The Camping Trip Disaster at Moclips, Washington
Beach at Moclips, Washington
Humorous Camping Disaster
I have never been much of a camping person. In fact, I am a middle aged woman that hasn’t camped in over 20 years; a large reason is because my husband wouldn’t go with me, because I was such a terrible camper. Not that I was volunteering to go, for that matter.
We both had some time off however, and decided to take an extended camping trip to visit areas of Washington State, that we had never visited before. Camping allowed us to stay out on an extended trip, due to finances. We needed this road/camping trip include cost saving tips for travel, so it was a tent, not an RV.
There were several warning signs that we should have heeded before this trip. This first being, we wanted to go in non-peak tourist season to avoid the crowds, so we went in early March. We had had a nice warm streak at home, but failed to remember that time of year could still have powerful winter weather.
A huge overlooked factor by us was that Moclips, a beach on the Washington coast, is known for its major high wind and waves.
We arrived during the day and explored Moclips, with many businesses closed because of the off-season. It’s very rural, so it’s a great getaway for people wanting a more solitude experience, but offering not many places to get warm. We enjoyed the beach however, very beautiful.
We set up our tent campsite; the only thing we could find was on the beach, not protected by trees, straight off the Pacific Ocean waters. We thought that would be so romantic, camping on the beach. There were only about 5 other RV’s staying there, we were the only tent, and happy to not be in crowds.
Let me state here that we had prepared for what we thought we needed for camping for this time of year. We had brought a small electric ceramic heater, rented a space with electricity, to help cut the chill in the tent. Wool sleeping bags, air bed, lots of blankets. I have bladder the size of an ant it seems, and have to get up several times a night to use the bathroom, so we got a tiny camping port o potty that could work during the night.
We also had secured the tent with cement weighted blocks all on four corners, and had a weighted canopy as well to provide extra protection.
The Long, Stormy Night
Night falls and a major storm hits the coast, with hurricane level winds. Seriously. The temperature fell to 32 degrees, and the heavy rains and at times snow fell. The winds were clocked at a steady 70 mph, with gusts up over 100 mph. Combined with the low temperatures the wind chill dropped very low.
At first, we were ok, cold but fine. About 2:00 in the morning, the tent partially collapsed. One of the cement weights was blown on top of me and fortunately I wasn’t hurt. But now, the rain began to get inside.
We got up, took the cement weight off me, I used the potty and did our best to secure the tent, fix the leaking that was happening, unplugged the heater because of the rain leaking in, and jumped back into bed to keep warm. Sleep was impossible due to the loud noise of the wind and the tent whipping.
An hour went by, when the entire tent collapsed under the heavy wind, rain and snow. We now had ice water 2-3 inches deep on the entire floor of the tent. The port of potty tipped over, so now it was a freezing rainwater urine mix that surrounded us. We were soaked through and through, all blankets, clothing, suitcases, everything. You could hear trees and branches coming down in the forest behind us.
We got up and went to the truck to warm up. If there had been a motel open in the area, we would have gone, but none was to be found. Our weighted canopy blew away. We wanted to leave, but didn’t want to abandon our gear, although we seriously thought about it. It was too dark to take down. We decided to wait until daybreak to dismantle camp.
When the first rays of dawn began to shine, the plan was to jump out and take down as fast as possible and just throw everything in the truck to leave. We got out and a hailstorm hit, big pea sized hailstones, coming so hard they actually hurt. Because of the wind chill, snow and hail that had come down through the night, trying to dismantle camp, our hands were completely numb. We couldn’t wear our thick gloves to take apart the smaller tent connections.
As hubby was throwing everything into the truck, I was trying to get the air beds deflated. The tent was lighter by this time and several gusts of wind actually began to take me up air born slightly. The tent almost became a balloon; I was seeing visions of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I was screaming for my husband to get in the tent so I wouldn’t fly away. To get the tent even partially flattened, required both of us to lie on the ground on top of the tent and roll around in the water/urine freezing mix, while striking down with our hands the portion of the tent wanting to fly away. I thought I could hear laughter from the RVers.
Finally, we got it in the truck. No sleep, wet, freezing cold, dirty and hungry we left this camping trip disaster at Moclips, Washington. Perfect conditions for a marital fight, which then ensued.
Our luck later did change however, as we drove out of the area, after miles and miles of traveling when we found a rural bed and breakfast that was empty, but open. We got a delicious meal, warmed up by the fire. We drove to Long Beach to a Laundromat to wash everything, and the locals there were very friendly and helpful, and the sun actually came out, and we promptly rented a motel room for 2 nights, willing to cut short our time out.