September 4 If a Tree Falls In the Woods…

Delta Campground on the Mackenzie River Overcast and 58 degrees F

Mackenzie Pass (5)Mackenzie Pass (4)and if no one is there, does it make a sound?  According to our camp host at Delta Campground, it not only makes a sound but it shakes the ground like a large earthquake.  Lucky for us, this happened in site 28, and we are camped in site 21.  Of course, lucky for us as well, it happened last May, although even more lucky for the campers in site 27 when this giant ancient cedar went down.

I guess that is one of the wonders of an old growth forest, technically more the 200 years old, but this one has trees up to 1000 years old tucked away.  It is amazing to see what an old growth Douglas-fir forest actually looks like, since almost all of our forests in the west have been cut or burned over in the last couple of hundred years. 

So, how did we end up on the Mackenzie River on the west side of the Cascades when our travels were taking us east to the John Day country?  Two words:  Junction City.  Fellow RV’rs who come west are probably familiar with this RV sale and repair location in Oregon.  For us, Guaranty RV in Junction City is where Mo found the first baby MoHo back in 2005.  A sweet little used 2001 21 foot Dynamax Starflyte, the baby MoHo served us well, and hooked us on the Dynamax brand.great old bridge across Delta Creek

We have had our “new” MoHo for nearly six years now, and she has served us exceptionally well.  However, there are just a couple of little things that after six years we have decided to change.  For one, the mattress was one of those cheap things with old springs that would sag to the plywood foundation with a little weight.  We added a memory foam topper, but it still sagged and was the source of many a 2am Advil run for me.

Delta Campground space 21

New mattress on the agenda!  I had researched online a bit, and came up with a specially made mattress for about 800 bucks, including shipping.  Seemed a bit spendy, but cost was irrelevant when it came to my back.

Delta Creek

Second thing that we finally decided to change was our lovely leather FlexSteel sofa that makes out into a queen sized air bed.  Beautiful sofa.  We never once made out the bed.  When we first got the MoHo it looked so nice and classy.  And it is comfortable enough, but really just for one person who wants to stretch out and watch tv.  The seat is curved in a way that makes the middle the only easy place to sit, and of course when company comes we bring in the folding chairs.  Our driving and passenger seat don’t swivel.Day 3 John Day_005DSC_0005

We have some nice little folding tables that we bring out for meals, but the configuration isn’t really optimum.  Solution?  Let’s get one of those big u-shaped dinette units that we see in some of the newer rigs!  So again, a little research led me to Countryside RV Interiors in Junction City.  They didn’t have those big FlexSteel units, but would gladly build us a very nice U shaped dinette for about 5,000.  Yeah, that is dollars!

Day 3 John Day_009DSC_0009Hmmm, maybe not.  We looked around a bit more, and Mo found this great looking dinette from Flexsteel that still makes down into a bed in case we might need one for whatever reason.  The leather matches our existing driving and passenger seats, and there are drawers for a bit of storage as well.  We took the MoHo over to Junction City for consultation, measurements, and we ordered the nifty FlexSteel unit, scheduled to arrive in October sometime.  Just a little over half what the custom made unit would have cost us.

Steve and Terri at Countryside Interiors are great, they have a good inventory, and can order anything and install it for you.  They pointed us to American Mattress in Eugene to find a mattress.  They actually make mattresses there, and have an entire showroom for testing.  The salesman tried to point me to different kinds of foam, but I know they will break down and I wanted a real coil mattress.  Finally I found a firm one and knew that it what I needed, no sagging coils, no bending on the sides, but cushy enough on the top for old bones.  That’s it, I said. the sword ferns are hugw

Ok then, give us a couple of weeks and we can cut it down to fit.  Our mattress is one of those 3/4 full things that has an angle cut off on the end.  Perfect for the tight space, but a bit weird to replace. Long story short, that is why we traveled to John Day via Eugene and Junction City.  I now have a new mattress and it feels great!!!  Finally. And the cost was just over $400, less than half the price of the mattress replacement I found online.  Good job American Mattress!

following the trail guideOf course, if we were going to be in Eugene, we would have to get back over the Cascades to go east.  I thought we had traveled up the Mackenzie Highway in the past, so planned that route and found the Delta Campground on the internet at the Willamette National Forest website.  It looked like it would be a good stop and it was.

We landed at 3:30 in the afternoon, under cloudy skies.  There wasn’t one single camper in the entire campground of 37 sites and the camp host was nowhere to be found.  We wandered through trying to decide, you know how it is with too many choices.  Site 21 appeared, with a nice big tree between us and the road, a pull through site, and closer to the picnic table than most.  We just pulled in and didn’t bother looking at the rest.  Turned out great, because it was one of the best sites.650 year old Douglas-firs throughout the grove

After settling in, we walked back two sites to the head of the short interpretive trail through the forest.  With three wooden bridges crossing Delta Creek, and a meandering path among the old giants, it was a beautiful, gentle walk.  I don’t think I have ever seen Douglas-firs this huge and the one old hemlock that was 1,000 years old is definitely the biggest I have ever seen.  These trees aren’t as big around as some of the redwoods, but they are more than 200 feet tall.  Just amazing. This collage is four photos of the same tree, bottom to the top

Day 1 Home to the MacKenzie River

A tree that doesn’t look quite as impressive, but just as old are the western yews, source of the cancer drug Taxol, and almost completely endangered by the illegal harvesting of their bark.  People would strip the bark all the way around, killing the trees, instead of taking only small amounts and saving the tree.  These trees only grow in old growth forests, and thankfully a synthetic has been developed so the remaining trees are safe.  At least as long as the old growth is safe.campsite 21 in Delta Campground

We heated up navy bean soup from home and had a nice campfire before settling into the dark forest for the evening.  The camp host showed up as we were sitting by the fire to regale us with stories of the campground, the area, and the big tree that fell in space 28 last spring.  He was a nice guy, very talkative, and never said a word about Abby being off leash while we sat around the fire. 

Yay, a better swimming hole for AbbyWe ended the outdoor part of the evening with a nice swim for Abby just down a short walk from our picnic table.  The night was absolutely silent and completely dark except for a few winking stars that showed up sometime during the night as the clouds lifted.tree hugger

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

7 thoughts on “September 4 If a Tree Falls In the Woods…”

  1. We had American Mattress make mattresses for our old motorhome. We keep thinking we should put them in Therapy but they are upstairs at home for the grandgirls to sleep on. They are great though so may have to make the change. Delta is a great campground…hope you stopped at Takoda's for a meal – YUMMY!! Enjoy the area around John Day. We sure had fun there last year.


  2. Wow, those are some big trees. I have never been out to the West coast to see the big trees. Great deals on your purchases. I'm still doing remodeling inside my RV. Who designs these things? I just sent an email with pics to a rep at the Lazydays in Tucson, I hope to get there this winter to finish up the remodeling.


  3. OK. One more thing to worry about — a tree falling on the coach :-). We are getting ready to make a couple changes in our coach, as well — pulling the carpet and replacing with a hard surface, pulling the couch and replacing with a swivel lounger — adding a computer desk. We will be glad when it is all done.


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