Monday, September 9
The crew and I are back at our Falls View campsite south of Quilcene, Washington, after driving to the Mt. Walker viewpoint and walking the trail at Lake Leland. It’s early evening and I’m pulling another gallon jug of drinking water out of the Perfect Tow Vehicle.
I look up and see a car idling in front of our campsite.
Walking over I recognize Les! I met Les at North Fork Campground. He’s car camping.
“Well, hello, Les! What a surprise!”
We don’t talk long. Pulling into the campground this late in the day, he’s probably been on the road a long time and is tired.
“Go ahead, Les, and find a site. I’ll come over to your campsite in the morning and we can talk then.”
Tuesday, September 10
I take a seat at Les’s picnic table. Bridget and Spike lie down at my feet underneath the table. Les tells me he drove south to Bend and La Pine, Oregon, since we camped at North Fork. It’s amazing that our paths came together at this point in time.
“I had a feeling we’d meet again, Les. I don’t know why.”
“Yeah, me, too!” he exclaims.
The conversation flies all over the place.
We look at maps together. He gives me some paperbacks . . .Michener’s Space and William W. Johnstone’s Rage of Eagles. I realize the morning is slipping away and I tell Les I need to go.
“A friend has sent me a package and it’s waiting for me at the Chimacum post office,” I explain. “As long as I’m going up that way, I want to look around some. We can talk more this evening, if you want.” Les says he needs a day to rest after all the traveling he’s done.
The crew and I take Center Road to Chimacum.
While looking for the post office, I come upon Chimacum Corner Farmstand. Mmm. . . I want some more Washington fruit!
Nope, it’s the community center.
Gee, I see trash bins. I’m turning in! I park next to the bins as two ladies come out of the building. They give me directions to the post office and tell me it’s okay to dump my trash in the bins.
In front of the P.O. grows this huge, flowering bush.
“I don’t know,” she responds. “I’ll go check.” She goes behind a partition where I assume she does a search on her computer.
“That’s what it is,” she reports smiling. “It’s pretty, isn’t it.”
Out in the PTV, I tear into the package.
I pull out a smaller box containing a SONY Cyber-shot digital camera (DSC-Hx20v) with up to 40X zoom! Several neat accessories are included, as well as a quality Samsonite case. What a great gift! Thank you, Mick!
By now it’s one o’clock and I’m hungry.
That cafe next door looks interesting. Lots of cars parked all around. Must be a good place. I zip on over to the Chimacum Cafe.
As soon as I walk in, I like what I see. A long counter stretches from the door. Over to one side is a wide opening to a cheerful dining area with tables along the front windows. Beyond the end of the counter are booths. I take a seat at the counter and pull a menu from the holder in front of me.
Three burly guys are working the kitchen.
They toss up loaded plates to the window for the three waitresses. The cooks and the waitresses are in constant motion. They wear tee shirts that say, “Chimacum Cafe — since 1955.”
People get up to leave, others take their place. I order a veggie burger and it arrives stacked high with tomato, lettuce and thick, sweet onion slices. I grab that baby and squeeze the bun so I can fit it between my jaws. Boy, is it good!
Then I remember the blog. The bun is all shmushed with a big bite taken out of it. Darn! Shoulda’ snapped a picture before I tore into it.
From Chimacum the crew and I go to Port Hadlock.
We cross a bridge to Indian Island and continue to Marrowstone Island.
The approach looks like the entrance to a country club.
Freshly mowed grass borders the sides of the perfect black-top road. Signs announce it’s a fee area and one needs to have a Discover Pass. Well, I only want to look around so we’ll be okay. The road funnels us to a booth. A huge Class A sits there, the driver talking with the person in the booth. I see signs about reservations. This is a pricey place. As I sit there I get annoyed.
Warning: Big gripe ahead
I don’t think it’s right that state property should be designed to cater to the upper income people at the exclusion of everyone else. I realize I’ve never paid a dime in taxes to the state of Washington. Even so, it bothers me that a state runs what I consider to be elitist campgrounds. First you have to buy a Discover Pass ($10 a day or $30 a year). Okay, a little high for the average family (Thirty dollars is a lot when you earn minimum wage and have a few mouths to feed), but it’s okay.
Here’s the fee schedule for state park campgrounds:
Basic camping fees:
May 15 – Sept. 15 (peak season)
Primitive campsite and water trail camping: $12
Standard campsite: $23 non-premium site, $26 premium site
Partial-utility campsite*: $30 non-premium site, $35 premium site
Full-utility campsite*: $32 non-premium site, $37 premium site
Flagler State Park website says it has “116 standard tent sites, 57 utility spaces, 2 primitive sites.” I take that to mean all the sites are $23 – $37 a night, except for two . . . TWO! . . . that are $12 a night.
Now doesn’t that seem a bit elitist?
It does to me. There are a heckuva lot of people who want to camp and who are shut out by those fees. Shouldn’t a government campground be more inclusive?
I wouldn’t gripe — I know state parks sit on prime real estate — but I get the same impression with all the Washington state parks I’ve researched that I’ve stopped considering them as an option.
Thinking about this, I lose interest. I back up and out of the checkpoint lane, turn around and leave.
Old Fort Townsend State Park . . . same deal. I love everything about Washington, except for this one gripe.
Okay, I’m done.
Nevertheless, it’s a fun day! I stop at a county park. Bridget and Spike are fascinated by the seashore aromas.
Boat scenes remind me of childhood trips to the Maine coast. Well, we’ve come a long way, baby . . .
After supper the crew and I walk over to Les’s campsite.
Les and I share some big laughs. You know, the kind where you double over and you can’t finish what you’re trying to say because you’re out of breath with laughter. What a great day . . .
Next post . . . The crew and I ride a ferry!
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