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Gabfest Girltalk Camping Trip

solteronita and I went camping this weekend!

We never really plan to go to a particular campground, or reserve a site; we just go where there are several campgrounds in an area and find a good one. The last two or three years that we've been camping we have had spectacular luck.

Friday morning I set out from my dad's house where I'd spent the night, and got Nicoal and we grabbed some groceries and got going by around 10. The plan was to take 99W to McMinnville and then west to the Nestucca River Recreation Area, where there were five campgrounds in a row way out in the middle of nowhere. Nicoal doesn't have a car and I haven't been on 99W in a long time, so even though we both thought the scenery looked different than we expected, we didn't think about it - and therefore didn't realize we were actually on 99E until well south of McMinnville. In fact, we were about five miles north of Keizer when we figured it out.

So we cut through Salem and got on 22 going west, and then 99W going north to McMinnville. We passed the turnoff to the Nestucca River Road but turned ourselves around in just a couple of blocks.

Awhile later, we found ourselves in the Nestucca River Rec Area. We passed a car going the other way here and there, and generally had good feelings about not having hardly any neighbors for our camping trip. We got to Dovre, the first site, which was right next to the road and full of tents. So we passed it. We got to Fan Creek, the second site, which was right next to the road and full of tents. So we passed it.

We got to Elk Bend, the third site, which was heralded as the best one by some camping guidebook we found on Google, and we only saw three cars parked on the side of the road so we got out of the car with Linus to see if there were any spaces. Not only were there no spaces, but suddenly a giant bulldog came running towards us as fast as he could. I didn't even notice that he was tethered until he suddenly did a 180 from running so fast and coming to the end of his rope. Poor Linus got very concerned about the angry dog barking at him, and one of the ladies sitting in her lawn chair said "he's not used to other dogs!" and left it at that. We used the vault toilet and got out of there pretty quickly.

The last two sites were about the same as the first three. We drove through one and were stared at by big-bellied men in tank tops and shorts standing around with beers.

So we pressed on westward after a stop for lunch (since it was 2 by then) and another stop at a map on the west edge of the Nestucca Rec Area. (Remind me to get a map. iPhone map apps are kind of useless when you're not in cell range.) In Beaver I called Cory quickly to let him know Nestucca was a bust and we were going to try Cape Lookout up by Tillamook - they had 130 sites; one of them must have our name on it. We weren't thrilled by the thought of having to share a campground with that many people but we looked on the bright side of life and hyped ourselves up. And then the sign pointing the way to the campground said "FULL."

Northward again, and then eastward from Tillamook on highway 6 we went, very discouraged. With the few moments of cell service we had, Nicoal saw that there were a few places on the way back to Portland, so we crossed our fingers again and drove. And then 20 miles or so east of Tillamook, I passed a sign for Keenig Creek Campground. There was no warning that it was coming up, just an indication of the turnoff, but since we were there I turned around and we investigated.

There were a couple of loops, all walk-in camping, and down a (kind of steep) path was the Wilson River. We explored and found a few empty sites, so we settled there. It was about 3:30 - boy, was I tired of driving!

Wilson River.

We spent an hour or so down at the river before we came up to make dinner and build the evening fire. Linus had fun splashing around in the water and getting soggy. Dinner was Nicoal's invention: pizza dough with veggies mixed in, baked in foil in the fire and dipped in pizza sauce. It was yum, though it took so long to cook that we were already thoroughly buzzed from the wine we'd brought and started drinking on empty stomachs. We went to bed relatively early, partly because of the long drive and partly because of the wine.

Fire

Saturday was a leisurely day exploring and playing by the river. After a breakfast of home fries, we went down to the water until lunch, and then went back down after eating until it was dinnertime. Now that Linus finally knows how to swim (he learned how the previous weekend!), I threw sticks into the current for him all day long. In the morning, I'd throw it and he'd run into the water; by the evening he'd walk into the water. Yay for tired dogs.

New Swimmer.

Dinner on Saturday was rice and veggies, and more wine, but this time we were more careful with our timing so we weren't fuzzy-headed all evening. We also stayed up late enough to roast vegan coconut marshmallows - mmm, burnt sugar.

This helps.

This morning I was the first person awake and up in the whole world, which was fun. I wandered around with Linus off-leash for a little bit until the rest of the campground started waking up, and then we went back to camp for a leisurely breakfast of dutch oven coffee cake. And then we packed up and drove back to Nicoal's - which took about an hour.

Morning has broken.

And that was our camping trip. It wasn't long enough, but it was tons of fun and I can't wait for next time!

Balancing Brazils

Lots more photos on my Flickr page as well as Nicoal's!

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
dotcombabe
Aug. 23rd, 2010 04:19 am (UTC)
Linus is sooooo sweet! (and talented!) :)
rivulet
Aug. 23rd, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)
Isn't he a cutie? Of course, he also is kind of a terror when he wants to be. :)
solteronita
Aug. 23rd, 2010 02:52 pm (UTC)
You must feel so awesome to have someone so cool as your friend. :D
rivulet
Aug. 23rd, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
I am truly blessed!!
solteronita
Aug. 23rd, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
lawl!
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rivulet
Aug. 24th, 2010 02:00 am (UTC)
I love camping in Oregon! Is there much camping down close to you?
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rivulet
Aug. 24th, 2010 02:04 am (UTC)
Camping at renn faires is way different, I think - fun in its own way but definitely doesn't have the solitude and quiet that I want when I go "real" camping. It is fun to fall asleep to bagpipe music though!
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rivulet
Aug. 24th, 2010 02:18 am (UTC)
I feel like I'm in the middle of those two extremes - I want to be relatively faithful to the period as far as garb goes, and I like the faire to look sort of realistic, but even the peeps back then were fun-loving!

I have no good animal-related tales from camping, since we live in a place that doesn't have many reptiles or much else that's scary - no bears even. Though last year we heard rustling in the dark when we were watching the coals die down and we turned our headlamps onto a couple of skunks that had stopped by. But they were cute, not scary.
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rivulet
Aug. 24th, 2010 04:10 am (UTC)
That's very true. I think it's like living history jobs - you act like you're in the renaissance while you're out in the faire and then you go back into camp and act like normal people.

Lorde Dragonwhatever is totally not period, besides. Go play D&D or whatever in your basement if you want to do that crap. :D
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rivulet
Aug. 24th, 2010 02:01 am (UTC)
Hah - yeah, I think you did it OK :D
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )