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Old 06-14-2018, 11:36 AM   #1
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Kai in Seattle's Avatar
Name: Kathleen (Kai: ai as in wait)
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16 1973 "Peanut"
Greater Seattle Metropolitan Area, Washington
Posts: 2,566
When we finally gave up.

May 17 - June 9, 2018

We were doing OK camping from State Park to State Recreation Area around Oregon on our longest planned trip ever...we got as far as Cape Lookout, Oregon, before we had finally endured enough.

Were we wimps? I really don't know. At the time we'd had about all we could take, and can see the beauties of propane for heating and cooking.

We got many sites near the restrooms, which eased the burden of the porta-potty...though not at night. With my vision, I don't walk around outside at night even with lighting...not if I have anything to say about it.

We had some food poisoning issues, some food allergy issues twice (different, believe me), some arthritis issues, a cold, three nosebleeds, and of course the girls, barking, unable to be left in cars or brought into some businesses...Nimble vomiting after meals (she sucks in too much air when the other one is around--and in the trailer, she's always around), and finally having to be carried as she would totter and fall over on the way to a potty site...also she had to be lifted in and out of Peanut now as she can't manage the step any more...having pets is more fun and easier at home. 24/7 is a lot of contact with the girls. A lot.

We had been lost, in thunderstorms, hail storms, attacked by killer moths, baked, frozen, sick, wet...we had things to clean up we never expected, but also met interesting people and saw an amazing Oregon we hadn't known existed other than as wide open areas on a map. We had a lakeside view site, some lovely treed sites, a riverfront site...

We learned things, saw things, bought some interesting things including a fancy doo-dad for our grandson's pony tail.

We dealt with helpful people, citizens and rangers who went out of their way to see we were comfortable and accommodated...a kind man who led us for miles to a laundromat...and I unexpectedly clashed with a restroom proselytizer who felt a State Park toilet was just the place for her spiritual growth. To be fair, I was starting the worst food poisoning episode I've ever had, maybe, so she caught me in an extremely off moment. If you find a fish place called "The Crazy Norwegian," in a town called something like "Ophim" along the Oregon coast drive on by!

We had a campsite that was within 20 feet of the sand, an easy walk for me and the girls, with a tiny view of the ocean that couldn't be beat.

But on Friday, June 8, after getting supplies in Tillamook, the rain began, and our relatively reasonable campsite was revealed to be the bottom of a bowl. Within an hour it had two inches of standing water and rising fast. I discovered the depth by stepping down into it and soaking my feet. OK. I can handle that. Wrung out and hung up my socks, no prob, but realized the electric cord was lying in two inches of water and so was the firewood Paul had stowed under the trailer to keep it dry. HAH!

Paul went out without the poncho (why did we buy the blinking thing?) and spent a few moments running the power cord off the ground, and ninety minutes gently scraping a little channel to drain the water to a lower area...he succeeded in getting it down to only an inch of standing water, but came in soaked to the skin. Hours later, his apparently all cotton hooded sweatshirt was still sodden and the trailer was hanging with wet things everywhere. Then he took the girls out and they came back in soaking wet; Cinder managed to immediately leap onto my bed and got it soaking wet, too. In spite of the ceramic heater, we were all chilled and the stuff hanging everywhere was very annoying. It was unlikely further north was going to be dryer any time soon, though you never know. Paul flipped a coin--go or stay, since we knew we were within 7 hours' drive of Renton. Stay, stay...he wanted to flip some more on the theory best two out of three (????)

I said, fine, but if the power goes out that'll do it for me. More time passed; we played games and read, and Paul carried the girls over the worst of the flood and back...we were about to start dinner when...

the power went out.

Fastest pack-up for travel I think we've ever done. We fed the girls their dinner (it was 5 pm) and stopped at the entry to tell them our site was available again. "Oh, don't go, power'll be back on in half an hour, guaranteed!" Paul said he wasn't so sure about that. "I've never known it to take more than two hours..." So we went from 30 minutes to two ours in the space of a sentence...and that didn't address the flooding or the lack of reasonable prospects for the next day.

We headed home, foregoing only Fort Stevens, OR and Lewis & Clark in WA.

Took us 6 1/2 hours. We got home at 11:30 and have been cleaning up ever since. We had a to-do list of 58 items and have added considerably to that...one thing leading to another as it does. Our grandson told us it's been wet almost every day we were gone, so no surprise as we got into northern Oregon the weather was wet. It poured rain on us most of the way home and we waded to the rest areas, Paul carrying the girls again over the worst. They handled the long drive well enough, though Nimble has barely woken up since.

It was an amazing trip--the amazingmost thing that we survived; I caught Paul's cold and have been coughing for days, but it seems at last to be abating. Paul says he'll be ready again...we still have 18 "selected" State Parks to try in Oregon, though we did tour many of them along the way and some we can bypass now. I don't know of a good season to see both sides of the Pacific Northwest. The eastern side is HOT even in spring and fall, the western side is often drenched except in the heat of the summer.

I can see that bodily comfort is a big issue for us...we've solved some issues already and others are only going to increase with age.

As many here have said, camp when you can. I agree.

Did we wimp out? Should we have stayed? Are we worthy of future attempts at camping?

Semper ubi sub ubi.
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:52 AM   #2
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Name: Glenn
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B
British Columbia
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Great report. Done some of that camping ourselves and there is no shame in bailing out.
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
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Old 06-14-2018, 12:01 PM   #3
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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You'll be telling this one for the rest of your lives! Memories are precious, even when they're of hard times.

And yup, never any shame in deciding enough's enough.

Hiked to a spot near the peak of Mt. Baldy with my dog some years back. Expected afternoon showers. After two hours of torrential downpour and crashing lightning crouched under a rain poncho with a very smelly pooch, and no end in sight, I have up any hope of pitching a tent and got off that mountain as fast as my legs would carry me.

Best hot shower I've ever had when I got home!
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Old 06-14-2018, 12:33 PM   #4
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1976, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
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Sometimes, you just have to know when you are done. No shame, just prudence.
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Old 06-14-2018, 12:48 PM   #5
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Name: Kelly
Trailer: Trails West
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Some camping trips are like that, others are not. You can't control the weather to match with vacation schedules. But with the size of the trailer, the number of people and pets you do not have an optimal set up for trips with extended rain while camping. If there had been a yurt or cabin available at that state park it would have saved the trip by giving you space to expand into.
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Old 06-14-2018, 01:08 PM   #6
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Our first trip out this year in April was not as bad as yours but could have been if we had tried a little harder. Our destination campground was also Oregon, across the Columbia from Kelso. It was already flooded when we pulled in so we went to plan B, the KOA outside Castle Rock, WA. Rain was continuous and they but us in a grassy spot (but close to the restroom) that became pretty soggy through the weekend.

Since the Campster has zero insulation, it turned into a terrarium with 2 people and a big wet dog. Also found a couple of minor leaks.

Our conclusion - we have a fair-weather trailer. We still plan to see you in Sept at SAFE but are waiting to make reservations until we see how some other events land on the calendar.
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Old 06-14-2018, 02:05 PM   #7
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Name: Shelby
Trailer: Casita SD
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Some trips just don't work out! There isn't much you can do about the weather, and catching Tourista is unpredictable as well. It does seem a fair amount of the unpleasantness was related to the animals. Though traditionally the province of children, keeping household animals has become more popular among adults, some even professing to need them for their mental stability (companion dogs.) Next trip, it might be worth considering some other arrangement for the animals. Might be more pleasant for all of you!
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Old 06-14-2018, 02:33 PM   #8
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Name: Alexander
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1300
New Hampshire
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I have noticed that I now put up with less "discomfort" than I used to. When I lived in Oregon and was in my 20's and 30's I would go tent camping in the Cascades in the winter to get away from it all and decompress from my job. In the winter even when there was no rain falling the moisture content of the air was such that you and all your possessions were damp all the time. Although it wasn't particularly cold (upper 30's to low 40's) it was that bone-chilling kind of cold. I drank gallons of hot tea to keep my core temperature up in the evening before sliding into my sleeping bag (also damp). I could not do that now!
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Old 06-14-2018, 03:35 PM   #9
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Bodily comfort is high on my list, too! If it gets too uncomfortable, it's time to change something. I would. And you did.

I can't imagine camping with two dogs. There goes all the freedom.
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Old 06-14-2018, 03:40 PM   #10
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On a recent trip to the Maine coast the front stalled and the pedicted sun shine turned to cold rain. We cut our trip short, turned the campground fee into lobster and made our lobster rolls here at home. Hope for better luck next year.
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Old 06-14-2018, 03:45 PM   #11
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Trailer: Escape 21, behind an '02 F250 7.3 diesel tug
Mid Left Coast
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I learned long ago to pay attention to the slope and lay of the land before setting up camp... I always think about drainage before setting up even if I don't expect it to rain.
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:49 PM   #12
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Sometimes we have adjusted our route to seek better weather. Lived in western WA for 13 years, learned it then. When we lived there, most of our trips were either to Eastern WA or Eastern OR to seek out sunshine!

Other times, a night or two in a hotel can do wonders. We camped at a CG I nicknamed mosquitoville. We finally had to give it up (I paid in advance so we lost that money) and we headed to a motel. Best decision that trip!

We have a smaller dehumidifier in our trailer that really helps!

On the flip side, the more stuff that goes wrong, the more memories you get. Its hard to remember trips where everything was "perfect" but mosquitoville I will never forget!
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:11 PM   #13
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Trailer: 1988 16 ft Scamp Deluxe
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You didn't wimp out and you ARE worthy of going again. But what a memory maker!

Reading your story Kai just re-enforces my reasons for buying a different trailer. I am a solo camper 99% of the time and no pets, but found the layout in my Scamp to be the wrong layout when forced inside for days on end. With Ten Forward, I can go a solid week and never need to step outside! Okay, so far the longest I've done that is five days, but I know I could.

May your next excursion into camping be filled with sunshine, warmth and dry dogs
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:45 PM   #14
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Name: Carl
Trailer: 2014 16 scamp side dinette/Rav4 V6 Tow pkg.
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I am glad you had a nice time, next time will be even better, ya can count on it. good Luck, Carl
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:00 PM   #15
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Name: Kelly
Trailer: Trails West
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Originally Posted by Dave Fish View Post
Our first trip out this year in April was not as bad as yours but could have been if we had tried a little harder. Our destination campground was also Oregon, across the Columbia from Kelso. It was already flooded when we pulled in so we went to plan B, the KOA outside Castle Rock, WA. Rain was continuous and they but us in a grassy spot (but close to the restroom) that became pretty soggy through the weekend.

Since the Campster has zero insulation, it turned into a terrarium with 2 people and a big wet dog. Also found a couple of minor leaks.

Our conclusion - we have a fair-weather trailer. We still plan to see you in Sept at SAFE but are waiting to make reservations until we see how some other events land on the calendar.
One of the problems with the Campster is when it rains the sliding windows in the door and on the sides can't be opened without water coming in. That is what turns it into a terrarium. I unzip the popup windows so the top inch or so lets the air move on through but the overhang of that roof keeps the rain out.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:14 PM   #16
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Name: Steve
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You have to have a few difficult trips to remind you when your having a good time.

Compared to doing that trip in a tent you had a great time. Next time your stuff is wet hang it outside it will dry on its own when the weather permits. No need to bring even more moisture inside.
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Old 06-14-2018, 10:34 PM   #17
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I think you did darn good for a first long trip! Nothing wrong with stopping when you aren't having fun anymore. Larry and Lin Pardey, who wrote some books on their years of sailing, famously said they would keep going "As long as it's fun."

I agree with you on the NW weather issue. May was pretty good this year- not so hot for Maryhill but not so wet on this side, either. June, not so much.
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Old 06-15-2018, 07:27 AM   #18
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I think you have to take this experience as one of learning. Maybe make a few changes to be able to adapt to differing conditions and experiences. What could you have maybe done to make the same experience better next time? Are there modifications or additions to your trailer that would enable you to be more comfortable during extreme conditions?

Sometimes though given you are limited to what you do have and what you are dealing with, bailing out could just be the best thing to do at the time. It seems you realize that it could/should be a better experience, and giving it another go will a fresh mind with more added knowledge will hopefully help it be so.

We are quite hardened from years of backpacking, hiking, winter camping, where we have been in every element you can imagine, from rain soaked days, to blizzards, -40° temps, bugs, bears, pesky birds, etc. This is with minimal gear too, no hard shell of a trailer to hide out in. Would not have traded any experience for not going.

When in Oregon Oct 2016, we saw rain just about every day for the entire time we were there. They had one of the worst storms in decades while we were there. Some friends said get inland before it came, locals said "whatever", we stayed and loved it. We went out driving and hiking to lots of lookout places along the coast during the storm, getting soaked to the skin even with full, good rain gear on. Saw the amazing fury of the ocean first hand, tried to walk in near 100 mph sustained winds (well I did). So many others in the campground just sat in the trailer missing out on this great spectacle.

Never have we spent so much time in the trailer as most of the time it was pouring outside. We were able to have one full night around a campfire, that's it. Used a TV for the first time in a trailer. My wife got to use the oven lots, which prompted us to put one in our new trailer. We read and played games lots. We went out when the rain stopped. Basically, we adapted and had a great experience.
2017 Escape 5.0 TA
2015 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost
2009 Escape 19 (previous)
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln
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Old 06-15-2018, 08:02 AM   #19
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Trailer: '04 Scamp 19D, TV:Tacoma 4.0L 4door, SB
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To paraphrase Donna's line: You made some indelible memories! it can only be better next time!
A list 58 items? But it is four of you traveling in the Peanut. We never return home without a list of things to fix or improve, this last time (two weeks in northern CA three weeks ago - a really neat trip*) we got home with a list of three or four, but one was disassembling the three burner plus oven completely and replacing the aluminum oven pilot gas line with copper. Only $2.35 cost of parts but lots of work. Aluminum fatigues and brakes easier due to vibration, it baffles me why it is used on Dometic camper ovens.

*) We found the windiest, as in not a straight five feet, road in the world out there - Rt. 36 and on the return we found the flattest and straightest road in the world - I80 across the Evaporation Basin.
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Old 06-15-2018, 09:47 AM   #20
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Name: Henry
Trailer: BigFoot
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Rain has always been my Achilles heel. 2 to 3 weeks in the 17' Casita is great fun and even in rain for a few days is ok. But we have been going out 3 to 5 months, in rain, smoke and snow. And it looses it's charm after about 3 months.

This is why I want a bigger trailer.

I think I would have bailed, just as you did. We got out of the smokey Sierras last year and made a run for the coast. Glad we did.
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