This is post #2 on Washington (see “Northwest Washington” for post #1), we decided to break up our travels in Washington over two posts because we spent nearly 4 weeks in the state; the most time we have spent in any state thus far on our journey. Not sure why we spent so much time in Washington, but I think it is because, like so many others, we love the coast! We seem to gravitate to the ocean and its beaches for so many reasons – natural beauty, amazing sunsets, small charming coastal towns, sea life and seafood, wide open spaces, active lifestyle and the lure of adventure...etc. Well we soaked it all in over our stay in Washington, enjoying beach bum status.
We visited Seattle and Mount Rainer two years ago with our two nieces, Maggie and Katie (at the time they were 16 and 14); we had a blast! So we decided to skip both Seattle and Mount Rainer this time around. We pointed Peg toward Olympic National Park.
Our first stop in Olympic National Park was Fairholme Campground on Lake Crescent. Its funny, we live a block away from Crescent Lake in St. Pete, FL and here we were camping on Lake Crescent – of course Crescent Lake in St. Pete is a man made pond, whereas Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park was created by glacial melt water over thousands of years…just a wee bit different!
Fairholme Campground is a first come, first serve campground. Meaning you drive around, find a site and then self-pay for the site – sort of old school here, you put cash in a little envelope ($20/night) with the site # and your information and then slip it into a slot on the board indicating it is now booked. Oh and there are no hook-ups of any kind, you are dry camping, and no shower facilities (thank goodness Peg has a shower and a large fresh water holding tank).
We celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary with a nice dinner at Jasmine Bistro in Port Angeles.
After 4 nights in Fairholme we were ready for hook-ups. We found Oceanside Resort located in the Quileute Indian Reservation, right by the beach in La Push. As we approached the Reservation we rounded a bend in the road and we both had a similar, jaw dropping reaction to the view of the rugged Pacific coastline. The Quileute people settled on the Reservation after signing a treaty with the US in 1855. Today less than 400 people officially live on the small Reservation – the tribe generates income from the resort, fishing, and selling fireworks.
Quileute Oceanside Resort
Click play to view slideshow of Indian Reservation
Video of the beach by our campsite
We left the RV Park after two nights and headed to Mora Campground, another campground in Olympic National Park. Very similar to Fairholme, both in terms of the large wooded, private sites and the way you pick and pay for your site. Mora Campground is located only a few miles from the beaches and near the town of Forks. Forks is famous for one thing – Vampires. That’s right, I said Vampires. We have not seen the movies but we watched the trailer, see below.
Apparently tourism fueled from the Twilight movies breathed live back into a town that once relied mostly on the logging industry.
Our time at Mora campground was a bit of a mixed bag – Tim went on several runs, we hiked with the girls, saw an amazing sunset at Rialto Beach, oh and Renee essentially read the entire first Harry Potter book – yep, Harry Potter. That said, we had some issues; let's see… Bella rolled in some unidentifiable doo-doo. Remember we had no outdoor running water at the site – poor Tim got stuck with the cleanup. We used up most of our clean rags and towels. The next day Renee knocked over a pot full of water and black beans that was soaking on the stove; Peg was a mess, bean-water was everywhere. Tim then stepped in dog poo and tracked it inside Peg – by this point we had no clean towels or rags! Then Greta caught some sort of intestinal bug. She had us up every hour the entire night with a bad case of the runs, I mean baaaaaad. We decided we had to leave and head to civilization so we could do some laundry, have hook-ups and most importantly, get Greta close to a vet.
We captured some great pics of the area, see the slideshow below
We found an RV park in Elma that had one open site, it was Saturday night and so we took it. It was not a great campground but the staff was really nice, we only paid $17 and we had hookups, laundry, and the bathrooms were solid. Greta also seemed to be on the mend – we were happy. We had another quick overnight stay in Oceanside (near Long Beach), before we headed to our last stop in Washington. Check out the video we took of the beach.
Our last stop in Washington was Cape Disappointment State Park, located on the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River.
Cape Disappointment State Park
Renee thought she had booked us in the Columbia River Gorge but that was inland in Oregon and we were on the coast in Washington??? Oh well can't be perfect all the time and the park was great. Again no hookups but we had become accustomed to that by now. The park is famous because it is on the Lewis and Clark Trail. The name, however, dates back about 20 years before Lewis and Clark explored the area. A British explorer, John Meares, named it Cape Disappointment after not being able to find the mouth of the mighty Columbia River. We learned all of this by attending a Ranger talk one night during our stay.
We were excited because our hometown team, The Tampa Bay Bucs, were playing a preseason Monday Night Football game. We found a place, The Lost Roo, that was showing the game. The Bucs won and the place was great – actually eerily it had some similarities in decor to Outback Steakhouse (a BBI company where Renee worked for 20 years).
We really enjoyed our time in Washington but after almost a month, we were ready for our next adventure – the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, which will be in our next post.
Sites We Follow