I planned this trip in a week and only made reservations at two campgrounds for eight days. No reservations meant no commitment to be anywhere at a certain time. I had a list of where I wanted to go, our two reservations, and enough food to last 8 days. The Pilot was packed to the gills with camping supplies for two adults and two kids (5 & 7), but we camp comfortably in our Tent Mahal.
We left our house mid-morning Saturday August 2, and headed to Mount Rainier. We got there in time for lunch, which I had packed in a cooler in the front seat-PB&J and apples. We explored the mountain for several hours, even going on a short hike. Around 4 pm, we headed to the campground we had passed, but they were full and the ranger was able to tell us every CG in the park was full. So we headed around the mountain again to the 410 side to start looking for somewhere to set up the Tent Mahal for the night. Halfway around the mountain, the kids were demanding dinner, so we pulled off onto a lookout and heated up the dinner (Lime chicken soft tacos!) I had made before we left the house, ate it, and proceeded on our way. We eventually left the Park and found a dirt road in the Forest and set up the tent in time for the kids' bedtime.
Sunday morning, we got up, made breakfast (oatmeal, boring) and lunch (meat & cheese sammies), and tore down camp. We headed south to Mt St Helens, arriving mid-morning. We ate our lunch and explored the volcano. Late afternoon, we headed south again to my sister in law's house in Kelso to spend the night with her family. She loaned us her portable hot water heater. and the kids all enjoyed the slip 'n' slide.
Monday morning, we all headed south again to visit Fort Stevens in Astoria, OR. From Ft Stevens, we headed to the Wreck of the Peter Iredale. My sister in law went home, and we backtracked North a little and went to another sister in law's house in Vancouver to spend the night.
Tuesday morning, we left Vancouver and went to Multnomah Falls and Bonneville Dam. We camped at Eagle Creek campground, which was quiet except for the TRAIN that goes by every 60-90 minutes all night. We locked both sets of keys in the car, along with everything but the tent and bedding.
Wednesday morning, we got a late start due to waiting for the locksmith. Good times. After a quick breakfast of cold cereal, we headed for The Bomber Restaurant in Milwaukie, OR for lunch with my father in law. Until yesterday, they had a B17 bomber out front. She came down yesterday to go to a hangar where she will be fully restored for flight over the next 3-5 years. After lunch, we hit the road for Silver Falls State Park, where we had a reservation. We got there in time for dinner and the ranger's presentation on the Natives that once inhabited the area.
On Thursday, we packed up camp and went hiking on the Trail of Ten Falls. Between a 5 year old with short legs and myself still recovering from multiple leg fractures last October, we only made it to four of the falls. We had lunch and hit the road towards Crater Lake. We got to our other reserved campsite at Broken Arrow Campground. It was a ghost town, but pretty. We made dinner and set up the tent and went to bed.
Friday morning, we had breakfast, tore down and finished our trek to the lake. We explored until late afternoon, then started the journey back North. We stopped somewhere along I-5 in Oregon for dinner at a gas station/A&W. I was excited for root beer floats, but their regular root beer wasn't working and I can't drink diet. I was sorely disappointed. We had the option of spending another night in Kelso and finishing our trek in the morning. We didn't decide until we got to Kalama that we would just make a straight shot home. We arrived home around 12:30am Saturday morning.
After Mount Rainier, I had the kids make the souvenir pennies everywhere it was possible. If anyone has Mt Rainier pennies or is headed to Mt Rainier and is willing to make two pennies, I would be happy to reimburse your $1.51 (two pennies, a dollar for making the pennies, and a stamp to mail them).