Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Paradise Point

MomMA and I went on our annual camping trip a couple of weeks ago. It was so much fun. It always is. At first, we weren't sure. As we pulled in, we realized our campsite was less than 100 yards from I-5. Traffic noise was overwhelming...semis going by, speeding cars, loud motorcycles...then we were told the pump was broken so there would be no running water anywhere in the park. They were bringing in port-a-potties but we would be unable to wash our hands, take showers, or do dishes. We promptly got on our cell phones and called all the surrounding campgrounds to see if there were any openings. Of course, every place was booked. We decided to stick it out for one night and then make our decision on a day by day basis. Later that night, a ranger came by to tell us they were able to make a small repair to the pump which would allow us to use the flush toilets but the showers were still unavailable. This also gave us water to clean our dishes. Our first evening, we went to a nearby wildlife refuge. It was so beautiful. We saw egrets, herons, sandhill cranes, muskrats, deer, hawks, many small birds, including a beautiful scrubjay, and were able to enjoy the song of the redwing blackbirds (among others)... I even got them to answer my call. We got lost on our way to the refuge but stumbled across a farm selling corn you picked yourself, so we picked four ears and had that with our dinner...which was roasted hot dogs and chips. We ended the night by making popcorn over the campfire and watching Fried Green Tomatoes inside our warm yurt.

The next morning we boiled omelets in a ziploc bag for breakfast and momMA fried some bacon. Then we went for a drive along a route called "The Fruit Loop." It is in the Mt. Hood region and takes you by many fruit stands, farms, orchards and wineries. We walked around a bit, bought some apples and apple cider, then headed back to the campground. On our way home we stopped at Multnomah Falls and The Vista House. That night after dinner...which was a hobo meal...chicken, carrots, onions, potatoes and garlic wrapped in foil and cooked over the campfire...we roasted marshmallows for s'mores and started a movie but neither of us liked it so we just went to sleep. Oh, one thing I forgot was the part where we stopped at another state campground to take showers. I had saved tokens from one of our other trips and we thought we were so smart being all prepared. When we got there, the showers only took quarters. Do you think either of us had a single quarter? Nope.

Our third day was pretty restful. We slept in, enjoyed a late lunch (momMA made delicious soup for our lunches) and drove into the little town of Ridgefield to buy bread. We found a small bakery with quite a few choices. We settled on a heavy 3-cheese loaf. Yummy. After exploring the town, we went back to the refuge to birdwatch. At one point I counted over 105 sandhill cranes. We returned to Ridgefield once more to take pictures of the sunset. When we got back to our yurt, we grilled pork chops over the campfire, had fresh veggies, bread and cheese and played a game of Phase 10 while savoring our cider. MomMA also got hungry for a s'more but the campfire got rained out so I "roasted" the marshmallows with a lighter.

Our fourth day found us heading back to Seattle. Our first stop was a state park to use their momMA exchanged some dollars for quarters so we'd be able to take nice, long, hot, steamy showers and wash off all the grime, dirt, smoke and dirt from the previous 3 days. When we got to the state park, do you think they took quarters? Nope. They took tokens. Fortunately, we still had our saved ones. Nice and clean again, we drove to Mt. St. Helens. It was really windy and the snow was mostly gone so it wasn't very picturesque but it was still a nice drive. On the way down the mountain, we stopped at a lake and had grilled potatoes with bacon for lunch. We played a game of Phase 10 before winding up our trip and settling in for the 2+ hour trip home. I look forward to these trips every year. It is a nice time away from every one and every thing. My momMA is the best camping partner ever. And the noise from the freeway didn't even bother us. We learned to tune it out with the help of a box fan I brought along! Enjoy the video.

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