Posts Tagged ‘campgrounds’

Amnicon Falls, Courtesy of Expensive/Sold-Out Hotels Everywhere (Day 57)

September 15th, 2009 2 comments

I meant to stay the night in Duluth, but the Super 8 wanted $70 for a smoking room and the Motel 6 wouldn’t answer their phone. So I drove across the river to Superior, where cheap roadside motels were plentiful. But, despite all of them broadcasting “Vacancy” in red neon, none of them had rooms. Supposedly. I guess I could’ve shaved. Oh well.

So I drove on to the first campground in Wisconsin. It stays warmer at night in states where they have > 0% humidity it turns out. And where you’re below 7,000 feet elevation. It was dark when I got there. Slept pretty well. And when I woke up, the campground had waterfalls.

It probably had them when I went to sleep, too, but I have no evidence of this.

amicon-falls_with-bridgeThe pool is brown from the tannins!

Nice privacy in the campground — especially when only three of 30 campsites are taken. A little expensive for an out-of-stater ($22), though it wasn’t much cheaper for in-state ($16?). Ah well. Cheaper than $70 and less smoky, plus it got me closer to my next scheduled stop in Michigan than I would’ve been otherwise. Hooray Amnicon!

And then I left.

Went to a Country Kitchen restaurant, though, which had spectacular pancakes.


Legion Lake Campground at Custer State Park

September 7th, 2009 No comments

Stayed at this campground for a couple nights. It’s noteworthy because only five of the 15 sites have trees anywhere near them, otherwise you’re just camping on grass next to your neighbor who is also camping on grass. Also noteworthy for being overrun with bison.

legion-lake_campgroundThis bison guards the bathroom. And the photo reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns buys the Count Chocula cereal because the picture on the box looks like him.

legion-lake_campground-bisonFortunately, I got a site next to a tree, which offered some protection from the raging herd.

The campsite cost $20/night, but on the plus side the bathrooms have showers in them — you just have to fight through the bison before you can use them (and believe me, once you’ve wrestled a few bison, you *need* a shower).


FYI, Camper: This Is What a Bear Looks Like

August 31st, 2009 4 comments

You’re in J-353, Loop J. Just follow the main road until you get to Loop J, then turn left. Here are the bathrooms (circles map), you can go to the site right now, check-out is at noon. We have bears in Yellowstone, so there are a number of rules (circles bullet-pointed rules), so don’t leave any food out, any toiletries, trash, soap, otherwise the bears will come and if they become a problem, they may have to be killed (circles picture of bear).


I just wonder whether she circled the bear because she didn’t think I knew what one looked like, or if it was just for emphasis. Either way, it was dramatic.


Best of the West Coast: Other Stuff

August 22nd, 2009 2 comments

Since no one demanded it, I’m providing it.

Best West Coast Campgrounds

  1. Island Campground, Rogue-Umpqua (Day 16) – Riverside campsite, no mosquitoes, decent privacy, the sound of rushing water putting you to sleep…
  2. La Wiss Wiss Campground, Mt. Rainier (Days 24-25) – Riverside campsite (fine, you had to go down a trail), few mosquitoes, decent privacy, and the sound of rushing water to… A little less private than Island, quite a bit bigger, which is why it’s #2 instead of #1, despite the benefit of providing potable water.
  3. Dalles Campground, Mt. Rainier (Day 23) – Mt. Rainier has good campgrounds. For that matter, so far, everywhere that isn’t California has good campgrounds.

Worst campgrounds: Odessa in Oregon (although I shouldn’t complain about a campground that costs $0, it was pretty divey and there was no concierge service); Plaskett Creek at Big Sur (*no* privacy, no apparent understanding of boundaries by the people staying there, relatively loud, pretty crowded, $25/night).

Best West Coast Geographic Features

  1. Waterfalls.
  2. Peaks.
  3. Rivers.

Best West Coast Restaurant Food (I haven’t been trying to eat in great restaurants or anything, just — you know)

  1. Mi Chalateca, Federal Way (Day 30)
  2. That Peruvian place in San Francisco, San Francisco (Day 5)
  3. Round Table Pizza, South Lake Tahoe (Day 11) – All you can eat for $5.99!

Best West Coast Mountain

  1. Mt. Rainier
  2. Mt. Shuksan
  3. Mt. Thielsen

Best West Coast Waterfall

  1. Tunnel Falls, Columbia Gorge (Day 19) – They should blast tunnels behind *every* waterfall. Plus it was very pretty.
  2. Nevada Fallsf, Yosemite (Day 10) – Probably the most angry waterfall I’ve seen in my life.
  3. Fall Creek Falls, Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway (Day 17) – Like I sort of said yesterday, it reminded me of a secret waterfall you’d find on Kauai, only it was in Oregon.

Meh. Good enough.


Camping on the White River (Day 23)

August 6th, 2009 1 comment

By Monday my stomach was mostly done gurgling, so I headed back out toward Mt. Rainier. I’ve driven (or more frequently been driven) out that way many, many times in my life, a lot of them on the way to go skiing at Crystal Mountain when I was a kid. Always wanted to spend some quality time with the White River that flows along the highway and thus took the opportunity.

It’s prose like that that keeps you coming back to the site. Admit it.


white riverIt’s more dishwater-brown than white, but you can kind of see what they were getting at. The sand on the beach to the left there is made of glacier silt and very, very soft.

white river tree collectionThe river collects trees like a person might collect, I dunno, antique rifles?

douglas fir 700-years-oldThe Dalles Campground includes this 700-year-old douglas fir tree.

dalles campground viewThe view out the back of my living quarters as the sun goes down. It’s kind of cool falling asleep to the sound of a river just outside your truck window.

Some day I’m going to put together a review of campgrounds I’ve visited. The Dalles campground will probably fare well. It cost $18 for this “premium campsite” (premium because it backed up to the river), which was $2 more than the other campsites. But the vault toilet was well-tended and smelled all right, it wasn’t too big a campground to start with, weren’t many neighbors, and the bugs didn’t seem to like being there.


Kelty Meadow Campground, Sierra National Forest, Near (?!) Yosemite

July 22nd, 2009 4 comments

Check out the in-campground wildlife!

Good (we’re talking about the campground here):

  • Only nine campsites.
  • Pretty Good Privacy (although, honestly, encryption was lacking)
  • A lot of shade and trees.
  • Near at least one fun, short hike.

Bad (also the campground):

  • No dog fights (I should probably do a write-up on my Big Sur campground…).
  • No cops coming after drunks from Fontana.
  • So much shade that my solar hot water heater had no chance.
  • NOT VERY CLOSE TO YOSEMITE!!! — problematic in that I chose the site due to its (apparent) proximity to the park. Bad call. Hour and forty-five to the valley, including a half-hour drive to get to the campsite from Hwy. 49, a four-wheeled slog that I’ll be having nightmares about for weeks.

I probably won’t have nightmares about the drive. But it was a pain, especially when the sun was setting and therefore in your eyes. And the campground is way too far away from Yosemite to use it as a homebase for a park visit. It’d be a good place to stay if you’re from the Bay Area or something and just want an overnighter in a woodsy place near an easy hike, though. Which doesn’t describe my use of it: ah well.


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