Tag Archives: Mora Campground

Ocean Park Retreat

We have arrived!  In Ocean Park Retreat Methodist Camp, that is.  Outside is wall to wall blue sky and full sunshine, the first day like this we’ve seen in  a week or two.  There’s a nice soft breeze with 61 degrees outside.  We have every window open an inch and both roof vents wide open, and the inside temp is a very comfortable 76 degrees.

Jim told you wrongly yesterday when he said we weren’t going to have a campfire before we left Mora Campground in Olympic National Park.  As we were walking before supper, we agreed the weather had lightened up a little and we would both enjoy a little fire.  Jim split some kindling, Deb laid and lit the fire, and we had a roaring fire before it started raining again.

The fire was so nice we pulled out our chairs and enjoyed the warm dancing flames.  Then we realized, this could be our last campfire of 2010 unless we stop in a national or state park on one of our remaining long-distance drives.  We’ll have a two or three-day trip from here to Boise at the end of the month, a three-day trip to Mesa mid-October, and that’s it for 2010.

So we made the most of last night’s fire.  We had reserved one small bundle of dry hemlock (of three we had purchased) and had scavenged leftover wood from departed campers’ fire rings over the past week.  With plenty of wood we quickly had a hot fire.  It was so nice Deb suggested we eat by the fire.

Jim grilled a nice marinated chicken breast and Deb made a wonderful avocado, tomato, and romaine and leaf lettuce salad.  Just as we finished eating the rain started falling more steadily.  Deb grabbed an umbrella and we stuck it out for a couple of hours, staying very warm and dry despite the outside temperature around 50 (and really wet).  It was nice, and if we don’t have another for awhile this one will serve as the right campfire memory.

Ocean Park Retreat (OPR) is an 80 acre campus a mile north of Ocean Park, Washington, on the peninsula west of Willapa Bay, sort of opposite and south of Aberdeen on the east side of the bay.  Oysterville is just north of OPR, and we hope we will be able to take advantage of these great sea treats.

We are here for a three-week work assignment with NOMADS, a bunch of RVers willing to serve with time and talents in various host sites across the country and beyond.  Some might be full-timers, two other couples here aren’t.  Folks typically sign on for a three-week assignment or can work as drop-ins where a church or camp requests the help.

Three other NOMADS couples already are here and were at work when we arrived today.  They have been staining the exterior of a large building at OPR and we’ll start helping with this tomorrow morning.  From the looks of the building we might do nothing else for at least a couple of weeks.  Whatever the tasks, we’re here to help and to get to know the other NOMADS.

We’ll have time to explore, including trails and 2,000 feet of seashore in the Camp, and we’ll try to find our way all up and down the peninsula.  Two years ago we stayed a couple of days in a small campground in Ocean Park and toured a little.  We’re allowed three days off each week for our three week stay, so we should have plenty of time to thoroughly find our way around.

Just a short post to update our location and, more significantly, our weather!  It’s nice to have an entire afternoon of bright sunshine.  Maybe we’ll see more of the sunshine and blue skies, we’re due for it.  And Ocean Park Retreat seems like a great place, both for volunteering and for enjoying the weather.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

Of course it’s raining!

Yesterday was so fair and mild we lapsed into expecting more of the same for today, even through last night’s persistent drizzle.   The area gets between 100 and 150 inches of rainfall annually, so odds on it should rain at least a couple of times in our week here.

The rain started yesterday late afternoon and didn’t let up until almost 2pm today.  Now, after 4pm, rain is cranking up again.  Nothing torrential, just a fine continuous drizzle into the trees above.  We’ll get a huge droplet every few minutes from the branches, PLOMP on the skylight.

We set our alarm clock again last night, thinking we would arise early today and make it to Rialto Beach for morning low tide.  The rain was especially noisy at alarm time so we cancelled plans and rolled over to enjoy another hour of sleep we probably didn’t need.

Last night’s Ranger program was artfully presented by Ian, another NPS Interpretive Ranger.  He served in the Marines (“another form of camping”, he said) and has served as seasonal NPS staff five years.

We didn’t ask but might guess he teaches during the non-summer months.  His presentation on Olympic National Park (ONP) geology was dynamic, professional, and engaging.

Ian described the difference between three other ranges and the Olympic Mountains (only the Olympics are non-volcanic).  He explained the Olympic Mountains are home to 266 glaciers compared to 322 glaciers in the Cascade Mountains.  And pointed out Mt Rainier, with only 26 glaciers, has more glacial mass than does all the combined glaciers in the Cascades.

He demonstrated to us the plate tectonics involved in pushing up the Olympics and forming the Pacific coast, as well as examining links between geology and Native American lore.  Stories almost 3 centuries old are scientifically supported by geologic evidence found in Washington.

We enjoyed Ian’s talk and are glad he had a large turnout.  The rain had intensified just before his scheduled program and so we started departing for our dry home.  But we encountered several couples on their way into the amphitheatre and decided, “what the heck, we can weather it too.”

Our rain jackets and hoods kept our shirts and fleeces dry.  We should have worn rain pants or carried some sort of tarp.  Hey, an umbrella would’ve worked just fine.

This morning our clothes and jackets were dry and everything outside is soggy and puddly.  We have one small bundle of firewood remaining and aren’t likely to try burning it this afternoon.  Just not worth it when it’s still raining and we don’t have a rainfly (the awning faces away from the fire ring).

Perhaps the best question we fielded at our full-timing seminars this summer was about moisture control in the Airstream.  Moisture is easy to generate and trap in a trailer.  And it isn’t easy to remove, ‘specially when humidity is in the 90s.

Our answer to the person in the seminar was, try to prevent moisture build-up.  We are careful to exhaust air from the trailer anytime we are showering or boiling water.  The catalytic heater, the stove, or the oven all demand continuous fresh air and, at least, gravity venting.

The fresh air is REQUIRED for replacing depleted oxygen.  And fresh air helps support an air current to exhaust additional moisture from cooking or showering.  Have you ever entered someone’s camper when they have been heating with a portable catalytic heater without venting?

Even if out-of-doors is really moist, when I step into their camper it feels like a sauna to me.  Propane, when burned in a direct-fire like a catalytic heater, releases a lot of water into the air.  If we don’t vent it, it collects inside the camper.

If humidity is high enough then air cannot hold moisture in suspension and you see condensing moisture, the wetness on surfaces like the windows and sometimes walls.  The relationship between humidity and air temperature is aptly described as dewpoint, which describes at what temperature the water will condense.

Condensing moisture in our camper can create dripping water down the windows and even into the walls.  If we wet inside the walls our insulation will get wet and we have no ready means to remove that moisture.  Result?  High likelihood of mold formation within 72 hours or less.

Our best approach is to prevent moisture accumulations in our Airstream.  Rain or shine and unless we are running the air conditioner (not often this summer) we always keep a window open and the rear roof vent open a few inches.  Our Maxxair Fanmate allows us to keep the rear Fantastic Fan open continuously when we’re parked.  It completely covers and overhangs the Fantastic Fan so rain, even heavy downpours, rarely causes the Fantastic Fan to trip its automatic rain closing cycle.

Today our windows’ inside surfaces have been lightly fogged at times.  The indoor air feels damp — no, it IS damp.  But we’re dry and warm, batteries are good, heat is on.  No campfire, no plans to cook out tonight.  A walk outside after dinner and we’ll be in for the night.  We’re already packed up for our 200 mile trip tomorrow to Ocean Park, Washington.

We wouldn’t have been surprised to have fewer nice days than we have.  But isn’t it lucky the weather has been so fair some of the time, so we had good lighting for yesterday’s marine life pictures?

Of course it rains a lot here.   It feels right to find rain in and around a rain forest.  The Hoh Rain Forest was wet and wonderful.  The sunny morning at 2nd Beach was a nice surprise.  Another time we can visit Rialto Beach and 3rd Beach.

Mora Campground in the ONP is a keeper.  The rate (this year) is only $12 per night.  The comfort stations sport flush toilets (although no showers).  The sites are nicely spaced and are uniformly well-graded and pretty.  And there’s a dump station.  We’re close enough to LaPush and Forks, far enough from any highways, close to three rivers and four beaches.

This has been a great visit and again we leave ourselves something to come back for.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

How we found Twilight at Forks

Plomp, plomp, tick, tick tick, tick, plomp.  Rain sprinkles down from the trees, high above, with small drops sounding like individual loud ticks.  Then a couple of tom-tom drum beats sound, as a drops hit the skylight above our living room.

We packed up camp the night before leaving Sol Duc, expecting rain after midnight.  Rain drops on our Airstream’s roof woke us at 12:40 a.m.  Pretty sharp forecasters, these NOAA guys.  It seemed to sprinkle, off and on, all night and by 9:00 this morning had almost stopped.  Nice to hitch up without a lot of rain.

Hitching the trailer took minutes, we’d already moved the hitch head to the truck’s receiver before going to bed.  This morning we only backed the truck to the trailer until the ball hit the back of our Quickbite coupler and the coupler automatically snapped shut and locked.

No one’s offered a way to automatically connect the 7-way power plug, the safety chains, and the breakaway cable.  Bluetooth might someday work for the 7-way, but there’s just no good substitute for the heavy-duty connection of a big pair of safety chains.  Who wants to look back and see their trailer crossing lanes by itself?

Our drive was very short, no more than 55 miles between Sol Duc Hot Springs and Mora campground near La Push (originally La Bouche, French for the mouth, apparently referring to the river’s mouth at the ocean).  Mora campground is in the Olympic National Park, is well distant from highways, and full of tall trees.

We’re fifty yards from a comfort station, just right for keeping our black waste tank empty for days and days.  We have no hookups for the trailer and no appreciable solar exposure for the photovoltaic panels.  We’re only paying $12 per night, approx 1/3 what we paid at Sol Duc for water and electric.  And both campgrounds charge an additional $5 if we empty our tanks at the dump station.

Nice campsite at Mora in ONP

Part of our setup included connecting (but not starting or running) our generator to the trailer.  We love not using it.  The campground is nearly vacant today.  it’s the end of Labor Day weekend and besides, not everyone wants to camp in the park on a rainy day.

Why spoil the majestic solitude and quiet of this old forest with our noisy generator if we can conserve our batteries for essential uses for at least three days?  We’ll use the generator to recharge the laptops when we need to, but are happy to avoid running it.

Daily high temperature at Mora are 55 degrees, and we’re sitting at 71 in the Airstream after running our Wave6 catalytic heater a little over two hours.  Two weeks ago we met a veteran Airstreamer, a Boeing retired engineer, who claims he could never use or recommend a catalytic heater after having opened a trailer’s door and finding four people dead inside from anoxia.

We didn’t ask, but perhaps could have asked, him if he practiced and believed in good engineering practice.  Surely he would have answered, “yes”.  The only safe way to use any heater inside a home or RV is to follow manufacturer’s recommendations.  And monitoring for any malfunction of the heater is necessary and, we think, requires we only burn this heater when we’re alert and awake.  Naptime or bedtime?  Off goes the heater, completely off.

A direct-fired heater (as opposed to the RV furnace, which is separated combustion heat exchanger) like a catalytic requires, the manufacturer points out, a minimum of 24 square inches of free air intake (a low window at one end of the trailer) and 24 square inches of free air outlet (a roof vent or high window at the opposite end of the trailer).

Jim continues, at low but persistent measure, campaigning for a floor intake vent installed under the catalytic heater’s location or under the Airstream’s L-sofa with a low transfer vent louver to direct the air into the cabin.  How cool would this be, not requiring any window opening?

And the cabin would always have a nice amount of free ventilation from the coolest point outside (under the trailer). Oh well, back to reality — the gravity floor vent is a fun project idea but not something we agree on, for now.  We have a few other projects already agreed upon and just awaiting certain resources (time, money, tools, sources for materials).

The rainy days incline us to play board games (no, not bored games, we really like these), catch up on our current cache of magazine subscriptions, drink pots of tea, and nap a little.  And we’re walking daily, rain or shine.  We’ve explored Rialto Beach, La Push, Forks, and Bogachiel State Park.  Hoh Rain Forest we’ve saved for Saturday, rain or not.  Rain is good, in good measure.

not Bella's truck, but same model

The Olympic Peninsula Visitors Guide we picked up locally features a lot of stuff about some book and television series named Twilight.  Upon our drive into Forks we were less surprised, then, to find stores and signs everywhere with Twilight advertising on them.

Lumber has long been the product from Forks and finally they have another and more unique one, they are home to Bella, Edward, and Jacob.  Our good  timing allows us to be in Forks the very weekend they are celebrating Stephenie Meyer Day, in honor of all she’s done to excite the local economy.

We bought three bundles of firewood yesterday.  Maybe we’ll stay at Mora this weekend, avoid as many vampires as we can.  I’m going outside now to build a big bright campfire.  We hope it works!

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr