Saturday, July 25, 2009

July 24, 2009 - Mountain Loop Highway Trip

We got a late start yesterday, as I (Mike) had to spend sometime at work before we could head out. When we finally got on the road, our goal was to find a camping spot close to my place of employment. We wanted to find a place where we could go out Thursday night and stay all weekend, and I could just commute from our campsite, as I have to work on Saturday and Sunday.

For our trip today, we headed north to Marysville, Washington, and then over to Arlington, Washington, where we took Hwy 530 to Darrington, Washington. We had a terrific lunch in Darrington at the Glacier Peak Cafe. We highly recommend this little cafe. We started our trek on the Mountain Loop Highway from right in the center of Darrington.


It was a beautiful drive, and we found several campgrounds that would serve our purpose. Some of them had campsites that backed right up to a river. The rates ranged from $14 to $20 a night. We made note of some of campsite numbers that we would want to reserve when the time comes. You will definitely want to make reservations before heading out for one of these campgrounds, as most of the campgrounds were already full on a Friday afternoon. There may not have been people in the sites yet, but all the sites were marked "Reserved".

The first campground we came to was Squire Creek Campground, a county park. There are many campgrounds on the Mountain Loop Highway. Some of the campgrounds that we checked out and decided were to our liking and appeared to have a low bug rating were, Gold Basin, Verlot, Turlo. And we made note of specific campsites within each of these campgrounds in the pictures that we took today.

On our way home, we discovered Lake Stevens. We are just amazed by the number of streams and lakes here in Washington. We are thoroughly enjoying out new home in Washington State. What a beautiful summer we are having. We loved Arizona, but we are so happy to be escaping the Arizona summer heat!

View our pictures for Mountain Loop Highway Trip

Friday, July 17, 2009

July 17, 2009 - Gold Bar, Washington

Mike had a severe cold last week that prevented us from going for our weekly trip. He has been back at work since Monday, but still feeling a little under the weather. So our trip this week was a short one. We had to go up to Everett, Washington, for a specialty item we needed. Then we headed out to look for a campground fairly close to Mike's work location. Our thought was that if we found something close by, we could go camping on our days off, and stay out over the weekend. If we were close enough to his place of employment, he could just commute from our campsite.

I don't know that we accomplished our goal, but we had a nice (short) drive. We drove up Hwy 2 to Gold Bar, Washington, and visited Wallace Falls State Park. The website for this park says that it rents cabins and has only two walk-in tent sites right off of the parking lot for the nearby trailhead. The location just did not appeal to us as a potential camp site. We are assuming that you can possibly pack in and camp at other locations (not sure). It is beautiful country, but it just wasn't suited to our camping style.

So we took a side road and ran across Gold Bar Nature Trails Camping Club (GBNT). It looked interesting, so we went in and registered for a tour with a salesman. The park is apparently about 35 years old and has about 1,200 sites. The only sites that are for sale now are member resales. There is no lake or stream within the park or on its borders, but the park has amenities such as a adult clubhouse and pool and a youth clubhouse and pool, baseball field and covered pavilion with full kitchen.

The sites all have metered electric hook ups, septic tanks and free water. It is a park with few restrictions on the rigs (which has advantages and disadvantages), and the owners can occupy the site for 9 months (270 days) out of the year. RVs may remain on the campsite year-round. However, they have one rather strange requirement, members themselves must vacate the premises once every thirty days for 24 hours, but their rigs can stay at the site. And you cannot have your mail delivered to the park. You must maintain a mailing address outside of the park, which could easily be accomplished by using a Mail Forwarding Service.

The sites and rigs are not as manicured as those parks we are used to seeing in Arizona, but the prices seemed extremely reasonable to us. One lot was priced at just $4,900. We were told that you do not actually own the land (the dirt) but the space above the ground. We were also told that the property is transferrable, and upon your death becomes part of your estate. You can have your rig, an Arizona Room, a Gazebo, and a shed on your lot. At any rate, it seemed like a very interesting place to us.

We thought this camp/park would be ideal for the typical snowbirds who go to Arizona to escape the northern winters. The main park that we are familiar with in Arizona was called Happy Trails, and I would guess that lots there start at around $60,000. Of course, there you really do own the ground, and there are monthly membership fees. At GBNT there is an annual membership fee of $940, which is invoiced quarterly. The park maintains the septic tanks and electrical lines, not the members. But for the price, what a great way for someone to escape the Arizona heat for several months out of the year.

After our tour, we headed back toward Gold Bar to get some lunch. We split a "Special" cheeseburger at Zeke's, which is located just east of Gold Bar. After lunch, we just decided to head towards home to try to catch up on our rest for the work week, in the hopes of kicking Mike's cold.

We look some pictures of the Camping Club that we will post when we get home. The GBNT website has a listing of the lots that are for sale, the listings include pictures of the lots. Some of the lots come with various improvements (shed, gazebo, park model or RV).

On our way home we also stopped in and checked out Snoqualmie River Campground & RV Park in Fall City, Washington. This is a very nice campground that is right on the river, and there is a beautiful golf course,Twin Rivers Golf Course, adjacent to the campground. We were told by the attendant that the campground closes on October 31st, due to frequent flooding of the river. However, their websites states that the park has has "limited services" from November to March. We are not really sure what that means. It was interesting to see how they elevate the electrical hookups.

Until next time we are out on the road . . . Happy Trails to you!

See pictures from our trip