John Wayne Marina near Sequim, on the Olympic Peninsula, was our first weekend getaway destination. We had to rebook after our Airstream pickup day got postponed but eventually we made it, just didn’t get the waterfront spot I wanted. But that’s okay, we were on our first adventure! The park is located right on the Olympic Discovery Trail which makes it perfect for cycling. However, first we drove into Port Angeles to run on the trail at the most scenic section – looking across the Strait at Vancouver Island. After warming up with some coffee and tea we wandered around the Saturday farmer’s market and hunted down a donut shop only to discover they ran out and closed early – completely unacceptable! Then we tried to swim at a local pool but it was closed for a meet, and the Y didn’t have a pool. Sorry coach 😉
So instead we went for a rainy ride east around Washington Harbor and rode through the waterfront Sequim Bay state park campground that looked charming albeit wet.
We ate at a charming restaurant in downtown Sequim and our server who lives just outside the park entrance, gave us some pointers for visiting Hurricane ridge. The camp hosts were very accommodating with our reservation change and a late checkout (for a fee of course) – since we slept in way too late on Sunday but still wanted to head up the ridge for some exploring. I really wanted to ride up it (pretty epic climb) but wasn’t feeling well and didn’t know exactly what it entailed. So we drove to the top and hiked around a little. We drove through the Heart o’ the Hills campground across from the entrance to scout it for possible future visits but determined that we probably wouldn’t fit in the tiny wooded spots. Big place though, pretty, and quite empty.
We pulled our bikes out back in Port Angeles for a quick spin on the trail before heading back to hook up the trailer. I had identified the Port Townsend Brewery (out of the way) for a dinner stop on the return trip. Upon arrival we discovered they had no food. And there really wasn’t much around. So we had some beer then walked across the street to a Safeway and picked up chinese food (last resort) and ate in the Airstream in the parking lot across the street from the brewery. Sometimes you just have to laugh and make the best of it. While enjoying our beer we saw an entry from the Kinetic Skulpture Race pull into the marina – a giant man-powered rabbit vessel. Wish we’d known and come over earlier for the event – too funny.
Vasa Park Resort on the southwest corner of Lake Sammamish was our very first campsite after picking up the Airstream from the dealership. I was still working through the October tax deadline and this was the most “convenient” yet scenic spot from which to commute. I use convenient loosely because Seattle traffic is a nightmare. But the park is right on the Lake Samm bike loop that I (and many other east siders) ride regularly making it very appealing for us triathlete types. Susie, the camp hostess, is great. Tom got to hang out and chat with her during the day while I was busy at the office. There are only 6 or 7 year round spots – they close the grass ones for the rainy season – and the camp isn’t huge so reservations were hard to come by, even into October. We bounced around different spots but did get to spend a few nights in the primo location closest to the water. There is overflow parking across the street and Susie even let us park my car there when we left on the weekends. The population was an interesting mix of retired full timers, vintage airstreamers, biker dudes, pop-up campers, and tent campers. Kudos to the tent guys who lived it up by the campfire even in the constant rain. We stayed here off and on for about a month and the only downside was having to be off sewer for some short stretches. This mainly limits showering because the gray water tank gets full really fast from showers and dishwashing. We’ll need to get better at that for when we want to boondock (paper plates will be our friend). We do try to maximize the use of showers at the gym post-swim. Overall Vasa is like a little family campground and we are definitely on the waitlist for a long term stay for tax season.
Silver Cove RV Resort was our choice for a weekend at Mt. St. Helens (and a little trip to Portland for the marathon). It is a very large and well maintained property with a variety of accommodation options. We stayed in a pull-thru spot near some adorable cabins next to the marsh waters. Some hard core kayakers were spotted even in the nonstop rain Sunday. We arrived pretty late and had a close call navigating around a wooden fence in the dark. A back in spot would have been preferable for privacy and scenic views but the short term rental section of the property wasn’t very busy so it was fine. We didn’t use the laundry or restroom facilities. Wi-fi worked fine and the staff was super friendly and helpful. We requested a late check-out due to the marathon in Portland (a good 90 min drive from the resort) and they were generous with the extra time/fees. The resort was a great launching point for a nice long and challenging bike ride into the blast zone, which was our main point in visiting. A few exits down the highway we found groceries/retail. Overall a great spot that is probably super busy in the summer – would go back for sure.
Pheasant Ridge was chosen primarily for its location – near the storage unit and not too far from the farm where we were dropping my car. Tom made reservations over the phone – no specific site confirmed. I checked in upon arrival and paid the $91 for two nights (Good Sam discount). He was relieved when we got a pull-thru spot. Navigating the park was easy. It was cozy though, very close to neighbors – tons of big rigs – I have no idea how they got in and out of those spots. The office staff was friendly and the grounds tidy. We used the laundry facilities which were fine. The wifi was not at all usable from our site, granted near the edge, but not a total outlier. There was a pretty steep drop leaving the park and we definitely scraped something on the asphalt (hitch?). It was close to the highway, gas stations, starbucks, groceries, etc. I went for a short run but my options were limited unless I crossed the highway towards the highschool and a more residential area.
After more than a month of bouncing around spots at Vasa and Lake Pleasant RV parks on the east side of Seattle while I continued to work, Wednesday morning we finally hooked up and headed out for real. Naturally it was dumping buckets of rain and poor Tom was all on his own towing the trailer because I had to drive my Acura down to Portland to leave it at his friend/former boss’ farmhouse for long-term storage. 4 episodes of Serial Season 2 later and we were setting up camp in Wilsonville (luckily the rain let up to a gentle drizzle). We were pretty worn out from the drive and I was still fighting a sinus infection thing so we (and by we I almost always mean Tom for all things food related) made dinner and tucked in for the night. I slept on the “sofabed” bc of my nasty cough/inability to breathe but didn’t sleep great because we had realized the thermostat was broken and the furnace didn’t know when to kick off so we couldn’t leave it on all night or we’d roast. So by early morning it was super cold and I couldn’t sleep til Tom woke up and turned it back on, then I slept til 10am! oops. He called and made them give us a service appointment for the next day because we were leaving town (they wanted us to wait over 2 weeks). Then we made our plans for the day: quick swap out the mattresses (stock airstream one for my nice memory foam one), drop a bunch of stuff at storage then take my car to the farm, run some errands, maybe go for an easy bike ride, no big deal.
Until we stripped the bed and lifted up the mattress to discover moisture and black mold and mildew covering half the mattress and bed platform. A quick call to the dealer assured us they had nothing to help us and we were in for a DIY job. Sidenote: I had been very concerned about all the condensation that accumulated overnight for several weeks, but we couldn’t find a small dehumidifier anywhere local and were resigned to order one online this week. Apparently it’s quite common to have this issue in RVs and there’s no reason why the dealer shouldn’t have encouraged us to get a dehumidifier from the start. Hindsight right?
We studied the construction to determine what could be salvaged and took lots of measurements. We disassembled the platform and put the pieces into the truck and headed to the storage unit, then Home Depot. I ran around in search of a jigsaw, sandpaper and weatherstripping while Tom tracked down someone to cut the plywood we had selected. Then we headed way out into the country to his friend/former boss’ farm to drop off my vehicle and he kindly let us use his shop to finish prepping the boards.
Before we left Tom took me up to the greenhouses to check out the operation (the family owns a regional chain of garden centers) and I ogled over all the flowers and spied on the seeding/potting operation in process – super cool.
Took a detour for some food and more errands (no daylight left for a bike or run) then back to the RV park to wash all the linens and build a bed. I mostly just put the new waterproof mattress cover on my nice non-moldy mattress, held boards in place, and pointed out when Tom was using the “wrong” screws lol. And voila! We have a new bed. Just in time for a quick shower and sleepytime.
Early morning wake up call for the more industrious one of us to make a final storage unit trip before breaking camp, hooking up, and heading to the dealer to handle our electronics issues. End result there: new thermostat and new smoke detector. Plus they ordered a new toilet bowl bc the valve keeps messing up (and no one wants a bad seal on a septic situation!!). All under warranty of course.