July 27, 2018 South Beach Campground, Washington

Maltese
Pearl at 7 Months

Fogged in at South Beach

Pearl has made it to 7 months as of today so I thought I might include a new photo of her as she has changed quite a bit from the last time I took any shots of her. Still very independent, but is gradually coming around to realize that it is in her best interests to listen to me more than just occasionally. House breaking has finally been successfully completed and she has become agreeable to have her harness and leash put on when the situation warrants.

South Beach Campground
South Beach Campground

Haven’t been posting anything lately as I seem to find myself unmotivated to get out and do much. We have been socked in with heavy coastal fog for a week or more now, although as soon as you get just a half mile inland, there are bright blue skies and very warm temperatures, in the high 80’s and 90’s. But here in the campground the fog keeps temps in the 60’s.

South Beach Campground
South Beach Campground
Coastal Fog
Coastal Fog

I have driven up to Forks and then back down to the coast to LaPush and Mora in the bright, hot, sunny weather, but as soon as you get back near the beach you run into the coastal fog bank again, so nothing to photograph lately.

Gulls on the Beach at LaPush
Gulls on the Beach at LaPush
LaPush Harbor
LaPush Harbor

I did drive about 30 miles south one day and then did the loop road around Lake Quinault hoping to get some shots of the many small waterfalls along that road. However all the small streams were bone dry and thus obviously no waterfalls.

Roosevelt Elk
Roosevelt Elk

I did however stumble across these Roosevelt Elk. First time I have ever encountered a mixed sex herd of elk, bulls, cows, and calves, all feeding or resting along the riverbank.

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July 12, 2018 South Beach Campground, Washington

South Beach View Through the Windshield
South Beach View Through the Windshield

Return to South Beach

In 2014 I discovered this little jewel of a campground as I made my first trip around the Olympic Peninsula. At that time, when I pulled into the campground, I was a little underwhelmed to say the least. What lay in front of me was a very crowded narrow gravel strip with RV’s and tents packed in as tight as sardines, lots of dust, smoky fires, and people wandering through the tightly spaced campsites. I grabbed the only available spot right at the entrance, as far from the beach as was possible, and figured I would only be able to tolerate staying in this hectic, congested spot for a night or two.

Fifty-one days later, when they closed the campground for the season just after Labor Day, I left with a whole different attitude about this very unique camping spot. As with real estate, location means everything here. After a couple nights camped at the entrance I was fortunate enough to see a unit leaving a beachside campsite and moved myself over to the vacated site. Still packed in tight with little space between the front and rear of my motorhome and my neighbors, at least now I could draw the blinds on the driver’s side of my rig and thus sort of close out the congestion on one side of the campsite. And the view out the other side was of the beach. I was serenaded to sleep nightly by the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, drowning out  ( most of ) the noise of the other campers. Days were spent reading and walking on the beach with Jenny and Sam. While the west roasted under 90 plus degree temps that summer, here at the beach it was a pleasant 70 – 80 degrees every day and nights were just right for sleeping with temps in the 50’s.

So for quite some time I have been wanting to return here and get a respite from the summer heat.

South Beach Campsite
South Beach Campsite

After a couple nights in a campsite across the road from the beachfront sites, I was able to move into this wonderful campsite, probably the best site of the 60+ sites in the campground.

South Beach Campsite
South Beach Campsite

Nobody in front of me, nobody to the left, and only the beach to the right.

Surf Fishermen
Surf Fishermen

This is my morning view out the passenger side window, not bad for a campsite that costs me all of $7.50 a night. There are no hookups of any kind here, no water available and no dump station, but those are available about 5 miles north of here at the Klalaloch Campground. Being out in the open as this site is, satellite reception is fine and there is a very strong Verizon signal here.

A Most Unusual Day in the Campground

South Beach Early Morning
South Beach Early Morning

The early morning shot above shows me in the campsite I had when I first arrived here on Monday.  The site I coveted was directly across the road from where I was and the woman tenting there told me she was leaving on Wednesday, so on Wednesday morning I signed myself up for four nights in that spot and sat back waiting for her to vacate the site so I could move over and set up there. But there turned out to be a little fly in the ointment in the person of a production company that moved in early that morning to shoot commercials for an RV manufacturer … and they had chosen the perfect site to use for that shoot, the site I was intending to move to as soon as the woman vacated that site.

I was a little dumbfounded to learn of this from a casual conversation with a fellow camper who happened to be part of the production crew. I told her I  was a little bewildered that there were no postings of any kind that an event like this was happening and when I checked with the campground host to find out if this was for real, they had no knowledge of this either .. kind of strange, but then again, this is a campground run by the federal government, the National Park Service.

So there I was, ready to move to my ideal campsite, and I was told that it was to be used by the production company, not me, even though I had paid for the site and there was no indication anywhere that someone else had reserved that site for the day. As a younger man, I would probably have fought to move onto my paid for site regardless, but at this stage of my life, I decided to just roll with the punches and see what transpires.

In the Middle of the Action
In the Middle of the Action

So I remained on my original campsite as the production crew set up all around me as you can see in the image above.

Caterer
Caterer

Behind me a caterer had his trailer and set out a spread for breakfast and coffee breaks.

Wardrobe Motorhome
Wardrobe Motorhome

In front of the caterer was the wardrobe bus for the models, occupying the rear of this motorhome while the front of the trig was an onsite production room for the photographers.

Wardrobe Motorhome
Wardrobe Motorhome
Prop Trucks
Prop Trucks

Three rental trucks house all the various props and equipment the photographers would need for the shoot.

Unloading Props
Unloading Props
Setting Up for the Shoot
Setting Up for the Shoot

Around noon, a fifth wheel was moved onto the ( my ) site and set up for the first shoot.

Models for the Shoot
Models for the Shoot

The models moved in and the staff set out props for the shoot. Looks like a pretty nice site, wouldn’t you say?

The Shoot
The Shoot

Photographers, there were four of them involved, started doing external shots after an hour or so of interior shots.

Shooting Platform
Shooting Platform

I set up my ladder behind my motorhome and allowed the photographers to use my roof as a shooting platform.

Getting a Better Angle
Getting a Better Angle

Probably should have gotten a liability waiver from them, but fortunately, no one got hurt climbing up and down from the RV.

Lunch Break
Lunch Break

As I mentioned before, I was in the center of all the action, and that was no different as the caterer set up tables to serve lunch to the crew. Although I didn’t partake, I might note that I was invited to join them for lunch by the production managers.

Lunch Break
Lunch Break
Lunch Break
Lunch Break
Lunchtime
Lunchtime

This young woman typified the attitude all of these folks, pleasant, hard working people that genuinely appeared to enjoy what they were doing. I spent a long day , from 8 AM until 10 PM with these people, the drivers, the photographers, the caterer, the ” worker bees “, and the managers and they were all genuinely nice people. I would have to say that I have never encountered such a mixed bunch that appeared to work so well together.

Motorhomes Move In
Motorhomes Move In

After lunch they moved the fifth wheel out and moved in two motorhomes that they spent the rest of the afternoon and evening shooting.

Motorhome Reflection
Motorhome Reflection

I got a kick out of the reflection of my dowdy rig in the highly polished exterior of the $578,000 45 foot motorhome.

Motorhome Reflection
Motorhome Reflection

You certainly would not see any reflections when looking at the side of my motorhome.

At 9:30 PM, the photographers got their final sunset shots of the motorhomes and the day’s shooting was completed and the boss called it a wrap to the cheers of the hard working staff. The motorhomes were moved out and I was able to finally move onto my cherished spot. By 10:30, about an hour after my normal bedtime, I was finally set up and ready to enjoy the rest of my stay at South Beach.

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September 9, 2014 Goodbye to South Beach

South Beach Sunset
South Beach Sunset

Travel Day North to Burlington

After 51 days at this little piece of Heaven/Hell on Earth, today I leave the South Beach Campground in Olympic National Park. It was never my intent to take almost four months to circumnavigate Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, it just seemed to work out that way. The record heat inland, along with the strange allure of South Beach, combined to keep me on the cool side of things here on the beach much longer than I had planned.

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Escort for an attacking eagle
Escort for an attacking eagle
Bald eagle fishing
Bald eagle fishing

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

My original plan, way back in mid-May was to spend a few weeks along the Hood Canal photographing bald eagles, then spend two more weeks hopping around the Olympic Peninsula in a counter clockwise path, staying just a couple nights in three or four spots, and then head east to photograph farmscapes around Palouse. But by mid June the temps inland were already soaring into the 90’s and held there throughout the summer, keeping me cooling my heels along the Pacific coast. I never dreamed I would spend seven weeks boon docking at South Beach.

There really is very little to do or see in the immediate area around the campground. Once you have driven into the rain forest  and hiked a few trails and checked out the beaches along Route 101, there just isn’t all that much to explore here. The nearest towns for supplies are Forks, 37 miles north and Aberdeen, 67 miles to the south. Thus, it is kind of a mystery to me why I came to stay here so long. The constant roar of the Pacific right outside my window I guess would be the key component that mesmerized me, hypnotized me, got me to be able to ignore all the considerable negative aspects of this campground. Being able to just hop out the door and walk a nearly deserted beach with the dogs certainly was a very positive part of my stay here.

With a strong Verizon signal here, and no distractions or places to explore, I was able to settle in and spent a great deal of time on reestablishing my photography website, something I had not been able to bring myself to do the first year of my full-time travels. ( Check the site out by clicking on ” Galleries ” in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. I wouldn’t mind some feedback if you do so ! ) Here at South Beach, with no distractions, I was able to jump back into Dreamweaver and begin the long, tedious process of designing pages and then sizing and uploading hundreds of images, sometimes able to put in 8 or 9 hours a day doing so.

South Beach Sunset
South Beach Sunset
South Beach Sunset
South Beach Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

A happy coincidence that my last night at South Beach produced the first brilliant sunset of the entire summer. Virtually every sunset from my arrival in July all through the month of August was obscurred by the permanent fog bank over the Pacific. During the first week of September, as the inland temps started to decline a bit, the fog banks burned off in the afternoon and the sunsets were finally visible, but with perfectly clear skies, no clouds, they just weren’t that spectacular. Not so last night !

So on to Burlington, Washington

I left South Beach around 7 AM and headed south on Route 101 to Aberdeen, picked up Route 12 east to Route 8, then 101 until I hit Interstate 5 in Olympia. What a shock to the system after spending seven weeks in isolation on the Pacific coast, driving through the congestion of Olympia/Tacoma/Seattle to Mount Vernon. Except for the deplorable condition of I-5 through Seattle, the 5 hour trip was pretty easy with no significant traffic or construction obstacles. I arrived at the Riverbend RV Park in Mount Vernon around 1 PM and got checked in for two nights at a price of $27/night with my Good Sam discount.

Not a bad place to stay, an older park with tight spacing, full hookups, certainly no great atmosphere, being located right across the street from an enormous WalMart ( certainly convenient though ). I choose the park for it’s central location for exploring the area and it’s proximity to Burlington where I have an appointment to have my Winegard Satellite system replaced, yet again.

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September 5, 2014 South Beach, Washington

South Beach Sunset
South Beach Sunset

Finally Some Sunsets

The last couple of evenings, we finally, after many weeks without, have had some sunsets here at South Beach. Ever since I have been here, there has been a permanent fog bank on the western horizon, of course, quite often, it has been much closer than the horizon. As a result, even when we have had pleasant, sunny days, and there have been many of those, the sun is blocked by the fog bank as it sets over the Pacific.

South Beach Sunset
South Beach Sunset
South Beach Sunset
South Beach Sunset
South Beach Sunset
South Beach Sunset

The past few mornings have seen less fog than usual also.

Morning Walk
Morning Walk
Early Morning
Early Morning

Taking advantage of the nice weather, the dogs and I have been walking a mile or so up or down the beach at low tide each day. Like most dogs, they have always had a ball exploring when on the beach. Jenny, now 14 years old, has always just flown all over the sand, racing in circles, and ranging far and wide exploring. Sam, 8 years old, has always just kind of followed her, usually having a little bit of a hard time just keeping up.

Ready for a walk
Ready for a walk

Sadly, I am noticing on our walks here, Jenny is getting to resemble her owner lately, no more racing around in circles, not ranging far off exploring, and more just quietly following a few steps behind my own slow steps, and almost seems relieved when we climb the hill back to the motorhome. Jenny is getting old.

Winegard Satellite System

Also getting quite old are my continual problems with my $2000 plus HDTV satellite system from Winegard. It failed yet again last Friday and after several calls to Winegard and four trips up on the roof to try various combinations of rerouting coax cable bypassing various satellite components, it was determined that the turret, the primary guts of the system, must be replaced, AGAIN! This is the third turret replacement in 7 months, along with 2 LNB unit replacements, as well as the replacement of the reflector and the LNB arm. All of this has been done under warranty, but my very serious concern is that my 2 year warranty expires in another 5 months, and at the rate of one system replacement every two months, once the warranty expires, I will not be able to afford to maintain this, obviously, seriously flawed system.

Not to mention the money wasted on my DirecTv monthly bill, when I have been unable to access DirecTv because of the failed system. In the past 7 months, I have been without access over 3 months to the tune of $450 thrown away while waiting Winegard replacement repairs. I now am scheduled for my next replacement up in Burlington, WA., on Sept. 17th.

Leaving South Beach

It looks like I will finally be leaving here next Monday or Tuesday, when the campground is closed for the year. I will be doing so, very reluctantly. Despite the cramped conditions, and many incidents with less than considerate neighbors, I have probably enjoyed this spot as much as anywhere I have ever stayed. It will be very difficult to realize that there will be no more sound of the crashing waves to go to sleep, and be awakened, by. That I will surely miss. No more long walks on an all but deserted beach.

Seems crazy, but I have this weird, semi-ominous feeling, like when I was a kid and summer vacation is over, or when I was working, the feeling you have when your vacation is over and you have to go back to work. I have that same feeling now, when, in reality, all I have to dread is that I am continuing my ” vacation “, just moving on to another new spot to explore. What a life! One of the things I have managed to accomplish during this long lull in moving about, is the re-establishing of my image website. It is still a long way from completed and it will take me a few more months to actually get all the images sized and up loaded, but the website is now accessible and you may check it out at mcqgallery or by clicking on the ” Galleries ” link in the navigation bar at the top of this blog page.if you like. I am still adding images daily and there is much, much more to come, but there is enough there as of now that I am making it public. I would appreciate any kind feedback from everyone.

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