Sunday, 1/8/17: Harry is finally finished and ready to hit the road! I pack up my back pack, make sure I’ve got enough winter/water proof clothes to keep me warm if we get stranded, pack the fridge up with food and beer (the essentials) and prepare to leave.
Tuesday, 1/10/17: After a short, 48-ish hour trip, I can say with confidence that I had an AMAZING time. We hit the Olympic National Forest with the intent to do some dispersed camping in the woods. The drive was gorgeous, the van held up great and proved to be a trusty and toasty igloo, and the dogs — well, they tolerated. It was awesome, and I’m so glad I got to #optoutside if even for a short while.
This trip was however, a complete and utter disaster. We got stuck in snow at a campsite that was not open during winter, had to call AAA to get towed out (I’m still waiting for the bill here and am afraid to ask what it’s going to be), drove around for an hour until we found another snowy, deserted camping parking lot to sleep in and then caught a cold from the weather and previous efforts to push a van on our own. Driving, and camping when you’re sick is a lot less fun, so we decided to come home sooner than expected.
Here’s what I learned:
- Spontaneity is the spice of life! It is not, however, a spice you want while camping or road tripping. Plan accordingly (not my strong suit). Be sure to double check your camp site for weather/traffic advisories. And then have a plan B and plan C, just in case. Driving around when you’re tired and hungry looking for somewhere to park it is not a ton of fun. Plan accordingly so that you can enjoy your campsite!
- Hot meals make a huge, positive difference! Unfortunately, heating up meat and veggies in the ice and snow takes a lot of energy and burns a lot of fuel. Opt for pre-cut meat (like the diced kind you can buy for stews) and cut your veggies into teeny-tiny pieces. They’ll cook faster and save you propane.
- Being one with nature is a blessing. Peeing outside on an ice rink at 2 am is less enlightening. Go before you go to sleep, limit liquid consumption as night time approaches, and just to be safe, dig a hole in advance before the powder turns to ice or you risk, well, there’s no way to put this delicately: icy splash zone.
- Last, and most importantly, don’t get frustrated by ALL of the things that can, and will inevitably go wrong. It’s totally part of the experience. Rushing has an adverse effect. You can think your way out of must conundrums but the best approach is to plan ahead and prevent.