Ransom Family

Random Ramblings and Happenings

Goin’ Campin’

on July 1, 2011

We went camping at Eagle Creek campground overlooking Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River (between Hermiston and Portland, Oregon if you don’t know the area) for Andy’s dad’s side reunion. It ended up being rainy some of the time, but that’s better than being too hot for us. We had a fun time, even though not many people could come this year.
We left Monday morning after tossing everything (but the kitchen sink) in the trailer to take it over. Now that we have Abigail, our rig is just not big enough to haul our family and all of our camping stuff. It was nice to not have to condense everything into the car, Andy just tossed it all in the trailer. I gathered everything Sunday night and finish up our laundry before going so I didn’t come home to 30 loads of laundry. I also did the dishes and cleaned up the toys. Thursday night when we got home I had our first mother-daughter book group at our house, so it had to stay clean while we were gone. (That was fun by the way.) I think it’s hard to go camping on a Monday morning. We are used to leaving on Wednesday and having time to go shopping the night before. I did that Saturday afternoon between parties. It’s really hard work to gather everything a family of six needs for tent camping+possible rain+hiking+maybe getting wet+not knowing if there were showers+food=lots of totes and towels.
After Andy packed the trailer and I fed Abby again, we were off to Bonneville, but not without a few stops. None of them were for things flying out of the trailer though, so Andy did a good job. =)We got up there and were nearly all set up just as Andy’s aunt and uncle from Yakima came to set up their camp clear across from us. I think they must not have wanted to be by our noisy kids, but they told me that they like to sleep on grass. Our tent was in the trees and protected us from most of the rain pretty well. And they had an encounter with a raccoon (worth reading!) and we just had paw prints from a raccoon on our coolers, so I guess our spot wasn’t as nice in that way either. This campground was nice and big. It said 90 people could camp there and each little camp spot had it’s own fire pit and picnic table. The rates were super low too (at $70 each night for the whole private group campsite).

Here is Andy setting up our tent. We love this tent! We bought it three years ago and it’s done a great job. One of Andy’s favorite features is that no matter how sloppily he rolls this tent up, it still fits back in the bag it came in, but we like how easy it is to set up too.Once Andy was done setting up the tent, he took a break to hold Abby while I made some dinner and kept the kids sitting down out of my way too.
I made spaghetti, green beans, and some biscuits (from a mix). Vincent enjoyed the spaghetti and even had seconds.
Olivia and Elizabeth liked their dinner too.
Then off to play with cousins around the camp.
We walked partway down on a path that ended abruptly at this spot. Brent holding Vincent, Rachel, Elizabeth, Christopher, Anna, and Olivia.
The kids had some fun playing in the lodge. This place was built in the 1930s, so people could stop and watch Bonneville Dam being built.
And came out to play that ‘great new game’ Uno.
And have some Pixy Stix (brought by grandma). Vincent loved them. I’m glad sugar doesn’t affect my kids at all. They are used to sugar. They have it all the time.
The highway and railroad were VERY close to the camp and we heard them all day and night and each train blew its whistle several times even in the middle of the night when it didn’t have a crossing nearby, which we didn’t understand, but it didn’t wake our tent up. We all slept great, even though our crummy air mattress was on the ground. Our kids even slept in! Tuesday morning they didn’t wake up until 9am (except Abby who woke up every 2-3 hours to eat)! Everybody else was up and waiting for us so we could go to the Bonneville Dam for a tour. We had a fun time. After we got to the dam, there was too much time before the next tour, so we went to lunch at the deli inside the grocery store at Stevenson (recommended by one of the people who works at the dam) and it was pretty good.
The Ranger started out by asking if anyone had been there before. About half of us raised our hands, especially Andy’s dad, and his aunt who lived at the dam when they were kids. The Ranger did a fantastic job getting the kids involved in how the dam works to create electricity. She had these little hands-on items for them to hold while she explained and then they lined up in the order it works. Olivia is water, Chris is the concrete dam (love how he’s hunching!), Brent is the turbine, Elizabeth is the electromagnet, Rachel is the copper coils, Vincent is the step-up transformer, Anna is the transmission line that takes the electricity to everyone. There were no more kids except Abigail, so some guy we don’t know was the step-down transformer.
Abigail DID go to the Bonneville Dam. We were able to go down inside it. Proof that she came…even though she won’t remember it…..just like I didn’t remember Yellowstone.
Our whole group (17 of us) inside the North Powerhouse of Bonneville Dam. That orange thing in the background is a 100,000 horse-power generator.
While waiting for everyone to finish, Shirley took Vincent on a few escalator rides. The, much-anticipated, ‘big’ escalator was out of service. When the Ranger told us we couldn’t ride it, Andy and his cousin Kimmy let out a big groan, and the Ranger said, “complain to your congressman.”
After the tour, Andy and I took Vincent and Abby over to Vancouver, WA to the WalMart for two cots to replace our lousy air mattress, a lantern since we didn’t bring one (just two kid flashlights), a few more flashlights, and essential chocolate and ice. Elizabeth and Olivia went back to the camp with Chris and Brent to play.
We stopped at the Oneonta Gorge. This tunnel was part of the old highway, but in the ’40’s they blocked it off and bypassed it. A few years ago it was restored for pedestrians.
We stopped to see a creek too and Vincent made this funny face. He’s starting to do that in all the pictures. Good thing he’s adorable!
We passed by our honeymoon picnic spot near Multnomah Falls. It’s there on the right side. We just drove past.We got back and everyone else was eating already and told us to just eat their food, so I didn’t cook that night.
Olivia carried her little purse everywhere she went and told Andy not to look inside because it had secrets in it. When he asked her what was in it, she told him more pixy stix.
Elizabeth giving Vincent/Clifford the Big Red Dog a piggy-back ride.
Andy took the kids down to Eagle Creek for the time-honored, fun-for-kids-of-all-ages, action-packed, throwing rocks in the water. He expected them to get wet, but they didn’t change into their water stuff, so Elizabeth wore her rubber shoes the rest of the trip. (Andy says: I knew they’d all get their feet wet, but I didn’t want them to wear rubber shoes, because they come off easily, and then we’d have to worry about stepping on broken beer bottles.) They built a rock bridge and had fun.
Wednesday was hiking day. Andy’s dad went with his sister and sister-in-law and Chris went on a six mile hike from our camp and then we all went to lunch at Charburger, followed by another hike up Beacon Rock for most everyone. I stayed at camp and took a nap with Abby instead. It was lovely (on our new cots). When they were done hiking, Uncle Gary asked me if I heard the firecrackers the Indians were shooting off from a fish landing on the river. Nope. I’m a sound sleeper. Did I hear the people come in to clean the bathroom (that had one light and no showers)? Nope. I didn’t hear anything. The highway traffic was great white noise, even with the semi-trucks honking and the trains tooting.
The kids at the top of Beacon Rock. Do they look like they’ve been camping? It was a little cold, so they had to put on all their jackets and hats. The Clifford hat I thought came from a friend of ours, but we showed it to her at book group last night and she didn’t recognize it, so maybe I found it at a thrift store or something. (Andy says: the Clifford hat was a big hit. Vincent got lots of compliments on it.)

Vincent on top of Beacon Rock. Andy took him on two long hikes this day and he probably walked four miles. He was SO tired by the end of the day.

After some potato soup (Andy made), more biscuits, and jello, we all went out for ice cream. Here we are waiting for our yummy ice cream.The delicious soft-serve ice cream. Blue goo flavored and black cherry.
Wednesday night it started raining right as we were making dinner and didn’t give up until the next morning as we were packing up.
Gary and Trish brought some ponchos that the kids put on in the lodge and pretended to be ghosts in. It wasn’t lit in there, but my flash works pretty good! Elizabeth was saying that they were ‘ghostes’.
Andy’s parents went to their tent just after we took our kids to ours and found their bedding intolerably wet, so they packed up what they could and went to their house an hour away in the mountains and asked us to get the rest of their stuff for them. (Andy says: my folks’ tent was completely soaked in the morning, and still had a couple gallons of water on top of it. All I could do was wad it up inside a tarp and throw it in the trailer. It might be almost dry by now.) Our tent stayed drip free. The tent-edges got sleeping bags a little wet on the outside, but not uncomfortably wet, so we were great. Uncle Gary and Aunt Trish said that their tent was good; “it just leaked on their heads and feet”. Sounds great. They decided to leave a day early when we did. =)

As Andy finished packing up the trailer, I took the kids to get a picture on this cool old bench overlooking the Columbia River, it was probably even cooler before hippy stoners broke it. Vincent was sad for some reason.

We loaded up and didn’t have any trouble with our trailer until the last hill home when we started going against the wind and Andy was worried about a tarp flapping around, so we stopped to secure it. We stopped for lunch and then for second lunch at Andy’s work in Umatilla (first/last town in Oregon after/before Tri-Cities). Andy had to check in there to do a little work and they had hot dogs to eat from a BBQ earlier. We got home and Abby was inconsolable, so Andy unloaded the trailer, reset up the tent to air it out, took down the tent again, and the kids and he showered. Meanwhile I kept trying to take care of sad little Abby who apparently liked it so much outside, she doesn’t like it inside now. I finally thought I settled her enough and started on putting some things away, but she was sad again, so I couldn’t start on laundry. Instead I just put away a little and got myself ready for our book group while Andy held her. It was a great campout, even with the rain. It would have been even more fun with more family around, but that’s the way it goes. Everybody’s busy. We like reunions. =) On to the next one starting Saturday with my family!

2 responses to “Goin’ Campin’

  1. Mary says:

    No overnight camping involved on this one! Dad could put up the tent, but the kids spent more time in and out of the house last time so I'm thinking NOT! Our house will be full with Jeff, Brant, Tina and 4 boys including Aaron.Jeff is almost here!!!!Hurray!

  2. Kim says:

    Wow….that's a lot of rain! I guess we got out of there at just the right time :) Thank goodness for a swim meet! We had a great time seeing you guys!

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