Leaving Remote

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This morning we say our goodbyes to Charlotte and Gary, Chris and Mary, and Cheryl and Dave. Charlotte presents us with toast tongs fashioned out of the Myrtle wood from the trees on her property, just like the ones we slept under for the last 3 months.

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We also leave with “survival knives”, one for each of us. Now, I will always carry with me a corkscrew, nail file, scissors, can opener, bottle opener, both a Philip’s and a flathead screwdriver, and a knife blade. What an awesome survival kit in a mini-package! Also, for taking notes and writing out my WordPress blogs long hand when Wifi is not available, a pen crafted from Myrtle wood completes our goodbye goodie bag.

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Yesterday Charlotte surprised us with lemon pies prepared from a recipe over 100-years-old. I think it is the best pie I have ever tasted! Fresh lemon juice and zest combined with milk, eggs, and sugar turn into the most delicious lemon filling ever topped with merengue!

Here’s a picture of our last leftover piece, nibbled away by Jeff.

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Her son, Tim, and daughter-in-law, Elaine, joined Mary, Chris, Gary, Charlotte, and us for a farewell celebration. Tim and Elaine are the nicest couple you will ever meet! Elaine is from Scotland and her accent is just as charming as she is!

Goodbye, Remote Outpost. I will miss you!

Memorable Guests

image Oh, the folks we have met and will not soon forget!

It’s amazing how many different types of people pull in to an RV park. Some just drive through while others stop and ask for information. Still others are overnight guests.

And then there are the “I gotta go” seekers. There are no public restrooms at Remote Outpost since tent camping sites are not available. The 2 restrooms with showers are reserved for overnight guests. After 3 months here, I can spot potty-seekers.

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Type 1 pulls up, rolls down their window, stops me before I can meet them inside the Loafing Shed office, and just asks. Type 2 pulls up, gets out of their car, comments on how beautiful it is here, suggests that they will return with their RV, requests information, and then wham, asks to use a restroom. Type 3 pulls up, asks if they can buy coffee, and then wham, asks to use a restroom. Type 4 just parks and heads for the unmarked and number-coded bathrooms.

Lest you think we are cruel to not provide pit stops, there are 3 public restrooms a mile west of here at Sandy Creek Wayside. And I have personally checked them out and even used them! Also the Bridge General Store, 9 miles west, has a restroom for customers.


But I digress, which I do so well. Below is a list of my favorite and diverse moments:

A helicopter on a trailer pulled in…

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A couple from Germany stayed overnight. They flew into Vancouver and rented a Class C RV. But guess where they were going! … Mansfield, Ohio to visit friends… That’s like an hour away from where I grew up… Small, but global world!

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Of course, the bear hunters visited twice and caught a bear each time!

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There was the couple from Florence, Oregon who rented a cabin several times. He worked in Sacramento, California and was also a life coach. They returned with his daughter who was featured in an article by Jennifer Miller on Slate.com  called The Mercy Girls.

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His wife then returned once more with a granddaughter.

A young Mennonite couple, in traditional dress, stayed in a cabin on their honeymoon before going to the coast.

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A teardrop camper couple pulled in on their way to meet a friend on the coast, wishing they were staying here for a night or two. I didn’t get a picture of their trailer but it resembled this:

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That’s right! The trunk was a kitchen, the backseat was a bed, and somewhere there was a portable commode!

One overnight guest came in an old trailer that he converted into what we nicknamed, the pop-up coffin.

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Edan, Idan, Edon, or Idon???… a bicyclist from Israel, spent one rainy afternoon with us drying out in the Pavillion.

And then there were the many friends of Charlotte and Gary who spent Memorial Day, the 4th of July and several other weekends here. We shared potluck suppers and leftovers the next day.

Once I offered overnight guests from Roseburg some of my leftover Greek Orzo Salad that Jeff prepared. The next day they gave us a homegrown pumpkin-shaped zucchini squash from their garden! It was delicious too!

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Of course, the 3 RV Clubs who stayed here brought their own dynamic energy.

First to arrive were the Oregon River Ramblers, a close-knit group who enjoyed sitting around the chiminea fabricated from an old washing machine drum. They even scrambled eggs and cooked sausage on it one morning!

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The outdoor chiminea above is made out of a washing machine drum propped on a stand. A fabricated flat top, with a hinge lid, provides an opening to add wood to burn and a surface to cook upon. Stove pipes vent the fire. 

The second group were a combination of 3 groups: the Eugene Sojourners, the Ready Roamers, and the Santiam Sam. We were invited to participate in the craft activity which consisted of wrapping decoratively- shaped bottles with twine or yarn. I opted out to watch and take pictures.

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Then a t-shirt caught my eye! Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur… Sheldon’s lullaby from The Big Bang. I thought of you, Missy, and all my other cat-lover friends. I just had to get a picture! And so I met Marian. I asked her if she was a librarian. No! She was a barbarian and my instant new friend!

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Finally, nature came to visit too:

An owlet…

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Just one of many, many spider webs…

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A hornet’s nest…

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More roses that just bloomed…

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And finally… A great big shoutout to Charlotte’s son and daughter-in-law from Camus Valley who welcomed us and embraced us!!

Work-Glamping… Part Four

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The Loafing Shed, originally a 3-sided shelter for livestock to escape the rain or hot sun, is now a building that serves as Office, Rec Room, and Kitchen.

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Shortly after arriving here, Jeff and I thoroughly cleaned the inside, whether it needed it or not (actually it needed a good sprucing up). We even “webstered” and washed windows inside and out.

Jeff unlocks the Loafing Shed each morning between 7:30 and 8:00 and locks up every evening between 8:30 and 9:00.


I enjoy checking guests in and answering drive-by questions, now that I can confidently fill out the sales receipts thoroughly, apply the proper discounts, run the credit card machine, and anticipate the FAQs.


Jeff and I are now “certified” to fill propane tanks.

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The process consists of hooking up the nozzle, opening the cylinder valve, loosening the air pressure release valve below, turning on the propane tank, and then opening the nozzle. If the meter doesn’t move, you need to use the inserted screw driver to adjust the air pressure release. If white gas starts spewing, turn off the propane tank! In my case, this usually means that I forgot to close the bleeder line.

When the meter stops moving, the cylinder is filled and the propane tank is turned off. The nozzle is closed, the air pressure release valve is tightened, and the cylinder valve is closed. Finally, the excess gas is bled from the line.


One evening, a few weeks ago, 2 camper trailers and a propane customer pulled up within minutes of each other. I muddled through,  successfully filling out the check-in registration form and filling a propane cylinder all on my own.


If Charlotte doesn’t have a project for us, Jeff and I will find one, like washing windows, cleaning the gutters (of the cabins, laundry room, bathrooms, and loafing shed), clearing the beach, and re-distributing the sand.


Below are pictures of the Oregon Ramblers, the first RV Club we hosted.

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The outdoor chiminea above is made out of a washing machine drum propped on a stand. A fabricated flat top, with a hinge lid, provides an opening to add wood to burn and a surface to cook upon. Stove pipes vent the fire. Awesome!

Work-Glamping… Part Three

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The Laundry Room is located in the building behind the garden.

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It is my pet project,  as we wash and dry our clothes on average of every 9 days. Oh, did I forget to mention that Charlotte gives us all the quarters we need? This is an unexpected perk indeed!

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Everytime I do laundry I wipe down the 4 machines with lavender scented

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which smells so good and reminds me of Ollie Land as Jen and Brian use this product in their home. The fragrance is so calming and it is my crazy way of thanking the gods of the washers and dryers. It just makes me happy, that’s all!

Then I sweep the floor and shake out the rugs. Periodically I de-cobweb with the “webster”,

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clean the windows, and “windex” the collection of bathroom ladies’ pictures.

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Finally, I sweep the sidewalk area around the rest of the building that includes the water treatment room and storage room for cabin supplies and other miscellaneous items.

Charlotte’s personal touches encourage the pleasure of taking extra good care of things, as if I owned them myself.


The 2 bathrooms rest on an old trailer chassis that was gutted and remodeled.

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Each one has a toilet, sink and counter, and a fiberglass shower. The showers run on $2 tokens for 10 minutes. These facilities are for the exclusive use of guests. However, many, many cars pull up asking about using a bathroom! I know first hand, that Sandy Creek Wayside, about 2 miles west, has 3 public restrooms.

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Other folks slyly pull in looking for coffee to buy (aka, a bathroom too!) I just send them 8 miles west on 42 to the town of Bridge. Coffee is available in the General Store and outside there is a public restroom. I personally checked out this option too!

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Jeff is the bathroom guy, always has been since we were married. He cleans, spruces, and stocks them. I like to sweep outside and “webster” away the cobwebs.


The 3 cabins are Charlotte’s responsibility, although once Jeff and I helped her daughter-in-law to clean them.

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They are so adorable inside, reflecting the rustic flavor of the northwest. Two cabins have a large soaking tub and all three offer the ammenities of a first-class hotel room, complete with a fully stocked kitchen, an electric barbecue grill and mugs in the freezer for your favorite beer!

Each cabin has a back porch view of the Coquille River that babbles along and sings guests to sleep.

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One of my chores was to rake up all the dead leaves, weeds, and other debris between cabins 2 and 3. I think Jeff hauled about 5 loads in Miss Daisy to the burn pile!

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Jeff and I washed all the windows inside and out. I raked up the old dead leaves and the rhododendrons’ fallen blooms in the beds in front of the cabins and helped Charlotte spread new redwood bark.


When I help to enhance a slice of paradise, I feel a sense of ownership and pride. Maintaining paradise then becomes a joy and not a chore.

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Work-Glamping… Part Two

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As for the RV sites… There are a total of 26 gravel sites with a grass strip separating one from the other. Eighteen sites are on one side of the entry drive

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and the other 8 are on the far side.

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To get ready for the busy season we scour the picnic tables,

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brush out the cobwebs inside the electrical pedestals, wipe down the outsides, and check for leaking water faucets.

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We also pick up fallen pine cones from the gravel and place them inside the fire grate in the Pavillion as kindling.

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The Pavillion needs an initial spring cleaning to get ready for guests and RV Clubs.

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Tables need to be set up for potlucks and meetings. Chairs need to be stacked for guests to use. The outdoor kitchen and refrigerator need to be cleaned and stocked with the appropriate supplies.

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Wood for burning and wood for kindling needs to be stacked. Jeff and I loaded and unloaded cut wood into the Kabota

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while Charlotte drove the tractor from the wood pile to the Pavillion.

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Finally, the settling pine needles, cobwebs, and other debris from the winter needs to be blown away. Now it is just a matter of maintenance.


Trash… There is no dumpster or garbage pickup service here. Instead, we have a trailer for storing the bags of trash.

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When it’s full, Gary has to haul it to the nearest Coos County dump site which is a 2 hour round trip drive.

Anything that can burn goes into the burn bin behind the Nichols’ garage

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or, in our case, we use it as kindling in the Pavillion fireplace when guests are not here. Large boxes, fallen limbs, and gardening debris get stacked in the burn pile.

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On windless days Charlotte sets the mound on fire and let’s it smolder. Burn season, however, ends with an official notice, sometime in June, to prevent forest fires.

Lots of plastic and glass bottles are charged a deposit fee in Oregon and can easily be redeemed in Myrtle Point, 18 miles away. Other glass, plastic, and recyclable containers are separated out of the trailer trash and hauled to the dump in the back of the truck.

Food scraps get dumped in “buzzard alley” across the bridge on the far west side of the RV park, across the bridge, and into a thicket of bushes.

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Charlotte has trash bins outside of the Pavillion appropriately labeled for separating garbage.

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Very few guests, however, take the time to separate their trash. Jeff hauls bags of garbage to the trailer and then climbs in to stomp them down. He reminds me of Lucille Ball in the I Love Lucy episode in which she steps inside the vat of grapes and crushes the fruit with her feet!

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Work-Glamping… Part One

image A barter system

Jeff and I are staying the summer, well the end of April through mid September, at Remote Outpost for no charge in exchange for helping maintain the grounds and buildings. This averages out to 2-3 hours of work per day.

Charlotte and Gary Nichols began creating this slice of paradise some 25 years ago. What was once a dairy farm and eventually an overgrown run-down RV park has evolved into a picturesque place to relax and bask in nature along the Middle Fork Coquille River.

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This is a one-of-a-kind RV resort and “working” here is an honor and joy, not to mention a delightful educational experience!

So, what do we do, you ask?

There are 5 acres of land that need mowing,

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weed-whacking, vegetable and flower planting, and watering. Jeff and Charlotte share the Hustler Zero Turn riding mower.

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I like my self-propelled walking mower for cutting the grass between sites, in front of the Pavillion, and beside Cabin One. After mowing, I flush the mower out to keep it in good condition.

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While Jeff weed-whacks, I water the hanging pots and garden beds, including the “splashes of color” flowers and vegetables which include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and crookneck squash. We will plant carrots soon.

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Earlier in May I helped Charlotte rake the flower beds to prepare them for planting and then we mulched with redwood bark. This process entailed a trip to Coos Bay for Charlotte in the truck. Returning with a full truck bed of bark, Jeff shoveled loads into Miss Daisy

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so Charlotte and I could spread it in the gardens. A back wrenching day, needless to say!

Watering and mowing are zen-like activities for me. I get lost in the moment as I enjoy the vibrant reds, purples, pinks, yellows, and whites. The wild daisies poke through and the fragrant Sweet Williams add their soft, sweet scents. I pinch off the spent blooms to encourage new growth and the marigolds respond with a spicy aroma that stays on my hands until I wash it off.

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I never enjoyed gardening as much as I do now. Charlotte has inspired me! Also, the cool mornings and evenings here take the sting out of the hot afternoons.

Beyond Remote

image Heading west to the coast…

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Bridge, Oregon is the next little community roughly 8 miles away.

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The town’s history began in 1870 as a post office with the name, Enchanted Prairie. In 1883 the new postmaster, who lived 2 miles west, changed both the location and name of the post office to Angora.  The post office retained its name but relocated twice more to the homes of each new postmaster. In 1894 the Bridge post office was established and named for the bridge crossing the Middle Fork Coquille River. The post office remained open until 1945.

in the meantime, Bridge became a stagecoach stop where horses were exchanged. By 1915 the town had a creamery, sawmill, gristmill, school, and a church. In 1940 the population totaled 39.  The church, founded in 1900, still exists today as the Bridge Community Church. (en.m.wikipedia.org)
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Myrtle Point is another 9 miles west of Bridge. It’s a small city of less than 3,000 but it is our nearest grocery store, hardware store, dentist, and hair salon. It is 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

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Coquille is the next stop along Highway 42, 9 miles from Myrtle Point.

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Named after the River which borders this small city and the tribe of Native Americans who first settled here, Coquille’s economic base is the timber industry. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

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Coos Bay is a city about 18 miles north of Coquille along Highway 101, where the Coos River enters the bay on the Pacific Ocean. Bordering North Bend, the two cities are often referred to as the Bay Area and, with a combined population of around 16,000, Coos Bay-North Bend is the largest city on the Oregon coast. The bay itself, is an S-shaped inlet 10 miles long and 2 miles wide.

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Thousands of years ago members of the Coos, Coquille, Siuslaw, and Umpqua tribes lived here to hunt, fish, and gather. In 1579 Sir Francis Drake supposedly came here seeking shelter with his ship, the Golden Hinde.

The earliest settlement of European Americans, called Camp Castaway, was established in January of 1852 by the survivors of the shipwrecked schooner, Captain Lincoln, en route from San Francisco. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

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So, you get a better picture now of where we are staying through mid-September. Isolated, yes, but rustic, rural, and beautiful as well. We still have lots to discover and learn. For example, we have yet to explore one of the roads off of Highway 42. And some weekend we plan on traveling up the mountain side when no logging trucks come barreling out of the forests, and all we have to avoid are the hunters.

The only downside for me is that there is nowhere nearby where I can take my 5 mile walks. I walked to the covered bridge and back on Highway 42 once, praying I wouldn’t become roadkill each time a logging truck sped by me. The worrying defeated the purpose of my exercise. So, I am now resigned to taking it easy for the next few months and embracing the beauty and challenges of my remote RV lifestyle, pun intended!