Posted by: Modern Mom | October 24, 2011

Our Maiden Voyage

We braved the late Fall weather and decided to take our newly acquired toy out for a spin. We decided to head East of the mountains for more reliable weather. The forecast looked good, so we made our reservations – two days in a nicely situated spot, not too close to the river that we’d be worried about the boys, and not too close to the road, with a big grassy area behind. Up the Columbia River Gorge we went to the Deschutes River on the Oregon side.

The campsite was beautiful. I still can’t get over what Oregonians consider camping. These campgrounds are amazing. Groomed grass, sparkling clean restrooms with running water and flush toilets, paved roads and parking areas, and showers, people, showers! A manager at each campground buzzes around on a little John Deere cleaning out fire pits, bathrooms, garbage, and checking on all the campers. It was immaculate. We found our spot in the loop and backed our happy little camper in.

We released the boys and they immediately found the one mud puddle in the entire camp ground. In fact, I suspect they made it themselves. They were everywhere. In the neighbors camp site, checking out the fire pit, across the road at the bathrooms, and generally wreaking havoc throughout the campground. All the while, we were trying to set up the camper. Normally it pops up rather quickly and effortlessly, but the constant stops to retrieve a child and apologize to a neighbor or a driver, or the manager, made it a bit more daunting. Nevertheless we managed to get all set up. As we stood admiring our camper and our handiwork, the first train went by. Whooot! Woo-woo-whoooooooot! Uh oh.

“Don’t worry,” exclaimed our crotchety, yet friendly neighbor, “After a dozen or so, you start to get used to it!” Marc and I just looked at each other with dread thinking, “None of us are going to sleep tonight.”

The camper worked great. No problems with the stove, or the heater, so I went straight to work on dinner. After dinner we let the boys stay up to sit and enjoy the fire and some more of our current chapter book – The Call of the Wild. Then it was bedtime. The boys had other plans. After an hour or so of giggling, train imitations, and general Tom foolery, they finally crashed. Whew. Now it was our turn.

All night long the trains came, blowing their horns excessively every time. They started coming in pairs about midnight. Every 45 minutes, one then another moments after. Fortunately the boys slept through most of them, until 4:00. Weston woke up after the umpteenth train and wouldn’t go back to sleep. Marc and I hadn’t had a straight hours sleep all night, and by this time we both just looked at each other and whispered “we’re screwed” and started to giggle. Well, we ignored him long enough and he finally fell back to sleep for a bit. By 6:45 after yet another set of trains rumbled by, horns blaring, we gave up. Both kids were up, and there was no hope of anyone getting back to sleep. Up and at ’em!

An attempt at fishing

We had a nice breakfast, then headed down to the river to fish. We did the only kind of fishing you can do with a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. Toss the line in, reel it in, wrap it up. That was about it. Wyatt didn’t have the attention span for the casting lesson. He was more interested in making more mud for his trucks. After that we all took a hike and admired the more desert-like environment, a far cry from the environment we live in. It was a beautiful day, and getting up on the hill for a hike out of the shade made it even more glorious. Marc scouted the river for a good fishing place.

When we got back, it was nap time and Marc headed out to do some actual fishing. I sat at camp and read a book. A luxury I seldom get these days. And I made a fire pit cherry pie. It’s something my mom used to make for us as kids, and I have fond memories. It turned out fantastic. So I sat and read, and ate cherry pie until kiddos woke up.

Marc came back empty handed, darn. So we packed up and headed home instead of staying that second night. We all needed to get away from trains. Even the train fanatic – Wyatt – said he didn’t want to see any more trains.

We managed to re-live a family memory of my own from our voyage through Canada. Not one of the best nights of sleep, but a good maiden voyage for us, regardless of the trains.



  1. […] tried to recreate the recipe again on our maiden voyage of the exact camper I grew up with, and the exact pie-maker. I couldn’t wait to see if I was […]


  2. Nice! The maiden voyage for our pop up camper this year was to Big Timber Waterslide and we stayed at the KOA. Very similar story because of the trains and the freeway. Sigh. Live and Learn!


    • OMG I remember Big Timber waterslides. Thanks for bringing back another great memory!


  3. Dontcha know…them fancy campgrounds are just for the washington tourists? Lol.

    Shoot me an email if you want to get pointed to the more primitive (and trainless) camps! Oh, and avoid Eagle creek…trains as well as airbrakes from the semi’s. Sheesh!


    • Ha ha! I’d love some insider tips. I’ll hit ya up next spring!


  4. […] which is pretty uncommon. We found a beautiful patch of Shaggy Manes right in our campsite on a maiden voyage with our new camper. Boletes were growing in the mossy parts of our yard. On Marc’s annual […]


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