Road Trip to a Unique Town, Part Two

In this post you get to find out where we went instead of having to wait for a mystery to be solved. Whoot! The little town we’re going to is called Ryderwood, and talk about unique, this town fits the bill.

After we’d made the appointment to inspect the property, I immediately Googled Ryderwood and found this wonderful website, which gave me all kinds of information about the history of the town. As soon as I’d read the first page, I knew I was going to make it a road trip advencha on the bloggie. If you follow the link, be sure to read all the links on the left hand side of the page. It’s really fascinating stuff.

Built from the ground up in 1923 by Long-Bell Lumber Company, Ryderwood once held claim to the title of “world’s largest logging camp,” due to its other distinction of being one of the few logging camps designed for entire families rather than only single men.

Long-Bell sold Ryderwood to Senior Estates Inc., which had in mind its own type of experimental town–“a pensioners’ paradise.” Ryderwood’s nearly four decades of existence as a retirement community now overshadows, in duration, its days as a family logging camp, and new construction there indicates a slowly expanding community. The town’s serene setting attracts retirees from all over the nation who meet the minimum age requirement of fifty-five.

Here we are, just entering the town. Ryderwood is surrounded on all sides by forest, which you’ll see on the map at the end of this post. It’s kind of like being a town in a forest island.

I found out that you have to prove that you’re really 55 years old in order to live here. They take the 55+ age very seriously around here.

We got to the house that we were appraising. Nolemana went inside to meet the wahine, and I stayed outside taking photos of her really cool whirligig da kine.

It was so cool! I was hoping that a big wind would come up and make his tail spin; that didn’t happen but I did get a video of him. You can hear birdie sounds in the background, including a very territorial hummingbird who wanted me out of there so he could hit the feeders!

The wahine’s pōpoki came around to check me out.

She was such a nice lady; she invited me in to see her little hale. It was kind of sad; she and her husband had retired here just a few years ago and were looking forward to living here for many years. They remodeled their house (which most people do when they buy the old cottages), and then he died unexpectedly after just a couple of years. She loves living here and doesn’t want to leave. I can’t legally show you her hale, but I can show you others.

After Nolemana did the interior and exterior inspection, we headed out to “drive comps”.

Like this one. Cute, yeah? The cottages are fairly small, but as I said, they get remodeled and usually have storage sheds in back. Inside, they’re very cozy and nice.

This one had some cute rustic bird houses out front.

This is a typical Ryderwood Street.

There is even a lovely pond at the edge of town.

And here’s another street inside the town, which only consists of a few blocks. When I say small town, I really should say “tiny”. Try look da statistics:

Estimated Current Population: 167
Population: 422

The pond is really lovely, with a wonderful bench where residents can just sit and watch the wildlife. If it had been warmer, I would’ve sat there awhile myself!

There’s a bridge over the creek that leads to the bench.

Now bless her heart!! There she was, cutting her grass. I just couldn’t resist taking a photo of her.

This is Ryderwood’s Main Street, Highway 506.

At the library, you can sit outside and walaʻau with your neighbors if you want.

Yes, it’s really a library.

And the Post Office. Ho da kewt, yeah?

Here’s the General Store. I wish it had been open. I adore General Stores in general. LOL.

The residents were getting ready for a craft sale the following day, and outside the gift shop these beautiful flowers were still blooming.

There were flower baskets like this all over. The lady who was in charge of the gift shop took us next door to see what kind of things were going to be in the sale. We ended up getting three vases made out of freshly cut wood, still with moss on them.

The people were all so friendly and welcoming, and I could tell that they really took pride in their community.

This is looking across the street from the gift shop.

This sign is at the end of Main Street/Highway 506. You can turn left or right, and that’s it.

After driving by some of the comparable sales, we headed out towards the town of Vader, where we planned to eat lunch. The café had come highly recommended by the Ryderwood folks.

Had to take this photo of Campbell Creek since one of my grandmas had been a Campbell.

Here’s the creek. See it? No? Hmmm… I can’t either. Ahahahahaha!

We leave Cowlitz County for Lewis County.

And here’s the café! The Little Crane Cafe in Vader. I left a five-star review on it.

I did notice that it was right near some railroad tracks and wondered how often trains came by here. Of course I did. You knew I would, wouldn’t you?

And when I say near, I mean near!

The inside of the café was filled with old photos and logging memorabilia. There was a counter you could sit at as well as several tables. There was a very friendly group of people at the table next to us; one couple was here from Idaho. After tasting the food, I bet they drove all the way from Boise just to eat here.

The photos were awesome to look at.

Here’s the menu.

I had the Chef’s Special.

Nolemana had a club sammich. He loves club sammiches.

Guess what????

I asked the server/cook kane how often the trains came by. He said usually about six or so an hour! Whoo hooo!!!

This was an Amtrak one; Nolemana went outside to snap the shot.

My breakfast. It was so funny. The cook/server kane came out with my plate, sat down right next to me, and apologized for giving me two eggs instead of one like I’d ordered, but assuring me he’d only charge me the special price. He just sat there and talked with us like we were old friends. I love places like this! My breakfast was ʻono to da max!

And there’s Nolemana’s sammich. I think I got the better end of the deal. I love eating breakfast out!

Heh heh.

Actually, I really like this shot; the screen gives the train a kind of surreal look.

Same thing here. Kinda artsy-fartsy, yeah?

Another shot inside the café. I took this one after the people from Idaho left so I wouldn’t have to ask them to please get up so I could take it, which woulda been pretty rood, yeah?

Up by the cash register on our way out.

The Little Crane Café was like an antique store, only the stuffs weren’t for sale. But they sure were fun to look at!

Looking along the counter.

All too soon, it was time to hele on out of there. We must have seen at least six trains while we were there and I loved seeing each and every one of them.

Here’s the GoogleEarth view of Ryderwood. See how it’s like a little island? Too bad about all the clear-cutting; you can see how it mars the landscape.

Our advencha is far from over. We still have more places to go on this amazing trip. So no go away yet!

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4 Responses to Road Trip to a Unique Town, Part Two

  1. AFK says:

    Moki-chan, you crack me up – you make friends wherever you go! Good for you!

    Your “TRAIN!” exclamation reminds me of the dogs from “Up” – except for them, it’s “SQUIRREL”! For me it’s “COWS”! Or “KITTY”!

  2. will says:

    Such a simple life! Thanks for sharing your story! Aloha!

  3. Babooze says:

    Mahalo for the trip Moki. Awesome. You get to see a lot of America. Gee, look like even the Popoki has the aloha spirit. m/

  4. Kikue Mugen says:

    World’s largest logging camp! Wow, how interesting is that? And interesting too the town’s involvement in WWII, and then the senior citizens took over the town after the buyout. How interesting yeah? I bet a lot of good stories could be written about a town like that. Amazing. How cute those cottages are! Wow, so, so, cute… and it even has a general store. It reminds me of a little town in Georgia where they filmed Green Fried Tomatoes. The little town is just like that and even has a tiny jail house too! LOL

    Again, wonderful pictures! Loved it all!

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