Halfway is a small town in Baker County, Oregon with a population 314. The town’s name comes from the historic location of the post office: halfway between the towns of Pine and Cornucopia.
Notable Halfway alumni include Babette Beatty, the first-ever Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model. (Other notable alumni include the woman we met in Richland, Oregon who begrudgingly left Halfway to follow her husband and his search for employment. While she misses her hometown, she did admit that anything less than Halfway’s 72 inches of yearly snowfall is a bit “more palatable.”)
Halfway earned a place in the history of the dot-com era in December 1999, when it received and accepted an offer to rename itself as Half.com, Oregon. Joshua Kopelman, Half.com’s CEO, shared the inspiration behind the name, ”we wanted to get on the map, and we said ‘Why don’t we just try to get on the map?’”
The town earned $110,000 and 20 computers for the school. It became the first city in the world to rename itself as a dot com, which, according to former Mayor Dick Crow, was all about boosting tourism. “Being the first ‘dot-com’ city in America will … introduce our rustic beauty to the country,” he shared.
Halfway, OR. July 2018.
Gordon’s family arrived in Oregon in the early 1850’s. His great-grandfather regularly traveled (by horse) the 240 miles between Canyonville and Madris to shear sheep and provide for the family. You could say Oregon runs in the family - one of Gordon’s sons is a Hot Shot firefighter; the other son works for the Forest Service in Umpqua.
When we met Gordon he was spotting smoke in the Cinnamon Butte Firetower. The fire season is in full force in southern Oregon; there are 25 confirmed fires reported, 21 on the Tiller Ranger District and four on the Diamond Lake Ranger District.
Gordon isn’t a full-time fire spotter, he spends his time delivering firewood, selling Christmas trees in the winter, checking on fire towers, and patrolling the district.
Time in a fire tower isn’t lonely for Gordon - he’s too busy tracking smoke and lightning to feel the isolation. Some fire towers are closed off to visitors, but Gordon welcomes the occasional hiker. After all, as he said, “National Forest buildings belong to all of us.”
Diamond Lake, OR. July 2018.
Like most things in life, travel has its ups and its downs. Sometimes you’re in need of a mechanic and a miracle…. Sometimes you find yourself in a remote corner of the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by people who laugh, cook, hike, and tell stories around campfires with you.
We’ve experienced plenty of both extremes.
After seven weeks in the Umpqua National Forest, we’re heading back on the open road.
The next six weeks will take us through northern Idaho, up and around Montana, through the Dakotas, and down through Colorado. We’ve put a big circle around El Paso, Texas, with a goal of arriving by September 1st.
There are still so many photos to share and stories to tell from Umpqua, so stay tuned - we’ll miss the quiet, but we’re looking forward to a regular internet connection!
Toketee Falls Campground, OR. July 2018.
Only Jesus saves - or so says the sign at Black Powder Jack’s bait and ammo shop. We’ve passed this shop a handful of times on our way to town for supplies or in search of happening fly fishing holes, but we’ve never found an occasion to step inside (yet).
Glide, OR. July 2018.
Summers in Oregon are all about fishing - and the fishing is good on Diamond Lake. (An insider’s tip for you: head to the “cheese hole” and you’ll catch your daily limit in no time!)
The Diamond Lake Fishing Derby was one of the busiest weekends of our summer, with competitors from across the State jockeying for $5,000 in prizes.
The second place fish was caught by a girl who couldn’t have been older than four, a whopping 19.5-inch trout weighing just under three pounds.
Diamond Lake, OR. June 2018.