Trip up Olympic Penninsula & to Vancouver Island! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-01-2007, 01:33 AM   #1
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Lynne and I have just gotten back from our first week-plus trip in our Scamp 5th wheel.

After having a parade of guests at home for everything from a dinner for Lynne's co-workers from overseas to family staying for over a week to two dear friends from the San Francisco area stay for dinner and a night's sleep, Lynne and I packed up our trailer and headed north to the Olympic Peninsula to the Heart O' the Hills campsite for a night.

The Olympic Rain Forest is damp. Our solar panels got no sun. But when we headed up to Hurricane Ridge there was lots to see. Elk, deer, hawks, cute (brainless) chipmunks, and lots of green and white mountains shrouded in fog. Mt Olympus did not make a showing . . . I guess that'll have to wait for another trip.

From Heart O' the Hills we went on to the Salt Creek campsite, which rewarded us with great views with our Scamp parked up the hill so we could look out over the Straight Juan de Fuca at Vancouver Island (BC Canada) and Vicoria from our dinette window. (The picture here was taken the next morning before the fog cleared; just imagine a great view of the Straight and island on the other side.) We also got a chance to see a pair of whales (humpback, I think) in the bay just west of the campground.


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We took the Ferry across to Victoria. Our "Big" 5th wheel is tiny compared to everything else around it!


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And took up residence at Weir Beach Resort for three days so we could explore Victoria. I didn't think much of Weir Beach Resort, though: all their "beachfront" campsights have you back in with your backside facing inland and a street between you and the beach. Nice enough place -- if you're not expecting beachfront real estate with a view. But, had we not gotten the beach front slot, I would have missed the coolest thing: alas, I didn't have a camera with me and Lynne missed it too, but a pod of Orca came cruising by just offshore as I was heading back to the trailer from a shower.

One cool thing in Victoria is the Galloping Goose Trail, a 55Km (37 mile) long bike/hike trail that extends from Victoria to deep in the forest along an old rail line. Lynne snapped this picture of me on one of the old rail trestle bridges.


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Our truck troubles started on the way back from the bike ride the evening before we left Weir Beach: our battery light came on and the volts on our battery started to drop. I decided to take the truck up to our next stop at Nanaimo and run it out to a Ford Dealership the next day (Monday), but the battery light went out and the volts came back up.

continued . . .
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Old 09-01-2007, 02:09 AM   #2
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The Living Forest Campground is a wonderful place. Your neighbors will be in sight, but many of the sites have great views of the Namaimo river and smaller islands. If we go back, I'd probably opt for one of their slightly cheaper sites with channel veiws one level up from where we were at, but this site was nice.


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Oh, and speaking of truck troubles . . . see my post about this poor guy and his wife two slots up from us!

Nanaimo is a quaint former coal mining town with a nice, though not very large downtown area. We used it as a launching point for biking and hiking. That's Lynne, my little gal all grown up standing with her bike next to Sesame Street's Big Bird, who's grown a little, too.


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And a pic of Nanaimo Harbor from Newcastle Island, a big natural park with many trails and remnants of an old coal mine and the sandstone quarry where the stones used to build the San Francisco Mint and other buildings were quarried and hewn.


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After a few days in Nanaimo, we headed out to take a ferry to Vancouver Island home with our pesky battery "trouble" light back on. We got the rig loaded and off the ferry, but about ten miles after unloading the truck quit. I used an emergency "jump start" battery to get us to an off-ramp and swapped batteries with the trailer. The trailer battery got us into the US, which is where the battery light went out and the battery started charging again.

Our original plan was to spend another night somewhere and do a little more exploring, but with the truck problem it seemed prudent to just head home.

On the plus side, that meant a lot of freeway driving. I was a good boy, kept my speed in the 55-60 mph range as much as possible, and our little 3.0L, V-6 truck and 5th wheel trailer got 18mpg on the way home.

--Peter
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Old 09-01-2007, 02:59 AM   #3
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The Living Forest Campground is a wonderful place. Your neighbors will be in sight, but many of the sites have great views of the Namaimo river and smaller islands. If we go back, I'd probably opt for one of their slightly cheaper sites with channel veiws one level up from where we were at, but this site was nice.
Peter, we were just up the hill from you during the mid-week in site 123 facing the water -- we missed the over the bank troubles by about a day! sounds like a bit of excitement! we noticed your Scamp, but didn't cross paths as we were out during the days. If you are thinking about coming back, check out some of the sites up the hill from where you were. Sites 119 thru about 127 are all quite large with great views of the water, and quite a bit more privacy. We had our 2 very nosy Shiba Inus with us, so we brought a small tent to set up to block some of the view to the road and there was tons of room to spare, and really couldn't see or hear much of our neighbours on either side, as the sites up the hill have more dense shrubs and small trees in between.

We have just upgraded from tent camping, and almost exclusively camped at provincial campsites (which have no water/sewer/electricity) -- have found the Living Forest one of the better campgrounds for RVs that is somewhat comparable to the size and privacy you get at a provincial park campsite. They are also happy to take reservations for specific sites.
picture is the site looking in from the road -- i was about 10 feet in or so.


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Old 09-01-2007, 10:42 AM   #4
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Glad you enjoyed your stay on the Olympic Peninsula, our "backyard". Yes, housing a rainforest, the Olympics can be damp! Heart of the Hills is a very "dark" campground, good for coolness on a sunny day (or pretending you are reenacting Lord of the Rings) but can be "gloomy" on gray days like we've had lately. Camping up the Elwha River, within the Park also, on the other side of Port Angeles, is in a more open wooded area. A nice place to stay when the mountains are in a fog is the Dungeness Recreation Area. Nice views, great beach hiking on the longest "spit" in the country, a preserve for migrating water birds. Many different species can be seen from now through fall as well as during the spring migration.
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Old 09-01-2007, 10:50 AM   #5
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XLNT! What a great place to be able to go!
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Old 09-04-2007, 11:07 PM   #6
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HI Peter glad to hear you enjoyed your trip , i live on Vancouver island and was interested that you took the ferry.I am planning a trip thru the USA next month and i think i can save a lot of time, and miles ,and trafic by taking the same route using the ferry.I will be interested in any info regards the ferry ,cost ,timetables etc or a web site i can get any info thanks dave
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:08 AM   #7
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Coho ferry info:

Excuse my interjection here, but thought I'd tell you about the ferry, (it's compulsive, I use to manage a visitor center on the Olympic Peninsula!)

The ferry between Victoria and Port Angeles is privately owned and operated by the Black Ball Co. The web site is http://www.cohoferry.com

It is expensive to take a vehicle on it,with trailer even more so. But travel is expensive no matter what.

They do now have a reservation system. During the busy season if you do not have a reservation it is necessary to be there several hours ahead. They also reduce their service in the fall, and again in the winter months. I am not sure exactly when but the schedule will be on the web site.

Enjoy the trip!

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Old 09-05-2007, 02:12 AM   #8
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[quote]Peter, we were just up the hill from you during the mid-week in site 123 facing the water -- we missed the over the bank troubles by about a day! sounds like a bit of excitement! we noticed your Scamp, but didn't cross paths as we were out during the days. If you are thinking about coming back, check out some of the sites up the hill from where you were. Sites 119 thru about 127 are all quite large with great views of the water, and quite a bit more privacy. We had our 2 very nosy Shiba Inus with us, so we brought a small tent to set up to block some of the view to the road and there was tons of room to spare, and really couldn't see or hear much of our neighbours on either side, as the sites up the hill have more dense shrubs and small trees in between.
We have just upgraded from tent camping, and almost exclusively camped at provincial campsites (which have no water/sewer/electricity) -- have found the Living Forest one of the better campgrounds for RVs that is somewhat comparable to the size and privacy you get at a provincial park campsite. They are also happy to take reservations for specific sites.
picture is the site looking in from the road -- i was about 10 feet in or so.

Attachment 9863

We saw the Trillium you mentioned in your earlier report, but missed your trailer. Just two ships -- trailers -- passing in the dark!

--Peter
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:40 AM   #9
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After a few days in Nanaimo, we headed out to take a ferry to Vancouver Island home with our pesky battery "trouble" light back on. We got the rig loaded and off the ferry, but about ten miles after unloading the truck quit. I used an emergency "jump start" battery to get us to an off-ramp and swapped batteries with the trailer. The trailer battery got us into the US, which is where the battery light went out and the battery started charging again.
Hi Peter and Lynne,

We used to live on Vancouver Island and really loved it, so it was especially fun to read about your adventures there. The Galloping Goose Trail sounds wonderful! Glad to hear that you were able to get home without being stranded somewhere along the way. Were you able to find out what was wrong with your truck?

Jeanne
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Old 09-06-2007, 01:42 AM   #10
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Were you able to find out what was wrong with your truck?
Jeanne
The darn thing is charging again. My guess is the regulator circuit (built into the generator) is on the fritz, but I can't test it until the darn thing isn't working right.

--Peter
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:05 AM   #11
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Hey Peter & Lynne,

When I left the Oregon gathering I headed for Vancouver Island. I first stayed at the Elks CG in Lincoln City, then Ocean City SP WA and also at Salt Creek (great campground love the view).

I crossed on the Coho July 30th and stayed at Weir's Beach for 3 nights but didn't see any Orco's, darn. I moved up to Qualicum Bay RV for 5 nights and back down the island to McDonalds PP at Sidney before ferrying to Friday Harbor (Lakeside RV Resort).

Several loose days before spending a couple nights at Silver Falls SP OR then down to Gualala Redwoods RV at Gualala CA to camp with family. Arrived home on August 20th.

Ferry cost: Coho to Vancouver Island
$10 reservation fee
$86 me, tug/13'er under 30' total
Total $96

Wash State ferry to Friday Harbor and Mainland
$30 reservation
$50.55 me, tug/13'er under 30' total
Total $80.55

A side note about the ferries is that when I thought about going to Vanouver Island I checked on BC Ferries calculating the cost quite a bit higher than the Coho. If I go again just to and fro to Vancouver Island I'll use the Coho both ways, plus I like being able to make reservations and not having to be put in a Que.
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:50 AM   #12
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That's where having my under-7' trailer really pays off- no overheight surcharge on the ferries. I priced RT from Whidbey (driving off) to Hornby Island, BC (requires 3 ferries) for two adults and one child last summer, and came to just under $300 RT. Those ferry fares will sure eat at your budget! But towing the under 30, under 7' trailer, my Washington State ferry fares are just about 50% more than auto/driver alone. (Cutoff is actually 7 1/2 feet, I think, in Washington, but maybe 7 in BC.)

Bobbie
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:41 PM   #13
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Bobbie,

Neither the Coho or the WA State ferry asked or looked at the height.

You know that may be why BC ferries was higher as they do look at the height.
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Old 09-08-2007, 02:47 PM   #14
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Washington State ferries has a height gauge they can compare your car to when you pull into the ticket booth. They just look up and see if it is overheight- they don't need to ask you. Same for length.

Bobbie
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