September 17, 2017

Escape Road Trip - Day Seven

Our final morning at the Lynden KOA started with off with a bang. Literally. Shortly after 4:30 a.m. we heard what sounded like a loud gunshot. We both woke up and after fumbling around to turn on lights, we realized we were without power. The campground was pretty quiet, but Rod decided to head outside and see if anyone else had lost power. After chatting with one of our neighbors, we confirmed our second theory. It was not a gunshot, but rather a blown transformer. The entire campground was dark. We quickly decided it would be a good idea to head over to the showers before anyone else since the hot water wouldn't last very long once people started waking up. We gathered together all our shower gear and headed out. The sky was still very smoky from the British Columbia fires and it looked particularly eerie on this chilly morning.

Local power crews to the rescue! It took them a few hours to get things up and running again, but thankfully we were heading out after breakfast and weren't too concerned.

I think it was around 5:30 and not very many people were stirring. If I weren't in such a hurry to get a hot shower, I would have enjoyed just sitting by this lake.

So, after our showers (which were still pretty warm, but in dark shower rooms!), we returned to our campsite only to discover that it is possible to lock one's self out of a trailer! After pacing around the trailer, looking for an open window (and yanking on the front door multiple times, hoping for a miracle), we started to panic. How would we get in?! We couldn't drive back to Chilliwack for a spare key since our truck keys were inside the trailer, as were our passports. Nope. A return trip to Canada was out. We didn't dare break a window, not that we had any way of climbing up into one. We couldn't call AAA since our phones and wallets (with the required membership card) were inside. We really thought we were screwed. Until I got a bright idea. The hatch to the "basement" has an opening underneath the bed with two small doors that open into the galley. As luck would have it, someone accidentally left that hatch unlocked. Hmmm. Could I possibly fit?? There was only one way to find out, so we started moving things out onto the patio and made room for me to crawl through. 

Much to my surprise (and I wish I could have seen Rod's reaction), I was able to fit quite easily through the hatch and using an army crawl, made my way into the galley. What a relief!! We've learned our lesson and now wear the lanyards with a set of keys to the door & hatch, which were provided by Escape.

After that stressful wake-up call and lock-out, we were tempted to pour ourselves a neat bourbon, but opted for a nice, hot cup of coffee instead. 

Still pretty quiet around the campground, but we were happy to finally be heading out. The KOA was very nice, but we had no desire to hang around for the weekend. It was nice and quiet up until Friday afternoon, but I have a feeling it isn't quite as peaceful on a Saturday night.

So, off we went on our way to our next campsite in Cinebar, Washington. Due to the power outage we got a late start, so we were ready to pull off at the Smokey Point Rest Area just north of Marysville and Everett where we had a quick lunch in the trailer. Nice not to have to rely on fast food restaurants!

According to Google Maps, it's about 215 miles and a 3 hour and 46 minute drive. Obviously, pulling a trailer is not as fast as simply driving a car. Our tires are rated for a maximum of 65 mph, but driving on I-5 through Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia proved to be a bit of a challenge to even make it over 55. The traffic was awful. We're hoping to do more traveling via backroads and blacktops rather than on the interstates. It's not always about the destination, right?

The sky was pretty overcast and smoky as we drove past Lake Union and the Space Needle. 

Ah, finally a backroad! A backroad with a one-lane bridge. A very narrow one-lane bridge. 

Yes, I held my breath as I drove across. Thank goodness both the truck and trailer fit!

We arrived at our next campsite without any problems. According to the truck computer, we drove for five hours, but our actual time with stops was closer to six hours. So much for Google Maps' estimate! In any event, we made it. The Arboretum is a "dispersed" camp that we found on Hipcamp, which we only recently discovered and has proved to be quite a nice resource for finding unique places to camp. This particular site is located on a tree farm in Cinebar, Washington and is family owned. Our total cost was $20.70 for one night.

Park your trailer or RV in the arboretum on our Christmas tree farm. Beautiful view of the mountains and forests here in western Washington. Close to Mount St. Helens and Mt. Rainier and several lakes. Walking trails all around the site. Picnic table, firewood, fire pit and grill supplied. Property has a view of the Tilton River, which can be reached via a half mile trail. Water available on the farm within a half mile of the campsite. No restrooms. Self contained vehicles only. (from Hipcamp)

This is the gorgeous view that welcomed us from the main road. It looks like we left the smoky skies behind us.

The main house is behind the trees on the left and the barn is just barely visible.

We had a few minutes to relax while we waited for our host to greet us. It was nice to get out and stretch our legs and admire our beautiful little home.

We were greeted by our host, Terry Burres, who directed us to our private site. There are no hookups at the site, so this was our first experience of "dry camping." The Burres have done a nice job making this spot very comfortable for campers. There's an earthen stove for grilling, as well as a picnic table and benches and two comfortable chairs.

They also provided a big pile of firewood to use in their fire ring, but unfortunately with all the forest fires in the area, we were banned from having any open fires. 

This is our view to the south. You can see how dry it is!

Since we were there for just one night and didn't have anywhere we needed to be, we decided to keep the trailer hooked up to the truck. The awning helps to keep the trailer cool, but the sun was already falling below the trees, so it wasn't really necessary but we wanted to see how it would do if the wind picked up. It's got a setting to retract when the wind reaches a certain speed.

It was so nice to relax and have a drink after a fairly stressful drive. We both agreed that we could be very content spending more than just one night at this location.

Happy campers! Notice the lanyard around Rod's neck. :)

It was actually getting a little chilly as the sun went down.

We did a little exploring before dinner and found this pond, which is just on the other side of our camp site. We could hear fish jumping and there were lots of barn swallows flying about, catching bugs. It was simply lovely.

What's camping without a cast iron skillet?! We had a simple steak dinner with some veggies. Delicious!

After we ate, we decided to take a walk and explore the farm. In addition to the tree farm, the Burres have a pretty grape arbor and a large vegetable garden. We thought about walking down to the river, but it was starting to get dark, so we decided to skip it.

There's our cute little trailer, tucked in for the night.

This is the closest neighbor and while they were very quiet, their rooster crowed almost non-stop at dusk and dawn. However, I'll take that over a bunch of loud, drunk campers any day!

Here's another view of the trailer where you can see the Maxxfan and the small skylight/vent on the roof. Someday we'll add solar panels.

Life is good!

August 5, 2017
Lynden KOA, Washington to Bear Canyon West/Cinebar, Washington (Boondocking at The Arboretum)

Click on the photos for a larger view of the image.


  1. Getting locked out like that would have been very stressful! Thank heavens you were able to fit in that space.

    1. Kathy, it was pretty stressful to get locked out, but it all worked out in the end. Now we can laugh about it. :)

  2. Despite the lockout, your delight with this trip shines through. I'm very happy for you!

    1. JoAnn, it was a fun trip. Our 2-week adventure through the Olympic National Forest was even better. Now to blog about that trip (and sort through my 1,200+ photos!

  3. Back when my family was camping in the 1970's, KOA campgrounds were awful! They were all fairly new, most were sitting just off highways (which is handy but noisier than most places we stayed) and there were no trees because they'd cut them all down to build the places. They sure look nicer now! What do you do without power with your fridge and freezer?
    Your lockout dilemma is a good PSA for staying in shape!

    1. Lisa, this is how my husband remembers the KOA campgrounds of the '70s. I'd never been to one until this trip, but my folks said it was one of the nicer KOAs, so maybe they haven't changed all that much.

      We use propane to run the fridge/freezer when we're not hooked up to power.

      Yes, the lockout has encouraged me to try to keep in shape (and have a spare key on one of us at all times!). :)

  4. The view of that pond area is beautiful! You guys are having so many adventures. Thank you for taking us along!

    1. Iliana, I wish we could have spent more time sitting by the pond. It was so peaceful, especially in the morning.

      Glad you're enjoying the armchair adventure! There's more to come, once I get back into blogging. I think I'm finally caught up on laundry from our most recent trip.

  5. Wow! Your first 'adventure'! How cool!

    - Lisa

  6. Lisa, it was a fun adventure, to say the least!


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