Wednesday, December 7, 2022


The long, long RV trip, Week 23: Propane danger; more Oregon explorations


This week’s stops and topics:

  • Careless propane danger
  • Portland and Beaverton, OR
  • Cottage Grove, OR
  • WAY off-grid in Southern OR

Well, folks, the Long Long RV trip is winding down. We have one more travel episode after today, and then a wrap-up.

I spent much of this week catching up on work and catching up with friends in and around Portland and then in parts of southern Oregon.

While in Portland, I stayed parked at the fabulous Reeder Beach campground that I talked about last week. It’s like RVing down on the farm with a picture-postcard river view. I love this campground!

flight lounge, portland, OR
Flight Lounge, Portland, OR, cannabis consumption club

I took some time to go into town to meet a cannabis activist friend at the Flight Lounge, a cannabis consumption lounge, cafe, and coffee bar in Portland.

The Flight Lounge is a private club, as per state law, but anyone can join for just $10. It’s conveniently located next door to a dispensary. It’s always a social space to share cannabis, but they also have special events and a 420-friendly B&B attached.

After leaving Portland the following day, I made a stop to visit more friends in Beaverton on my way south. They live in a condominium complex, so I parked in the back of the large shopping center parking lot next door and we had dinner at their home. That’s when the propane issue started, but I did not know it at the time.

Potential propane danger–always check the stove knobs!

After dinner, my friends walked me back to the trailer. They wanted to see the rig and I invited them in. Upon opening the door we were greeted—no, actually we were assaulted—by an overwhelming smell of what I thought was a stinky black water tank!

This made no sense because I had emptied the tanks just that morning. Turns out it was the smell of propane… and it was strong!

Sure enough, one of the stove dials was turned on and propane was free-flowing into the trailer.

I had not cooked anything that day, but I had bought groceries. All I can figure is I must have accidentally bumped one of the knobs while putting the groceries away.

Thankfully, nothing happened. I opened all the windows and aired the place out before moving on.

Whew! I was lucky that this potential propane danger had no serious consequences. In all my decades of RVing, this had never happened to me before. But I now ALWAYS check that the knobs on the stove and oven are turned OFF before leaving the rig. You should too!

Visiting Cottage Grove, Oregon

Buster Keaton's The General was filmed in Cottage Grove, OR

I found a rest stop to spend that night. Oregon has some beautiful rest areas that allow 12-hour stays, which was enough for me.

After that, I continued south to Cottage Grove, where another friend had promised to take me fishing. He also arranged for a fabulous moochdocking spot right in the center of the quaint downtown area.

I had a terrific restaurant, Jack Sprats, within walking distance. This is a great little Mom-and-Pop spot serving better-than-average breakfasts, lunches and dinners. They also have delicious house-made baked goods to go.

Walking around downtown was interesting to me as Cottage Grove has a pretty rich film history.

Buster Keaton filmed “The General” here, which is immortalized in a beautiful building mural. In addition, scenes from “Stand By Me”, “Lost In The Stars” and “National Lampoon’s Animal House” also used Cottage Grove as part of their sets.

Oregon may not be the first place we think of when we think of movies, but the entire state has a rich film industry. Learn more about exploring those locations while you travel at the Oregon Film Trail website.

fishing near cottage grove, or

The next day my friend Jack took me to a small lake nestled among the mountains where we passed a relaxing afternoon fishing.

Jack immediately caught a whopper, but the rest of the day was spent catching mostly tiny bass and laughing a whole lot.

All fish were released from whence they came, and we released ourselves back into the real world feeling happier and more relaxed than when we left it. Just what an afternoon spent fishing is supposed to do.

FAR off the grid in the Oregon mountains

FAR off grid in Oregon

After leaving Cottage Grove I had scheduled to meet another activist friend. I would tell you where, but there is no city address. John lives up at the top of a mountain, bordering BLM land, completely off the grid.

His 100-acres-plus property includes meadows, forests, and even a quarry. He has built two completely off-grid houses up there using the materials the land provided and has been happily living this way for more than 30 years.

I knew it was remote, but not quite how remote. The five-mile gravel and dirt road climb took nearly an hour. My 4WD came in handy in a few spots.

Once I got there the peacefulness and views made it worthwhile. We had a nice visit. I cooked dinner and breakfast the next morning. We went for a walk in the woods, and I marveled at John’s artistic rock-building skills, and the sheer volume of work the place must take to keep up.

The next morning, I had to back out of the driveway to turn around and go down the mountain. As there was zero traffic on the remote mountain road, it was not too much of a challenge. John lead me back down the mountain to the main road so I would not get lost.  There are no cell signals up there.

He had experience with this as one time other friends who came to visit took a wrong turn and ended up having to spend the night in their car. I was grateful for the escort.

It was a lot of rough driving, but I took it extremely slow. I had a truck that could handle it and the trailer made it without incident either. Another WHEW!

I found another Oregon rest area to spend that night, before heading south down Hwy. 101 back to the state where I started this trip six months ago. California here I come!

Next week: EUREKA! I’m back in California: Humboldt County adventures

Previously in Cheri’s long, long RV trip:


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23 days ago

It is generally considered safer to drive with your propane tanks turned off. In fact, in some states it is required.

Cheri Sicard
10 days ago
Reply to  Linner

I was not driving and I always drive with them off. Driving with propane on had zero to do with this issue.

Rod C.
24 days ago

No raw propane detector? If that happened while you were asleep, you would be dead. The one in my 1992 Fleetwood still works great and shuts off the propane at the slightest hint of a leak.

Cheri Sicard
10 days ago
Reply to  Rod C.

Yes I do have one. It started going off soon after we returned.

Diane Mc
25 days ago

Here’s something simple for your stove to help prevent the propane mishap. We did the exact same thing so I bought these. Haven’t had a problem since.

Diane Mc
25 days ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

Forgot to add…many other versions. These fit our particular stove.

Cheri Sicard
10 days ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

Good tip, thank you.

25 days ago

Good advice to check the stove. I recommend you get a propane detector.

Cheri Sicard
25 days ago
Reply to  Ray

I have one, but was not in the trailer to hear it.

Cheri Sicard
10 days ago
Reply to  MevetS

Yes I have one. It started going off shortly after we got back.

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