Tipi Village… No More?

After 18 years in Ohio, in November of 2005 I moved to Oregon.  In the several months before my move to the west coast I lurked on adventure rider websites, followed riding stories and dreamed about ending my 18-year riding hiatus with style, by riding on the Oregon high desert.  By early 2006 I was established in Eugene, had a house, a garage, and a brand new motorcycle. Via the internet I met a group of riders in Bend, Oregon and with them, in June 2006, I was finally riding the high desert.

Playa in the south end of the Catlow Valley, Lone Mt Loop, 2006.

Playa in the south end of the Catlow Valley, Lone Mt Loop, Oregon, June 2006.

However, my riding possibilities in Oregon really took off after I met Ken and his community of riding friends in the Eugene area.  Ken is the kind of person who aggregates people around him. Once I met Ken, I met many local riders. And a special flavor was given to this community of riders, when we congregated around Ken’s outdoor kitchen at the Tipi Village, pun intended.  The Tipi Village is located in the Mohawk Valley near Eugene, here in Oregon

Ken and a group of friends preparing dinner, July 2009

Ken and a group of friends preparing dinner, July 2009

In September, every year, there was the Tipi to Tower event, an exclusive event organized by Ken where local motorcycle riders would get together at the Tipi Village and from there we would ride to the McKenzie pass, and from there to Sisters for lunch.

Tipi to Tower events

Tipi to Tower events

Of course, the events would always start around Ken’s outdoor kitchen where many local riders would gather for a hearty breakfast before starting the trip to the tower (the Dee Wright Observatory) at the highest elevation at the McKenzie pass.

Bikes gathered at the Tipi Village before a Tipi to Tower event.

Bikes gathered at the Tipi Village before a Tipi to Tower event.

Along the years I’ve enjoyed many rides starting or ending at the Tipi Village. I even volunteered on the spring and the fall in the task of yearly managing the canvas process on the tipis.  Well, I mostly only took pictures while the others brought the canvas from storage and installed it (and the other way around in the fall).

Canvas back on the Tipis, an annual Spring task.

Canvas back on the Tipis, an annual Spring task.

I’ve also witnessed how the Tipi Village transitioned from being Ken and Suzanne’s home to become a side business, to become their way of living.

Inside a Tipi at the Tipi Village

Inside a Tipi at the Tipi Village

In that transition process of the last several years I’ve witnessed weddings and other social events take place there, business retreats, and I saw the Tipi Village become an unique bed and breakfast location. The Tipi Village is now a special place for many local people who visit it regularly as well as many people staying there while visiting the area.

Tipis at the Tipi Village

Tipis at the Tipi Village

Why do I say “Tipi Village, no more“? Well, it so happen that Ken and Suzanne have been separated for a while.  Now the time has come for the official end of their marriage and with that their partnership at the Tipi Village.  I know each story has its various sides, and being fair on the dissolution of an union and its related assets is a rather hard task if not an impossible one to achieve a completely fair outcome.  Having said, I wish both sides get their fair share of what they’ve built together along the years.  Of course, as a by-product of this dissolution we could see the end of the Tipi Village as we know it.

Will that canvas ever go back up?

Will that canvas ever go back up?

Therefore, I hope it stays with whom will keep the Tipi Village as a viable business, for it to remain a gathering place for local and visiting folks, for it to remain the special place it is for many of us.  I hope it will be there for many years to come for the several couples who got married there, for the visiting people who stay there every year and have written their personal histories in that place and have built a spiritual connection to the Tipi Village.

Ken at the Tipi Village outdoor's kitchen

Ken at the Tipi Village outdoor kitchen

Personally, I would be sad to see the kitchen empty of the great food Ken prepares, empty of the people who gathered around to assist with the cooking and to enjoy the food, the people who gathered at the Tipi Village to tell and hear stories, to live Oregon’s lifestyle.

No more Tipi Village?

No more Tipi Village?

Selfishly I want to have the opportunity to go back to the Tipi Village and bring the ingredients for a margherita pizza, in the hopes Ken will still be there, manning the pizza oven to help me bake an authentic Italian pizza.  And I hope for many more Tipi to Tower motorcycle events or simply for the opportunity to start and end motorcycle rides from there.

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One Response to Tipi Village… No More?

  1. Roger Paquette says:

    I concur with your sentiments. Ken was always very gracious and especially generous. The Tipi to Tower was a fun time.

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