Hello from Camano Island State Park on the Puget Sound in Washington State. I registered for 8 days and only have two days left. It is SO gorgeous here. But let me digress . . .
Where was I? Oh, yes, was in Leavenworth, WA. But was having fun walking around and looking into all the touristy shops and time passed and I stayed too long. By the time I was back on the road and going through the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, it was starting to get dark and those mountain roads were steep and wind-y. Not my favorite towing environment. Saw a restaurant and pulled in to see if I could park in their parking lot. They said they had RV sites, so wound up staying two nights in order to recupe and also get a load of laundry done at a motel down the road. (That’s my Tahoe and trailer way on the left)
Got up early Friday morning and left asap, figuring the park might fill up quickly for the weekend. Sure enough, it was almost full when I got there. As I was pulling in, a guy was pulling out and told me that I lucked out — the best site in the park was open, #9, because he was leaving. In my hurry to grab the site, I didn’t notice a few things. #1, it was not level. #2, it had a sharp angle and very difficult to back into #3, It was completely covered by trees. I have solar. I want to have access to SKY!
LESSON LEARNED: LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP. TRY TO IDEALLY FIND A PULL-THROUGH SITE SO REVERSE IS NOT NECESSARY. (BACKING UP A TRAILER FOR A NEWBIE CAN BE VERY CHALLENGING!)
ANOTHER LESSON LEARNED: IF YOU HAVE SOLAR, MAKE SURE THERE IS OPEN AREA ABOVE FOR THE SUN TO COME THROUGH, ESPECIALLY IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST WHICH CAN BE VERY, VERY CLOUDY IN THESE LATER MONTHS.
ANOTHER LESSON LEARNED: BE AWARE OF THE RATES OF DIFFERENT SITES. I AM HOPING TO NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR MANY SITES IN THE FUTURE, BUT HAD HEARD RAVE REVIEWS ABOUT CAMANO ISLAND, SO GRABBED THE SITE BEFORE REALIZING THAT IT WAS $30/NIGHT!!! OTHER SITES WERE $20-$25/NIGHT. I’M STILL TRYING TO RATIONALIZE SPENDING MONEY BY RECALLING THAT I SAVED A LOT OF MONEY ON THE TRAILER BECAUSE OF THE EXCHANGE RATE WITH CANADA AND ALSO THE SALES TAX BREAK IN SOUTH DAKOTA. BUT THE PARTY’S OVER—TIME TO ECONOMIZE!!!
ANOTHER LESSON LEARNED: WHEN YOU DROP AN APPLE ON THE FLOOR AND IT ROLLS FULL SPEED TO THE OTHER END OF THE TRAILER, YOU KNOW YOU’RE NOT LEVEL.
BUT, other than that, everything has been awesome. Site #9 truly is the best site in the park. The view of Puget Sound is stupendous!
The camp hosts told me there are orcas, humpback whales and porpoises. I haven’t seen any yet but have seen several beautiful eagles, slowly gliding across the water, looking for dinner. They said if I see a whale-watching boat, that is the best time to look because they know where the whales are. Two more days — fingers crossed.
* Some more of those extra stories that if you don’t like to read a lot of detail you can just skip.
(*Extra Story #1)
After too many mornings of eating breakfast in restaurants, was great to get back to my steel cut oats that I’ve been eating 95% of mornings for the past thirty-some years. Came up with a great invention. A win-win, actually. (Win #1) Have been eating my hot oatmeal right out of the pot and saving water by not having to wash bowl. Water conservation is important! (Win #2) How joyful to sit outside, early morning, a bit chilly, looking at Puget Sound, with my pot of hot steel cut oats (with peanut butter and fruit and maple syrup and 6 almonds of course) sitting on my belly, keeping me warm! Oh those simple joys!!!
Interestingly though, even though the park was almost completely full Friday and Saturday, everyone left Sunday morning. Even the camp hosts left for two days and I was the only one in the entire park. Kind of nice actually . . . EXCEPT!!!!!! for the night when a storm hit and the wind was blowing so hard, I thought the trailer might tip over or a tree would come falling down on me.
But neither happened and there hasn’t been a storm like that since. Lots of rain, but not that heavy — have been hiking every day and the rain was never heavy enough to hang it up. The days seem to alternate: sunny (at least part of the day) and cloudy.
And have had lots of company. The first friend I made when I moved to Seattle was Suzy, who lived only two streets from me. We met walking our dogs and wound up walking our dogs together almost every day for the next six years. Suzy came up with her long-haired dachshund, Jabari
and we had a great day of walking, talking and eating. I had planned on grilling on my brand new Weber but couldn’t connect the propane hose. [Yes, Dave had told me propane connects in reverse (COUNTER-clockwise), but I had forgotten. Who, me?]. Turns out that was a good thing because only noticed the next day (after buying a refrigerator thermometer) that the temp had long been in the danger zone (THOUGHT that beer felt warm!) and we probably would have ended up with ptomaine poisoning!!! The universe provides. So we ate only coleslaw and potato chips. What a pathetic hostess I am!!!
(*Extra Story #2)
One of the nights that I was the only one in the park, went out for a walk. [For the record, I “always” wear my trailer keys around my neck on a lanyard and hook my Tahoe keys to the belt hook of my jeans, janitor style.] Pitch black. No problem. Dark doesn’t scare me—brought my handy-dandy flashlight that my friend, Tom, had given me. Walked around the camp circle, went up to the public bathroom to brush my teeth in there in order to save water, came back, went to open my trailer and what??? — NO KEYS. Went to Tahoe — locked — had NOT brought Tahoe keys because I had switched to sweat pants and, well, no belt loops. OK, I didn’t panic but my heart was definitely pounding. After a minute or two of walking around, pondering, reached around my neck and realized that I had swung the keys to my back when I was brushing my teeth so they wouldn’t go in the sink.
LESSON LEARNED: GOT ME ON THIS ONE!!!
(*Extra Story #3) (Don’t miss this one!)
I have to go into town to Starbucks to use their wifi to be able to get on my computer. Was sitting at a table two days ago and a Facebook friend had posted some scary videos. There were these clowns in a convenience store and a girl walks in and finally sees one, starts screaming at the top of her longs, turns to run and sees another, continues screaming at the top of her lungs. I look up and see that the ENTIRE population of Starbucks is looking at me!!! I had the volume on my Mac on high! Most are smiling, some are bewildered. I apologized profusely. An elderly man then walked up to me, gave a scornful look and said, “A friend of mine is in the washroom (right behind where I was sitting); I was afraid that was her screaming.” Ummmmmmm, so why didn’t you get up off your butt and go over there to see who was killing her???? I didn’t say that, just nodded my head.
LESSON LEARNED: WEAR EARPHONES WHEN WATCHING VIDEO IN A PUBLIC PLACE!!!
The awesome Judy Politanont came up on Thursday for the day. Judy and I worked together for 8-½ years at Whole Foods in Cleveland. Her daughter moved to Seattle about a year ago from Thailand and opened a Thai restaurant in Kirkland, WA, Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen. (If you’re in the area, check it out — authentic Thai and very popular and rave reviews!). Judy’s daughter then became a mother and Judy a grandmother. She moved to Seattle a few months ago and it was just great to spend the day together and catch up. Judy started a beautiful fire, we grilled, drank, ate and even walked a bit. And even traveled into town that evening for ice cream. Beautiful day. Only thing missing was . . . Cher!!!
And THEN . . . the challenges began. I mentioned earlier that my original awesome site was completely closed off from the sky by trees. After five days, moved to another site with more open space . . . but it was too late, the batteries were already so depleted and it was almost impossible, given the cloudy days and no electric, to build them back up. Additionally, my refrigerator stopped working and the thermometer went into the danger zone. Went into town to get wifi and spent hours on the Escape Forum (a forum of Escape Trailer owners) trying to explain the situation and getting tremendous feedback and support. The next day, Karen, one of the forum members and an Escape owner, came down from Bellingham, WA to try to help me out. She brought her generator and either my batteries were too low or her generator wasn’t strong enough for my trailer, but it wouldn’t work. After three phone calls to Rease, owner of Escape (plus a couple from the day before), finally realized that I just went too long counting on my solar and it was important to get to a spot with electric and get the batteries fully charged back up. Fortunately, Karen was here because there was also a problem with the propane regulator and she was able to describe the situation to Rease where they determined that the regulator would have to be replaced. Escape will reimburse me for this cost.
As some from the Forum said, some day I will look back at this and laugh. Yes, it is all a learning experience. I think I’m pretty lucky to have the support of the Forum, Karen, Dave and Don & Linda, the camp hosts who have been amazing (helping me move sites and level the trailer). Linda even sent down a complete turkey dinner for me last night, including pumpkin pie for dessert. So, hey, it’s all part of the experience and each day I learn more and more and feel grateful for everyone I’ve met on this path.
There are no hook-ups but there but there is potable water spigots every few sites and there is a dump station with fresh water as well. The washrooms are spacious and clean and the showers are wonderful: I put in two quarters and had and seemingly endless supply of hot water for showering and hair washing. There is also Cama Beach State Park down the road. Finally got down there today. No camping but they have cabins right on the Sound. I checked out the restaurant and it was very cute. There was a Halloween wedding being planned for this afternoon so I just grabbed a piece of cherry pie to go and vamoosed.
Unfortunately, forgot to take a photo of the camp hosts, Don and Linda who were pretty amazing. Besides helping me hook-up, unhook and level, they brought me dinner twice!!!
(*Extra Story #4)
I have two propane tanks on the front of my trailer. They fuel the furnace and the refrigerator and the stove top. They have an automatic system whereby when one tank is empty, it automatically switches to the second tank. Dave had told me that in Prince George, BC, it only costs $9/tank to fill up but in Peachland (talked about in last blog post), it was quite a bit more expensive. There is a gauge that shows green when full, red when empty. I had been using my propane for two weeks and the first tank finally ran out. The camp hosts told me that fuel was very expensive on the island, $1.99 a gallon. I cringed: 20 gallon tank x $1.99 = just about $40!!! Got to Texaco, the guy came out to help me fill the tank. It only came to about 4..7 gallons, a little over $9.00. It’s a 20 POUND tank (5 gallons), not a 20 GALLON tank.
LESSON LEARNED: PAY ATTENTION!
BOTTOM LINE: Two weeks of heat, fire on the stove top and cooling refrigerator . . . $9. Pretty good deal!!!
I started this post yesterday when I had two days left. It is now early evening on the 31st and my last night here. I made a reservation at an RV Park in Everett, WA where I can hook up to electricity and get fully charged up. I thought I would stay around Seattle for an extended period but my plans are gradually changing with each cloudy day. My dear friends, Kim, Relaena and Linda were going to come up today for a day (maybe two) of art and food but the solar challenges changed all that. Tomorrow they will either come up to the RV park or I will unhook and drive down to Seattle. Finally, reuniting with them!!!
Missin’ these guys!!! Already looking forward to flying to Cleveland for Thanksgiving (Jillian, Caroline, Johnny, Madeline, Jenn and new baby Hanna snoozin’ in her crib) and New York for Christmas (Pepper, Noe and Jai)! (I need a Pepper, Noe and Jai picture!)
Take care everyone – ’til we meet again!