On Saturday we woke up in our car in a casino parking lot, and we went to bed in a tent in a real, honest to goodness camp site.
It took a few tries to get there; we spent the first few hours of the day driving from campground to campground, shaking our fists at the “full” signs and the classic Broncos we saw everywhere we went.
In the midst of our search we went back in to Florence to get breakfast at the Dunes Cafe. It was completely slammed, so we ended up sitting at a four seater bar at the front of the restaurant, and had a great time joking with the one server throughout our meal. She seemed stressed out about how busy it was, but she was super nice to us, and having such a good meal lifted our spirits, and we went back to the search.
We talked to a few hosts and attendants along the way, who all sadly shook their heads, and sent us packing with sad hulk music playing us out. One actually explained that he had a bunch of empty sites, but because they were reserved and paid for in advance, he couldn’t let us stay there, even if the erstwhile tenants didn’t show up. He was nice enough to offer to let use the showers they had, though, and even though we didn’t take him up on the offer it was really nice.
We decided to keep moving south along the coast from Florence, in the assumption that at the very least we’d get away from the Broncos, and eventually we turned in to a campground near tahkenitch lake, and found four sites that didn’t have “reserved” or “occupied” markers on them! Honest to goodness, available campsites!
Which you had to pay for in advance. In cash. That we didn’t have.
We hit the road again, going south to the next town to find an ATM. We stopped in at a gas station, but this town was so small that the gas station didn’t have an atm. They directed us to the one atm in the town, in the grocery store up the street, and we pulled out of their parking lot with cash in hand. Before going back to the sites we had found, we decided to check one more campground just outside of this town, because it looked like it was right on the beach. Sadly, all we saw of it was a “campground full” sign, before we turned back around and hightailed it to lake takeanitch.
The first spot we had scooped out earlier was already taken, but the others were still available, so we got park, paid in cash, and had our very own campsite!
It’s crazy how nice that sense of temporary ownership is after wandering for 24 hours.
We got things set up, and then set off on a 5-mile round trip hike to the beach, and sat around there for an hour, reading and dozing, before heading back to our cozy little home to heat up left over Abby’s pizza for lunch.
From there, it was a pretty standard camping experience… we lounged around, we read, we played Overcooked in the Switch, we listened to our neighbor threaten their child with “… or else I’ll beat your butt” about 84 times, we made marshmallows… you know, camping stuff!
And then, at the end of the night, we crawled in to our little tent, in an awesome nest of sleeping bags and blankets that my wife made, and we fell asleep.
We did it. We camped!