Big Agnes came through and shipped me a new tent in which I am happily sleeping. Actually, unhappily sleeping would be more correct. No fault with the tent, it's the precipitation that is wearing me down. But I digress. More about the new tent later on.
I arrived back in Chehalis, WA., on Saturday night. I had stopped here 6 weeks before to escape the rain in Olympic National Park. I carefully set up my broken tent and fell asleep listening to rap music. Not mine.
Around noon on Sunday the skies darkened and the rain poured down hard for 5 hours. I tried to be positive as I yanked my bedding out of the tent and stuffed it in my car. Hmmm. The car is dirty and the water is warm. I put on my swim trunks and used a micro-fiber towel to give it a bath.
I had only one campground left to visit in this area. Monday morning I headed south 40 miles to Seaquest State Park.
Before I departed I narrowly avoided a slimy situation. I took a shower and was heading out of camp when I decided to stop at my campsite and hang up my towel. I glanced at the tent and saw an 8 inch slug about to crawl inside through the busted door. The door looks like this:
It is kind of hard to see there so let me zoom in a bit.
The slug was teetering on the edge about to fall in. I had been dealing with ants, spiders, flies and mosquitoes for the past few days but finding slug slime all over my sleeping bag and pillow would have been the last straw. I made sure that he wouldn't bother me anymore and left.
Seaquest State Park is on the road to Mount St. Helens, as is the town of Toledo which has a really cool mural painted on the side of a building.
The park has 2 types of campsites. There are 76 either dry or with water and electric that are individual sites. They look like this:
There are also 16 full hookup sites that look like this:
It is a very popular campground as there is a lot to do in the area. The Mount St. Helens Visitor center is just across the street.
Tuesday was a good day. I picked up my new slug proof tent at the Chehalis Post Office. A big thank you goes out to Big Agnes in general and Glenn Davis in particular. I was in an awkward situation being on the road with no real tent stores around.
While in town I also picked up some taco fixings. When I came back I found I had also gained a "Camping God" carving that a neighbor left for me. We'll see how that works out.
Big Agnes now has a sticker along with Polar Bear on the propane tank of fame. Some deer invaded the campsite across from me.
Then I witnessed a case of "Deer Flatulence" first hand.
Deer on Left - "Hey, I'm right behind you!"
Deer on Right – Giggles quietly.
I lit a big fire to keep the smelly deer away from me.
I decided not to set up the new tent at this campsite. I was leaving Wednesday morning and had spotted more slugs lurking about. I duct taped the door from the inside and hit the sack.
The next day I had 200 miles to drive to Oregon and planned to visit a few State Parks on the way.
Paradise Point is located just off Interstate 5 about 30 miles north of Vancouver, WA. There are 69 sites, some with hookups, and 10 walk in sites that were guarded by a thug who glared at me and dared me to take his photo. I walked away. Half the sites are forested, but some are nice and open.
There is a river that flows nearby and a beach area.
What you cannot see in this photo is that if you look straight up you see the underside of the interstate bridge. Noisy, but you would stay dry in the rain.
Next up was Battle Ground Lake State Park.
I would classify this park as a destination campground not a base camp. It has everything you need for fun. There are 4 cabins, 31 sites with hookups and 15 walk-in sites.
It has a large day use area and a neat little lake perfect for the kids with a dock and swim area. Must look great in the sunshine.
I set up the new tent for the first time at Memaloose State Park in Oregon. I kept singing "Memaloose Memaloose can you do the fandango". Water on the brain. I am doing back to back one night stays while visiting 7 state parks so there is not much time for anything else. Like eating. I had prepared some sandwiches for the road. I didn't take my reading glasses into the store. I bought "snack" instead of "sandwich" bags so I had to cut them all in half. The joys of turning 50.
I walked Memaloose on Thursday morning and then stopped at Viento and Ainsworth State Parks on the way to Milo McIver State Park where I would be staying for the night.
Memaloose and Viento are very similar campgrounds. They bookend the town of Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge. This is the windsurfing mecca and people come from all over the world to surf here. Which is why their locations between Interstate 84 and train tracks don't seem to bother the campers. You can see the tracks in front of the river.
Even the RV crowd gets in on the action. Check out the custom board storage in the second photo.
Here is my new tent. More pictures later.
Next up was Ainsworth State Park about 30 miles farther west.
This park is geared for RV's with 13 pull though sites and 33 others on loops and spurs.
It is located on Historic Highway 30 which was jammed packed with tourists ogling the waterfalls. There was no parking so just imagine nice waterfall pictures. Ahh.
The weather was beautiful and I started singing "Holiday Road" from one of those Chevy Chase Vacation movies. I actually believed that on July 19th summer had finally started. But Oregon is never boring.
I passed through that town on my way to my campground. I set up camp in the sunshine at Milo McIver.
Looks familiar doesn't it?
Milo McIver is a big park located near Estacada, OR on the Clackamas River. There are two day use areas each with a boat ramp as well as equestrian facilities. Rafting is very popular on the river.
The campground has 44 sites with hookups and 9 walk in tent sites. I stayed in one of those and the walk is not far. Maybe 20 feet.
Still sunny. I ate a couple of small sandwiches and prepared a campfire. Just as it was starting to catch I heard a rumble in the distance followed by large raindrops dowsing my fire. There was no hail or high winds but my new tent received a thorough drenching on it's second night of use. It poured down all night with thunder and lightning separated by seconds.
Friday morning I walked the campground and then used a towel to dry the tent and packed it away.
You can see the puddles in the picture above as well as the clouds over the river below.
I drove up to Mt. Hood for two nights with the sun finally glaring in my eyes.
Not. I am staying at a place called Mt. Hood Village. It was supposed to have Wi-Fi but it doesn't. At least it has a dry place for me to type this while I wait for the rain to stop so that I can set up my tent. I will find somewhere to post this soon so everyone can have a chuckle. Speaking of which, I saw this sign near Seaquest State Park. This is for you, Brother Mike, your nirvana.
Fish from your room. Yeah.
Regards, Park Ranger