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Archive for the ‘Washington’ Category

toutle river

A beautiful autumn weekend in the Northwest, sunny and crisp. Camped at Seaquest State Park next to the Mount St. Helens visitor center and bushwacked down a steep brambley bank to the Toutle River to scout fishing locations. Ralph put his gear into action, but alas, no bites. Dogs enjoyed being wet, sandy and smelly.

Later, Ralph bravely figured out how to use the designated dump station facilities by filling the tank with water and sending it out through an intimidating hose and down a foul concrete hole. A successful rehearsal, but all agree that the goal is to never actually use the DWR bathroom for anything other than a storage area for the chairs and kitchen trash can.

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leroy’s place

A beautiful Halloween weekend to drive up the Oregon side of the Gorge, cross at Bridge of the Gods, and stay at Timberlake Campground, operated by a lovely man named LeRoy—everything tidy and comfortable, set up for large church groups and family reunions. We selected an open green space on a pretty rise to unhitch which we later discovered was the dog poop area but tried not to dwell on it.

Visited eccentric Maryhill Museum and the local henges we dubbed “Acidhenge”, a weird sculpture found on the museum grounds, and “Wronghenge”, a full-size replica of Stonehenge.

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long beach peninsula

Operative word: WET. We were lucky to secure a site at the Cape Disappointment state park, formerly Fort Canby state park. We stayed snug in the DWR, looking out the wide windows at the cold wind and slashing rain that suited the landscape; weather that certainly contributed to the name “Cape Disappointment”.

We ventured into the tempest to visit nearby forts (there isn’t a fort that Ralph doesn’t love), the Lewis and Clark interpretive center built on top of part of Fort Canby, the giant oyster shellbeds in Wilapa Bay, and the Cranberry Museum; the kind of infinitely informative and satisfying activities you never make time to enjoy unless you’re camping.

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gig harbor

Ralph has a closeknit group of friends from Whitman, AKA “The Buddies”. One of the couples has a lovely big vacation home in Gig Harbor, surrounded by pines and overlooking the water. Lars, Pepper, Ike (everyone maintains their college nickname) were all there with their wives (and, in one case, ex-wife; fraternal ties between the phi delts and kappas are stronger than petty disagreements like divorce).

A good time was had by all, walking on the beach and me successfully concealing my bitter regret at having wasted my formative employment years as a graphic artist and San Diego party girl in the 80s.

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land yacht harbor

“We can turn around and go to the state campground. It’s only a mile back,” I said to Ralph when we entered the compound at Lacey Washington. We expected to see dozens of RVs, flags flying, vendor booths, children running. Before us lay a deserted sea of blacktop, dotted with a few aged Airstreams, and ringed by single-level homes, each with a huge Airstream parked in a carport.

This was the “2007 Washington Unit National Potlatch and Salmon Rally” as advertised in the Blue Beret, the official publication of the Wally Byam Caravan Club which will mysteriously arrive in your mailbox shortly after you buy an Airstream from a dealer.

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