Thursday, July 12, 2018

Mama Bear Camping: Lopez Island 2018

Our small group of pedal families

Mama Bears and family once again did the long journey to Lopez Island. This time many of us did something that will horrify you. Wait for it...... We drove a car to Anacortes Ferry. Ugh why couldn't this have been easier?

Click here for recap of Lopez Bike Camping 2017

As much as I loved taking the Clipper to Friday Harbor it required a lot of waiting and with a child who can be difficult at times and prone to public meltdowns I wasn't too sure if I had the mental capacity to do this. Then again, driving requires a whole different mental capacity.

Since our family doesn't own a car, I did an extended day rental on a Car2Go. What kind of gear did we plan to stick in the car?

-2 folding bikes
-Wike Trailer
-Then the camping gear, so much stuff.

After waking up semi early I played a mean game of tetris with the car space and managed to get everything inside. Sorry, no pictures. The drive is about 1 hour and 40 minutes and we left early, just in case. By the time we got to Marysville and I counted the numerous signs for Taco Time I realized I forgot something very important.

Guess what I forgot? The trailer hitch arm!! If this was anything else I would have just made due without it but this was the trailer arm. I would have no other way to transport 4 year old and our gear. I took the first exit and made our way home. Not sure if teen was upset but I was.

Did you know the highway is 60mph and then at some point it suddenly switches to 70 mph and then it goes back down to 60mph. I twas the most insane thing and driving at 70mph feels CRAZY!!

We got home. I grabbed the trailer arm and we made our way back north again! I had a few mishaps on the way because the highway does some weird funky things in that area near downtown. In fact, so weird I ended up exiting on Seneca and had to loop back north again. Remind me why I hate driving?

Okay. We made it to the ferry terminal and I realize I have exactly 15 minutes to get the gear out on to the bikes and on to the ferry. Ugh, I took both the wheels off the Vektron to fit in the car and was like, ughhhhhh, why didn't I practice this earlier. I've never taken the wheels off but the bike is kind of bulky when you are trying to fit so much in the car aside from this bike and the mega Wike trailer.

We miss the ferry and end up having a mini tailgating party in the parking lot until the next ferry.

What's it like to park at Anacortes ferry terminal? I had so much time to take pictures.
Our own tailgate party. I've never done this before. Feels weird and wrong but their was not really anywhere else to sit where it would okay for 4 year old to have cozy no pants time. Seriously, it was no pants time after the driving. Teen sat in the open trunk and I sat on a camp chair. Nobody called ICE on the brown lady sitting by a car with two white kids. 

Hanging out in my camp chair. We had 2 more hours of waiting at this point. 1 hour into waiting, 4 year old starts crying. I think he is convinced something is wrong and maybe we aren't going camping after all. 

This is good information to know. The Pay area takes cards. You can also pay a breathing person cash at a booth closer to the terminal waiting area. 

I asked on Twitter about this path. You can't bike. The other pedal families biked through the parking lot. 

After putting pants back on my kid we went to explore the waiting area. I was paranoid about the bikes because I didn't bring enough locks and the rack was in a wonky spot.  This area was good to wait with kids. You can look at the water and not fall out a window, WIN!

45 minutes and 2 bags of pretzels we had to explore some new area. Plus, we were getting close to 2nd round of no pants time. 

I wasn't in love with the waiting area at this ferry terminal. The parking for staff had an entrance/exit combined with the walking path. It was alarming to see staff drive in and out, sometimes faster than expected. Then you had the area outside with these picnic tables. Why does this car have to park up against the tables. Are you afraid of terrorism? How about making the staff parking lot less accesible? Nobody called ICE on me. 

Before we could get on the ferry I had a angry staff person tell me I was suppose to walk my bike along some path. It was not clear and it really looked like another staff member locked the other side. Plus I had the trailer. I wasn't suppose to get on the ferry on the same road as the car. HEAVEN forbid I use that part!! The world would collapse! The WSDOT ferry needs to get it together and make things more uniform because one staff member tells me to juggle watermelons and other one tells me to hop on one foot. That's how it feels for every single ferry ride, not just Anacortes. 

Also, the staff, in general seemed perturbed by bikes or something. It was strange because I was impressed on other sailing at different ferry boardings. I learned my lesson the first time a long time ago so always ask for clear directions. I thanked the grumpy staff and said, I was glad to know exactly know what to do the next time. EYEBALL ROLL!
Round 2, no pants time

Loaded gear and my rack only rated for light things but who cares I put this cooler 1 of 2 here.

The path to wait

Behind the sign, walking path doubles as car speedway for staff. It gives me the warm fuzzies.


When we finally arrived I didn't have time to take a ton of pictures. This was an important element I left out in the blog post from last year. What does the bathroom look like? When you hear pit toilet you think, hole in the ground you have to squat over and camouflage yourself with ferns so nobody sees you doing your business. You don't think that? I do! I took a picture for you.

Like I said in 2017. Do you business and don't bother looking in the toilet because it is a pit toilet and you won't like what you see. OKAY!

We biked into "town". The ride was flat and reminded me of some of the farming towns near my hometown of Salinas, California, the Lettuce Capital of the World. The grocery store had a very good selection of food and I didn't think the prices were too bad. We bought the 4 year a watermelon and chips. Apparently we didn't bring the foods he wanted and crying happened.

Town didn't have much for us expect being a beautiful ride, which is why we came. We saw a kiwi farm, a vineyard, deer, hay, nature. YES!!

I guess when you live in Seattle this hill is considered flat right! As you can see, the WIKE is very spacious. Leg room is ample and that grocery bag fits fine. 4 year old was pleased about the watermelon. Back at camp I cut up the watermelon and many children came out of hiding to enjoy. I was glad. 

Here is our tent area. We were so many we had 2 sites for sleeping and 1 for food prep. It's a good idea to have the fire and food prep AWAY from running kids. It also meant we didn't have to worry about kids running into the fire pit. The kids did a lot of running, playing, climbing in trees. My kid pulled a lot of plants and enjoyed being chased around by a 3 year old. It was like the playtime therapy I keep hearing about. You know, where you imitate your child but more intense and almost all day, lol.

By this time one of the Mama Bears left so it looks like less tents. Teen said the space with the bikes you could fit 2 cars. Look at all the bikes!!

This was the only way I could keep the 4 year old from escaping but it also mean he had to sleep near the opening to make sure I don't escape. I had to climb over the teen to get out to go to the bathroom at night. 

Night 1 a raccoon came to everyone's camp sites and opening the flap and seeing the shiny eyes was freaky.  Night 1 sleep SUCKED!! Then again, I don't think any pedal parents slept. 

Night 2 was better and my kid decided to sleep in after having trouble with him wanting to go home and missing his food refrigerator. I swear, we brought so much food we started forcing fruit on other children. We arrived with 2 coolers of food and left with one. Thank you pedal kids!

I also drank zero beer. <insert crying here>

Morning of departure home. When he finally woke up their was issues with his wardrobe because he wanted to pick his shirt, a first. Okay, sure dinosaur shirt.

We cleaned up the tent site and all tables were retuned to normal. My kid decided it was time to pull ferns. Okay. He also didn't want anyone looking at him. While he sat quietly near the campfire he put these ferns in front, hah.

Looks like we are almost ready to go. 

We saw this sign last year and it was annoying and really bike unfriendly. Lopez Island, don't you know a lot of people come here to bike your beautiful roads. The worst part are the actual Bike Smart signs on the road. We didn't encounter a ton of aggressive driving and the best passes were far away from our smooshy bodies. The people who passed too close and fast seemed like they arrived to camp or enjoy nature, not really residents. The sign sucks still!

I tried to use my automatic setting to take a picture of all of us. OOPS, I did it wrong.

Do you want us to walk our bike on to the ferry or ride them? Oh, we had to walk them and then do cyclecross up the left and right ramps. They divided our group so the picture only show some of us. You know the one that goes up! We were not allowed to ride in the middle area to get to the front of the ferry. Do you know how hard that is to do with kids and gear?

Franz truck driver was nice but didn't leave a lot of room for us to walk to the stair access.

Yes, we went up that ramp just to come down again. MAKES TOTAL SENSE! <insert eyeball rolling>

Awww, almost to the car where I get to drive home, ughhhhhh. I wish it was easier to get here and maybe we will consider taking the Clipper again and maybe just stay at Friday Harbor in a hotel one night so we don't have to wait oodles of hours to get home. The trip was so worth it and I love camping despite how hard it is.

Bike Escape: Fay Bainbridge Park 2019

I went camping without kids. How did I manage that? (insert shrug) One of the old time pedal parents went with me. Our schedules for this ...