A pretty short notice trip, but I mentioned to a friend that one of my goals was to go camping in my Z. The goal was similar to James May’s Lotus in the Top Gear Caravan episode. To make the drive just as enjoyable as the stay. Blast to the camp site taking twisty roads, camp, have a good time, then blast home with equal vigor.
My friend messaged me a couple weeks later and asked if I would be free Easter weekend. Since I pretty much only cook, work on my car, and free lance on weekends it was a pretty simple affair to push the work back. After some messages back and forth we decided on a game plan. While the Z was up and running, we decided that with the inclement weather, the additional parking fee, the ferry rides etc made it a bit silly to take 2 cars, so we chose his SUV instead. Plan was to get there on Friday, and return on Sunday. Given my love of cooking I would prepare meals, and he offered to pay for the camp site, ferry, and gas.
We met up pretty early, spent an hour at his place packing up and then headed to anacortes to the ferry terminal.
I love the ferry. Something just magical about it to me.
The moment we got on we were greeted with smells of Ivars clam chowder and found ourselves grabbing a couple cups. This brings back so many memories for me.
Afterwards we walked out to the front and saw the Xterra was looking prime being the first one on.
For some of the meals I had planned lightly just so we could look at some of the local ingredients the island had to offer. We even ducked into the local co-op, but I was a little disappointed. More health store, less farmer’s market.
We drove to Moran State Park, and camped at the Mt. Lake campsite. With 10 sites we were accepting we might not be able to grab one, but given our early Friday departure, we had about 3 sites to choose from. All through the weekend we would see people come in hopeful only to find all the sites occupied and having to pick one of the larger camp sites elsewhere in the park.
We set up camp, he had planned on sleeping in the back of the Xterra, while I had my new tent cot to try out. I was worried about answering e-mails for my side job, but with no reception it was no longer an issue, people would just have to wait. Forced relaxation by nature.
After setting up it was on to dinner.
Filet mignon cooked on a cast iron grill pan, stir fried veggies, and mashed potatoes with bacon. Not bad for camp food I think.
We tried to get the fire going, but with wet wood it was an absolute nightmare. Definitely going to buy wood from a store that stores the wood inside next time. After about an hour of making shavings and trying to keep the little fire going we gave up and went to bed.
Night was cold, I had sleeping pad, but it was the same shape as the mummy type sleeping bag, so any shifting meant it moved and I would be exposed to the bottom of the cot which being elevated with wind underneath was freezing. Going to have to grab a square oversized pad next time.
After a mediocre night’s sleep I woke up to some birds and sunlight. There is something deeply relaxing being woken by nature.
Breakfast was an assortment of hashbrowns cooked in bacon grease from the locally raised bacon we picked up from the co-op and silver dollar pancakes.
Definitely going to get the squirt jug type thing next time, getting a bowl to hold the batter, a spoon to put it onto the griddle, and a cup to measure was just more things to wash.
Lunch was made shortly after and packed to be taken hiking with us.
I’m not much of a hiker, but being out here it would have been a sin to not look around.
It was odd, given my struggles it was hard to appreciate just the sheer beauty, but that is what pictures are for :).
Trees growing out of trees were a common sight.
Moss on top of moss made a gorgeous lawn.
Amazingly tall trees, stripped of the inefficient branches were awe inspiring to look at.
At the little summit we had a lunch break.
Smoked polish sausage and veggies, on brioche hot dog buns, with some soda made for an excellent lunch.
The walk back was fairly pleasantly down hill, although wearing street shoes my feet started to kill me, reminds me I need to pickup some boots in the future.
Back at camp we had time to kill before dinner so we went up to the highest peak I believe, Mt. Constitution. The view was stunning. Hard to really process the view, the sheer scale of things is lost at such a height.
Then dinner. I had some semblance of trying to do a dutch oven, but when we found no charcoal at the store, and given our problems with fire the night before I decided to try making our dinner on the cast iron griddle, getting it real hot on the stove, then wrapping it in aluminum foil to keep the heat in.
To my surprise it worked a treat. Naan pizza, seasoned naan bread, with mozzarella and cut veggies, along with some of the sausage and bacon. The crust was delectably crunchy and the cheese were gooey and warm.
With a nice roaring fire that took soooooo much shavings and kindling to get started we finally settled down to some warmth.
On the way back we stopped by a ridiculously well placed cider house that was just off the ferry terminal. The place was packed for its size with bored ferry riders with not much else to do, and the cider was really excellent, to the point I grabbed 3 bottles to go, while my friend grabbed a flight to sample.
Also drove past one of my favorite places of deception pass, definitely the place I plan to visit with the Z sometime this summer, then onto the ferry once more to end up back where we started.
Dinner was at Ivars at the landing. I was a little bit hesitant as there used to be an Ivars by my house that had subpar fish, but given the option I caved and ordered the fish and chips. To my surprise it was delicious, the fish was plump and perfectly fried, the fries were great, and the portion was excessive.
Excellent food, excellent company, pleasant drive. Can’t wait to make the drive part excellent as well!