Monday, August 24, 2015

Freeways Are Weird and Family is Best

With the exception of our detour to Schafer SP in Elma, WA, we have been on or "just-off-of" Hwy 101 since June 9. From Ventura, CA to Astoria, OR, and then from Shelton, WA to La Push, WA, and back to Port Ludlow, Hwy 101 has been our "route" since we launched.

There is so much to see on the highway that is mostly two-lanes north of Ukiah, CA. I don't think we could have chosen a more beautiful stretch of road for our first :-) We will fill in the missing 120 or so miles between Astoria and La Push on our next west coast trip.

On Monday we crossed that big floating bridge over the Hood Canal (looks and feels just like a solid bridge), and began heading southeast into the metropolis that is the Tacoma/Seattle area. After two months of small roads, it was both relaxing and weird to have all that "room" to drive! Even in traffic it was so different to not look for a place to pull over so that traffic could pass.

It was also a quick 100 mile drive to Kanaskat-Palmer State Park, just east of Tacoma. Well it was quick until the closed bridge. On the little two-lane road. With no place to turn around with the Jeep. A mile from the campground. With no cell or internet service.

Oh well, the lack of detour signs can't mean there's no other way to get there :-)

While there had been Closed signs leading here, they also said local traffic was allowed, and we didn't know the bridge was before the park entrance.

Fortunately Bill still had the map app open on his phone so he could access roads in the area. Comparing this to the small note below the big sign at the bridge he was sure he could get us to the other side.

He unhooked the Jeep and with a quick three-point turn in the rig, we were both headed back the way we came. The re-route took us through a beautiful small valley of red barns and horse pasture with Mt Rainier keeping watch to the south. One of those sweet places we might have missed if it weren't for the serendipity of a closed bridge. And 20 minutes later we pulled into the park.

Kanaskat-Palmer is in the forest next to the Green River Gorge. Most sites are large with good privacy and about 18 have 30 amp electric. If some branches brushing on your AC units is an issue then you won't want to stay here, but going slow it was fine for us. Site #39 would be the best option for solar panels and maybe satellite.

Restrooms are clean, showers are free with lots of hot water and strong water pressure. There aren't many in the park so I did have to wait. Reservations made and paid online, register upon arrival either with the volunteer or at the pay station. Easy access dump station. Water spigots throughout each of two loops. Five yurts available as well.

Nice backyard

Appreciating the canopy on a 90 degree afternoon
Expecting Ezra to arrive around the 23rd of this month, we planned to be in the Seattle area. Not only close to an airport so grandma can fly back for a visit, but close to Uncle Jeff so he can join me.

Ezra's early arrival meant having to make a couple changes, but Jeff's work schedule wasn't as flexible. It meant waiting two weeks to make the trip, but we were still able to pick Jeff up for a visit on Tuesday. It was so great to see him after almost six months - my youngest :-)

His birthday was Monday. He didn't get cake either. Just sayin'.

Jeff's been here for almost two years, but hasn't seen much of the state so I thought a trip up to the Anacortes area would be fun. Not thinking about also returning to the state park in the big city traffic, it turned into much more time in the car than planned.

Still, Anacortes is another beautiful spot, views of the San Juan Islands are something else we have never seen, and we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the marina, getting caught up with our "not-in-SoCal" son. He's the only one of six :-)

Anacortes, WA
We made it back home with both Jeff and several Amazon boxes that had been delivered to his apartment.

Including a couple surprise fishing goodies for Bill's birthday. Wife points back in the black.

And a Tessa trailer for behind the trikes. She was less impressed with her surprise. She'll get used to it.

It was so fun to have Jeff stay with us (our first house guest)!

Reading in the forest
He's really here!
You think I'm riding in that thing?
Although we've caught up with the summer heat and some of the Northwest's smokey skies, we enjoy a couple more days at the state park. Next post :-)


  1. Can't wait to see Tessa settled into her little trailer!

    1. Look up "pitiful" in the dictionary for the look on her face :-)

  2. Are your trikes TerraTrikes, Jodee? We are looking at getting one for Diana, and are curious how you haul them.


    1. Yes, they are Rambler 8 speed models. We have a rack on the back of the Jeep that hauls both of them. Bill takes them and the rack off when we are camped. It isn't a quick on and off, but we're not in a hurry. They do have a small system for carrying on top of a vehicle if you just had one. We love riding them, but need beefier tires.

  3. You two are so great at rolling with the punches. I've been out for 5 years and am not sure I can make a 3 point turn in a 35' rig. You are a fearless babe. I'm in awe. Love that your son was your first house guest. Can't say that I blame Tessa. She's a self respecting dog with four good feet who wants to do the walkin' and smellin'. She doesn't want a granny wagon. :-)

    1. That's what she said! Unfortunately she can't walk safely beside the trikes for long distances and the trailer was our only option to take her along. We've explained this to her, but we still get "the look". You won't see her in a hat and skirt though - ever!

  4. I'm surprise the park didn't email you about the road closure. Glad you were able to turn that "small" unit around. That is the type thing that always had us concerned when we had the motorcycle and a trailer. There was no easy was to just unhook like now, so turning around without a huge space wasn't happening. How nice to have your son visit:) Seeing our kids is always a special treat no matter how old they are. Tessa's look is priceless with your caption...haha! Make sure we get photos of the first trip out!

    1. I was surprised there wasn't an email, and nothing noted on the three state park signs before the bridge. It was closed three days so I'm sure we weren't the only ones who had get turned around. I'll be sure to include those Tessa pics - so sad :-)

  5. Hopefully you'll get a chance to visit the San Juan Islands since you're close to Anacortes --

    1. We're hoping to do that when I get back from seeing the grandson early next week!

  6. Yikes! That sounded/looked like a tight turn-around. You guys seem to handle whatever comes your way with such grace. So cool that you've traveled so much of Hwy 101 just since you've started your journey! We love that route and plan to do more of it as well. I'm betting Tessa gets used to the bike trailer and will start to enjoy it. So fun that your first "houseguest" is your son. :-)

    1. While we give up some stability with the shorter wheelbase, it really does make those tight spots less of a problem. Easy to get into those tighter sites as well :-) I'm hoping Tessa eventually has fun in the trailer.