THE BEST CAMPING TRIP EVER

So we were feverishly packing for our rendezvous with Nature when my dear husband remarked, “We won’t be able to have a camp fire, you know. There’s a burn ban in Eastern Washington. It’s fire season.”

I stared at him, mouth agape. No fire = no s’mores, and whyingodsname would we go camping if we couldn’t make s’mores?

If you answered “You wouldn’t, of course. That would be sheer madness,” then you understand how I felt.

Fortunately, there are mountains in multiple directions from Seattle, so we about-faced our plans and decided to journey to the Olympic Peninsula instead.

After loading the minivan with enough gear to take on six months in the Outback (including all Necessary Survival Items, like blankies, teddy bears, and iPods), we sallied forth. If you’ve ever traveled with children, you know how the trip began. We stopped at the gas station to fuel the vehicle. We stopped at Starbucks to fuel the grown-ups. Then, as we pulled away from the coffee shop about three miles from our home, the children, impelled by an ancient, primal force, uttered the words that have been spoken by children on trips since the beginning of time.

Tigger: “I’m hungry. Can I have some Pirate Booty?”

Little Bit: “Are we there yet?”

I will fast forward through the rest of that drive.
(Ferry boat to Peninsula)
(Whining, fussing children)
(Drive over bumpy mountain roads)
(Whining fussing children)

Then we arrived at the Lilliwaup Creek campground, where we selected a lovely site right next to the adorable creek, complete with frogs. After a golden afternoon, hot dogs cooked over the fire, and yes! s’mores! we settled in for the evening. Then the Louts arrived.

Nasty, brutish teenagers with thumping stereos in their trucks camped at the site next to ours. They spent much of the night drinking, screeching tires, and running around the campground with an ax, hacking limbs off of trees for their fire.

When the children woke us at quarter to seven the next morning, we figured the Louts were sound asleep and hung over. Technogeek “accidentally” set off the blaring horn of our car alarm. Oops.

And so, we broke camp and left Lilliwaup Creek behind. We traveled west, toward the coast. The Olympic National Forest houses many campgrounds, and we expected to have no trouble finding another. As we drove on, though, an awful idea crept into our heads. Technogeek and I simultaneously had a wonderful, awful idea.

A few miles ahead of us lay the Pacific Ocean. Near the ocean were many hotels. Only one thing stood in our way.

“Children,” I asked sweetly, ”would you mind spending the night in a soft bed, swimming in a hotel pool, and eating eggs benedict for breakfast?”

“YAY!” they said. Barrier surmounted.

We spent the next two days in the town of Ocean Shores, engaging in such traditional camping activities as bowling, driving go-carts, taking hot showers and using flush toilets, and pedaling around town and on the beach in a surrey cart with a striped awning.

I must warn you, if you pedal your surrey onto soft sand, you will get stuck. Then you will have to get off and push, and your children, who are riding like queens on the front of the contraption, will laugh at you.

We came home today and set up the tent in the back yard. We toasted marshmallows over a fire in the Weber grill. The children are now tucked into their sleeping bags, giggling and playing flashlight games.

Best camping trip ever.

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19 thoughts on “

  1. At the very minimum, it has to be a KOA Holiday Inn or mom’s not happy. You were very brave to sleep in the woods with Louts; very nasty creatures.

  2. The car alarm is a beautiful touch.  One of those things that I’ve considered, but never actually followed through with.

  3. My last camping trip involved a violent downpour ripping through the tent where one of the children was still young enough to sleep in a playpen!  We sold the tent soon thereafter, and have since enjoyed many family vacations at Camp Holiday Inn.  We do have a chiminea in the yard, though, in case anyone needs a s’more!

  4. big grin…….. loved reading about your camping trip! thanks for sharing it and glad you had a great timeas always I admire and am a tad envious of the way you mix wry humor into your writing… just very therapeutic for me, and for me these days that is a very very big deal so THANKS, I needed the smiles and grins your trip log evoked.DOris

  5. I used to live in Port Townsend, WA, so I am familiar with the Camping in Washington experience. If you must suffer bugs, you must also have a camp fire, so I would have absolutely gone the hotel route. I was once an avid camper, but our life pretty much demands at least a cabin, nowadays. . .

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