Category Archives: Camping

Father/Son Camping Weekend 2014

When he was five, Tristan wanted to go fishing and sleep in a tent. He had never done either one. I reached out to a couple of our friends who had boys Tristan’s age and suggested a camping weekend at Clear Lake, Oregon.

Fast forward five years — we went with three other dads and their respective boys to Twin Lakes in Eastern Oregon this month. We arrived on a Thursday and departed that Sunday. What a splendid time. We had three campsites with three trailers and a tent. We were fully equipped with microwaves, fridge freezers, A/C and TVs — yes, we were roughing it.  🙂

During the day we gave the kids our undivided attention and did basically anything they wanted, including rafting, kayaking, swimming, playing games, etc. One of the dads even purchased a paddle board for the trip. This was very cool as most of us had never used one. This year was a little different in that they were mostly all 10 years old. In the past we had to keep a closer eye on them when they were riding around the park and playing in the trees. This year they had more autonomy to show their responsibility.

After dinner we changed the pace of things a bit. The kids all go into one of the trailers for movies, games or whatever they choose to do. At this point the dads break out the poker and adult beverages. It’s a great group of dads who go on this trip, and we all get along very well. We play cards well into the early hours of the morning. I did feel a little sorry for our campsite neighbors this year as we were not exactly quiet after 10 pm. It’s amazing how you can solve the world’s problems with a little rum and whisky while playing poker. 🙂

The kids get along great (for the most part). A sign of a successful trip was once again the kids not being happy to go home and already asking the dads where we are going next year.

That brings up a good point as these trips do not just happen, and it involves a lot of planning and preparation. Usually we spend some time during the year at a bar playing poker and accomplishing a little planning. 😉

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Bring on the planning meeting!!!!

Happy Trails

Father/Daughter Camping Weekend

Last weekend Rachel and I took our annual camping trip together. It’s a time for her and I to get away on our own, leaving Tristan and Mum behind. This year she chose to go to Casey’s RV Park, in Oakridge, Oregon, one of our favorite places. I love the opportunity to escape with the kids individually and connect one-on-one. Tristan and I have been going on a father-son camping weekend with some of his friends and dads for the last five years.

When we arrived at Casey’s, we did the most important thing first. No, it was not setting up the trailer and campsite; it was buying ice cream. Once Rachel was set, I could have a little time to set up camp. We had a great day of swimming in the pool and riding bikes. She got to choose all of the meals for the weekend and the special treats we took with us. In the evenings we read books and played games. It was nice to not have the distraction of TV and life.

In the mornings we got up, had breakfast and sat outside, watching the river run by. We relished the tranquility of our surroundings reading books. I like the fact that the kids are at a stage where they can sit peacefully for a while and just relax without going a mile-a-minute.


She is already asking where we will go next year!

Happy Trails

Day 14 of Our Trip to Yellowstone National Park.

Day 14 of Our Trip to Yellowstone National Park.

Today we made it home after 14 days on the road and 2,584 miles. We averaged 11.3 MPG and spent $827.00 in fuel. OMG!

The last few days of our trip were spent along the beautiful McKenzie River in Oregon. We met up with five other families who were staying at the Horse Creek Lodge; we were just down the street at the Holiday Farm RV Park. We spent Friday night enjoying a little R&R along with drinking a little home brew. Three of us make our own beer, so we had 15 gallons of brew ready to pour. I made a Chinook IPA, Jeff made “Wit the Heck” and Brian made “Artic Blonde.” We all drank and were merry. The kids played with all of their friends and were able to burn of a lot of energy, which was needed after all the smores and sugary drinks.


On Saturday segments of our group rafted down the McKenzie River. They were well prepared with wetsuits and splash jackets. The river guides were the owners of the lodge where everyone stayed, and by all accounts they were fantastic at their job. Rachel, of course, was all about going faster and over more white water and rocks. I’m going to have to watch out for that girl; she’s going to be hard for me to keep up with. 😉


After the rafting trip everyone went down to an inlet on the river and jumped off logs and used rope swings. The kids had a great time! Saturday night brought about more games and partying. We spend hours playing “Corn Hole.”

On Sunday we had a leisurely breakfast, and then we left to break camp. We were home around 12:30 p.m. and spent the rest of the day cleaning the trailer and doing laundry.

All in all it was a fantastic trip that I think the kids will remember for a very long time. Looking forward to the next adventure!!!

Happy Trails

Day 8 of Our Trip to Yellowstone National Park

Day 8 of Our Trip to Yellowstone National Park.

We left Yellowstone yesterday after four wonderful days in the park and surrounding area. On our last day in the park we saw a grizzly bear! I think that made the trip for the kids. I never truly understood how big the park was until we drove it. We put on just over 500 miles in four days. The scenery in the park is breathtaking from Old Faithful to the waterfalls and the Yellowstone version of the Grand Canyon.

The KOA at West Yellowstone was a fantastic camp location. The amenities were clean, and there was a lot for the kids to do in the evenings. We would certainly stay there again. We had spot 23, which was conveniently located by the coffee stand and ice cream bar.

We left the park yesterday to head to Hailey, Idaho, with our friends Ang and Ben. We are currently dry camping in their driveway. They live in a beautiful location at the base of a mountain along a river. Today we drove up to Sun Valley and Ketchum to look around. The Sun Valley Lodge is amazing and has so much history of the area. If you did not know where you were, you could step out into their courtyard and feel like you were in a small village in Austria. I am already making plans to come back here at the end of January for a ski weekend with Ben. We found a great Starbucks in Ketchum which I can highly recommend. Not only do they serve coffee but also beer and wine. 🙂


We have one more full day here, then we begin the trail home on Thursday. Our plan is to make it home on Sunday after spending the weekend in McKenzie Bridge, Oregon, with five other families for a little camp out. By the time we make it home, I will need a rest from the vacation!

Happy Trails

The Nicolson’s Visit Yellowstone National Park

Day 2 of our trip to Yellowstone National Park for Tristan’s 9th birthday.

We left Eugene, Oregon, yesterday and night stopped in Burns, Oregon.  We found a nice Good Sam campground right off the road.  We will also stay there on our return trip. While in Burns we found a nice city park for the kids to burn off a little energy.

Today we took a short 4-hour drive to Mountain Home, Idaho.  It is a KOA, although a rather rundown one. Once we got checked in (which was a challenge), we unhooked and headed into Boise for dinner and a walk along the river.  We found a nice Irish pub and a well-deserved pint. The weather was kind of crazy today.  When we left for Boise, we hit a rain storm and the temperature dropped from 94 to 73 in a matter of 5 minutes.  It lasted for about 10 miles, then we were back in the 90s



It seems like we have been pulling the trailer uphill for the last two days.  We never seemed to go downhill much.  The elevation change was only a 2,772 foot increase, although it seemed like much more.  The Toyota Sequoia did a fantastic job of pulling the 2008 24’ Keystone Passport even if we only got an average of 9.7 MPG.

Tomorrow we head to the KOA at West Yellowstone.  We are meeting up with some of our best friends along the way, and they will be joining us for our adventures.  It’s been too long since we have seen them, and we are all looking forward to the adventure.

Happy Trails!

First camping trip of the year – 2013

This last weekend we took our first camping trip of the year. It was my birthday and Michelle planned a weekend away in Ashland Oregon. The weather was beautiful for this time of year, we had 88 degree temps. We stayed at Glenyan RV and campsite just outside of Ashland, which was a very nice place with a little stream running through the park. I love Ashland for all that it offers for both summer and winter activities. Mt Ashland ski resort is just a short 30 minute drive up the road, and then there is the Shakespeare festival, and all the great food. Great food being a relative term depending on your taste. We have been to Ashland several times but only eaten at one restaurant. I love the Black Sheep Pub, coming from England I enjoy the traditional pub atmosphere, food and drink.

On Saturday we drove up to the ski area just to look around. We have yet to ski there. In the afternoon we went to “My Fair Lady”. It was a fantastic performance. The kids did great during this 3 hour show. Tristan’s favorite part was “Eliza where are my slippers!”. Yep it was funny, guess you had to be there though. We ate and drank at the Black Sheep twice that day. On Sunday it was mother’s day, we had a slow start to the day packing up the trailer and taking a walk with Sadie. We checked out late so that we could go into town for a brunch. Yep you guessed it; we ate at the Black Sheep.

All in all I had a great birthday weekend tied in with mother’s day. The kids were fantastic and it left me looking forward to the next trip. This happens to be this upcoming weekend. Daddy Daughter camping weekend.

Untraditional Thanksgiving

Once again this year we chose to celebrate Thanksgiving in an untraditional way.  Instead of sitting around and making a huge meal and veg’ing for the weekend, we escaped.  We are putting our new trailer to good use.  Historically we head to the Portland Zoo around this time of year to let the kids see the Zoo Lights, which we have done for a couple of years.  We have also gone to Wildlife Safari for their Christmas lights.  This year we wanted to visit the Christmas lights at Shore Acres down by Coos Bay, Oregon.

We loaded up the trailer and the kids on Thanksgiving Day and headed south on the Oregon coast.  We booked into the campsite at the Mill Casino in North Bend.  Not the traditional place to take kids. The RV Park is away from the casino, yet we had all the amenities at the hotel.  The kids loved that we could use the hotel pool, the hot tub and, most importantly for them, the arcade.  We spent a fair amount of time in the arcade with the kids, aka the kid version of the slot machines.  There were several of those machines that you put in $.50 and get a cheap plastic toy.  Tristan decided he needed one of the plastic people holding various sports balls.  Unfortunately his first attempt got him the soccer ball guy and NOT the baseball guy he really wanted.  Three more attempts yielded him the same result.  He wanted to try again, but we headed him off. We then used this as a learning experience relating his desire to keep putting money in on the chance that he would get the guy he wanted to the people playing slots down the hall.

In addition to visiting the Christmas lights, playing around the campsite and swimming in the pool, we also went to a couple of beaches.  We found two really nice beaches on the way to Shore Acres.  The kids loved splashing around in the surf, checking out the tidal pools and digging in the sand.  All in all they got wet and messy, not exactly what Dad likes, but I tried to go with the flow.

Our last camping trip to the coast was less than stellar. This trip, however, was fantastic.  Everyone got along well; kids interacted well and did not fight.

Happy Trails