Camping time is upon us and as promised, here are some photos of our most recent outings.
This first one is of our pop-up tent trailer. After traversing the sides of numerous mountains and sleeping in tents on the cold hard ground, this is my new idea of ruffing it. We love this fun little trailer. It has beds that pop out on either end and a slide out on the back side where the "dining" table is. It makes for pretty decent room inside when it's set up, but is relatively compact when its folded down and is very easy to tow.
These first few photos are from two weeks ago when all four of us went out to the coast (Pacific City, OR) There's a nice RV campground right across the road from the beach. This spot makes a regular appearance on our schedule each year.
The fog kept pretty close to the coast line all weekend. Occasionally it would afford some nice shots like this one, of the monolith just off shore .
Along the north side of the cove there are a number of rocks that are rich with tide pools. Plenty of anemone, crabs, mussels, and other goodies to look at. At low tide we were treated to a whole host of exploration opportunities.
After we checked out the tide pools, we headed back down the beach and came upon a very strange sight. There in the middle of the sand were two giant footprints! I think they must have been left by Gulliver. Check them out for yourselves.
This past weekend was the guys camping trip. I had sandwiches made and as soon as the boys got out of school on Friday we had a quick bite and were on the road. Our destination was Fort Stevens State Park. We had about a two and a half hour drive and spent the whole time talking and laughing and carrying on. Yes, this was going to be a good trip.
Heading west along Hwy 26 through the coast range, there is this cool tunnel through the mountainside. As the boys closed their eyes, held their breath and raised their feet, it reminded me that not only are tunnels beautiful to look at, they are equally as fun to drive through. A reminder from the boys; Let go and enjoy. Thank you guys.
We got to the camp site around five o'clock and started unpacking. Anthony and Matt both eagerly helped set up the camper and then wanted to hop on their bikes to check out the surroundings. While they were familiarizing themselves with the area, I finished setting up and then got dinner going. My only guidelines for meal selection are as follows: It should be easy to prepare and the use of paper plates & plastic-ware whenever possible is a must. Night number one's menu consisted of pulled pork sandwiches (Cooked the meat on Thursday so I just had to re-heat it) and a small green salad. Now, just in case you were ready to stand up and applaud me for including something as healthy as a salad, don't worry, we did have double chocolate brownies for dessert. Yum-O!
It was kind of cold that night and was drizzly/foggy outside, so we opted to forgo the campfire and hang out inside for the rest of the evening. I taught Matthew and re-taught Anthony how to play cribbage. It brought me back to when I was a kid and learned how to play this card game from my dad, most likely on a camping trip somewhere.
After playing cards, we read about several of the shipwrecks that had happened in the area where we were. According the the pamphlet we had, since 1792, approximately 2000 ships had sunk trying to enter the Columbia River from the Pacific, earning it the ominous name of the "Graveyard of the Pacific".
The shipwreck we were most interested in was the Peter Iredale, a British sailing ship that ran aground on October 25, 1906. Fortunately no one died, but I'd be willing to bet the captain wanted to when he had to report back to England what had happened. The thing that makes this wreck so interesting is that a large section of the rusted metal bow still protrudes from the sand just at the surf line so that when the tide is right, you can walk right up to it. When we made it out to it the next afternoon the water was only about ankle deep around it so we were able to get right up close and check it out. It's kind of cool to see the skeleton that has been stuck in the sand and exposed to the elements for over a hundred years, but still stands at least twenty feet out of the water. We broke out our best "Arrrgh, skarve ye navies..." as we took in the sights.
Saturday morning brought with it cool temps, clearing skies and two hungry boys. While sitting at the table enjoying a hearty meal of hash browns, sausages and scrambled eggs, Matthew exclaimed, "This is a man's breakfast, and we're eating it cause we're men!" Coming from his eighty pound, nine year old body, it gave me a pretty good chuckle. I did manage to contain this chuckle to my inside though. After all this had been dubbed the guy's camping trip and I wasn't going to squash his enthusiasm.
With full stomachs and a spirit of adventure we hopped on our bicycles and headed off to explore. The trails through the park are really nice. They are all paved and meander through the trees, shrubs, wild huckleberries with just enough down hill runs to compliment the up hill spots.
Our first stop was at The Battery Russell. It served as the fort's southern lookout and gun placement. The concrete structures are all still there and provided for plenty of investigation for the the three of us. After giving the area a thorough going over it was back on the bikes and off to the main part of the fort a couple miles to the north.
We discovered a really beautiful wetland area in route with lush grasses and a lazy creek running through it. The boys enjoyed riding over the big wooden bridge most, but still managed to take a few moments to take in the scenery with me.
A little while later we were at the north end of the fort. We spent the next couple of hours checking out all the batteries, trucks, cannons/guns and other things. The boys found a jeep to jump in and offer up a salute.
All totaled, we figured we rode about twelve miles up and back and walked a couple more in the process of looking at things. By the time we got back to the camper everyone was a bit tired and you guessed it, hungry. I wonder, is there ever a time when boys are not hungry?
After a brief nap and lunch we went out to the beach to check out the ship wreck I told you about earlier. Later that night we made a big campfire and sat around it talking while the boys roasted marshmallows and turned them into smores. (graham crackers with roasted marshmallows and chocolate squished in between them.)
The campground emptied out pretty early on Sunday morning as they normally do. Most people were headed back to work or back to school. We had both of those things on our agenda as well, but we opted for a more leisurely approach. We gathered up a few things in the morning then went for another short bike ride to the nearby lake. We were having way too much fun to rush going home. Unfortunately, check-out time at the park is 1:00pm, so at 12:59 we fastened the last clip on the trailer and headed out.
On the way home we stopped at a place called Camp 18. It's a restaurant, but has several old rail cars and pieces of logging equipment out front to check out. We didn't eat there this time. (already had lunch back at camp), but figured we'd give it a try next time through. This is one of those spots along the road that is not where you intend on going and can easily be driven past in an effort to get to your destination. Such had been the case on other trips, but I decided I wasn't going to pass it up again and wonder what it was like. We ended up spending about a half an hour looking at all the neat things they had. I've already made a mental note to do this type of thing more often; stop and smell the roses, as it were.
Well, there you have it. A little taste of camping with us. Not sure where we're heading off to next time, but I'm sure it'l be a fun time.