"I'm picking up some parts near Mt. Ranier, want to camp up there for a night?"
It was only meant to be an over night trip. I found an assortment of Vanagon parts listed on Craigslist and arranged to meet the seller in Elbe, WA on a Wednesday afternoon. We thought we'd explore a little then head back to Oregon for the weekend. Next thing we knew, five days had gone by.
We picked up the parts around mid-day. The seller and his fiance had travelled all over in their Vanagon before it caught fire. Some thieving buggers thought they deserved the van more than he did and decided to make off with it and many of the parts he had in storage. If there's any person I hate, it's a thief.
After picking up the parts, we headed to Mt. Rainier National Park. The park has some amazing roads, fitting for a motorbike, Mazda Miata or a Mini. While Bjorn doesn't handle like any of those it does have massive windows to enjoy the amazing vistas we drove through. We were about to settle in for the evening when I got a text from Bound for Nowhere, whom I had met the week before at Mogfest, saying they would be in the area the next day. We had no reason to rush back, so we made arrangements to meet at a Forest campground the next night.
If I said we were up bright and early the next morning, I'd be lying. It was a comfortable spot sheltered by the trees from the morning sun. And there was sun, we were blessed by the gods and had great weather which afforded the fantastic views.
After a bit more exploring around Mt Rainier, we decided to head for the coast via Olympic National Park for a few more nights. Dj (@Wild_bear_medicine), having seen the above video Bex posted on instagram, decided to drive up from Portland to join us for the remainder of the journey. We drove North out of Mt Rainier National Park, then headed West past Tacoma and Olympia to join 101 and head North on the Olympic Peninsula to Brinnon where Owen found a lovely campsite on the water, Seal Rock Campground. This was the only night we paid for camping but it was worth it, we took a dip in the water and watched the sky turn to dusk.
The following day we drove on 101 to Lake Crescent, a beautiful lake with crystal clear waters. Bec watched the dogs while the rest of us hiked up Mt Storm King to be rewarded with amazing views of the lake, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and a distant Vancouver Island. After a quick wash in the lake we took off for the woods again to find another camp spot. It didn't take long, Owen seems to have mastered finding camp spots quite well, we were set-up and cooking before dark.
Another leisurely start to the day and we were off to Rialto Beach to climb over all the dead timber that gets washed up by huge Pacific Ocean storms, the sun bleached logs looked quite amazing strewn all the way up the beach. We pushed on down the Pacific Coast on 101 until we found another camp spot in the woods, which was to be our last night before everyone had work commitments. Once again, Owen comes up with the goods and finds us a camp spot in the woods, minutes from 101 for an easy exit in the morning.
It turned out to be one of the best weeks of the summer. Washington is beautiful and the company kept us laughing.
Here are some of the highlights from our trip: