I believe the LTV Rally motto should be that “all LTV owners are friends who just haven’t met yet!”
Where is one of the prettiest State Parks in the Pacific Northwest? Silver Falls in Oregon! Considered the “Crown Jewel” of the Oregon State Park System, this park was once briefly considered to be in the running to be a National Park. A scenic treasure, located about 30 miles east of Salem, it is part of the lush, green, foothills of Western Oregon Cascades.
Silver Falls is home to ten spectacular and unique waterfalls that dot along a seven-mile loop trail through a rocky canyon, along with paved bike trails, pet-friendly trails, with a beautiful and historic Civilian Conservation Corps Lodge in the South Falls district. Silver Creek trips and falls through the misty canyon and runs by old-growth groves and grassy meadows.
Friday morning started out cool, but the sun came out to warm us as we checked in each LTV that arrived. Goodie gift bags with rally information, park information, maps, LTV Evergreen decals and pins were given out to all participants. We had people from Northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia!
The North Falls Group Area B was our destination site for our rally! Our maximum of 25 spots sold out months before, but because this rally was so popular, several members found nearby individual campsites to join in our rally daytime activities. The site was a grassy meadow, surrounded by tall Douglas fir trees. A great place to boondock! You just had to find the right spot to get level.
We started out our activities with a Friday night “Weiner Roast and Marshmallow Toast” by building two campfires for people to roast and toast their dinner over. It was fun to see over 50 people surround the campfires as a starry night fell upon us. A few folks stayed late into the night talking with newly formed friendships that only campfires can inspire, while the rest of us fell into a deep sleep in our cozy and comfortable LTV’s. The night was so dark, and so quiet, that it was easy to sleep soundly.
Saturday morning dawned a bit cool and damp as low clouds moved in during the night. Two of us brought cars to shuttle campers to a trail-head where our intrepid ranger (Kim Maley) led us on a guided hike to see some of the wild-flowers that bloom alongside the gorgeous falls. Since everyone had varying levels of hiking abilities, we had options to cut back to camp, rest at a waterfall (to be picked up a bit later) or go on to see more waterfalls. Those of us who hiked with Kim saw the North Falls, the Middle North Falls, Drake Falls, Double Falls and the Lower North Falls. Some of the falls allowed hikers to walk behind the curtains of water; to see up-close the interesting geology of basalt flows that formed the canyon and the North Falls amphitheater. Miniature ferns, lichens, and tiny flowers clung to the dewy rocks next to the path as she explained many of the flowers and plants we could see. Flower photo of Scouler’s corydalis.
We looped back on the Canyon Rim Trail, picking up those that waited, and headed back to the campsite for a very well-earned rest and lunch!
Afternoon activities were held in the North Falls Meeting Hall, not far from our campsite. We held our first “class” on boondocking tips. It was especially fun that no one was the “expert”, but instead, we all had stories or tips to share with those that had less experience. Topics centred mostly on water and energy/battery conservation, with the use of solar panels and generators.
After the boondocking class, Mike LeBlanc and Mike Schmidt of Salem Mercedes-Benz Service Center came to discuss all things Sprinter with those of us with a Mercedes Benz chassis! The two Mikes held the audience in RAPT attention as they discussed everything from fuel, oil, DEF, tires and other maintenance questions and issues. A real plus was when Mike L. stepped out to show people specific items to look for “under the hood”. A big THANK YOU to MB of Salem and the two Mikes! We originally scheduled the class to be one hour, but it was quickly realized that not even two hours would be enough! We invited them to join us for our group potluck as there was plenty of food to go around. Many people brought their special dishes to share, and we had everything from Seafood Paella (Thank you Tim Wickham!), to all varieties of salads, main dishes, desserts and special delights.
The group got together and cleaned our meeting hall in about 15 minutes flat, with people stacking chairs and tables, taking out the trash, cleaning all surfaces of the kitchen and sweeping the floors. Thank you to everyone that pitched in – we passed inspection when the ranger came by to check us out of the hall. Good job!
Sunday morning started out a bit gray, but the sun worked at peeking out behind the clouds to give us another lovely day. We had our first official “LTV Evergreen Leisures” meeting with Tim Wickham, our fearless leader, leading the discussion on chapter organization and what it means to be a member of our travel club. We certainly had a travel club “quorum” of nearly 60 people! We discussed our next rally, to be held this fall at the Columbia Sun RV Resort in Kennewick, Washington. We finished the meeting with Daniel Taylor, woodworker extraordinaire, who generously donated several hand-crafted BEAUTIFUL cutting boards that fit LTV sinks, smaller boards that also work as trivets, and stacks of wood worked coasters. We used the name tags to draw names for the lovely gifts. Nearly every couple walked away with a special gift handsomely crafted. Huge THANK YOU to Dan! His wood crafted gifts were a big hit!
Next was a group photo to capture all our participants! Steven Poland had a great camera and tripod to snap the pictures. Hard to believe we all fit in the photo!
Mike Mead from Johnson RV of Sandy, Oregon (where most of us purchased our LTV’s) came by to check on any minor problems with people’s rigs. While he wasn’t always able to fix everything, he did help people diagnose problems and at least narrow issues down. I thanked him for spending the morning with us and he responded that it was his favourite thing to do. Even if people were having minor issues, the fact that they were camping in such a beautiful place made everyone HAPPY!
Later, Tim Wickham had fun with his drone while Kern Hendricks horsed around, rolling on the ground! Some folks went for bike rides, some took their dogs for walks and others wanted to see more waterfalls! Some of us that worked so hard on the rally enjoyed just “chilling out” and enjoying the sunny day, chatting with our new friends. A little more than half the folks checked out on Sunday, with a few of us left to stay one more night.
We finished the rally with one last peaceful campfire, roasting and toasting the last of the hotdogs, marshmallows and eating up remaining goodies from the potluck. A bit more intimate with only a dozen or so of us around the campfire.
It was a perfect and serene ending to a wonderful rally.
Thank you to everyone that contributed to the rally, no one can do it alone!
Rally recap written by Rally organizer, Ann Ossinger