Battling Raccoons and Fleeing to Oregon (Day 28)

Tuesday night we camped in Cape Disappointment State Park on the southeastern-most tip of Washington state — little knowing we were in for a TERRIBLE night’s sleep.

After tent camping our way across the west, Ryan was tired of setting up a tent site every night and breaking it down every morning. We’d decided to give car camping a go, to make the process easier (and to keep us a little warmer at night, too).

The only flaw in this plan was that our car is FULL of stuff. Camping equipment, clothes, food — all the accouterments of six weeks on the road. So, a bunch of it had to go outside. We neatly stacked our bins and coolers at the campsite and tucked ourselves into the Tahoe.

We should have known better. We had seen fat, unafraid raccoons in the campsite before we turned in, but we thought our equipment was sturdy enough to keep them away.

We were wrong.

Three times in the night we were awakened to the sound of furiously scratching claws and terrifying hisses as three raccoons battled for our food.  When we finally dragged ourselves out of bed to make sure they weren’t being successful, we found they managed to get their wretched arms into a bin. Unable to actual pull anything out of it, contented themselves with shredding a loaf of bread. However, they also got the cooler open, tearing into Ryan’s brats — one of them even opened and licked clean a container of Greek yogurt. (Doubtless he required the protein to fuel him for further ravaging.)


We finally pulled ALL our belongings into the front seat of the Tahoe, wedging coolers and bins in true clown car fashion. The raccoons returned a couple more times (at one point, one perched himself on the bumper of the car not six inches from our heads) but eventually they got bored and left. (“Eventually” being around 3:00am.)

The next morning we were awakened to the sound of a Coast Guard helicopter hovering over our campground. Apparently Washington has some of the most dangerous coastline in the west, so it’s popular training ground for the Coast Guard.

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When Ryan headed down to the beach to check it out, he discovered this awesome driftwood shelter, big enough inside for 2-3 people.

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We packed up camp, and headed into town (Long Beach, Washington) to get a little work done at a cute coffee shop, Long Beach Coffee Roasters.

We contemplated returning to Cape Disappointment for another night, since we hadn’t taken much time to explore the park and the beach, but I couldn’t bear the thought of facing the raccoons again. So instead we drove about 45 minutes south, just over the border into Oregon, to Fort Stevens State Park. (I think this means the raccoons won.)

Once our campsite was set up, we headed down to the beach  just under a mile from our site. This is the wreck of the Peter Iredale, a ship that ran aground in 1906 on its way to Portland. Yes, those are two dudes chilling and reading books on it. I hope they’ve had their tetanus shots.

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Ryan was pretty excited because you’re allowed to drive your car on the beach here!


And then we enjoyed a gorgeous West Coast sunset on the beach!

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I'm the oldest of 12 crazy kids and two pretty awesome parents. My love of travel developed during my early years traveling the globe as an Air Force brat. I'm a runner, a writer, and a reader, and I love cooking up good food and cozying up our camper.

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