Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cape Disappointment

We just came back from a wonderful weekend at Cape Disappointment.  We never camped here before and for the life of me I can't figure out why it took us so long to discover this place.  It's on the coast; it has not one but two lighthouses;lots of hiking trails;a beautiful beach for walking and exploring; excellent campsites;and close to a cool little fishing village in Ilwaco.  It turned out to be about a four hour drive from Seattle, but we had beautiful weather and really enjoyed the winding roads through the forests and farmlands.  We almost second guessed ourselves out of this trip. I was in the grocery line on Valentines Day doing some last minute shopping for the trip .  The grocery clerk was making small talk and asked what plans I had for the long weekend.  Of course I was bubbling over with enthusiasm about the upcoming trip and told her we were going to a new campground on the Washington Coast that we had never been to before.  When I told her the name -Cape Disappointment-her mouth dropped and she said: "Oh" with a sad frown face. Then she added that it didn't sound like a very good place to be celebrating.  Isn't it funny how we allow people to interfere with our happiness ?  As I walked out of the store I realized I had allowed her to steal my joy.  I started second guessing our destination. By the time I got the groceries loaded into the car I realized how silly I was. Shame,shame,shame on me for allowing her to be a black cloud over my happiness.  I shook it off and  knew in my heart that no matter what the campground name was we would have a good time-because we always have a good time.

This was our first view from the overlook just outside the campground.  This beach is just north of the North Head lighthouse.  See what I mean ?  Beautiful blue skies and the beach goes on forever.

Very few of the campsites are close to the ocean and even fewer provide an ocean view, but you can hear the waves crashing all day and all night long and smell the salt air.  This was our site #68,tucked into the trees with electric and water hookups.  Some of the sites have full hookups.  Since the trees were bare we had lots of sunshine while parked here. The campground is open all year with about half of the sites available for reservations.  Then on April 1st all of the sites open for reservations.  If this weekend was any indication of how much people love this park, I would suggest booking well ahead of time.  It was pretty full all weekend.  We took a walk around the park looking for future sites that would provide an ocean view, if we could get a reservation for them. Our absolute favorite site turned out to be #106-it has no hookups but trust me the view is worth it !  Site #15 also has an ocean view with electric and water hookup.

After we walked along the beach and checked out the campground  we came back to our site with the beautiful late afternoon sun shining through the trees.

All Hailey wants to do is play while Jim tries to get a good fire going for the evening !

Saturday morning started out with steaming hot cinnamon rolls right out of the oven !  I would like to take credit for toiling over these but I must confess that these are Rhode's Frozen Cinnamon Rolls and quite good.  I love to bake and someday soon I will bake my own from scratch while camping out inside Ruby, but if you want the smell and deliciousness of cinnamon rolls in the morning (and you didn't plan ahead) then I can heartily recommend these for convenience and ease of preparation.

Saturday morning started out with a brief Spring shower and dark clouds, so after breakfast we headed out to the beach.  It never did storm , so we walked and walked and Hailey played and played.

By lunchtime the storm clouds had moved East and we had nothing but blue skies and puffy clouds.  We decided to head into town and check out Ilwaco. I had done a little Internet research ahead of time and found a cafe/seafood market that I wanted to check out-OleBob's Seafood Market. OleBob's turned out to be exactly what I thought it would be-one of those wonderful little finds that you love to stumble across .

Our view from the OleBob's patio-sweet.  It was so sunny and warm we got to eat outside and ended up spending about three hours on the patio . We enjoyed the food,scenery and company of Russ a fisherman from Juneau.  He sat down at one of the tables next to us and for about two hours we picked his brain for things to see and do in Alaska that aren't on the "must see" list for visitors.  You know all those out of the way places ! He also gave us some good tips on where to head for some charter halibut fishing in Alaska,one of the "to do" things on my list for Alaska.

The halibut fish tacos knocked my socks off-they were fresh and crispy and oh so fresh !  Jim had the halibut and chips and I snuck a couple of bites-also excellent. When you enter OleBob's from the street-side you enter through the seafood market .  If you can manage to tear yourself away from the cases with the fresh Dungeness crabs,crab cakes,oysters and all things wonderful , then walk through the door into the sunny cafe.  These folks have it down -great service,great location and great food.  The woman at the seafood market told us the Dungeness crabs that were in the case were a little smaller than usual but if we came back later in the day the crab boat would be with a fresh catch.  So of course that became our plan for the day.  What actually happened is that because we had spent so much time outside on the patio we discovered the boat had docked. As we were leaving we caught sight of the containers full of fresh live crabs that were being unloaded.  Of course we picked out two giant ones and the gal cooked them for us. (Note to myself-next time bring a bucket and we can take back live crabs to the campsite and cook them ourselves)  It only took about 18 minutes for her to cook and clean them for us, well worth the wait !

The steam you see over on the left side of this picture just below the neon sign in the window is the steam from the crabs being cooked !

After we refrigerated our fresh Dungeness crabs we headed back out to the beach to enjoy another gorgeous afternoon. This is the North Head Lighthouse, we loved this beach so much we never made it to the trail to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse-next time.  Another note to myself-bring bikes-this park is perfect for bicycling to get around and see everything.  It would be a short ride to town -maybe three miles (with one major hill to get over).

Shhh,don't tell, this is our favorite site that we are going to try and reserve for our next visit-hopefully by that time we will also have our solar installed on Ruby's rooftop, but if not we have a very quiet generator to fall back on.

The Dungeness Crabs we picked up at OleBob's were incredible-dinner plate size and so very sweet.  I usually like to dip mine in a little cocktail sauce (by the way OleBob's makes their own-very fresh), but this crab was so sweet and tasty I ate it without any sauce. We spread a quilt out on the bed and had an incredible picnic dinner-Dungeness Crab and beer-life is good!

Hailey gives this beach 5 stars and so do we !


  1. I would be disappointed too if I had been trekking across North America for several years, and thought I had finally made it to the Pacific Ocean only to learn it is still several miles down river. Cape Disappointment is a lot of fun. Glad to hear you are having some fun adventures.

  2. Thank you Logan, and it's just the beginning !

  3. Thanks for this great post about my town! If you are on Facebook, you might like our Discover Ilwaco page. Thanks again for posting such gorgeous photos, Roadtrek Girl!

  4. Thank you tanglycottage,and I love the Discover Ilwaco page !

  5. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for sharing in such detail the beauty of Cape Dissapointment and what sites are good. I was especially excited to hear about site #106 -- it looks like a beautiful spot even though there are no hookups. Do you know, can you walk down to the beach from the site? Hubby was reading over your blog last night and brought your new post to my attention and we were completely enthralled in every word. You have inspired us to take this trip and good for you for not letting that lady at the grocery store change your mind. Some people!!

    Thank you again for sharing your wonderful trip and your photography is breathtaking -- the shot with the sun streaming through the trees? Amazing....

  6. Yes you can walk down to the beach from the site ! It's so sweet,the
    picnic table is tucked away under some trees and beyond that is a
    little clearing in the beach grasses where you can set up beach chairs
    for your morning coffee ! The ranger told us that site was the most
    popular. It's just one site away from the trail to the
    beach but because of the way it's set back you have wonderful privacy.
    Make sure you go to Olebob's too ! We are counting down the days to
    Jim's retirement in December when we can do this full time. I was so
    enthralled with your McCall posting that Jim and I are planning on
    making that trip in December as a way to kick off our full time
    traveling on the road ! Thank you for the wonderful compliments-your
    blog is my inspiration