Friday, July 21, 2017

Peaceful Camping In the San Juans ;-)

Last year our summer was totally freeform due to my quitting my full time job unexpectedly.  My family needed me and they are my first priority.  I decided that this year I'd start planning our summer in December since lots of things fill up quickly. I talked to the kids about camps, trips, activities, etc.  The standard response was something close to, "meh."  I know!  Camping!

Camping...ah, the quintessential summer family happy-time experience. I booked two camping trips for this summer in December. One in the San Juans for a week in July and one for a week along the coast in August and then finishing at Crater Lake.   Booked, paid, all ready to go into the New Year with a plan.

As summer approached I talked to the kids about our plans.  The boys were non-plussed about any of it, Fia just didn't want to go, period.  Fia needs to take Driver's Education.  Mind you, until a week ago, it was scheduled and picked up IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE!  We signed her up for one in August and it starts two miles from here.  Awesome sauce.... She will take it with a friend so that is good but annoying that it isn't here, it isn't convenient, it will interfere with one of the planned trips.  After much discussion, and convincing by Bob, I decided to let her out of one of the camping trips.  She will stay home in August if any of us end up going camping.

The other side of that is that she had to go camping with us in July in the San Juans.  I encouraged her to get a friend to go with us but she insisted that no-one would want to go and that it would be terrible.  Fia had a dance performance on Saturday so we also postponed our camping by a day to start with.

Fia was not happy at all on the ride up to Lopez, our first destination.  Mind you, it is a long trip from Portland.  The kids all listened to music and stayed pretty quiet.  We were stuck in standstill traffic a fair amount as well.  The drive between Centralia and Everett is almost all city and it becomes a very long drive with all the traffic. We left home at 10 and arrived in Anacortes at 4:30.  We learned that there was a ferry out so no-one was sure what time a ferry would leave.  Luckily, it left about 5:30.  They boys got out and ran around the ferry, Fia stayed in the car and listened to music.

When we arrived at the camp site, the kids got to pick their spots first and Bob and I set up our tent.  Yes, we have three tents.  Fia needed some space after all.  We nibbled out of our food and had a pretty quiet night. We discovered that the bathrooms were closed and there were only portapotties.  Gah....  No showers.  Fia sat up with Bob and talked.  He was really good with her about talking her off the ledge.  There was no wifi, no service, and therefore, no communication.  AHHHH!!!! She was mad we made her go, it was "stupid"! She lobbied to go home.  No dice.

Day two we drove around the island and explored.  Bob and I found the places we went 21 years ago on our honeymoon.  Eventually we stopped in the town, bought a few things but most importantly, we all got books at the local shop.  We went to the beach at Spencer Spit State Park.  The weather was perfect and the tide just right for soaking your toes in.  Kees, Bob, and I sat at the waters edge, Fia and Coulter set up their camp away from us.  Shortly into our time there, Fia lobbied once again that this was stupid and she wanted to leave.  I said, "No." and she went down the beach to be mad alone.  Fine....

That night we went to town for the skate park and then dinner. The skate park was pretty cool and the boys had their bikes and a scooter.  Then dinner, it was a little place surrounded by rabbits.  They were everywhere.  We had a nice time for the most part but Fia still wanted to go home.  Back to camp for s'mores and bed.  We packed up the next morning, grabbed breakfast, and spent a little time on the beach.  Kees and Bob read, Fia and Coulter stayed at the coffee shop with wifi, I balanced rocks.  It was a nice meditative break for me.

Finally we headed to the ferry for Orcas.

Orcas is much bigger but, as we learned, is much less accessible to the salt water.  The beaches are all private and the one that we did find that was public was only 30 feet wide, beyond that it was private property.  Very unfortunate.  First we adventured into town and picked up a few provisions.  Fia was able to catch up with her crew on the last bit of internet access.  Finally we set up camp in Moran State Park and went to the lake.  Pretty lake but the public area was covered in goose poop.  Gross!  Fia and Kees went swimming, Coulter napped.  Dinner that night was simple, hot dogs, and more s'mores.  Bob and I finally got showers (yay!) and then bed time.  Man it was nice to be cleanish.

The following day we got up and made bag omelettes.  They were great and now one of Kees' favorite things.

Next we ventured around the island finding the Doe Bay Resort.  What a lovely spot! Bob and I enjoyed the view while the kids enjoyed...... the wifi.

We tried, unsuccessfully, to find a beach spot and ended up going back to Goose Poop Park.  It was a beautiful day so we all read, Kees and Bob went out in a paddle boat, Fia went swimming and lobbied to go home.

That night, Bob and I decided we could give in for the last night and go home the next day.  I was sick of the fight and ready for my bed. When we demanded everyone come out so we could talk about next steps, Fia damn near refused to come out of her tent because this whole thing was terrible and she wanted to go home.  We MADE her come out.  When we announced that we'd be leaving the next day Fia was on board.  Again, Fia and Bob sat out until midnight talking.

It started raining in the morning so that got the kids and Bob up and they packed everything. I was still sleeping, hehe.  This is the most motivated the kids were the whole trip! It was cooler that day so it was a good time to go.  We got to the ferry two hours early.  Again, there was a ferry out so the schedules weren't firm and there were no reservations.  Fia was going to make damn sure we made it on!  We did.

We arrived in Anacortes around 2:00 which would get us into Seattle at about 4:00.  Not so great for the traffic.  In north Seattle, going 70 mph, we lost a trailer tire in the very left, HOV lane.  We quickly pulled over to the shoulder on the right.  We could hear the metal rim on the ground.  Thank God we didn't fishtail or worse!  AAA was no help since we had no coverage for that.  Eventually we determined that we'd unhook the trailer, I'd take the spare to get it pumped up and we'd go from there.  I was able to find a Discount Tire and ended up purchasing two new wheels and tires.  Again, thank God they had the right ones!  When we got back, there was Bob sitting on the hill waiting.  He had the trailer jacked up, the old rim removed and he was ready.  I stood guard on the side of the freeway to make sure he didn't get hit.  It's scary when cars are zipping at 70 mph just 8 feet from where you are standing.  All in all it took about an hour and $60 to fix.  Not too bad but.... Now it was 4:45 and traffic sucked.

We slowly moved through Seattle, Federal Way, Tacoma, Olympia..... HOME!  We finally arrived at home at 9:15 or 12 hours after we left the camp site.  That is a long day.

Everyone retreated to their spaces.  Fia to her room and wifi, Coulter to the basement and Xbox, Kees to his fort and Xbox, and Bob and I to the front porch.  Everyone got a quick shower, new clothes, and our beds.

The things I will take away from this trip are;

  1. Teens hate being away from their people and also hate being with you when you take them away from their people.  
  2. You can't change someones attitude but you can roll with it and / or ignore it. 
  3. Sometimes you have to bend for peace. 
  4. Me being kind and forgiving is better for everyone, especially for me. 
  5. I love all my kids but sometimes I am not fond of them.
  6. I don't like sleeping on the ground. 
  7. I do like showers, clean showers, daily.
  8. Bob's wisdom is different than mine and that is a good thing.
  9. Family trips, certainly camping trips are becoming a thing of the past for now. 
So I guess it was fun.  It was certainly beautiful. Bob and I will return someday but for now, our deck, our fire table, and the commute to them is just about perfect.  We will vacation daily in front of our house and the kids can do summer how they want from here..... and I am "OK" with that.

1 comment:

Gary said...

Enjoyed getting to read about your journey and adventures. Mike says, don't worry Fia will be all about camping when her boyfriend wants to go. Also, he is a bit worried about this sleeping on the ground thing. He figured with all your years in the hotel world that you knew camping was a place without room service!