grapevines, cherry trees, horses, and views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams. It was quiet and peaceful. In the morning we woke to views of Mount Hood, had access to a clean bathroom, coffee, and breakfast with friends. It was truly special.

After a morning of visiting, followed by goodbyes, we headed over to the Post Canyon trails for some hiking, running, and mountain biking. Post Canyon really has a huge amount and variety of trails, with pretty quick access from Hood River. Our friends lead guided trips quite frequently on the trail system, and gave us some tips, as we were looking for something good for Shelby to hike on, me to run on, and Alexander to bike on.

We ended up at the Family Man trailhead, where there was a pretty wide variety of options. Alexander got to ride the beginner skills course over and over, and then take a ride on some more advanced trails, such as Float On, Seven Streams, and Toilet Bowl. I ran behind trying my best to keep up. I don’t have a mountain bike, as mine was stolen off our porch in Denver years earlier. The cost of a good mountain bike has been prohibitive, and I just rent when I need one. Consequently, I’ve really gotten into trail running. It’s much more affordable. I’ve grown to love it…it’s only taken a decade of suffering to get to this point. It works well when you’re teaching your kid to mountain bike. If I was on a bike, I’d have to dismount frequently. When you run, you catch up just in time to give a little push on the crux of a climb.

After a couple of hours of riding, it was time to move on. We loaded up, and headed to Bend, Oregon. Bend was on our list of possible places to live. It’s expensive, but maybe slightly more affordable than Denver. It’s closer to Mt. Bachelor than Denver is to anything decent, it has great mountain bike and trail running community, and it has a pretty nice climate. We like sunny and dry, like Denver. Bend, along with Montana and Idaho seemed like places that would have a climate we’d like.

As we headed to Bend, we had our usual stress of figuring out where to sleep for the night. Shelby found The Camp online, and we reserved a campsite right in town. It’s a pretty neat little spot, with maybe a dozen, or so, campsites, and probably about a half dozen retro campers for rent. Oddly, if you bring your own camper it has to be new. If you rent one of their campers, it’ll be old.

The Camp has an interesting, mobile shower/bathroom setup. It looks like something you could tow to a new location. They were new and clean, so we were happy. Unfortunately, when I took a shower, shortly after arrival, I realized the shower is a push button, like many public bathroom faucets. In other words, it runs for about 30 seconds at a time. So, if you’ve lathered up your hair or face, you don’t have much time to get the soap off before the water stops. I think I had to push the button about 20 times to finish up the shower. At least it was clean.

The campground also had a fire pit where we met some nice folks from the Reno, Nevada area. We had some nice conversation around the fire before heading to bed. It wasn’t much later that the train noise began.

Distance: 150 miles

Time: 4 hours

Vanlife reality: Finding a place to stay. Noise.

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