Saturday, September 08, 2012

Dash Point

Camping has been a bit of challenge for us the last couple of years. First, just the sheer effort involved in preparing and going on a trip is at times too overwhelming. There seems to always been more than a few obstacles that make it difficult. One constant issue is my need for electricity. Not in the electric grandmother type of way, but for my CPAP breathing machine to make sure that I make it through the trip. This year, although it is a little late in the year, we decided to try using the utility sites offered at many of the state parks. Since we weren't sure how this was going to go we opted for a park we've been to before and for something close by; Dash Point.

We first visited this site back in 2003 when we were still living in Renton. It was really late in the season and much of the campground was closed, it rained and I don't think we got the full Dash Point experience.

This time around was different. The weather was great and the campground was full, which means there were other kids for Finley and Jade to play with. There is a really nice half mile hike down to the beach from within the campground. So we spent a fair amount of time both days at the beach, playing in the water and watching the osprey dive into Puget Sound and attempt to grab salmon. Sometimes they were successful, which is impressive to watch, and most of the time they were not which is actually a little more entertaining. Sometimes their eyes are bigger than their ability. We saw one osprey make a successful grab a giant salmon out of the water, but it was so large the bird could hardly hold onto the thrashing fish, eventually dropping it.

Of course there were fire roasted marshmallows. We continue to use our technique of placing the chocolate into the marshmallows prior to roasting. This makes for a nicely melted chocolate experience. Our family doesn't even bother with the graham crackers, they just fill you up and get in the way of eating more mallows and chocolate.

We can now officially brand Finn a firebug. Any chance he could get to throw something into the fire he'd take it. Watching the flames like a hawk he'd quickly suggest that he stoke the fire with an additional log if there was even the remote chance that the fire was starting to die down. There was also the flaming sticks. Placing the tip of a long stick into the fire and then quickly extinguishing it so that it would smoke. Of course there is really one one way thing to do with a smoking stick; swing it around and make all kinds of noises (I mean "sound effects"). These can range from a train, to a rocket, missile or newly forged sword. Being the extremely creative kid that he is this provided him with near endless entertainment. I think he would have been pretty happy if we had a fire going the entire time we were camping.

Did I mention that we were using a utility site? Well you are allowed to use a tent in these sites, which works for us, but they aren't really situated for one. Our tent it pretty big and has a slightly odd shape making placement a challenge in most sites. Site four at Dash Point was really tricky. We moved the picnic table twice, eventually returning it to its original spot and then proceeded to spend the next three nights sleeping at what can only be described as a obtuse angle. Actually only three of use got stuck on this slope, Christy and Finn were spared. The last night Christy did switch with me and laughed quite hard when she first laid down for the night.

Anyways, these utility sites come with both water and electricity. We brought 150 feet of extension cords along with us not knowing how far away the tent was going to be from the outlet. However, within minutes of getting setup I hear Christy say "we have an electrical problem". Now I know that I packed the extension cords, that couldn't possibly be the issue. I walk over and take a look. The outlet is a 30 amp plug, which is an large triangle shaped plug that looks nothing like a standard outlet and there is no hope of a standard plug fitting into. Sweet. Apparently RVs and motor homes don't use standard outlets. Foiled again. The lack of a sleeping aid and the extreme angular position made for a long couple of first nights, but I survived and good time was had by all.

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