Monthly Archives: June 2014

2014 Mid-Year Budget Report

Campground review: Chehalis, WA Thousand Trails

PHOTO_20140617_110443.jpg One might consider Chehalis Thousand Trails the “double your pleasure” campground. There are two big pools – family and adult-only, two activity centers – again family and adult-only (plus WiFi in each), and two big mountains to see from different vantage points in the campground – Rainier and St Helens.

The campground itself is about 20 minutes east of Chehalis and about 15 minutes from the interstate. It feels quite rural. Both Mt Ranier and Mt St Helens are reasonable and rewarding day trips.

PHOTO_20140616_174617.jpg Sections F and especially G are popular with the big rigs. This is at the top of the hill and is a bit more open than the other areas of this big park. There are some full hook up sites in these sections and scattered around other areas of the campground but be aware that, like most Thousand Trails, sites are being sold to annuals and they like having sewer hookups. When we came in on an early Monday afternoon we found only one full hook up site available. Many of the sites in this area have enough of a view of the southern sky to get satellite TV. Unfortunately for us, we had to decide whether we wanted sewer or satellite. Since we were staying a week and a half we opted to forgo satellite TV for our second campground in a row. Our 4G Verizon internet, though, was excellent.

By and large the facilities here are well cared for. The pools are very nice although we found the adult pool rather cold (they made up for it by having the spa so hot that we could only take it about 10 minutes!). We tried the mini-golf which could be one of the better ones we’ve seen at a Thousand Trails but, sorry to say, it is in great need of TLC.

PHOTO_20140620_193632.jpg There’s a laundry, game room, and store. We enjoyed some good ice cream – and at no charge, a special beginning of summer treat courtesy of the campground. We also walked a very short trail to visit the little chapel, nestled in the forest.

Chehalis is the very first Thousand Trails and one can’t help but wish all the Thousand Trails offered the camping experience it does. While we saw things that need attention (for instance, one section is closed to all but small campers and tents due to electric problems) we would rate Chehalis as one of the better Thousand Trails we’ve visited thus far and look forward to returning in the future.

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2014 Coupville Washington Library

Coupeville Public Library

Coupeville, WA 98239-0745

Coupeville Public Library http://www.sno-isle.org/locations/coupeville/ is part of the SNO-ISLE Libraries serving Snohomish and Island counties.

This lovely library in Coupeville has several displays set up to encourage reading by all ages. The building is inviting with places to set and read, public access to the internet and many windows giving it an open feeling. What caught my eye was the beautiful arch over the entrance to the children’s department and the Large Print collection near the reading area. The Friends of the Library have a book sale area near the entrance.

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Mt Rainier – Mt St Helens and area

This is such a lovely area in the state of Washington. Our campground is near Chehalis, a friendly town with all the amenities needed for a pleasant stay. The town is well marked so it is easy to find the Post Office and other major buildings. Walmart and other shopping can be found along the freeway but we found a couple of other shops we enjoyed. One of the unique places called Yardbirds is an indoor flea market. Walking around we saw antiques, used books, old stuff, old electronic gear like reel to reel tape recorders, and craft booths. There are several vegetable and fruit stands open for those who want to shop there. I purchased some cherries that were very good.

100_2948.JPG We visited 2 major parks. We had a beautiful, sunny day for our visit to Mount Rainier. Upon arrival there is a $15.00 entrance fee per car unless you have one of the many passes available. There are many pullovers and places to stop and enjoy the park. We chose to walk around the Wilderness Information Center with it’s historical buildings and lodge/restaurant and gift shop. Setting on the porch of the lodge provided one of many spectacular views of Rainier. The river running alongside the road has several wonderful waterfalls. We enjoyed seeing all the snow at the visitors center as well as the easy hike we took to the Grove of the Patriarchs where some amazingly huge trees are still growing. We had a very nice day enjoying God’s Creation.

P6239572.JPG Another great trip was to Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument. Again we had a mostly clear and sunny day. We stopped at the Weyerhaeyser visitor Center before we entered the National Monument. There are many exhibits explaining how they come in after the eruption to reclaim their lands and replant trees for future harvesting and use. We also stopped at a bridge that had been destroyed by the force and debris of the 1980 eruption. This bridge was quite a distance from the volcano eruption.

P6239576.JPG In the National Monument we visited the Johnson Visitors Center. There are displays, movies to watch about the eruption/blast, and Ranger talks. The view is spectacular from the Center and the trails nearby. After we watched the movie we walked from the visitors center up a paved trail to several overlooks of the volcano as well as views of the devastation that is just now, after 34 years starting to recover. At one point a volunteer had set up his telescope and showed a small herd of elk in the valley far below. There were a variety of wildflowers growing which give color and contrast to the overall grey left by the blast. It was and educational and fun day although I admit it left me a little leg weary at the end of it all. These are places I would come to again if we come back to this area.

We’ve enjoyed our “mountain themed” stay here near Chelalis, WA.

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2014 La Conner and surrounding area

IMG_2458.JPG Our campground for this stay is near La Conner, WA – an area filled with interesting things to see and do. La Conner, itself features a beautiful Rainbow Bridge which we crossed on the way into town. This is a nice town set up for tourism. The walkway along the river has shops and restaurants with a view. There are many other attractions in town. Pioneer Park, named in honor of Lousia A. Conner is a day use park on the edge of town near the river. Be sure to check out the trail that goes under the bridge.

PHOTO_20140607_132349.jpg Saturday we attended the Anacortes Waterfront Festival which featured a variety of food and craft booths along the riverfront with ongoing music. There was a Corvette show going on and we enjoyed looking at all the beautiful cars. The waterfront theme was taken seriously: the local Kiwanis had boat kits they were giving to the children. There was a place to assemble and sail the boats. The adults as well as the children were having fun. Not too far away a full size boat building competition was taking place. The builders would take them out onto the water and race them the next day. People were encouraged to pick their favorite team to win. Nearby was the Saturday Farmers’ Market where we bought local cheese and fresh bread for lunch. The town itself has a variety of shops with something for everyone.

PHOTO_20140608_132412.jpg After attending church on Sunday morning we purchased Subway sandwiches and went to Campbell park where we drove the loop road. We stopped at an overlook and enjoyed our meal then continued on around to another overlook where we had an enjoyable time on Face Time talking with family and letting them see some of the wonderful view.

Monday we drove to La Conner to check the mail and then took a farm road and followed directions on the sign advertizing strawberries for sale. We followed the road to a farm house with a fruit stand. There is a sign directing shoppers to put their money in the red box. We followed directions and then enjoyed some excellent, fresh strawberries for a few days.

PHOTO_20140610_100356.jpg Another fun trip was our Ferry ride to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We parked in the lot and walked onto the ferry. Our hour ride was enjoyable with beautiful scenery to watch as the ferry took us through the Islands to the town of Friday Harbor. This is a friendly town that mixes tourism with everyday life. We found a bakery and had coffee and scones. Cell service was excellent so we took time to update our email and Facebook. One of the attractions is the Whale Museum — a very educational stop for a family. There are several whale skeletons for viewing as well as videos and posters showing the various Orcas and their markings. Several places in town offer whale tours if that is what you are looking for.

100_2924.JPG Another day we drove to Whitbey Island. We stopped to look at the bridge and water at Deception Pass which is the most famous spot on the island. We we also spent some time at the overlook of Ebey’s Landing, an original homestead that is now a National Historic Preserve. We could see the open prairie land where they farmed for many years with a glimpse of the Olympic Peninsula across the water in the distance. Nearby Coupeville is a lovely little town with buildings built by the early settlers. We found many places of interest. I especially liked the Dutch shop offering lace, glass, chocolate and other items of interest as well as the Lavender shop with lavender-based health and beauty products and also a small bakery. On the pier is a cafe and a coffee shop with indoor and outdoor seating.

We’ve enjoyed this area and we know we’ve barely scratched the surface of things to see and do. We’re looking forward to returning on future trips to the northwest coast of Washington.

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