Bouncing around the Pacific Northwest travel blog


Sometimes better known as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. ODFW. I use the term humorously and with a degree of respect. I think that is not the origin. Actually, it is my understanding that the term derives from the two largest contributors to its coffers. That would be fishing and hunting. Licenses and tags. And it is used somewhat derogatorily by folks in the organization who don't get as much money or respect as they think they should. Maybe just a bit of 'sour grapes'. Oh well.

So! We're here at the Hook and Bullet in Clackamas Oregon. This is the NW regional office and mostly administration and laboratories. No hatchery but it's right near the Clackamas River. Right down the road from Oregon City where we began. We decided to volunteer here for two months and try to get rid of all the stuff we have in storage. As I have said several times, "were just having too much fun to give this up". We have a real nice site for the motorhome all to ourselves with very nice trees and surroundings, a small building with a shower, washer and dryer and some storage. We're just a few minutes from Fred Meyer, Clackamas Town Center (a very nice, very large shopping mall), and several latte stands and coffee shops. Even though we're close to all that we're isolated and gated so we don't have any misgivings about being back in the metro area. And with all the shopping and stuff, Kat is in 'hog heaven'! She has participated in several rounds of recreational shopping. We've seen the kids and all is well. Everyone is doing what they should be doing and nobody is doing anything they shouldn't. At least as far as I know!

We had success getting rid of it all! Our stuff is no more! All that's left is on wheels except our mailbox. As a matter of fact the U.S. government now considers us homeless. Now we need to find a way to tap into some of those available government financial resources. Crap!!! I forgot!! I guess first we'll have to find a way to become 'illegal'. It was a thought!

We used Craig's List to sell a few things and even made a few bucks. Although 'a few' is the operative phrase. It's still tough to see all your cool, neat, and good stuff go away for pennies on the dollar. Even though we should both be use to it by now. We've both downsized enough. Kat's son Troy came down and took a bunch. He just happened to be moving and was able to use it in his new 'digs'. It worked for us. And now he has to get rid of all the crap. The 'crap' of course being the stuff that wasn't priceless! Anyway; next time I bet he won't show up with such a big truck! We really filled it up.

We had a good stay at the "Hook and Bullet". Kat did the majority of her work in the office helping Jennell, our Volunteer Coordinator and I helped Doug with the outside stuff. We had a couple of major projects; Passport to Fishing, and bear baiting. I'll cover the bear baiting in a separate post. Passport to Fishing is an ongoing yearly project to introduce kids in Oregon to fishing. It takes place yearly at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery on the Columbia river. Pretty much the whole event is run by volunteers and private sponsors and donors. The Shakespeare company donates fishing poles and gear for instance and the Oregon Steelheaders and Oregon Panfish Clubs send volunteers. Of course there is fishing for the kids, handouts, information, and prizes. Kids are separated by age, the upper limit being 12. They fish in either seined off areas of Mitchell creek or in stocked swimming pools in the case of the little kids. There is even an area for the tiniest that use little wooden poles with magnets to catch metal fish. There are volunteers at all the stations to help bait, coach, and bag the catch. This year there were close to 800 kids and probably upwards of a 100 volunteers. Kat may know more about the numbers than I. She helped put a lot of this together on paper. A couple of days before the event we put event packets together that included handouts on all things fishing, and bags for taking the fish home. I folded 3000 or so donated Baxter Auto Parts plastic bags all day, while Kat and Jennell folded and stuffed all the other things. Then we made several 90 (?) mile round trips up the Columbia Gorge to Bonneville. We had to haul over 200 fishing poles, tables, chairs, all the packets and registration stuff for participants and volunteers, along with some of the food for the volunteers. We sat up the maintenance shop as the volunteer break and lunch area. That was our primary function for the day. Kat made about a hundred gallons of coffee and shuffled donuts all morning while I sliced tomatoes and onions for sandwiches. Then we sliced sub sandwiches and served those for lunch for all the volunteers and ODFW staff who attended. Jennell had a prize drawing for the volunteers while Kat and I sliced and served cake and more coffee. We got a chance to look around and see the kids. We determined that some of the volunteers went 'above and beyond', especially those working Mitchell creek where hooks and bait were flying. I didn't see any, but hard hats and face shields would have been appropriate. It was all fun and interesting like it usually is working for the "Hook and Bullet". A few days later we spent several hours untangling and cutting away hooks and gear to re-bundle the fishing poles for next year. I got a few too many hooks in my hands but other than that the whole experience was great!

We got to do some other fun stuff too! I got a look at the inner workings of the Portland Audubon Society when I took a load of dead fish over for them to use as food for their Osprey and eagles. We've made miscellaneous deliveries to elk sanctuaries and fishing ponds and one trip with an abandoned baby Great Horned owl to a volunteer animal rehabilitation center. We spent one long day traveling all the way to Roseburg and back delivering some volunteer awards. That was close to 500 miles. Of course I get to drive state vehicles. Speaking of driving vehicles. In our volunteer adventures we get to drive all manner of trucks, cars and equipment. We got to drive a Prius, the new hybrid; that was in Corvallis. I've been on most types of lawnmower and a few tractors. I was using Doug's new tractor in Clackamas and telling Kat how much fun I was having learning to use the front loader and rear pallet jack and haul stuff around. She said, "it must be kind 'a like being at the arcade without spending the quarter". I said "yup", that's exactly what it's like.

Next: Bear Baiting. Or, "you can't get there from here!"

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