Freezing in Washington

Friday, Christmas Eve, 2021

We backed down our narrow driveway, just for 10 minutes, to top up Molly’s primary water tank. This was the last preparation before hitting the road for a week long adventure of the Olympic Peninsula.

The fridge was stocked. We had all of warm winter clothing and most importantly our gum boots. The weather for the next week predicted freezing conditions, and it did deliver.

The destination was Ocean City State Park located South and West of the Olympic National Park. And three hours later we arrived to a very lonely campground. There were just a few others braving the winter conditions.

There was just enough time to walk to the beach and enjoy the bracing wind off the ocean before heading back for a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner prepared by Caroline.

This trip would be a good test of winter camping and used it as an opportunity to develop our cold weather protocols.

Saturday and Sunday, Christmas and Boxing Day, 2021

Spent two days just relaxing, walks and drives along the beach. The beach is actually an official state highway and was our first time with Molly driving along a beach. We also explored the local township and took a very nice, and cold, walk at Damon Point.

On Christmas eve we set up the movie projector and watched Love Actually; a Christmas time favourite.

On boxing day our toilet decided to partially fail. It can slide away when not in use, and decided to get stuck in the out position. We could use it but but could not empty it, so we were reluctant to use it too much in case it filled up.

It also decided to snow on boxing day, which gave us a true sense of it being Christmas time. Also meant the footpaths were slippery and someone managed to slightly sprain her wrist. Compression bandages slightly eased the pain.

It was cold outside, but very warm inside. The diesel furnace was running 24 hours a day preventing both us and the water tanks from freezing. The batteries were being topped up with the electrical hookup. All was good.

Monday, December 27, 2021

To Forks, home of the Vampires. The scenery along the way with the freshly fallen snow was beautiful. But the icy road conditions meant the going was slow and steady.

Lunch was at Lake Quinault, in the lodge on the lake. We had no fixed destination for the day, but ultimately ended up at Bogachiel Campground, just 5 miles South of Forks. We were the only people in the campground. Traveling in winter certainly has some advantages.

We managed to remove the stuck actuator from the toilet. It was a bit of a job, but we got it done.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

We left Forks and took a side road to La Push beach, and that was certainly worthwhile. This is a little Indian community that has embraced tourism and offers sea side camping and cabins. We enjoyed the snow covered beach and even spotted whale signs of at least two whales.

The goal for the day was Neah Bay, the most westerly point of the continental USA. The drive along the northern shores was amazing. The clear conditions gave us wonderful views into Canada. Our plans were dashed when we discovered that Neah Bay has been closed since March 2020 in response to the coronavirus. So, we never made to the western point. And it meant we would have to find another place to camp for the night.

We headed in the direction of Port Angeles, only to find that State Highway 112 was closed, presumably due to the some issue with the roads. The alternative was State Highway 113, which took us past Lake Crescent, which was very nice indeed.

We restocked the fridge in Port Angeles with some essentials. And then headed to Dungeness Recreation Area for the night. Again I think we were the only people in the campground. The roads were icy and we drifted a little up the hill into camp, so engaged 4×4 for the first time.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

A late start and a before heading back to Port Angeles for a little site seeing. Stopped at the sparse National Park Visitor Center for a passport stamp and did drive by of Belle Italia, the restaurant of Edward took Bella for dinner.

We visited the very chilly light house and Fort Worden Historical State Park at Port Townsend. The roads on the hills of Port Townsend were a little icy, and again 4×4 mode was preferred.

Time to head South to the final campsite at Dosewallips State Park.

Thursday and Friday, December 30 and 31, 2021

A pleasant stay enjoying the state park and the trails with freshly fallen powder snow and the return of blue skies.

On the way home we stopped at a Walmart Super Center, that was a first for us.

Great little trip and happy we can take Molly to -8ºC (16ºF) conditions, and probably lower.

Ocean City State Park Beach. It was as cold as it looks.
Christmas Eve Dinner.
Driving along the beach.
Damon Point
A little morning frost to start our day.
Road conditions were less than ideal.
Lunch at the Vampire Treaty line at 3 Rivers
Twilight + 1.
Snow on La Push Beach.
View to Canada.
Fort Worden Light House
Blue skies at last.