Welcome to the roadless rainforest retreat of William L. Sullivan, the Oregon author who built a log cabin together with his wife Janell for $400. Start with a quick tour in this 1-minute video .


When Sullivan inherited the property from his parents, he also inherited a murder mystery. He learned that the previous homesteader on the property had been shot there in 1964. That tale, and the accompanying ghost story, is retold is Sullivan’s memoir, Cabin Fever. Here, however, he's going to share more recent stories and adventures -- starting with the sometimes frightening, always daunting, annual ritual of opening up the cabin for summer after being boarded up for the long rainforest winter.


Opening the Cabin for Summer

Day 1 --

We hike into the cabin on a very rough trail that crosses a waterfall. After a while the rough route becomes a trail through the woods. The trail climbs above the river. (Click here to see the video: https://www.facebook.com/bill.sullivan.7509/videos/804981427409953 )

The path traverses an old-growth spruce forest. Finally we reach a first view of the Guest Cabin. The Guest Cabin is still boarded up for winter. Approaching the Log Cabin for the first time of the season, you never know what surprises you will find.

Opening the Cabin for Summer

Day 2 --

One of the first jobs of summer is mowing the lawn with a scythe. Usually, ten cartloads of grass have to be hauled to the compost pile. Once the lawn is mowed, it's time to set up the solar hot tub, consisting of a plastic cattle trough, black hoses, and two solar panels. The solar panels would heat the water to boiling, but a solar pump keeps water moving up to the tub.

(Click here to see the video: https://www.facebook.com/bill.sullivan.7509/videos/792508068722861 )

The boat landing on the river changes every year. Backpacking in a final load of supplies still involves wading a waterfall.

Opening the Cabin for Summer

Day 3 --

By our third day it's time for me to oil up the typewriter in the Writing Cabin and start work on my next historical novel.

(Click here to see the video: https://www.facebook.com/bill.sullivan.7509/videos/5785612048161454 )

Meanwhile, Janell has made the Log Cabin cozy by cooking a giant "monsterone" soup on the wood stove. The Guest Cabin, too, looks more inviting now that it's ready for summer.

Opening the Cabin for Summer

Day 4 --

By now we're curious to get word from the outside world. Because we have no cell phone or Internet reception in the valley, checking emails and such requires a half-hour hike up to the "Internet Log." In a barren pass, the Log overlooks vast expanses of clearcuts, our patch of wildness along the river, and a distant slice of the Pacific Ocean.

(Click here for the video:https://www.facebook.com/bill.sullivan.7509/videos/330524892606322 )

The day started with breakfast on the picnic table in our cabin's front yard. I built the table from a tree that fell across our access trail. The project required 8 lag bolts and 80 cents of chainsaw gas. The finished table weighs 1200 pounds.

Opening the Cabin for Summer

Day 5 --

Today I can finally clear the overgrown River Trail. This path traverses the forest around the edge of the old pasture for a mile, passing two "walk-through" spruce trees that grew over old stumps. Now that the stumps have rotted away, the trunks have caves at the bottom.

(Click here to see the video: https://www.facebook.com/bill.sullivan.7509/videos/832281271078695 )

Further along the river path is a rusty old mower, a piece of horse-drawn machinery left by the original homesteader here before his suspicious death in 1964.

Spruce and maple trees that I planted to protect the riverbank 40 years ago are now 2 feet in diameter.

The two largest trees on our property are a pair of Sitka spruces 7 feet in diameter and 150 feet tall. Before World War I, when the US Army logged this valley to provide spruce for biplanes, all the trees were probably this big. These two were left for fear they would fall across the river and span it.

Janell likes to sit under a mossy maple, watching the river in the late afternoons. To provide a shortcut across the pasture, I hack a path through the tall grass from the cabin. If this sounds easy, consider that I've measured grass in this field 11 feet tall. Even after cutting a path, we mark the route with flagging to find the way.

Opening the Cabin for Summer

Day 6 --

To prepare the place for our preteen grandkids, I consider what to do with the rotting log playhouse I built for our daughter Karen 30 years ago. Over the winter a fallen tree has crushed the roof and smashed the window.

(Click to watch the video: https://www.facebook.com/bill.sullivan.7509/videos/1330111100848085 )

After cleaning things up, I conclude that the playhouse might yet be repurposed as a pirate ship -- or something. When the kids get here, they can help decide what would be the most fun.

Opening the Cabin for Summer

Day 7 --

And on the seventh day we rested. I put my feet up and swung in the hammock.

Our cat Sissi sprawled on the front porch.

Spot dozed in a sunbeam on the rug.

(Click here to see the video: https://www.facebook.com/bill.sullivan.7509/videos/433916415265869 )

We celebrated our first week with a picnic at the two big spruces, opening a bottle of last fall's blackberry wine.

Summer sun had heated the solar hot tub to a record 137 degrees Fahrenheit at 4pm. But by 10pm, as the stars came out, the water was 106 degrees, perfect to relax sore muscles after a week's work. And then, up the spiral staircase with a candle to bed.

The Writing Cabin's typewriter has produced the drafts for many a book.

Every summer: Flower boxes. Why? Why not.

Nighthawks lay their camouflaged eggs on bare ground in clearcuts above the log cabin.

The 20-acre pasture separates the log cabin from the riverbank trail and the two big spruces.

The playhouse I built for our daughter Karen 30 years ago had been crushed by a falling tree.

After cleaning up the site, perhaps the playhouse could be salvaged to serve another generation.

A picnic by the river with last fall's blackberry wine.

A candle suffices to light our upstairs bedroom.

Opening the Cabin for Summer

Epilog --

We stay at the log cabin about 8 times a summer, usually for 7-10 days. That allows us to pack in fresh supplies, wash clothes, and take care of Navillus Press business in the city.

(Click here to see the video: https://www.facebook.com/bill.sullivan.7509/videos/404385908327502 )

The cats don't like having to leave the log cabin. Spot submits grumpily to getting in the cat carrier.

Sisi flees upstairs. Then she too is packed up for the hike out.

Now that the log cabin is opened up for summer we console the cats, and ourselves, that we'll be back soon.

September 15, 2022

Is it possible to play an organ fugue at our remote Oregon log cabin, miles from roads, electricity, and the Internet? Only with a harmonium, an Indian reed instrument I've modified for use with Pachelbel. Click here to allow me to demonstrate: https://www.facebook.com/bill.sullivan.7509/videos/476542557701640 .

October 10, 2022

For winter firewood, Janell and I decided to cut down an alder tree with our two-man crosscut saw. Once upon a time we wore hard hats for this kind of work, and we still should. But every logger knows the truth -- if you cut the tree down wrong and it falls on you, it will squash you like a bug. (For the video, click https://www.facebook.com/bill.sullivan.7509 )

May 22, 2021

May brings the rush of summer to our remote log cabin in the Coast Range. The shake roof of the outhouse does not leak; it blooms with native candyflowers.

I dug up a wild cucumber ("bigroot") that spread vines onto the cabin and uncovered a 200-pound root ball.

The solar hot tub got to 97 degrees, but needs more sun! Click here for photos of the outhoose roof, the wild cucumber, and the cabin.

August 4, 2021

How do you entertain 10-year-old grandkids without video games or the Internet? At our remote log cabin in the Coast Range we built a zipline that’s safer than it looks, an Olympic teeter-totter, and a “spikeophone.” Janell baked Norwegian krumkaker to fill with whip cream and huckleberries for a picnic. And guess what? The kids never once said, “I’m bored.”

Click here to watch Janell cook Norwegian krumkaker on the wood stove.

Click here to watch the grandkids slide on a homemade zipline beside the log cabin.

Click here to watch daughter-in-law Lea Thorin attempt to play the “Star Wars” theme on the spikeophone for our son Ian.

August 16, 2021

What do you do with a fallen tree that blocks the trail to your remote Oregon log cabin? I decided to use it to replace our picnic table. The project took 8 lag bolts and 80 cents of chainsaw gas. The legs are from a plank that washed up on our riverbend last winter, probably from somebody’s dock. It’s a good thing we don’t need to move the finished table a lot. It weighs 1200 pounds.

September 22, 2021

Autumn mischief at our remote log cabin in Oregon's Coast Range: After the work was done, chopping firewood for winter, Janell and I picked 3 gallons of blackberries, brewed wonderful wine, and sat outside as night fell, watching bats drop from the roof shakes to dispose of a swarm of flying termites.

Click here to watch bats zoom about the cabin in the evening cleaning up a swarm of flying termites.

October 12, 2021

What have I been writing on my remote log cabin’s typewriter?

“The Ship in the Woods” is the latest in my series of carefully researched historical novels about Viking Age archeology. Each book alternates chapters between an actual excavation and the Vikings a thousand years ago. Pen-and-ink illustrations are by my daughter Karen. The first two books deal with Norway and Denmark. The new one traces the Swedish Vikings who conquered Russia and besieged Constantinople.

October 24, 2021

Rains have brought out the mushrooms. Janell and I picked a basket of golden chanterelles, sauteed them in butter on the woodstove, and served up an autumnal feast at our roadless log cabin in Oregon's Coast Range.

Click here to watch us cooking chanterelles on the woodstove: https://www.facebook.com/540677794/videos/pcb.10159292496057795/4401450983302834

April 17, 2022

At our remote cabin in Oregon's Coast Range, the log outhouse built by my father in 1978 was full. Our son Ian, the Seattle astrophysicist, volunteered to face the black hole. Because the structure was too fragile to move, and the mossy roof still doesn't leak, we dug it out in place. After a winter's rest, the pit was mostly dirt. A clutch of 25 trilliums cheered us on. Ian hammered in a sturdy new cedar floor. We washed up, changed clothes, and returned to city life, mission accomplished.


December 20, 2020

"Stone Soup" cartoonist Jan Eliot stole my Yule card idea! I'm flattered, of course, but also dismayed that Cabin Fever is so epidemic that the remote log hut where I write my novels seems an outpost of holiday cheer. To print your own foldable cutout -- and to see all 43 of Janell and my annual Yule cards -- click https://www.oregonhiking.com/william-l-sullivan/yule-cards/yule-cards-2010-2020 to see the last decade's worth of Yule Cards. To see Jan Eliot's stolen version of the 2020 card, click https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10158548886627795&set=a.499118132794

September 17, 2020

Autumn at our Oregon log cabin -- escaping fires and the virus, Janell and I rowed supplies a mile through the smoke to the cabin, split firewood, picked blackberries for jelly, sawed out logs on the river trail, and wrote the 21st chapter of my third Viking novel, about the Swedish conquest of Constantinople in 907 AD. Who knew? Click here to see photos of the cabin and the book: https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10159268632962795&set=pcb.10159268634872795

September 25, 2017

Getting ready for next summer.

Summer is officially over: the woodshed is full for next year and we've moved back to Eugene.

"Grampa Bill and the Egg" is a log cabin book I created for our two grandkids and for Max and Maia Echeverria of Bend. It's goofy enough, however, for any preschoolers.

August 2022 --

Who says chopping wood has to be a lengthy chore? At our log cabin I split and stacked an entire red alder tree in 90 seconds, although I'll admit I was bushed afterwards. The trick is to stack the wood on end so you don't have to set each piece up on a chopping block. To see the video, click the photo at left or https://www.facebook.com/540677794/videos/1032429064132021/


October 2022 --

A Douglas squirrel has been bombarding the roof of the cabin with spruce cones, BANG!, starting at 5am. The industrious squirrel is cutting the cones from the top of a tall tree in order to gather the seeds later for winter. In the meantime, BANG!, the cats are hiding in terror. Watch the video at https://www.facebook.com/bill.sullivan.7509/videos/1300306120719910 .

To slow the pace, try a "Meander Tour." Our Oregon log cabin is miles from the ocean, but the river gets six feet of tide, so it flows backwards almost as much as forwards. Janell and I set up chairs in our rowboat, shipped the oars, and waited. In the first hour we drifted a mile and half upstream. While the river paused for 15 minutes we broke out uncooked cocoa cookies and coffee. Then we drifted home for an hour, mesmerized by a movie in reverse. Watch the video at https://www.facebook.com/bill.sullivan.7509 .