Goodbye, Portland!

Friday was full of last-minute packing, cleaning the house, and loading up for our trip. I woke up at around 6am and worked pretty much continually until we left the house at 6:15pm. It was that kind of day. Driving away was really a bit of a shock. I’ve been planning, making reservations, organizing, and buying stuff for this trip for a solid 9 months. And now this new baby is born, and there are suddenly a whole new bunch of stuff to do that’s totally different but equally demanding.

Our first stop was Crow Butte campground, which is in the Eastern Columbia Gorge, on the Washington side. It was chosen just out of convenience. Glacier is a big push from Portland, so we’d have to do it in three legs, and making this the short leg made sense, especially since we always have a hard time getting out of town.

Crow Butte is a pretty standard RV park. In fact, I think it’s in rules that you have to have an RV. They don’t want tent-only campers, although plenty of the RV people have tents for overflow people, and that’s perfectly fine. I’ve come to understand that there is a different culture in tent-camping and RV camping, and it goes beyond the equipment. In RV parks, people are squished together a lot tighter, and there’s a lot less “outdoors” in their outdoors, and there’s way more comfort items. Tent camping is much more rustic.

In a teardrop trailer, we’re in a weird in-between place between these two cultures. We don’t have most of the amenities of the RV world, but we’ve got a trailer with us that sometimes doesn’t work in tent-only spots. But we look a bit funny wedged in between huge RVs in an RV park.

We didn’t roll into Crow Butte until around 9:30. It was dark, and the campsite was full except for our little pull-through spot next to the Columbia River (or one of its channels, actually). A small sliver of moon hung above the hills on the other side of the water. We watched it slowly set as we made camp. Since we were only doing an overnight at this spot, we set up as little stuff as possible. Just the propane stove on the site’s picnic table in order to boil water for pouch beans and rice and a wash station for the dishes.

We discovered the place was full of (non-biting) bugs that swarmed when we turned on a light of any intensity. Gross. So we ate dinner and set up the kids’ tent mostly in the dark with a dim headlamp, although the bugs mostly disappeared after the first hour or so of darkness. The night was warm with a strong breeze, the stars above our heads were vast and bright, and we spent the first night of our trip comfortable and snug in our trailer.

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