August 31, 2014 South Beach, Washington

South Beach
South Beach

A Gorgeous Morning for a Walk on the Beach

Dawn broke this morning without fog nor clouds, quite a change from the last several days. Seeing several fisherman already out in the surf a mile down the beach, I grabbed the camera and headed out.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

South Beach, Another Angle
South Beach, Another Angle

I still have a hard time believing the amount of dead crabs washed up on the beach here on every high tide.

Washed up crabs
Tideline bounty
Washed up crabs
Tideline Banquet

Little wonder that there are about a gazillion seagulls hanging around the campground, I am sure they don’t have to work very hard to find food here.

Speaking of seagulls, they are another serious irritation, landing on my roof throughout the day,  plopping down on the solar panels and dropping seagull poop all over the roof and solar panels. If I want any free power from my solar system, I have to climb up on the roof, crawl through the seagull &@#!&* ( excrement ), and wash down the panels at least every other day. At high noon on a sunny day, prior to performing my janitorial duties, my solar controller was showing just 5 or 6 amps flowing from the panels down into my batteries. After seagull poop patrol ( bad enough having to pick up after your dogs, who knew that here at the beach you have to pick up after the gulls too ), the controller showed 25 amps flowing through to the batteries, quite a significant difference !

Beac Walk
Performing Due Diligence

Though early, there were a surprising number of people on the beach this morning.

Man and dog walking on the beach
Slow down, Dad

This old fellow seemed to be having a bit of a struggle keeping up with Dad.

Driftwood
Beached Giant

This piece of driftwood, probably better called a beach log, towered 4 feet over my head art the base, easily ten feet in diameter. Can’t imagine how many years ago it fell and began it’s journey here, but looking at the rounded root ball, it obviously has been being tossed about here on the beach for a very long time.

Surf Fishing
Surf Fishing
Surf Fishing
Surf Fishing
Raging surf
Raging surf

 

 

 

 

 

 

I finally made it down to where I had seen the fisherman earlier,

The Happy Fisherman
The Happy Fisherman

and was warmly greeted ! Guess they were all in a good mood this morning as they not only were fishing, they were also catching !

Fish On !
Fish On !
Catch of the day
Catch of the day
Fish on !
Fish on !

As you can see, the surf was raging this morning and these guys were dressed to endure having waves breaking on them. I am assuming that the water is a bit chilly as I don’t think I have seen anyone out swimming during my stay here.

South Beach Pano
South Beach Pano

On my return to camp, I had chance to shoot a few more images of this beautiful beach.

Winegard ! Winegard! Here We Go Yet Again

Anyone following this blog has read about my woes with my very expensive Winegard automatic rooftop HD satellite dish system. I purchased this system in April of last year and it went unused until I started full timing in late July of 2013.

1st System Failure

On January 23rd of this year, the original system failed. A week later I received a replacement LNB unit from Winegard and installed it myself. Didn’t work. Next, a new piece of coax from the LNB to the turret and some help from the only good tech rep at Winegard I have ever gotten, and I was up and running again!

2nd System Failure

Feb. 3rd and the system died again. On Feb 5th, Winegard decides to send me a new turret assembly, I probably should not say new, I now assume all replacement parts and systems they send out are actually refurbished. I am assured by Winegard that I can install it myself. At this point, their one year warranty on parts AND labor is still in effect, so they want me doing the work, you see. On Feb. 11th, my replacement turret arrives and I really struggle getting this thing up on the roof. Installing it wasn’t that big a deal, but getting the 67 pound, 3 foot wide unit up on the roof by myself was a serious chore.

Well, the replacement unit doesn’t work either. After several days of back and forth with their tech people and many trips up on the roof of the motorhome, nothing works and Winegard decides to send a complete new unit. I tell them I am tired of doing this and demand that they have a dealer install the “new” unit. On Feb. 24th, 17 days after the system failed, I have a new system installed by Bent’s RV in Metarie, LA. They actually only installed the turret assembly, even though an entire “new” replacement system was sent by Winegard. it now works!

3rd System Failure

April 20th, not quite two months after the “new” replacement unit was installed, I lost all HD reception. Was still able to get most standard definition channels some of the time. Called Winegard and let them know I was really getting tired of this mess. Winegard tells me I must have hit something and bent the arm of the unit. I assure them that is impossible because if I did, then my plastic A/C cover, directly behind the dish and several inches higher, would be damaged, and it isn’t. They insist the arm must be bent.

On April 30th Winegard decides they will have a dealer install a new reflector and arm. On May 12th, I inform Winegard that I have made an appointment with a dealer in Silverdale, WA. for May 20th to make the repair. I am told they will ship the parts out.

Winegard fails to get the parts out to the dealer for my appointment on the 20th and the dealer can’t reschedule me for another 3 weeks, their service department is booked solid ( Memorial Day Holiday coming up, the start of the camping season, not unreasonable from the dealership’s perspective).

May 27th and Winegard informs me that my ” lack of cooperation” in this matter, not their failure to get the parts shipped, is what is causing me problems with getting their system repaired. I make another appointment farther up the road in Port Hadlock, WA. for June 10th. 7 weeks with the system down this time!

The new arm and dish are installed on June 10th and the system once again works.

4th System Failure

August 29th and the system fails completely once again !! I suppose I should be happy I got 10 weeks out of it this time ! I REALLY do not look forward to dealing with this company yet again.

Their response after the first failure was fine, but not so good the 2nd time around. By the 3rd failure, it became obvious that they had written me off as a repeat customer and seemed to just be going through the motions and was without question the worst experience I have ever had with any company in 45 years of dealing with these things. I do not look forward to how they will respond on a 4th system failure, that is, if they respond at all, that is how little I expect of this pathetic company. I am afraid I have a very expensive paperweight sitting on my motorhome roof.

 

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

 

 

August 30, 2014 South Beach CG, Washington

Grey Dawn
Grey Dawn

Hitchitch Followers, Welcome to South Beach

A lone fisherman wades the surf in front of my campsite at South Beach this morning, braving the occasional showers. The last few days have been pretty gloomy here, the first stretch of not so great weather in a long time.

Breakfast on the beach
Breakfast on the beach

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version. The lone fisherman is accompanied only by the gulls and crows picking through the thousands of small crabs washed up on the beach.

Tideline tale
Tideline tale

Hitchitch

A few days ago, I could not help but notice a rather sudden surge in the number of viewers of this blog. Intrigued, I went to my Word Press stats page and found that all these new folks were coming here from the Hitchitch site ( for those of you who don’t know, Hitchitch is a website that carries links to many travel/camping/fulltimer blogs ). Hitchitch was, and still is, a valued resource for us full timers, a site where I have found many wonderful, informative blogs that have led me to some beautiful boon docking sites as well as interesting places to explore. Unfortunately for all these new folks visiting my blog for the first time, you have caught me in the first prolonged inactive streak of my first year plus on the road as a full timer. I stumbled into the South Beach Campground several weeks ago intending for it to be a short stopover on my trip around the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. Nearly six weeks later, I am still here at this strange campground on the edge of the Pacific.

To get a better sense of what I try to normally do in this blog I might suggest you take a look back through the archives:

 

BE102Big

 

 

Mid May to early June for Hood Canal and bald eagles, great blue herons

 

 

 

 

Yellowstone elk
Yellowstone elk

 

September, 2013 for Yellowstone and Grand Teton N.P.

 

 

 

Sandhill crane in flight
Sandhill crane in flight
Sandhill cranes at sunset
Sandhill cranes at sunset

 

 

 

 

 

November, 2013 for Bosque Del Apache NWR and so on.

 

The archives are searchable by date in the menu on the right side of the blog. It is also searchable by category or tags, also located on the right. I now plan on leaving South Beach next week and head north to Mount Baker and also the San Juan Islands before heading back south to the desert for the winter. I invite you to follow along!

South Beach, a Love/Hate Relationship

View at South Beach
View at South Beach

How would you like to wake up to this each morning ? I have developed a love/hate relationship with this place. On the one hand, the setting , at least for a quarter of the sites, is magnificent, you sit just thirty feet from the high tide line on the top of a little bluff with your own pathway down to the beach. And the beach is gorgeous, a short stretch of wave rounded stones and piles of driftwood,

Beach stones
Beach stones

and then only fine dark sand to the cool waters of the Pacific. The unspoiled beach stretches as far as the eye can see both north and south, and the cool waters have kept the temperatures here pleasant and mild while the interior roasts in 90 degree heat.

Looking north up the beach from campsite
Looking north up the beach from campsite

The inland heat wave has made me reluctant to leave here and visit places I had planned to go, I really don’t like hot weather, especially when boondocking with no A/C available. And since I had a very strong Verizon signal here ( kind of surprising since this is kind of in the middle of nowhere ) and all kinds of work to do on blog and website design, I have ended up just extending week after week, as the heat wave has continued. Once I managed to snag a beachfront site, where at least you have one side of your site open, I have grown fairly comfortable here, and am actually sad to have to leave next week when South beach closes. And then, on the other hand,

Another view of ( Shantytown ) South Beach CG
Another view of ( Shantytown ) South Beach CG
Crowded South Beach CG
Crowded South Beach CG

We are crammed in here like sardines, with absolutely no privacy, there is no campground host, or any other kind of behavior modifying force, such as regular ranger drive throughs, so the atmosphere here tends to lean toward the wild, wild west at times. The 10 percent of campers that cause 90 percent of the problems, unfortunately, have free rein here. An example,

Close quarters at South Beach
Close quarters at South Beach
Flasher
Flasher

What possibly would make someone think that it is remotely appropriate to install a construction site flasher on the roof of his trailer and thereby impersonate a lighthouse beacon for the benefit of all his neighbors? These wonderful people moved in yesterday, and, yes, they leave the flasher on all night long. They, and their young children, were at the picnic table a few feet in front of their trailer, just out of sight in the image above, but within 20 feet of me and only 10 or 15 feet from three of their other neighbors, gabbing loudly and playing games bathed in the intense light of their Coleman lanterns until 11:30 last night. Fortunately for me, but not so for their uphill neighbors 10 feet away, they also left their curbside spotlights on until they retired near midnight. On the exact same site, the previous occupants saw no problem with leaving their curbside outside spotlight on all night even though it was directed straight at my bedroom window 15 feet away. They also had no reservations about starting up their generator at 5:30 in the morning. Fortunately, they only stayed one night. And they were preceded by on that very same site by two men on Harley Davidson touring motorcycles with their neat little camping trailers towed behind the bikes. They also, of course, had their not so neat modified exhausts, so obviously necessary for waking the dead, and saw no problem of coming and going at all hours with these two mind boggling loud machines. Mind you, I am not anti biker, I rode motorcycles for 40 years myself, but I never did understand the need for all the obnoxious noise. When they broke camp and departed the site, at 6:30 in the morning, they saw no problem of letting the bikes idle for half an hour as they did so, nor did they have a problem leaving bottles and trash strewn around the site. And preceding them on that same site, a motorhome that had no issue in running their generator as late as 11:30 at night. And on and on. I have to keep reminding myself that the overwhelming majority of campers here and elsewhere are wonderful, considerate people, but boy, that ten percent !

South Beach Campground, you must have a very high level of tolerance of rude behavior and the willingness to let others determine your sleep patterns while you stay here. If you can handle that, and I must admit that at times, it has been all I can do to do so, then this spot may be for you. You should note that there are no reservations here and the place is 110 % full every night so don’t plan on just driving in and getting a spot. Departure time for campsites is supposed to be by 11 AM, but virtually nobody abides by that, or any other rule for that matter, and people often stay on their site until late in the day, even though they don’t pay for that privilege.

A Fashion Statement

Campground style show
Campground style show

As an individual whose personal fashion sense runs along the line of Larry, the Cable Guy, I can assure you that I am not in any way making fun of the way these folks are dressed for a camper’s breakfast, it just happened to tickle me, and I just might use the colorful scene as the basis for a future watercolor. Again, welcome to all you new folks arriving via Hitchitch, and please come along with me on my future adventures.

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

August 20, 2014 South Beach Campground, Washington

Driftwood
Driftwood

Still Slumming as a Beach Bum at South Beach

Not much to blog about in recent weeks as I continue my do nothing lifestyle here on the beach. Actually my days are mostly spent continuing my online learning and also attempting to revive my long neglected painting skills. I have only left the campground twice in the past couple of weeks, once, to drive 3 miles north to the Kalaloch Campground to dump tanks and refill my fresh water and propane tanks, and one long ( 140 mile roundtrip ) drive down to Aberdeen to get new tires for the Prius and replenish my stores at Walmart. Not much to see on that trip other than the a drive through the depressing town of Holquim and then Aberdeen, itself a fairly sorry little city that has apparently fallen on hard times despite their obvious attempts to revive the downtown area. As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Another view of ( Shantytown ) South Beach CG
Another view of ( Shantytown ) South Beach CG

And speaking of sorry little places, above is another view of my present sorry little place, the South Beach Campground. As you can see, this spot that I have enjoyed so much is little more than a very cramped, bare gravel parking lot that just so happens to occupy a precious little piece of the remote Pacific coastline. My rig is located about half way down the line of RV’s and tents perched on the edge of the small bluff above the beach. The crowded, cramped conditions as well as the seemingly above average percentage of rude, inconsiderate campers here makes enjoying this beautiful spot a little challenging some days, but the constant lull of the crashing waves makes a lot of the disturbances blend into the background … most of the time. Plus, when it gets too bad, one can always climb down the bluff and take a long walk on the beach and get away from it all, something I both want to do and am forced  to do most days. Lately, the days have been uniformly foggy and gray in the morning, then clearing and sunny in the afternoon. There is a steady breeze off the water everyday that dies completely every night, temps are around 70 during the  day and later fall into the upper 50’s for wonderful sleeping weather. It has only spit a little rain once in the month that I have been here. The weather, like the location, is all but perfect.

driftwood
Fallen giant

A short distance up the beach from the campground is the large piece of “driftwood” shown above. I wish there had been a person standing near it when I took this photo to give one a sense of scale of this fallen giant. The stump stands a little more than 8 feet above the sand where it lies, and when I paced off the length of the trunk to where it is snapped off, it came to more than 140 feet, the height of a fourteen story building. At the point where the upper end is snapped off the diameter of the trunk is still close to five feet. It is hard to imagine something this immense being pushed down a river to the sea and then floating around at sea for who knows how long before finally being deposited here.

Beach shelter
Beach shelter
Beach shelter
Beach shelter

 

 

 

 

 

At low tide, the sand beach is close to 100 yards wide, and at the high tide mark transitions into a 30 – 50 foot wide mound of wave rounded stones upon which sit unending stacks of driftwood. Here and there along the beach, enterprising folks have constructed makeshift shelters out of the driftwood.

Tideline tale
Tideline tale
Crabshell
Crabshell

Last night the wind changed around to the south and southwest, an unusual occurrence during my stay here, and produced some strong waves, roaring, rather than lulling me to sleep last night. This morning the tideline looked like a death zone with thousands ( millions? ) of dead crabs and jellies wished ashore.

Washed up jellies
Washed up jellies

Beach Stones and Driftwood

Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach stones
Beach stones

In an attempt to reawaken the artistic side of my brain, I searched above the tideline yesterday and came up with these images.

Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach stones
Beach stones
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach stones
Beach stones
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach stones
Beach stones
Beach stones
Beach stones
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach stones
Beach stones
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood
Beach driftwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, you have probably noticed the new Amazon ads. I am doing this to hopefully generate a small revenue stream from this blog to cover some of my blogging costs ( hopefully ). If you click through to Amazon from one of the ads, Amazon pays me a small commission on whatever you may be interested in purchasing, it in NO WAY adds to what you will pay for the item, it simply helps this traveler stay on the road a little longer, and share his adventures with you.

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

August 9, 2014 South Beach, Washington

South Beach post sunset colors
South Beach post sunset colors

It’s Becoming Really Hard to Leave This Place

Three weeks in, here at South Beach campground, and there finally is a little color at sunset and no fog to hide it!

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Moonset
Moonset

Next morning, the full moon, absorbing some of the colors of the rising sun, sinks slowly into the fog bank far out to sea.

Looking north up the beach from campsite
Looking north up the beach from campsite

Jenny and Sam do their morning campsite inspection, checking for rabbits and other nightly intruders.

Looking north up the beach from campsite
Looking north up the beach from campsite

As I have my morning coffee, I get to watch the early morning beach walkers, as well as eagles flying overhead.

Yes, I am really having difficulty pulling up stakes and leaving the South Beach Campground. Admittedly, this place is not exactly the finest of facilities, we are crammed in here like sardines in a can, there is no dump station, no drinking water available anywhere in the campground, not even a sink in the restrooms where you might be able to get some potable water. And, as usual, there are more than enough uncaring idiots camping and carousing here, perhaps even more than the  normal one in ten that you usually encounter in public campgrounds. So, yes, there is a lot of noise and commotion by day, barking dogs, screaming kids ( though that hasn’t been as bad as I feared, the dogs are another story ), motorcycles roaring through, sad, droopy drawered morons, with their deep bass speakers blasting rancid rap music for all of us to “enjoy”, inconsiderate idiots starting up their generators at 6:30 in the morning, other early risers noisily splitting firework 5 feet from their wish-they-were-sleeping neighbors, and the fire nuts, keeping smoky fires going with driftwood they haul up from the beach ( even though there is very obvious signage stating that it is illegal to do so ) despite the fact that their fire ring is only inches away from where their neighbors are trying to sleep. This place does seem like the lawless, wild west at times.

I can tolerate these things, one, because I am an early riser, always up by 5:30 AM so the rude early rising folks out making sleep impossible for their neighbors, don’t get to actually bother me. And, secondly, so as not to have to fight the night time noise, I have adjusted my bedtime hour so I stay up watching TV until 11:00 PM or later. By then, when I lay my head on my pillow under the open bedroom window, all I hear is the sound of crashing waves lulling me to sleep. The pounding surf pretty much cancels out all the other nightly noises that might disturb sleep and I get a great 6 1/2 hours of peaceful, uninterrupted sleep, waking to the same soothing sounds of the waves on the beach.

Looking north up the beach from campsite
Looking north up the beach from campsite
Looking north up the beach from campsite
Looking north up the beach from campsite

 

 

 

 

 

Full moon
Full moon

Having only some berry bushes and then the beach on my curb side, along with my gorgeous ocean view,  means that when I have to, I can close up the windows and blinds on my street side, and at least pretend that I have some campsite privacy here. And I do have to rationalize that if all the negative aspects of this place did not exist, then there would probably never be an empty spot to squeeze into here, since then, this place would be all but pure paradise.

So, I kind of plan on leaving Tuesday morning, to continue exploring the coast north of Seattle, with a trip inland a bit to check out the area around Mount Baker. But who knows, I still may change my mind and stay here in this little bit of imperfect paradise.

Well, you have probably noticed the new Amazon ads. I am doing this to hopefully generate a small revenue stream from this blog to cover some of my blogging costs ( hopefully ). If you click through to Amazon from one of the ads, Amazon pays me a small commission on whatever you may be interested in purchasing, it in NO WAY adds to what you will pay for the item, it simply helps this traveler stay on the road a little longer, and share his adventures with you.

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!