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Westy Trip 2014 :: Week of Awesome Camping Fun!

August 27, 2014

For the past three summers we have been able to take some time to go on a long camping trip in our Westy. The first trip was 25 days and last year’s was 10 days. This year between Sam finishing up his program and a wonderful visit with family, we were only able to get a week, but it still managed to be a great, big adventure!

Day 1: After a long day of packing we loaded up  the van, the boys, the dogs, and headed up to the Grouse Ridge campground in the Tahoe National Forest. It was Sam’s birthday and we got to celebrate with a beautiful campsite and an amazing sunset!

Lesson learned: Always bring a tablecloth for special camping dinners.

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Day 2: We woke up to a cloudy and drizzly morning and walked up to the Grouse Ridge lookout which was built in the 1920s and used for 50 years as a fire lookout tower. The view was spectacular, if a little cloudy.

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We also managed a hike to Milk Lake before it started to rain…

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…and rain. We ended up spending most of the afternoon in the Westy playing cards, coloring, and listening to music and audiobooks.
Lesson learned: Having lunch and playing cards in the Westy is fun. Eating dinner with tired, dirty, hungry boys and dogs is not.

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Day 3: It rained a lot during the night but the morning was clear so we decided to go on a hike down to Downey Lake, a large clear lake, perfect for throwing rocks and listening to our echoes.

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We walked back to camp just in time for it to start raining so we quickly packed up camp and headed out with no real plan. After a long drive where we saw a bear but no great campsites, we finally ended up in Mendocino National Forest.
Lesson learned: Once Henry starts singing “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” by AC/DC he can’t stop. He might have a future career in Heavy Metal!

Day 4:  After packing up camp we headed farther into the Mendocino National Forest to Pillsbury Lake where we hung out all afternoon swimming and jumping into the lake. After all the rain the two previous days it felt so great to sit out in the hot sun!
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Lesson Learned: You can never have enough sunscreen!
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 Day 5: Glorious, hot day by the lake! We went for a walk, saw some elk, and spent the afternoon swimming at the lake and relaxing back at camp. It was such a hot day that the dogs were hiding in the shade whole time and by mid-afternoon so were we.
Lesson learned: No, that is not a cow screaming, it is an elk.

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 Day 6: After two hot days by the lake we were ready to move on. We packed up and headed out on a long and bumpy drive to the coast. We ended up camping at Manchester Beach State Park where it was a beautiful sunny afternoon, crisp but not too cold.
Lesson Learned: Always book ahead for campsites on the weekend!
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Day 7: We wanted to do one more night of camping, but every single campsite between the Mendocino Coast and home was booked up. It was definitely a bummer, lesson obviously not learned! We did have a chance to visit the Point Arena Lighthouse where you can climb to the top of the tallest Pacific Coast Lighthouse.
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 Man there were a lot of stairs! And one last romp at the beach before heading home:
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Lesson learned:  This trip felt a bit like a dog chasing its tail, going in circles from rain, to heat, to coast. We started up in the forest, but although it was beautiful it started to rain. When it got too wet we headed to a warmer spot. The lake was a perfect way to cool off, but after melting in the heat for two days it was time to move on. The coast was beautiful and crisp, not rainy, not hot, but by then we were wrapping up our trip.  I’m not sure if we ever found our sweet spot this summer, but we had some sweet moments. The boys love camping and had a great time playing and exploring. They did surprisingly well on all the long drives even when we didn’t know where we were going or when we were going to get to camp. They were more upset than we were that we could’t find one more place to camp.  The dogs had an absolute blast running around, checking everything out, and sleeping with us in our sleeping bags. We got to explore some areas that we never would have discovered and we had fun times and made good memories along the way. Where should we go next year?
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2014 10:23 PM

    Oh! You always make me want a Westy. What wonderful memories you are making with your boys.

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  1. Wrapping up another summer | Ducklings in a Row

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