Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day Nine (Mon - Aug 29)

Day Nine (Mon, Aug 29)

Today we got out the bikes and headed out on the paved trails. Our first stop was Fort Stevens. It is quite an interesting place. The fort is beginning to fall apart in some places but still a lot to see. There are different cement forms from the different wars. The brochure helps you identify them. There appears to be a tour that drives you around the fort in the back of an army truck. We did not do that tour. It was fun to walk in and around all the pieces. After a few hours of exploring we headed back towards camp. This weekend, for Labor Day, there will be a big civil war reenactment. I believe there is some sort of presentation happening every weekend during the summer. I do have to say that if you want to camp at Fort Stevens Campground on a big weekend like Labor day you will need to reserve it way early. A month ahead we barely got the days we did. I was trying to get something the week prior. You can call the ranger station and ask if anyone has canceled that day.

After the fort we started biking down to the end of the peninsula but Jennifer was having a hard time on her bike so we turned around heading back towards camp. On the way we stopped at the beach and flew the dollar store kites Heather carried in her pack. We gave two of the kites away to other children on the beach when we were done flying. Ben had a hard time getting his kite up… the first one broke, the second wouldn’t fly, finally he took over Jennifer’s Ironman kite she was flying.

As it was getting late so we headed back to camp and attempted to make our pizza pockets for dinner. It was quite an ordeal to cooking them. Wrapping them in foil and putting them in the fire was cooking them too fast, burning them. Putting them in the dutch oven was too slow. The biggest problem was starting the fire late and not having enough wood to make a lot of coals. In retrospect hotdogs on a stick would have been best for that particular night. (We also picked up charcoal at the store… that would have helped a lot)

Over all it was a great but very tiring day!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day Eight (Sun, Aug 28)

Today we got up ready for church and headed out to the Astoria church for Sacrament meeting. When we arrived to the church house were only two cars there. One of the cars seemed to be just parked there. The other car belonged to a young couple that is vacationing in the area. Apparently the Seaside ward was also AWOL. As we were trying to figure out what to do another family in a van drove up and asked if the Astoria ward was also missing, as the Longview ward was AWOL. It seems to be a regional conference happening today. We came back to camp and had our own little church. Ben gave the lesson and he did a great job.

Being Sunday we are trying to keep the Sabbath day holy and take it easy. Heather made some chicken roll ups. We cooked them in the dutch oven. It worked fairly good. And now I’m spending a bit of time catching up on email. This is the first time that we have had internet that I wasn’t busy every minute. We had internet at the hotels but there was no time to post anything on the blog.

I haven’t yet described the campground here…. I’ll get to it. For now I’m going to go enjoy the Sabbath.

Day Seven (Sat – Aug 27)

It was a full day today. The main thing was packing up camp from Bogachiel campground and driving along the coast to Fort Stevens State Park campground. We stopped along the way to Ruby beach along the coast in Washington. The children loved playing on the logs and collecting shells and smooth pieces of driftwood. I collected some sand for my collection. I need to make sure to label it though. I’ve collected before but I don’t recall were the sand came from, so if I’m going to collect it, it has to be labeled.

For dinner we drove back to Astoria, about 20 minutes from the campground, and ate at the Pig’n Pancake. The tortellini soup was great and everyone loved the fish and chips. I ordered the clam chowder which I sent back and the salmon which turned out well. It was not the best salmon I’ve ever had but for a pancake house it was great.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day Six (Fri-Aug 26)

I keep missing the rest of the day so I keep going back and say what happened the day prior. Even now it is late and I want to sleep.

Yesterday we left the Best Western in Chehalis and found a spot in the campground we were looking to get into, Bogachiel State Park in Washington state. There were about half the sites available in the midafternoon though today it is full and a bit noisier. I feel blessed that we were able to get here.

This campground is one of the few campgrounds that have showers in this area. It is a first come first serve campground, as is all but one campground, and has about 30 sites. The site we have is damp but really clean. The showers are decent and run with quarters for one and a half minutes of hot water. Cold water runs continually. According to the children the regular shower stalls in the bathroom don’t have hot water, only the handicap stalls work consistently. The handicap shower rooms are huge with a toilet and sink with no curtain to divide it from the shower. One thing to remember the guy who works the camp doesn’t allow soap to be left in the restrooms. He is afraid that someone could slip. Diamond Lake also didn’t have soap.

This morning I made French toast for the family. It tasted really good. The night before was fried potatoes with hamburger. That disappeared quickly. After cleaning up we piled in the car and drove to the Hoh Rainforest about an hour away. Apparently the rainforest is in a drought in the June/August months. While the annual rainfall is about 120 inches, only 6 inches fall during those two summer months. While Hoh Rainforest may claim big trees, the size is more impressive in the redwoods along the California coast. But the moss at this rainforest is pretty neat. There are so many varieties of mosses and ferns. I had no clue.

After the rainforest and lunch of peppered turkey sandwiches we headed out to Rialto beach. This took us through the town of Forks. Apparently that is where “Twilight” takes place. I never knew. There were quite a few places that seemed to cater to the “Twilight” population.

The beach was very interesting. There are bleached logs you climb over to get to the sandy part. It is black sand with lots of pebbles and larger sand/rocks. It is beautiful with the large rock islands off in the distant.

We came home and roasted hotdogs on a fire then made smores with roasted marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers.

Day Five (Thur – Aug 25)

Yesterday we left Portland and drove a few hours closer to Olympic National Park. Looking for a town with a Wal-Mart and a hotel put us in Chehalis Washington at the Best Western Plus. The hotel was perfect and the price was as good as two rooms in a cheap hotel because they had a family suite. I’m not sure when we discovered family suites. They usually don’t cost much more than a regular room but have a lot more space to spread out and room to sleep everybody. They have been a life saver many times.

While the children swam at the hotel hubby took me to the Laundromat with piles of laundry. It took a few hours to get that done. The person working there was super nice and very helpful. I think it is the only Laundromat in Chehalis according to Google. We would not have found since there is no sign out front except hubby happened to look at the street view on Google maps so he knew what it looked like when he saw it.

Day Four (Wed-Aug 24)

Yesterday we rolled in pretty late to Portland. We were able to get our second of two nights at the Red Lion (convention center) that I got on Priceline. It was so worth it to stay the extra night at Diamond Lake.

Today hubby had the car looked at. It had been jumping and he thought maybe a bad sparkplug had been put in. It ends up the wires or something was bad. While he and Jennifer got the car, the rest of us went walking. We made it all the way to Powell’s book store. It is quite impressive; the whole block plus more belongs to the store. The rare book room was interesting also. Hubby was surprised that we walked out of there without buying anything. I didn’t have too much time to browse. I think a person could spend all day there.

Day Three (Tue, Aug 23)

Today was the day to clean up camp, pack up the car, and head out to see Crater Lake. It took a bit of extra time to pack things up. We made sure the water packs were filled before leaving. The water here is great. It is a beautiful campground and very peaceful. Being here during the week verses a weekend may have helped since it wasn’t crowded and there was no wait at the showers in the morning or evening, even though they are sparse around the camp.

Apparently you can swim in the lake, though we did not do that since we ran out of time. Also they rent bicycles or boats if you like. On the dock I saw a young man coming from a boat carrying about a two foot trout that he just caught. I’m not sure if they stock the lake? The photography options are good. Last night Ben shot a nice star trails picture looking across the lake.

Crater Lake…

After we packed up and filled our water bottles we headed out to Crater Lake. The north entrance is closest to Diamond Lake. It is only 10 minutes to the ranger station but the crater itself is about 30 minutes away. Ben had a park pass so that got us into the park with no fee.

Driving towards to the crater you have a vast desert like area. I understand it is pumas from the volcano when the crater was created. Then you climb up the mountain to see the crater, the bluest lake in the middle of a crater with no river inlet nor outlet. We traveled the rim. It would have been difficult on a bike though folks do bike it. In the car it took a few hours including a few stops for the view and a small hike (half mile) to get a view of the phantom ship.