Dis[ersed Camping Near Crater Lake NP and Stuck Behind a Tree


Picking up where I left off in my last post, we were camped on Four Mile Quarry 30 miles west of Klamath Falls Oregon. Other than the heat we loved our camp and I had especially loved going over to Medford to spend time with my sister. We lived for 40 years in Alaska but soon after I retired in 2006 she moved to Florida–since then we’ve had just had a few vacations together. So we loved catching up in Medford! We also planned  a family reunion for Thanksgiving with my mother and son flying in–something we hadn’t done in quite a few years.

Because our camp was so close to Crater Lake National Park we knew we couldn’t miss the opportunity to see it. So on one of our many beautiful sunny days, off we went. Crater Lake is as beautiful as everyone says. When you drive up to it for the first time you are just awestruck by its amazing blue color! Then, as you climb up and around the rim, it’s through a beautiful forest with great views–it’s a drive you don’t want to miss! (Most of the photos in this post were taken by Carolyn.)

Cody, and Carolyn's dog, Capone, are always ready for a hike or a drive! They are true nomads!

Cody, and Carolyn’s dog Capon (here in Carolyn’s Class C) are always ready for a hike or a drive! They are true nomads!

But like some National Parks I’ve been to, it’s kind of a one-trick pony. After you’ve seen the one truly majestic thing it offers, you’ve pretty much seen it all. Another one that stands out like that is Bryce Canyon National Park, once you’ve seen it’s hoodoos you’ve seen the whole thing. Of course there are some amazing hikes around Crater Lake that are wonderful, but we really didn’t have the time and it was too hot. So while we were glad to have seen Crater Lake National Park we weren’t there very long.

Beautiful Crater Lake NP.

Beautiful Crater Lake NP.

Once back to camp we settled into our time there. Since we both work online, and had good internet, we spent quite a bit of our time working, walking and just enjoying the beautiful Forest.

One thing Caroline and I have in common is we both have itchy feet, we can’t stay in one place for too long without wondering what’s just down the road. Combine that with the heat and it was soon time to go. We started looking for a place that would be higher (and therefore cooler) and hopefully have better views.

The nearest thing that was close by and exceptionally beautiful was the Three Sisters Mountains outside of Sisters, Oregon. The one bad thing about it was there was no good shopping nearby. The nearest big town was Bend, Oregon which was 20 miles away and had all the shopping we could possibly want.  We made that work by spending most of our time in camp and then getting fresh foods in Sisters.  We only went to Bend when supplies were so low that we simply had to go.

We studied our maps and saw that we could camp just a few miles from Sisters in the National Forest. We found many pictures that showed the Three Sisters Mountains were gorgeous and we wanted to be near them. So that’s settled it we knew we were going to Sisters Oregon, plus it was time for Caroline to a dump her tanks and fill with water, so we headed out.

We had a couple of very pretty sunsets!

We had a couple of very pretty sunsets!

On our last night at Four Mile Quarry we headed out for our usual evening walk. Lo and behold we headed down the road and there was a tree over it! A strong wind had blown up that night and knocked it over. This was simply an adventure filled camp for us. First she had gotten stuck on the way in and later I had gotten stuck in that wash, and now a tree had fallen and was blocking the road. We remember the old Chinese expression may you live in interesting times and that was certainly true of our time here.

At one time I carried an electric chainsaw but it just become too much weight and space and I’ve gotten rid of it, but both Carolyn and I always carry a hatchet because they’re such useful tools–very multi-purpose.   It was a small tree but still too heavy for us to drag across the road so we decided to chop through one end and then we could drag it off the road. So we went over and both of us chopped away at it for about an hour until we got through it and could easily drag it off the road.

Chopping through the tree.

Chopping through the tree.

You might think these sorts of things would discourage us, but not true at all. They’re part of the life that we have chosen and we consider them one of the best parts of it! Sure, we could be in a house and living an easy, luxurious life, but that’s not what we were born for! Humans evolved to live life deeply and intensely, facing difficulties. By embracing and overcoming challenges and obstacles, we prove who we are and live a genuine and authentic life. By keeping a right attitude we turned what most people would see as a reason to quit into a reason to love our nomadic lives even more.

Nearly everyone I know looks back at their memories of life’s little hardships with their biggest smiles and greatest pleasure–we cheat ourselves out of our best moments in life and best memories by insisting on perpetual, ease, comfort and safety.

We got into Sisters late, and so took this camp then the next day went and found a better one.

We got into Sisters late, and so took this camp then the next day went and found a better one.

The next day we headed up 97 which is a nice pleasant drive all the way to Bend. While we were there we went shopping at the Costco and Whole Foods which we had not been to for quite some time. We bought much more than we should but that’s the way it works when you are generally so remote from real towns.

When we got to sisters we found a camp which was only two miles from town and had a very good internet signal. Surprisingly it had very little traffic and noise, in fact we rarely saw anyone. We stayed there for 3 or 4 days and enjoyed it. But we both wanted to see if we could find a view of the mountains and be even more remote. So we started looking for new camps.


We headed up Forest Road 15 and turned off on Forest Road 1513. Then we turned off of it onto another smaller Road, and then turned off of it onto an even smaller Road where it dead-ended into a great camp. The forest is very heavy and so we did not have a view but the views on the way into and out of Camp were great, so we settled for that. As is our normal way we started taking walks and we were delighted to find that there was a spider web of roads all around us. We could easily walk for however long we wanted to and it was all pretty forest. We also we’re very happy to find that there was a beautiful little creek nearby. We found a campsite on it that we would love to have but we were confident her RV would get stuck again. After our last adventure getting stuck at 4 Mile Quarry we did not want to repeat so we gave up on that idea.


After we’ve been there for about a week our itchy feet started up again. We found a new road on that creek that was very near it and made that our new home. That was the third campsite we had in sisters .

One of the things I had desperately wanted to go and see while we were in Oregon with Smith Rock State Park. All the pictures I had seen of it were gorgeous and I knew it was a place I must go while we were there. So we made plans and did that while we were there I’ll tell you all about that in my next post.

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I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

55 comments on “Dis[ersed Camping Near Crater Lake NP and Stuck Behind a Tree
  1. Avatar Mitchell says:

    Very, very nice write up, Bob. And some nice pictures too. Thank you! I can’t wait to get out there.

  2. Avatar Rob says:

    The last time I had to clear a tree from a road I was glad I had my folding saw.

    I bought mine at Lowes but Amazon has them too.http://tinyurl.com/hkdz7e2

    Crater Lake is something to see but once you’ve seen it….

    Medford is in the ‘general’ neighborhood of the Oregon Caves which is worth seeing but the Sisters are not really close to them.

    • Avatar Scott says:

      I don’t think that saw would have worked very well. They may have been there into the winter if they only had that one. Don’t get we wrong, it is a nice saw, just not big enough to cut through something that size without a lot of work. And time.

    • Avatar mayble says:

      Those things cut like crazy! I have one and was very surprised how well it cuts.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Rob, I’m a big fan of the Sven saw, but could not locate mine:

      • Avatar Scott says:

        Funny, right before I saw your comment I was thinking Sven Saw! Had one for years and it worked wonders in the Adirondacks camping and canoeing. Comes in 15 and 21inch versions. Blade stays sharp seemingly forever.

      • Avatar Rob says:

        A folding bow saw, nice! A bow saw is the way to go.
        I’d never seen one before, I picked up my folding saw when I saw it at lowes, seemed like a good thing to have.
        Turned out it was once but a bow saw would have been better.

      • Avatar Jim Dunphy says:

        Maybe just carry a bow saw replacement blade if space is a problem. In a pinch one could strap it to a piece of wood (branch) or hatchet handle and the cost goes from $37 for the Sven to $3-$4. Too cheap not to carry it. Grab a few rare earth magnets to keep in in place in the vehicle.


        I had recently discovered Carolyn first and then immediately your channel from a reference in the comments. Awesome stuff as I sit in his house living vicariously through your adventures. Both are you are quite entertaining. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Avatar Roxy says:

    The small trees out there are not rooted very strongly and the earth is soft, and the birch topple easily in a small wind (I think the small white barked trees are birch). I’ve driven on roads where I’ve passed through 20 or more downed trees in a mile stretch. Fortunately, the locals know to carry chain saws, so the way had been cleared. Of course, on less visited roads it often becomes a problem. I carry a folding saw, it’s one of the few tools I actually have.

  4. Avatar Bob Baar says:

    Thanks for the post Bob. Like to see where you Carolyn, Cody and Capon are traveling. It keeps me inspired to get out and see this beautiful country of ours while we can.

  5. Avatar Cae says:

    How true about overcoming adversity! Last month my battery died and the next day I had a tire blow out. I had to laugh as I knew it would happen eventually. Both were very old. But I handled it without an issue.
    10 years ago I would have blown a gadget. But I just reminded myself I’ve got nowhere I have to be nor a a job I hate to go to.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Cae, I can relate totally! The million stresses of our old lives were do destructive that any extra one could be the straw that broke the camels back cnd caused us to explode. When you eliminate most of them, it becomes much easier to roll with the punches.

  6. Avatar Ernie says:

    Two things:
    I ordered the book you recommended “Tribe” a few weeks ago, after you had it on your web page. I ordered the cheapest one it also had the longest delivery date. Just received it, cant wait to read it this week end.

    Your comment.
    “Humans evolved to live life deeply and intensely, facing difficulties. By embracing and overcoming challenges and obstacles, we prove who we are and live a genuine and authentic life. By keeping a right attitude we turned what most people would see as a reason to quit into a reason to love our nomadic lives even more.”

    WOW! I’m going to repeat that. Its so well put.

  7. Thanks for the information and the pictures, Bob! Oregon is beginning to look like the northern part of a migratory pattern I might like.

    That picture with the hatchet should sell some saws. I have used axes and hatchets. They have a place, but cutting a tree that size with one is outside of my range.

  8. Avatar Gayle says:

    What an adventure and you both seem to truly find your best attitudes to match the tasks at hand. I can’t imagine ever having a thought of giving that up… as I sit here in a room too big, looking forward to yet another night of boring television and wondering why the hell I’m not out on the road. Until then…I so enjoy living vicariously through you and sweet Caroline!

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thank you Gayle! You described perfectly my last year in a stick-n-brick! Setting in a rocking chair, watching TV, waiting to die. UUGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! No more!! I’d rather poop in a bucket living in a van than do that for all the money in the world!

      • Avatar Whitey says:

        That’s what keeps me coming back to this blog, freedom porn! No tv, or a rocking chair, or much else for that matter but the sentiment is the same.

        I’ve got less than 5 years until early retirement but when I read some of Bob’s posts I feel like throwing in the towel and commuting that pension so I can hit the road today.

        The recent tales and video of getting stuck have steered me towards a 4×4/camper combo instead of a van, any thoughts on that?

        • Bob Bob says:

          Whitey, I love that combo and I am planning to switch back to it as soon as I can afford it. I do recommend the smallest, lightest camper you can find.

  9. Avatar Mitchell says:

    “I’d rather poop in a bucket living in a van than do that for all the money in the world!”

    I love that line. I’m going to have to steal it. 🙂

  10. The Forest Service office in Sisters is very helpful and have a great map they’ll give you showing dispersed camping in their jurisdiction. It was helpful for me because I’d had a few false starts without the map, ending up in areas that were being logged or accidentally crossing into private land.

    • Also, when in the Sisters area, it’s worth it to drive highway 242 west to the Dee Wright Observatory. It’s not the star gazing type of observatory. It’s for observing the mountains. Three Sisters, Little Brother, Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mount Jefferson, even Mount Hood under the right conditions. The road gets narrow and twisty, there’s a vehicle length restriction, and bicyclists to dodge, but it’s a great view.

  11. Avatar Ace says:

    I agree 100 %, it’s exactly why I’m leaving Dec. 1st, heading to the RTR to meet you folks…..

  12. Avatar Kathleen says:

    I’m new to the site but I have not disappeared. I’m in the background reading new blogs and the archives, starting in 2012. Just counted them. I think I have 340 to go. Great reading for long dark nights when the day’s activities are over.

    I’m learning a lot and I’ll know more about y’all whenever I get the chance to meet you.

    Wishing you good health and happiness,

    Kathleen and Freedom, 2005 T & C Touring Minivan

    • Bob Bob says:

      Kathleen, I hope you can make the RTR, I’d love to meet you and you will make so many new friends! If not, my camp is always open to you!

  13. Avatar Liz says:

    Bob, beautiful scenery and nice trip blog! Are you living just in the van now? Or do you still have your trailer?

  14. Avatar Debbie in VA says:

    I’ve been following you for over a year now and just ran across one of your you tube videos. I recognized you and Becky Schade from Interstellarorchard.com. I immediately clicked over to watch and enjoyed hearing from Becky and seeing the inside of her Casita. Thank you for doing your videos. I always love to see how people make this nomadic life work for them.

  15. Avatar dem bong ep says:

    Beautiful lake! Can’t wait to get out there. After seeing your utube video of the Sonic, maybe my Honda Fit would work!

    • Bob Bob says:

      I believe the Fit is actually a much better choice. I had a tall friend who lived in one once and he swore he could stretch out in it–but I don’t know how he did it.

  16. Avatar Bradford says:

    It all sounds good and glad y’all are having a big adventure. I’ve been working on a van build (1990 g20 sport van) lots of work and planning from you-tube videos like yours and James, adventure van man, into the mystery, back roads vanner and Lonnie from south central alaska “far north bushcraft and survival” whom I have the utmost respect for(check em out on youtube). Anyways just ordered a 4″ mattress pad because our van bed killed our backs (Jojo and I) I’ll let you know if that is sufficient. I could go on Bob but it’s your blog LOL, anyway, aloha from AL.

  17. Avatar Kim says:

    Hello, Bob,
    I enjoy your blog and you tube channel. We are in the process of eliminating what I’d reply a big trap (house) and are living in camper trailer in an rv. park, but that is crowded and expensive. I’m pretty sure we’ll be hitting the road when we complete the transition. Hope to see you out there someday!

  18. I found your you tube videos and I have learned so much. The wife and I will be hitting the road in a year from now as we are preparing plus finishing up on paying our debt off. A frame is what we want as I pull it with my ford sport trac. Thanks Bob for inspiring us!

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