Friday, May 30 – we got a bit of a late start because Rick had a work thing going on.  But with it staying light so much longer these days, it was fine with me.  The dogs were just happy to be going somewhere.

Ike Kinswa State Park is an easy drive from I-5. The park is about 20 minutes from the highway.  Later we found that the way we came in, although beautiful isn’t the only way to get to the park.  My choice of ways to get to the park is to drive to the blinking yellow light at Mossyrock and turn left.  I don’t know if this way is longer or not (I think it might be) but I love the sights this way. 

Our camp site is #58 – home for the weekend.

 

This is one of the most beautiful parks I’ve been to.  (I say this about all the parks, don’t I?)  But I really mean it, not only is this a beautiful park, but there is lots to do and explore around this park.  Showers are available at this park, but unfortunately the women’s were closed and they only had showers open in the other loop.  Everything at this park is clean and neat.  To bad we didn’t have the boat with us.  But I think if we had the boat with us, we wouldn’t have done any Geocaching!

We slept in on Saturday – something very unusual for us.  But after a good breakfast we headed out looking for some sunshine and a few caches.  This is what we found…

This is the first cache (micro cache).  We found this one at the Mossyrock Dam viewpoint.  This is the tallest dam in Washington State – 606 feet. It is 1300 feet long.  It creates a 23 mile long reservoir called Riffe Lake.   See Geocaching is educational too!  You can’t see where we found the micro cache (in the top end cap of the wire fence beside the honey buckets!) I thought this was a much nicer view.

On down the highway we go.  We stopped to find the next one (in the woods up a muddy road off the highway) and it started raining on us.  We decided to pass on this one.  So on to the town of Morton to find a different kind of cache – cash money that is.  The price of gas in this cute little town is $4.29/gallon! 

Second cache was up a hill near a Mount St. Helens viewpoint.  Again a little rain, but we marched on. And yes, I found it!!  (No view to be seen today!)  We picked up AG’s Traveling Cache Run Coin!!

 Why Not - geocache

AG's Traveling Cache Run Coin

Because we were so close to Taidnapam Park, we had to go check it out.  I love this park too!  (Big surprise) Lots to do at this park and I can’t wait to stay here.  I’m going to see if we can’t get a reservation for this park the last weekend in June.  After leaving this park we started looking around and somehow we found ourselves at about 2300 feet above the lake.  Rick loves to drive the fire access roads (they just scare me a little).  This is some of the views…

 

After getting back to real roads, we headed to the next stop… another park! The next cache was very close to the Mossyrock Park.  So we had to check it out.  This is a very nice clean and pretty park.  Just not the park for us.  Well maybe someday, but there are not lots of trees around each camp site like we love.  Some of the camp site up on the hill – Bird’s eye view sites are very nice.  And I think that if we stayed here that’s were we would camp.  Nice view of Riffe Lake. 

The next cache is called Swofford Pond Overlook.  This was Rick’s least favorite of all times.  Why?  Because it was at an old cemetery.  Well it was at the entrance, but we drove a round the whole little cemetery.  The view is beautiful.  You look down on Ryan Lake, locally known as Swofford Pond.  I found this one too!

Swofford Pond Overlook 

At this point we were both tired and the dogs really wanted to go back and get some lunch… it was after 4 in the afternoon!

So now back in site #58 – home for the weekend, we fixed a great lunch/dinner.  And I browsed our new book Pacific Northwest Camping.  Not far from us is a campground called Mayfield Lake Park.  We would have to wait until our trip home to visit this one.  The dogs and Rick weren’t up to moving a muscle for the evening. So we enjoyed our cozy home in the woods for the evening.

 

Next morning, Sunday, Rick decided he wanted to be on road and heading for home between 9 and 10am.  So we took down our home in the woods and got on the road at 9:45am!  As far as I’m concerned this is too early on a Sunday morning to break camp.  Folded up and putting everything away went very fast this time.

getting ready to go home

We did make one stop on the way home… Lake Mayfield Park!  Guess what… I love this park!  Some of the camp sites have a place where you can pull your boat up to your site!!!  How cool is that.  Yes, we will have to stay here too!

At last we are home and the dogs are snuggling up next to me while I type this blog.  A good ending to a lovely weekend.  Hubby is out playing with his new toy… the riding lawn mower!  That’s why we had to rush home.  Oh well, lots to do tonight to get ready for another week.  Until next time… Keep on Caching and Camping!

Last mintue update…

 

why we came home early.  This is the side of our house and the lot next door.

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Well, this isn’t really a camping trip for us, but we did have a Memorial Day camp out at our house, and we did go Geocaching!

My brother and his gang came down to spend the weekend and they all stayed out in the pop-up.  So this picture is of our pop-up trailer in our front yard!

Home Base

And this is a shot of what’s going on in the back yard.  They’re watching their shadows on the lake.  At first I thought maybe it was something they ate.  🙂

3 of the 5 boys had never been Geocaching before and all of them had a great time.  It’s great that we live in an area that has so many caches to be found.  I think they are all hooked on Geocaching now.

This was our first cache of the day… at the beach in Ocean Shores.

 

The second cache was a little more difficult in the woods. But we found it!

 

The third was very simple and the most fun because it was beside a park!

A quick time out from the Geocaching to play! And then back home for some lunch.

Time for one last cache before going home.  This one was at the jetty in Ocean Shores, and we met a family with 4 kids from Covington, WA.

Then on to the beach to play before hitting the road for home.  

 

We found 2 baby seals on the beach waiting for their mom to come back and feed them.  Yes, he is alive, they were just sleeping.  Every now and then they would lift their head and yawn.  Too cute.

We said goodbye to everyone at the beach and we headed for Roosevelt Beach to re-hide one of our caches.  We had to bring it in for the winter so the high tides wouldn’t take it away.

The dogs were ready to go home and sleep!  A great weekend was had by all! 

Next trip… next weekend… Ike Kinswa State Park.

April 25th we left Ocean Shores (home) about 1:30 pm to head for Manchester State Park.  It’s about 6 miles out of Port Orchard.  We both were so excited to be getting on the road and out of town for the weekend.  We decided not to bring the GPS and to just camp this weekend and not do any Geocaches.  We’ll save that for the next trip.

Anyway, the trip was very quick.  We turned off at McCleary and then toward Shelton and then down Hwy 3 through Belfair and on to Port Orchard.  It’s not far out of Port Orchard and the area is beautiful.

A little history on the park… Manchester State Park is 111 acres with 3,400 feet of saltwater shoreline on Puget Sound’s Rich Passage.  Lots of fir and maple around the park.  The park’s site was once a U.S. Coast Artillery harbor defense installation for the Port of Bremerton and served as a fuel supply depot and fire-fighting station during WWII.  The picnic shelter is created from a former torpedo warehouse built in 1901 and other fun stuff is scattered though out the park.

The park has 35 tent spaces and 15 utility spaces.  Reservations can be made for the May 15th to Sept 15 season.  I would recommend making a reservation if you want to get a utility space.  This seems to be a very popular place.  Because we came to visit during off-season, only the Upper Camp Loop was open.  We stayed in space #7 and it was private and lot of trees.  Next time we will try for space #15, a large pull through spot.  Our favorite sites are #15, #17, #19, #9 and #14 is OK too!  (I’ve decided to start keeping better track of the spots we would like the next time we come to visit the parks we have already visited.)

OK, now a few pictures…

space #7

This is site #7. (a utility site)  Behind our pop-up is a large space that you could put a tent if you wanted, and there is a nice fire-pit ring and picnic table.  Lots of room.

backside of Torpedo Warehouse

Above is a picture of the backside of the Torpedo Warehouse that is used as picnic shelter.  It is huge, and has numerous picnic tables in it.  I can see that this would make a great place to have a family reunion or big group get together.  I didn’t get a good picture of the front of it.  Across the little road is a grassy yard and then the beach.  If you are camped in the Lower Camp Loop you are very close to this.

on the trail

To follow are some of the pictures I took of us (Rick, Cassie and Thor).  As you can tell the view is pretty awesome.  The trail is pretty good for the most part.  Be sure to wear appropriate shoes… unlike me! 

I think this was an old gun battery.

  A little more history…

Also along the path we walked/hiked…

and just before this nice little path here we had the CLIMB!

This is looking back down the stairs we were climbing up.  Cassie stopped to pretend she smelled something, I think her little legs were tired!

Rick and Thor took the lead most all of the time.  Luck for us there was bench at the top with our name on it!

OK, before the big climb, we viewed the sea lions.  I guess I forgot to mention that during our first night of camping I awoke to the sound of sea lions!  They aren’t quiet, and during the quiet hours you can hear them barking very clearly.  I woke to the sound of them each morning too.

More sea lions resting and sun bathing.

I don’t know what these were, but I thought they were pretty cool looking flowers.

OK, now I’m going to take you less than a mile outside of the park.  If you are coming from Port Orchard along the water side this is what you will see just before you turn into the park area.

CAMELS!

I was hoping to get a picture of them standing but they both were sitting when we came back by to take pictures.  Not even the dogs barking made them want to get up.

There are only 2 of them.  One hump guy and Two hump guy. 

I really liked the two hump guy.

OK, enough about camels…

This park is very clean and well kept up.  They have nice trails to walk and the bathroom is very clean and there is even a shower.  The park ranger we talked to has been working there for a long time (I think she said 8 years) and she knows her stuff.  If you have questions don’t be afraid to ask her if you go there.

This park gets a big thumbs up!

 

Yes, I know the calendar says October, and it’s fall. 

We spent an awesome weekend at Rainbow Falls State Park

Location is exit 77 from I-5 and drive 16 miles west on Hwy 6 towards Pe Ell and Raymond.  This is a wonderful campground for fall camping. 

 

Friday night there was us, one tent camper, and one hunter that only comes and goes at night.  So basically we had the park to our selves.  The tent campers left early Saturday morning, and the boy scouts rolled in!  They took up 3 campsite on the other side of the campground from us.  Then two more RVs came in.  With 47 available campsites, this still left lots of room to roam in the quite falling leaves of this beautiful forest.  We called home site 43 (and full utilities!) 

Saturday morning we didn’t get an early start, and it felt so good to sleep in.  And it was easy because we couldn’t get the heater working and it was darn cold outside of the covers.  So what to do first on a beautiful cold fall morning… how about spring a leak!  Yes, that’s right, we sprang a leak while I was doing the breakfast dishes I noticed water on the floor.  Not a lot, but it was not something you want to ignore.  So hubby gets the flashlight and goes in for some real up-close viewing under our tiny little sink. 

 

He discovered that the ring had a crack where it hooks up to the other little pipe thing.  So next stop was Home Depot back out on I-5.  Which the nice man there told us that our next stop would be the RV place down the road at exit 72.  And the nice man there told us that our next stop would be Ace Hardware in Napavine!  If you are ever in Napavine, WA and you have a need to go to Ace Hardware go to the back of the store and look at the cute little dog they keep in the shop/office area!  How do I know about this cute little dog.  Well the super nice man at Ace helped us build the piece we needed and cut it to size and glued it all together.  They scored a perfect 10 for friendly and helpfulness in my book.  Then we were back to the campground to resume camping in the leaves. 

 

View to the right of our campsite!

We walked around the campground and lazily hung out in the camper for lunch and figured out what was wrong with the heater.  Yeah heat is a good thing!  We got a wonderful large fire going for the evening and sat out side by the fire pit, very close to the fire pit!  Until dark and then it was in for the night. 

 

The dogs were all tuckered out and couldn’t wait for bed. 

What a difference a night with heat makes.  I woke up only about a dozen times, instead of the 2 or 3 dozen the night before.  I don’t know why I can’t get a good nights sleep in the camper.  We are going to try buying one of those egg-crate mattress things and maybe that will help.  Also it got too warm during the night and I got up 4 times to turn down the heat. 

In the morning we woke to frost on our propane tank.  The sky was blue and the fog was here and there, and it was cold!!   After a slow take down and pack up we were on the road by 10:35 am… and the temperature was 34 degrees!!! 

So we say Good-Bye to Rainbow Falls and a very nice fall weekend!

Penrose Point State Park gets a big thumbs up! (83 sites here) Only a 2 ½ hour drive from our house! 

First night, setting up camp!

Originally when I made reservations for us in spot #19 at Penrose Point State Park, I thought we would be heading up I-5 and across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.  I was so wrong.  This is one of the most beautiful drives, and I’m so glad that Rick knows the area around Shelton and toward the Key Peninsula from his Schwan’s days.  We cut off at McCleary heading for Shelton, and then on to Hwy 3 until you get to Hwy 302 and on to the Key Peninsula, and then you head south down Key Peninsula Hwy through the towns of Key Center and Home. Just about a half mile or so after you cross the bridge at Home, WA you turn left and wind back over to the water.  

Low Tide, Home, WA

Crossing the Home Bridge at low tide. 

If you get a chance to come to this park, they have 3 bathrooms, 2 with showers and all 3 have flush toilets, and sinks with real running water!  No power, but we took our newest purchase with us.  A camping generator (I call it the Love Machine, because as soon as you crank this baby up at 8:00 AM, everyone will love you!)   One of the loops was closed while we stayed here and it was really nice because that made for no one camping behind us, and we were on a corner.  We were near enough to the bathrooms for quick run in the mornings and not to close to have lots of traffic.  We even had a water faucet across from us. None of the campsites are on the water.  They are all in the trees and it is a medium/short walk to the beach.  The beach area is on two sides.  One side is located by the group campground and the other side is on the State Park side.  After Geocaching around the Purdy area on Saturday and exploring the Key Peninsula (which you really should do if you are in this area.) We drove down to the beach before going back to our campsite for the night so the dogs could burn off any energy that they may still have.   

Beach just below the campsites, at high tide.  

Thor ready to go back to the campground 

Passing kayaks at Penrose Point Beach – Carr Inlet, Mayo Cove?

While exploring the peninsula (it feels like you are on a little island because you can’t drive far on either side without running into the beach.) we ran across a little place called Longbranch, WA.  The view from the place we drove by was incredible.   

Longbranch, WA view 

And I should say at this point that if you drive all the way down the peninsula there is a turn around with some beautiful houses overlooking the sound.  It a short drive and worth exploring all the roads for the fun of it.   Not far from Penrose Point State Park is Joemma Beach State Park. (Funny name for a park. The park is named for Joe and Emma Smith, early settlers who lived in the area.)  If you are tent camping there are a few spots in this very small park (21 sites) that will knock your socks off with the view from your campsite.  You sit high above the sound and it’s beautiful.  Sorry, I didn’t get a picture; you’ll just have to go check it out yourself.  If you are in an RV the sites are a little more limited. Geocaching at Homestead Park with the dogs was pretty nice.  It was in the mid 70’s and this undeveloped piece of property is huge.  It the old homestead for a family that I can’t remember the name.  But it’s very pretty and you can’t drive anything motorized on the land here.  The old road (paths) took us by lots of apple trees, tons and tons of blackberries, and even some old grape vines.  Easily you could spend a whole day here.  We past a few kids on bikes and a couple walking their dog, or maybe they were Geocaching! 

Happy dogs on the trail  – Found the cache! 

Found a birdhouse in the trees too – tons of blackberries around it and no way to get to it – not a cache!

All in all, this was a fantastic weekend.  Funny stuff… Rick ripped his pants by the back pocket on the way out of the park after finding the geocache on Saturday, and then when he went to slide into the truck – the big rip!  So it was back to the campground for lunch and a change of pants!  Hee-hee, better him than me!  (no pictures of this event.) 

One more camping trip is kind of planned for this month… it’s to Rainbow Falls.  Maybe next weekend!

Friday I read the inside cap of my tea bottle, it said that I wasn’t a winner, and I should try again… that was a sign of things to come!

We left Ocean Shores Friday later than I thought we would.  It was almost 2 pm.  We hit the road and the weather was OK, not raining yet, and we were praying it wouldn’t start.  We headed northeast to jump onto Hwy 101 and head for Forks.  We had a tenative reservation at some placed called the Hard Rain Cafe.  But we thought we would check things out along the way and maybe find something else.  So we stopped at the Bogachiel campground and saw one or two sites that looked pretty good, but no, we didn’t take them, after all this was just the first stop, what if there was something better down the road!  (Hind sight, we should have taken one and thanked our lucky stars for being settled in before 5 pm!)

On down the road we go into Forks.  (Forks is a very nice little town.)  Thank you Lord for giving me the sense to bring my camping book with me.  As we drive through Forks I’m reading about 3 lovely campgrounds out at LaPush.  So through Forks we go and the 10 or 12 miles towards the coast to LaPush.  (Now as we were driving through Forks I didn’t see the Hard Rain Cafe & RV park, but I’m not too worried.) 

The first place is not at all what we wanted.  The next campground is Mora.  I liked this place, no power or water hook ups, but it’s set in the trees and looks very nice.  Most of the spaces looked small and cozy.  Rick didn’t buy in to this place and wanted to see what else was out there.  Quickly before driving on to the third site at LaPush I called on my cell phone the number in the book, and they are full.  We were spared the trip out there. 

Next on to Sappho, and the next campground (I use this term loosely), it made a good turn around to go back to the Hwy that would take us to our next destination… Clallaham Bay.  Now if you have ever been to this area feel free to laugh at us now.  We first made a quick stop in Seiku for gas ($2.85 gal) not too bad for the middle of nowhere.  Yes, there was space available, and if you like to feel like a sardine (row camping – not enough room between you and your neighbor to hardly open your door!) then this is the place for you.  It is right on the water, and a very interesting place.  If we were here to go out fishing and not spend time in the camper, then this would have been fine, and that’s what this whole area is all about.  Party time and Fishing time!  Next!

OK, now we have to decide do we go on to Joyce, which might be the same kind of thing we just left or do we go back to Hwy 101 and turn left and head for Port Angeles.  I know there are lots of nice places along the way there, but the hour is now getting a little late, and it is Labor Day weekend.

We turned right when we got back to Hwy 101. (the road back to Hwy 101 is is not a nice straight stretch of road to drive either – at one point Rick asked be if I knew where the nearest WallyWorld was and we had a laughing attack so bad we had to pull over!  With tears of laughter in my eyes I told him Aberdeen – now looking back that would have been not such a bad idea.)  Zipping back down the road toward Forks I am thinking that we had just better find this Hard Rain Cafe and get settled in.  Mr. Rick is getting a little grumpy because he’s hungry – as if everyone else wasn’t – and I didn’t dare tell him I needed to make a pit stop.  Bumming around Forks turned up no Hard Rain Cafe.  We stopped at the Information Center (closed) and I looked on the board for a clue.  A very nice woman that worked here came over and asked if she could help.  (If you are ever in this area, stop in at the Information Center.) She told me that the nicest place to camp would be at Bogachiel (the very first place we stopped!), she said if they had anything there we should take it.  But she also gave me directions back out of town 15 miles to the Hard Rain Cafe.  You see is up the Upper Hoh River road.  The stress is really building at this point.  When we pulled into the Hard Rain Cafe I thought Rick was going to have a stroke.  We didn’t stay.  A side note here… this is an absoultely beautiful area and by all means go all the way to the end to see how beautiful it really is, but not if you are in a hurry to find a campsite on Labor Day weekend!

Driving like a crazy person now (just kidding, a little) we head back out to Hwy 101 and make a dash to Bogachiel.  Funny thing, there isn’t a spot open that we would fit in now.  The time is now getting close to 8 pm!  Next stop….

HOME!

The drive back home was pretty quite, the dogs settled down, Cassie always likes to go to bed by 8.  The sunset was spectaular as we drove by Kalaloch Beach.   The clouds have now all gone!  The rest of the drive home was by moonlight and stars.

We made it back to our home in Ocean Shores (a very nice place on the lake!) by 10 pm!!!

Lesson learned – do not leave the house on Labor Day weekend without knowing exactly where you are going, and make sure you have a reservation.

No pictures… I didn’t have the nerve to get the camera out at any point in this adventure.  Now looking back I should have, because it was a very pretty trip.  Just no camping!

Next camping weekend is September 14th!  We haven’t picked where yet, that’s what I’ll be doing the rest of the weekend, looking for a campground and KNITTING!

Last weekend was another fun location.  We left the house about 3 pm and headed for Alder Lake, near Elbe, WA.  It only took about 2 1/2 hours to get there. 

Rocky Point Campground

Friday evening was a pretty easy set up.  We are getting this down to a science now.  Rick has the things he does on the outside and I do the inside stuff.  And poof!  In no time we are cooking dinner. 

our site #409

This is our site #409

Funny thing about Alder Lake, it doesn’t have any water in it!!!  OK, it has some, but not much.  You can see tons of stumps.  The lady that checked us in said “Oh you have one of the best sites of the lake, too bad there isn’t water.”  This made me wonder, what the heck is she talking about.  When we got to the site, we found out.  It was still a very pretty spot and you can see some water in the lake.  The view from where I sat at the table for dinner was pretty darn nice.

Dinner table view

Dinner table view.

Satuday – my birthday – yes, that’s right I’m now 44!  The weather on Saturday was great, not hot, not cold, not sunny, not cloudy, just a little of everything.  A great day to go Geocaching.  And did we ever.  Found the first one pretty quick, it was down an old fishing trail just past the bridge on the way out of Elbe.  We walked back along the river and the dogs loved it.  The cache was a bird house with a trick bottom in the trees… pretty clever!  The next one, I’m sad to say we did not find, and not for a lack of trying and trying and trying!  We had time for one more before lunch, and it took us up behind Elbe on fire access roads.  Way UP!  We had a lot of fun just driving around up there and didn’t ever find the cache we started out looking for.  When we finally started heading down, any road that went down, we came out 8 miles north of Elbe, just this side of Ashford. 

Back to the campground for some lunch (a quick nap for Cassie).

Cassic Napping

 

Rick and Thor

 Rick and Thor talk about the next Geocaches we’ll go find after lunch and naps!

After lunch we took off for Mineral Lake and the small town of Mineral.  This is a very pretty place to visit, and the lake is beautiful.  I highly recommend visiting here.  We found two caches just north of Mineral.  One at a Forestery place and the other at the old Power and Light building (now abandoned – build in 1925).  One more and this was the longest walk for the day.  On to a site that took us across the lake by foot.  The lake is so low that we were able to walk across to the island!  It was so cool.  The area for swimming had a log boom around it, and all the logs were on the dry ground.  It was a little weird feeling and there was no shortage of duck droppings.  Just like at home!  I can’t beleive I forgot to bring my camera with me.  The cache was on the island, and we had to tromp through sticker bushes to get to it, only to find out that it needs some TLC, and the log book and everything inside are damp/wet.  Just as we headed back it started to gust a little and we could see the storm that was coming across the lake.  Time to hurry back home to our camp site.  Good ol #409!

Storm coming in 

This is the storm as it started to blow in.

We had the awning set up and the fire going before it blew in, so it was nice to sit outside and cook dinner on the grill under cover.  When the rain began, it didn’t stop until the next morning.  I love the sound of the rain hitting on the roof of the camper.  Unfortunately, I didn’t want to run down to the bathrooms (not real close to our site) in the rain that night before bed and in the morning I thought I was going to die!  Rain or not, I was running down to the beautiful pit toilets! 

Sunday – Our 1 year anniversay!  I can’t believe that one year ago we were on the beach getting married in the sunshine!  I thought about this the whole time we took down the camper and the rain started up again.

When we got home the sun was out and shinning bright!  They told us never to leave the camper down more than 48 hours after taking it down in the rain, or while it’s wet.  So it’s a good thing we could set it up in our drive way and let it dry.  In the mean time I dug our wedding cake top out of the freezer and started the thawing process.  After dinner that night I surprised Rick with what else… cake!  Let me just tell you that it was yukky and that I did eat the cake part.  We both choked it down like we had too!  It was a good laugh.  The trash received the rest of the cake.  I did eat the white chocolate pieces off the outside of the cake too!

 

Our cake top one year later

No more camping until Labor Day weekend, Then it’s north up the coast to the Forks area.

No Geocaching this past weekend. 

We left Ocean Shores at just a few minutes before 3 p.m. on Friday night.   We stopped to shop at the Safeway in North Bend (if you visit this Safeway and you are towing something, be warned that parking is not good – best to just park on the street and walk.) Anyway, we got to our campground about 6:30 p.m. I think,  I can’t even remember at this point.

Our watch dogs!

I had no idea that this camp site would be up a gravel road at 20 mph for about 10 miles.  (sometimes it was faster than 20 mph and it scared me!)  It seemed like forever getting there, and the road was getting narrower in places.  I just kept thinking about how the scenery was beautiful, and every time the river came into site it took your breath away at how awesome the water color was.  In the places where the river was deep it was emerald green.  The last bridge we crossed about two miles before the camp site was very small, Rick just had to remark “sure hope it holds us”!   OK, I was stressed just a bit about the camp site, I was the one that reserved it online, site unseen.  They said nice things about the campground, but then don’t they all?  Another stress point just before we got there was the sign that said “NO turn around beyond the next bridge”!  Then I started wondering, are we on the right road?  And if not, were and how will we turn around?  And then suddenly there was the sign announcing we had made it to the Middle Fork Campground! 

The road to Middle Fork Campground (this was on the way home)

A little about this campground if you are planning to camp here.  No hookups!  (but I knew this going in!) They only have pit toilets.  They are without a doubt the largest, nicest and cleanest pit toilets ever – but they still stink!  A very nice feature of this campground is that they have raised tent pads at each site.  They are filled with sand and then very tiny gravel.  This way if it rains you don’t get puddles around your tent.  It also makes for very easy and level setting up of tents!  If you come here, bring your own wood!!!  Or a chopping devise other than a chain saw.  There is a lot of wood down that you are allowed to cut up.  However we only had a dull hatchet and that just didn’t cut it!  (Oh, I crack myself up sometimes!)  We scrounged up enough wood to go with the bundles we purchased and did alright.  It was funny because our first morning everyone was out scurrying around for wood around the sites that hadn’t been taken yet.   Yes, they do have water too.  We saw lots of kids pumping water and playing in the water.

This is our campsite before everyone arrived.

My mom and 2 nephews (the ones that spent a week with us early this summer) came up on Saturday about 11:30am.  The boys had never been camping before and this was a fun time for them.  They made friends immediately with some other kids in the campground and we saw very little of them. 

My brother and sister-in-law came up about 5pm that night and their boys were very excited to see them.  They have spent almost the whole summer at grandma’s house.  My brother Greg, set up their new tent on the super cool tent pad. And we started dinner.  We kept a fire going all day Saturday to help keep the bugs down.  I’m sure we all ate our share of bugs or sniffed them up our noses.  Gross as it sounds, it feels far worse!!! 

This is Mom, Sarah and me around the campfire – no, Mom is not eating the stick.

We met a nice couple from Issaquah and a nice family from Seattle.  And then we met (or Rick did) a crazy lady that said she thought her dog was psychic!  Her dogs name was Chester and he ran away twice to our campsite.  The lady was staying in one camp spot and moving her things to another site, one item at a time.  Every time her and her dog Chester walked by our dogs went nuts.  She told Rick that she needed a rest and was staying for a couple of weeks.  We never did see a car so maybe someone dropped her off?  It’s all too strange for me.

The boys and dogs check out the front bed.

Saturday night fun… Mom, Joe (the dog), Luke, and Jacob!

Getting back to Saturday, the weather was great and we decided not to go out Geocaching because it seemed like a million miles back down that gravel road, and we were enjoying the whole camping experience. 

In case you wondering what the front bed looked like inside.  This is our little kitchen too.

Our little dinning room, kitchen and front bed area.

Sofa bench, and Yes, that is a watermelon on our potty!

Sunday morning I got up early and started coffee after walking the dogs.  Then a little rain came!  It only lasted about 45 minutes, but that was long enough to get everything wet.  So all the pine needles that had been falling on Saturday were now glued to everything!  But we kept that fire going the whole time until we left! 

Where’d everyone go?  It’s just a little rain!

Funny thing about going home on that gravel road.  It got shorter.   It seemed much, much shorter than when we were driving up there.  Upon arriving home we promptly empty the camper and opened it up and I sprayed Fabreeze everywhere.  It smelled very campy.  I hate the smell of campfire smoke when I’m not camping.  The sun was shinning at our house and there was a gentle ocean breeze.  So all is smelling good again and ready for this coming weekend.

Next camp trip… Alder Lake (near Eatonville, WA)  (and it has power and water hookups!)  Hopefully we will be able to do some Geocaching.

Friday, August 3rd we left for Long Beach!  It only took 2 hours from our house.  The clouds parted and the sun came out just for us! 

Don and Jane at the Sand Castle RV park put us in space #22.  This is the type of park that I said I didn’t ever want to stay at… the kind that is just a big grass yard with lots of RV’s.  This is not my idea of camping.  But this is exactly where we would be staying for the weekend.  Guess what?  This was a perfect place to camp for the first time out!  Not only were Don and Jane the nicest people ever, but they helped us back in and would have answered a million questions for us it that’s how many we had. 

The first night we had people behind us, but they pulled out early Saturday morning and that left us with no one in front of us and no one on our side.  Very nice!   Don and Jane were parked kitty-corner behind us and we could chat with them as they came and went.  The bathrooms and laundry room were super, super clean and everything was very well kept up.

Saturday morning we set out to go Geocaching – after making coffee, walking the dogs and Rick getting a shower.  We left a Travel Bug “Toothless” at the first cache.  And visited 5 others that day.  We did some bumming around and played with the dogs a little at the beach before getting a late lunch at Chen’s in Long Beach.   With the dogs (and me too) bushed, we headed for our camper and an early night. 

Two very tired dogs!

 

During the night a siren went off and scared me half to death.  It was about 2 in the morning.  Rick and Cassie kept sleeping.  Then just after is stopped it started again.  I woke Rick to find out if it was a Tsunami warning or a volunteer fire fighters siren.  He poked his head outside and said no one was evacuating so it must be a fire siren.  As if I could get to sleep after that! 

Sunday morning, walked the dogs and drank more coffee before taking everything down and hitting the road.  We thanked Don and Jane for a nice time at the park and got on the road.  We stopped at Bennett’s in Grayland for lunch and then on to home.  If you are ever in Grayland stop at Bennett’s!

Next weekend we are off to a campground near North Bend, WA!

July 27th Rick and I set out to find a pop up camper.  First and last stop… Baydo’s in Fife, WA.  They just happened to have a 2006 Fleetwood Utah CP in brand new condition.  We fell in love with it.  We didn’t get to take it home that day, so we headed to Cash and Carry to pick up a few things for our new camper. 

On Tuesday, July 31st (Rick’s birthday) we drove back to Fife and picked it up.  Big smiles on the way home.

When I got home from work on Wednesday, Rick had it set up in our drive way and was loading all of our goodies inside.  We spent the evening getting everything arranged and placed in just the right place.  We already had our first trip planned… Long Beach, WA!