The summer schedule at work had accelerated by two weeks, the “before winter” to-do list was looming large after little attention, all the kids would be with their ‘co-parents’. It was time to pull the reset lever and head out for a quiet weekend, before school rules our life for another 9 months! A flea market in a gold-boomed ghost town sounded like just the ticket…
Friday afternoon, we hooked up the truck and trailer, bound for Sumpter, Oregon. This little town was once home to a bustling gold rush, but these days it’s better known as a vacation spot. On Memorial, Independence, and Labor Day weekends it hosts a large town-wide flea market. With only 1 kid to drag along, Labor Day weekend was our best chance.
Our (normally quiet) campground on Phillips Reservoir filled up quickly. Several parties took the liberty of reserving adjacent sites for future occupants using trailers, tables, pop-ups, etc. We got our space right on the water, but in others up to 3 trailers were cramming into a tent spot! Several groups liked to drink, party, and run their generators long past ‘quiet time,’ greatly detouring from our outdoor experience. (Now we saw why many people were boon-docking outside the established campgrounds.)
Saturday morning, we headed into town early. It was a good thing we did, as the temperature and traffic levels sky-rocketed between 9 and Noon. There were several ‘pockets’ of booths around town, with many strewn between. ATV’s seemed to be the preferred mode of transportation, and I have to admit that it seemed a lot more efficient. I parked my crew-cab, long-boxed pickup at one side of town, and we were done before we had covered even half of it.
We picked up some presents to horde for Christmas and birthdays, grabbed lunch, and headed back to camp. Now that it was good and hot, we carried our kayaks down to the water. (This was quite a walk, as the water had receded much by the end of the season, and we had to detour to miss the vast mud flats.) We spent the whole afternoon out on the lake, quietly fishing. We pulled into the shore at one point, to get out and swim, but never caught anything. We assume the fish were all down by the dam, 5 miles away, where it’s cool and deep.
Utterly spent, we had some difficulty carrying our kayaks back to camp, but some teenagers took pity and helped us out. We threw some burgers on the grill, and sat back to enjoy beverages with our sunset. Many of the partiers had cleared out, so Saturday night was much more enjoyable.
Sunday morning we tackled the other half of town. I hadn’t expected how many inexpensive gifts we would find, nor the selection of home improvement supplies available. One stand had a huge selection of unpainted ceramics of every size and cost, another presented a whole selection of raw stone cuttings for the amateur jewelry maker. I liked to peruse the home décor booths, as they gave me ideas of things to incorporate in my future projects!
By mid-day it was hot once more, so we grabbed the trailer and high-tailed it home. It was a nice break from reality, and gave me the reset I needed to endure the stresses at work, at least for another month. Hope you enjoyed!