Portland to Ashland: Land of the Free-Range Hippies

Even though our journey doesn’t officially begin until after the wedding in April, I suppose today is day one on the Alpha 1. As of today we officially live in an RV. Better yet, we actully left the dock. Sailors that live on their boats, cruising the islands (or the world), joke about wannabe cruisers that never actually take off to go see the world like they planned. They just never manage to leave the dock. There is always something else that needs to be fixed before you are really ready. You can always save up more money. And sometimes life just gets in the way. Plans to run away in an RV can go ary in the same way. You buy the rig, work on it every weekend, but never actually leave. We’ve even met some of those people. This is actually one of the reasons that I started this blog a full year before we planned to leave. I wanted us to be held accountable so we didn’t lose the dream. Long story short, I am so thrilled that we made the jump and left the dock. 

We started the morning at Champoeg, trying to find places to store all of the stuff we brought with us from home. We’ve spent the last two weeks frantically packing and making repairs and improvements to our house in Portland. We were staying up late, waking up early, living our lives by a massive to-do list. Brandon joked that we should have just walked around the house with paint brushes attached to our asses because by then end of it we had painted the whole thing anyway. We packed our kitchen pretty early in the process because we had some major construction going on in the kitchen. Between the kitchen construction and the lack of cookware and groceries we kept finding ourselves either skipping meals entierly or eating random meals of pantry goods.

By the time the moving truck was loaded and we had made it to Champoeg we were exausted. But when we woke up in the morning the RV was still covered in bags and boxes. We had to find a place to store all of this stuff before we could take off.

We probably brought more stuff than we needed to but we also brought a bunch of things that we just didn’t want to move on the moving truck, such as my wedding dress. The giant dress bag is currently taking up space in the back of our closet. All this extra stuff will be unloaded when we get to Texas. But overall, transitioning to RV life is going to require us to be more efficient with our belongings. While packing our house we realized how much extra stuff we had accumulated. Like why on earth did I own three food processers? I never even use a food processer. On an RV there is certainly no room to have duplicates and triplicates of items like that.

It took me a few hours to get the interior organized but I did find places for just about everything. In the meantime Brandon was organizing the basement storage lockers and working on the towing lights for the Jeep. We had been having some issues with the lights and they only worked intermittently. To be safe we decided to use our temporary trailer lights instead of wiring directly into the Jeep lights.  So we left the dock with a few more wires hanging out than usual.

Here you can see the blue and black lines that Brandon ran from the motorhome to the trailer lights on the back of the Jeep. We’ll get the towing set-up all cleaned up again when we get to Texas.

At our very first stop (a truck stop on I5) we found our doppelgänger! You can see another Safari in the back with the exact same paint job! Technically, the other rig was a Sahara edition and ours is a Serengeti edition, but they looked almost identical.

I want to take a moment to introduce our feline traveling companions. None of the animals are actually going on the adventure with us (they are going to stay with Brandon’s mom) but they are all along for the ride down to Texas. Rudy has stayed in the RV many times and is a camping pro. The cats, not so much.

This here is Blossom, short for Princess Ninja Blossom. She is an awesome cat, very adventurous and friendly. We thought she would probably do really well on the RV and we were right. Within ten minutes she was acting like she had lived here for years.

Just chillin’ on her new couch.

This is Miss Kitty. We did not think Miss Kitty would like the RV life all that much and we were right. She spent most of day one burrowed under some jackets in the back of our closet. She eventually ventured out, but decided that was too scary so she made like an ostrich and hid her head under my chair. She rode like this for at least an hour.

Towards the end of the day she began to relax a bit and settled in with Rudy on the floor.

Driving down an interstate is not usually very scenic but the stretch of I5 from Portland to the southern Oregon border is gorgeous. You drive through rolling hills, mountains with waterfalls flowing near the side of the road, and see snowy peaks off in the distance. However, the drive is also a bit intense because of all the steep climbs. When we drove the Alpha Uno to the redwoods in Northern California we struggled up every single climb. We honestly thought the poor guy was going to overheat and we’d be stranded on the side of the road. Not the Alpha 1 though. He handled the mountains like a champ. It was nice to reaffirm our choice to move up to a big diesel rig.


This intial trip down to Texas is going to be much different than our later travels because we have a deadline to meet. We need to get to Texas by the end of the month so we are putting down more miles each day than we normally would. Even then, we can only go so far in one day without completely exausting ourselves. We are trying to keep each leg of the trip at around 5 hours. We are also planning a few multi-day stops to visit friends and family. But our first stop of the trip was just a quick overnighter in Ashland, Oregon.

I had booked us a spot at Glenyan RV park, a small park not too far off the interstate. Glenyan was a quirky little park. It was about half-filled with permanent residents and also had a small club house, a basketball court and horseshoes. We met the owner at the entrance. He was an older man with long white hair, wearing PJ pants, and smelled of rum, but he was very helpful and friendly. When he saw that we were towing a Jeep and would only be there for one night he asked if we would like a pull-through spot so we wouldn’t have to unhitch. This sounded great becauese we wanted to get an early start the next morning. The spots were a bit flooded from all of this crazy rain so the owner took Brandon in his golf cart to go check things out and make sure it was alright.

The clubhouse and owner’s residence.

Our spot for the night. It was a bit soggy but all we really needed was a place to park. Tomorrow morning we make our way to Folsom Lake outside of Sacramento, California to visit our friends Coleman, Cody, and Jaz.

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