Aug 062010
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Leaving is always the hardest thing to do. Especially when you are leaving for a 10 day vacation in a 26′ travel trailer. We have found that rather than leaving in the morning, it is always best to leave the night before. It always takes an extra 2 hours to pack, so if you plan to leave town at 8am you never get out until 10, but if you plan to leave around 7pm you can get out of the house at 9pm, get a couple hundred miles down the road, and actually be on vacation the next morning.

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Multnomah Falls is a great place to stop for the night. After locking everything up we all crawled into bed around midnight. The train tracks are only about 40 yards away but if the train went by while we were there this year, I sure did not hear it. I was wakened at 6:30am by our little schnauzer, Fritz, who needed to do his business. I am so glad I forced myself out of bed and did not make the boys take him out. The air was clear, it was a gorgeous walk up to the falls, and I had the place to myself.

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After taking pictures of the falls, Fritz and I walked east along old Highway 30 and the train tracks. The sun was peaking around the mountain but I was not able to get a good photo of the sunrise. As we were walking I saw the train coming so I set up to take a picture of the train as it whizzed by. Well, the conductor had the last laugh. I was holding the camera to get just the right shot. The train had just reached me and the conductor blasted the train whistle. I must have jumped a foot and am sure the conductor was laughing all the way down the track.

When I got back to the trailer around 8am everyone was awake and we decided to hit the road and get breakfast and coffee in Wood Village, outside Portland where we had planned to make a pit stop anyway to visit Camping World.

Aug 102008

It is time for our annual Paulson family reunion in Ocean Park, Washington. Once again we decide to pack up the travel trailer and head out of town the evening before. Instead of trying to head out early the next morning, we have found it much better to leave the night before — no matter how late. There are always last minute things you remember that delay leaving town.

Boondock at Multnomah Falls

I left work early and got home at 5pm. After packing all my electronics and hooking up the trailer to the Expedition, I thought I was about ready to leave. Then my dear wife asked if I had packed my clothes. Finishing that, I remembered a project that needed to be done but I had postponed, but now could not wait for our return. That project took me at least a 1/2 hour to finish. I had hoped we would get out a little earlier but we were actually on the road at 8pm and did not have to turn around for anything (like we did last week).

We drove down the interstate and pulled into Hood River for gas. I expected to pay more for gas here since it was on the interstate and was the only open gas station in town, but it was actually $3.85 per gallon or about 30 cents cheaper than it had been at home just hours earlier. As we got going again on the road the thunderstorm we had been awed by in the distance moved directly over our path and we had a surround-sound laser light show, with lightning bolts visible overhead in the moon roof as well as all around. Then the hail hit and sheets of rain.

We finally drove out of the rain and started talking about where to spend the night since it was almost midnight. No reason to pay for a campground. We usually will look for a Wal-Mart or somesuch but I noticed the exit sign for Multnomah Falls. This parking area is interesting as it is actually in the highway median, with interstate traffic zipping by on both sides. We parked in the RV area of the parking lot and I walked around the parking area quickly to see if there were any signs prohibitting overnight parking. Seeing none, we got ready for bed, locked the doors, and fell asleep to the sound of trucks wizzing by at 60mph.

We forgot about the train. At about 1 a.m. there was this loud blast from a train horn right outside our window. Seems that since the train crosses the old highway at that point, it must sound its horn — and sound it does. Luckily I was either too tired or it did not go by again till about 6 in the morning. At 8 Brendan, Kyle, and I took the dog for a walk up the trail. We would not have enough time to go to the top of the falls but I would at least get my blood pumping and have a sweat going before 9 am. Back at the trailer we had some breakfast and were headed toward the beach! Yay!

Aug 182006

Leaving Home

We have found that getting out of town is sometimes the hardest thing to do. There is always one more thing that needs to be done and so you always leave 2 hours or more later than you planned.

To counter this we have started leaving the night before! We might get out late – and two hours later than we had planned – but it is still a day early. We might not even get very far. But the next morning there is nothing left to do but have breakfast and get back on the road.

KMart Kamping

Our annual trip to Washington’s Long Beach peninsula for our family reunion would be no different. At 330 miles, it is a long drive, especially when pulling a travel trailer and trying to keep the speedometer at 60mph so as to keep the miles-per-gallon above 8. We pulled out Thursday evening at about 8pm with an audio-book in the CD player for the kids.

I was getting tired by 10pm and so we decided to pull in to The Dalles and ‘boondock’ at the local K-Mart parking lot. Once again we were not alone. There were a number of 18-wheelers in the parking lot and a couple of RVs. We don’t pull out the slide when we are just over-nighting but I do jack up the tongue of the trailer to level us out a bit so that our beds are not ‘pointed down hill’.

I stayed up to for a bit to wind down while everyone else went to bed, excited to see cousins the next day.

Article Series - Vacation2006

  1. Vacation 2006 – Highway Boondocking
Jul 152006

Boondocking in The Dalles

We were headed to Portland last weekend to go camping (and attend my uncle’s funeral). We could wait and leave Saturday morning but decided that if we did we would not get down the road till late morning so it was better to get started out of town Friday night even though we could not get too far.

We had a couple of options that we discussed as we drove down the road. There are a couple of Oregon State parks along the route that would make a nice campground. All we needed, though, was some place to sleep so we decided that we would just pull in to the K-Mart parking lot in The Dalles. I had found a spot online that mentioned that both the K-Mart lot in The Dalles and the Wal-Mart in Hood River.

As we drove by the parking lot of the K-Mart in The Dalles, we saw that we would not be alone. There were 4 other trailers and motorhomes parked already. We did not unhook the trailer. The kids fixed themselves some popcorn in the microwave and then we all got to sleep right away, ready for a full day the next morning.