If you have a truck camper, you can park anywhere, especially with a pop-up camper. The highlights were the freedom we had in Alaska and being able to pull off and camp almost anywhere.
TCM: It sounds like you might have a bear story, or two.
Roger: During our trip to Alaska, we took a trip with a company called Bald Mountain Air. They flew us out to Geographic Harbor on the mainland part of Katmai National Park. It was about an hour and a half flight.
When we got there, there were about fifteen bears feeding and wading. We approached very quietly. We were told the bears would be non-confrontational if we arrived quietly and weren’t bothering them. At that time of year, the bears just want to eat before they hibernate. It was sprinkling rain and the bears were walking up and down the river catching salmon.
There were twenty of us from the tour sitting on the river bank at the top of Geographic Harbor. When a bear decided to walk the bank in front of us, you could have heard a pin drop. It was an experience of a lifetime and well worth the price. It was definitely the highlight of whole Alaskan trip.
TCM: You’ve been all over Oregon State. Where do you recommend people go in Oregon?
Roger: A lot depends on the time of year. The Oregon coast is open year round. In my opinion, the state parks on the Oregon coast are the best in the country. They are clean and well managed and in beautiful locations. And the people are friendly. There are no private beaches in Oregon, the coast is owned by the people of Oregon. If you can get there, have at it, because it’s all public. You can find stretches of long sandy beach. We went to a state park a year ago in October and hiked on the beach. We were the only ones on the beach for the three days we were there.
After about July 4th, there is no rain in Oregon during the summer and the whole state is open. In central Oregon, you’ve got the high desert, the mountains, and about five passes across the Cascade range. In the winter you need tire chains. But in the summer, you’ve got Crater Lake in the south and Mt. Hood in the north. People ski on Mt. Hood in the summer as there is a permanent snow field up there and you can almost ski year round. If you want to get away from people, go to the Steens Mountain area in the southeast corner near Pillars of Rome and Leslie Gulch.
Here in the western valley I never have to winterize the camper. If it’s cold, I just keep the heater going. And if the temperature drops below twenty degrees, we go to the southern Oregon coast where it’s fifteen degrees warmer. One of the reasons we moved from Indiana to Oregon was that we saw all the things you could do outside.
TCM: Where else have you been with your Hallmark that you’d like to share with our readers?
Roger: Trona Pinnacles, which is southwest of Death Valley National Park. I took some shots from the area where scenes of Planet of The Apes and Star Wars were filmed. We just like the solitude. In Death Valley, we took a very long eighty mile day drive, which was over thirty miles of wash board roads to the Eureka Sand Dune. It’s the tallest sand dune in California. Needless to say we found another way out.
TCM: How do you find these out of the way places?
Roger: One thing I love to do is look at the pictures that are submitted for your Truck Camper Magazine Calendar Contest. I look at the locations where the photos were taken. Once you find a location, you can research it on the internet. It’s just getting the first idea.
I also have a back roads file. I’ll print and cut out articles to keep in that file. When we started camping in the fifth wheel, we got Trailer Life and Highways. I kept all of those magazines. I go through them and look for articles. Those are a good source. I also use Google searches. I might type in “back roads in Utah”.