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Olympic Peninsula, WA: Travel Amnesia & the Frailty of Man

Posted on Posted in Our Story

Coming home from Victoria we hitch back up to our house on wheels.  And we have to jump around a few spots.  Still dealing with the lack of camp-spot availability due to the summer crowds.

We stay one night in Dungeness Park.  Another couple nights at a KOA.  And then some other park, Belfair State Park.

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We also got to visit Olympic National Park.  Which is one of the places I am most looking forward to seeing (Arcadia, Channel Islands and Glacier – which we already visited – are the others).  We only went for the day.  But we took a killer hike to a waterfall and got some epic pictures to always remember our visit.

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I am starting to get travel amnesia.  It’s one of the reasons I am doing my best to stay disciplined with writing.  I have trickles and drips of memories.  And even just a few months into this journey, I am forgetting what belongs where.  When people ask where I am this week, I pause, often confused as I am not sure.

And when Char and I reflect on where we were the last couple weeks, we start stringing together different places and sites mixing up times and states.   I guess it’s not the worst problem to have.  Hoping between my writing and Char’s photography we can always piece it all back together.  If not, Bella has the best memory of us all and corrects us all the time.

One thing I have found very interesting is the adjusting to a way of life where the “essentials” do not come in unlimited supply.

Growing up I never thought about power or water or anything like that.  We always had it.  We could use as much as we wanted.  And there was no fear or possibility of it ever running out.

On the road, things are quite different.  From the start, we have had to learn that there are FOUR things you may not always have in unlimited supply (or at all for that matter).  Fresh water, sewer, power and internet.

Let me break it down for you.  Fresh water… that’s one tank you have.  Ours holds 54 gallons.  When you are at a site with city water, your tank doesn’t matter.  When you don’t have city water, 54 gallons is all you have for all your cooking, washing and bathing.  At least until your next fill up.

You would think fresh water would be the bottleneck when boon-docking or “dry-camping”.  Aka no hookups.  But fresh water has not been the limiting factor for us.  It’s been sewer.  Specifically we have a black tank (37 gallons, everything you flush) and gray tank (39 gallons, all your used sink and shower water).  It’s always the gray tank we run out of space.  When you do, you have to go find a sewer to empty your tanks.

Then there is power.  In a site with hookups you get 30 or 50 amp.  30 amp will get you everything, except no AC.  Without power hookup, we have 240 watts of solar.  It’s not a ton.  But we can make it work.  Provided we are collecting power.  Which isn’t always the case.  Cloudy day… no power.   Shaded parking spot… no power.

Last but not least, is internet.  A lot of state parks and RV sites have internet.  But we have rarely found one that has a good enough signal to do anything than check one page.  This means we’re relying on our 4G Verizon Box.  Which works great, when we are in the 4G coverage zone.  And there are a lot of dead zones, entire regions.  Especially around national parks.

Ideally, we love getting full hookups.  This means we have it all.  Power, sewer hooks ups, internet and all the fresh water you can drink.  But it’s not always the case.  There are all sorts of combinations of missing components.  Usually it the variations look like this:

  • Full hookups
  • Water and electric only
  • Water only
  • Nothing

And of course, those variations come with all other twists of good to poor internet.

As we were hopping around a lot of spots in Washington, I come to realize something.  We were in spot with full hookups.  All the Netflix and Hulu we can watch.  And we start to find ourselves getting bored.

“What should we watch tonight, hun?”

“I don’t know, whatever you want…”

Then we go to another spot and we have no internet.  Suddenly we desperately miss the internet.  What we would give to have the glorious, vast array of viewing options we had just a night ago.  Guess we will have to watch one of our 10 DVD’s we fit into our little house on wheels.  How many times can you watch Nacho Libre or the Truman Show?  I don’t know we are about to find out (bitterness setting in).

Next, we end up at a spot with no electric.  And it’s cloudy.  What’s this mean?  Come night time, we check our battery stores.  And we don’t have enough electric to even watch a DVD!  Oh, what we would give to have enough power to just watch one of our favorite top 10 movies (the same movies were resenting the night before).

It’s no different with water.  We have full-hookups.  Full sewer.  All the water and showers we want.  But hot water tank isn’t that big.  So showers can’t be that long.  Grrr… resentment setting in.  And then we’re off grid again.  Gray tank limited. Washing hands and taking showers while watching a little meter.  Hoping we don’t fill the tanks too soon or we’ll have to hitch up our entire trailer and go find a place to empty our tanks.

We’re never as happy as we can be with what we have.  And only tend to appreciate things once they are gone.

For now, I for one am glad for the challenge.  I am glad that I, my wife and especially my kids are learning that you don’t always have unlimited water, sewer, power and internet… and yet, life goes on.  We conserve what we have.  And we make the best of what we’ve been given.

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One thought on “Olympic Peninsula, WA: Travel Amnesia & the Frailty of Man

  1. Sounds like the best lesson ever learned. This trip is such a gift, on so many levels. Yay for y’all.
    Really…yay for you dear & wonderful people.

    Lord help ME make the best of what I’ve been given.

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