Camp Granada

“Hello Muddah. Hello Faddah. Just arrived in Camp Granada,” one of the more memorable songs from my youth where Allan Sherman sings about the summer camp from hell. Whenever I hear it, just the tone of his voice conjures up thoughts of misery, stuck in a place designed around enforced fun, with no hope for escape until the week is done. Such was the nature of Vasa Park “Resort.”

IMG_0025I feel like I am hopping around Washington like a flea these days, but I left my brief time up in the Olympic Peninsula to drop down to Seattle to meet up with some long time friends who were only going to be in town for two weeks. So I left the calming lavender fields of Sequim and headed back to the land of ferry wait times, six lane freeways and construction-clogged bridges that link together the many bodies of water that surround Seattle.

Finding a tolerable campground in an urban setting can sometimes prove to be a bit dicey. These locations are known to be more crowded with less personal space, and the only green landscaping is the moss and vines covering the sun-faded, metal-sided “lean tos” that are to RVs what cinder blocks are to leveling jacks.

But this time, I had a recommendation. I have several colleagues who live and work in the Seattle area. When I first bought my RV, Diane insisted that I should drive it up to Seattle. She had just the place for me — Vasa Park Resort, their nearby community park on Lake Sammamish. “It’s such a sweet little campground! Very quaint. Right on the lake! It would be perfect for you!”  This would be one urban location where I finally wouldn’t have to jockey for position while keeping one eye on the sketchy neighbors. After all, it had been recommended! Unlike my usual analysis paralysis, I hadn’t even done any research prior to arrival.

As is my typical MO, I came rolling into Seattle late on a Sunday evening, with just enough time to get situated before dark. My first sign of trouble was when I checked in at the office, and the woman behind the desk said, “Now be sure and snug up nice and close to your neighbor, because sites here at Vasa Park are a little narrow. And you have neighbors arriving tomorrow! You don’t have a slide out now, do you?” A pall came over me.

My neighbors for the week, 2 adults, 2 kids, and 2 dogs.

My neighbors for the week, 2 adults, 2 kids, and 2 dogs.

View out my side door.  Note dangling hose.  This is one sound of a "water feature" that is NOT comforting!

View out my side door. Note dangling hose. This is one sound of a “water feature” that is NOT comforting!

The next surprise came when I unfurled my power cord and went to plug in my surge protector. I raised the flap on the pole, to discover it is 20 amp only! I went back to the office and said, “Sorry, there must be some misunderstanding…I think I am supposed to be over in the area with the 30amps.” “Oh, no, you asked for ‘partial hook-ups.’ Our partial hook-up sites only come with 20 amp.” So I ask, “I have a lot of sensitive work equipment. Can I move to a full-hookup site?” “Oh, no, hon. Those have been booked since January.” Strike Two.

Line at the restrooms from my office window.

Line at the restrooms from my office window.


View from my front window.

View from my front window.

The third strike came the next morning, when a family with two small children and two puppies pulled in next to me in a pop-up tent. They were so close, my awning would have shaded their bedroom….if only there had been room to roll out the awning.

Our bedroom windows were side by side. I could hear every word of their conversations. By the end of the week, I knew all their names and what they did to annoy each other. But there was one thing they all unilaterally agreed upon…”COOPER!!!!” their whimpering, yipping puppy was “A VERY BAD BOY!!!” Every time I sneezed or coughed, the dog would go ballistic. There wasn’t a waking moment that one of the four of them wasn’t yelling at him. By the end of the week, they were yelling at each other.

Since I have to work inside the rig, normally what I would do in a situation like this is close the windows and doors and board myself inside so I could work. But the sun was shining in Seattle, so the temperature inside the rig got up to 87 degrees before I cried uncle. And of course, no AC on 20amps. Try having a conference call with a testy client when it is 87 degrees inside…IMG_0026 IMG_0029 IMG_0032

Toward the weekend, the inflatable fun-houses and portable climbing wall rolled in. I tried moving, but every campground within a 50 mile radius was full for the weekend. I was left with a case of PTSD that it would take weeks of boondocking to undo.IMG_0035

(permission to photograph granted by Mom)

(permission to photograph granted by Mom)

There was one redeeming factor, and that was “location, location, location.” And in this case, my location was less than five miles from the stealthy Kimbopolo, who made her home in the Garden Center of the Home Depot for the early part of the week. After work, I would make my way over to the Home Depot/Best Buy complex, and slowly cruise the parking lot looking for a white van with tinted windows.  Once I spotted her, I would ease into the parking space next to her, as if we were on surveillance duty. It felt very covert. Especially when we laughed at all the poor bastards coming out of the store hauling bags of peat moss and pea gravel.

Kim had made a fascinating discovery…just a nice evening’s stroll across Hwy 405 was downtown Bellevue, a spotless suburb of Seattle, which she so succinctly described it as looking like an artist rendering of a planned city. Everything was perfect, right down to the ivy growing up the pub walls, a shopping mall filled with outdoor outfitters, and a park where people played soccer in colorful uniforms while a black and white dog raced across the green, manicured park to catch the perfect Frisbee toss. From the Home Depot parking lot, the gleaming, glinting spotless city rose up across the freeway like the Emerald City of Oz, where we would venture in the evenings for all sorts of laughable adventures…

A stop at the local weigh station...

A stop at the local weigh station…

Kim lost 5 pounds...

Kim lost 5 pounds…

Happy Hour and the Indian Restaurant...Cucumber Mojitos and Cilantro Margaritas.  YUM!

Happy Hour and the Indian Restaurant…Cucumber Mojitos and Cilantro Margaritas. YUM!

But then Kim moved on, and I found myself wishing time at Camp Granada would speed up rather than slow down for the first time in the 17 months I have been on the road…

19 thoughts on “Camp Granada

  1. Well, the pictures tell the story, don’t they? How painful it must have been for you to relive the trauma while developing this post. You are right – we were much better off with the 300 Harleys.

    I wish you catharsis and a future free of inflatable fun-houses.

  2. I would have had to leave, let them keep my money. I’d found a street somewhere to hide out. Great shots though and Seattle really is a great city.

  3. What was the benefit of staying in the campground? With only 20 amps, you couldn’t run your air conditioner anyway, yah? What could you have dragged out of your panels in combination with your generator? Surely enough to run your work equipment ??? Or do you have just one house battery???

    Hope you are somewhere way better by now.

    Virtual hugs,


  4. Wow, does that make my week at the KOA in Kent (at some ungodly rate of something like $100/night for a pull-thru water-electric) look like an absolute Shangri-La in comparison to your tortures next to Cooper the bad boy and all those screaming kids!!! Good heavens! I think you need to retire!

  5. Looks like the park from HELL! I don’t think we’ve stayed anywhere that family oriented or family filled ever…I feel your pain just looking at the pics!

    But I understand you are now in a more pleasant place, and happy you must be!

  6. Pardon me for laughing, but this is hilarious! And to top it all off, one morning at 6:00 AM your time, when you had FINALLY gotten off to sleep, your absent-minded mother dialed your number and woke you!!! I’ll bet my name was “mud” all that day!!! Te he he he!!!

  7. I think you left out the fact the main road around the lake is mere feet from the R.V. “Resort”…:)….It hasn’t changed in 50 yrs..Except there are more rug-ratz around..
    I hope you get back to normal..

  8. We have stayed in a few very sad campgrounds in our time on the road but nothing quite so invasive. Hubby is sitting across the room from me on his iPad right now emitting moans as if he is personally reliving your week from hell. Hope you are in a much more tranquil place right now.

  9. My husband could hear me muttering, “Oh…My…GAWD” as I read this post and was asking me “”What’s wrong?”

    Where to begin…in a word…EVERYTHING.

    Did your “friends” who recommended this park have an unsettled grudge?

    “With friends like that…” Well, you know.

  10. Here’s another camping contrast you can add to your list.
    I know some campsites have a minimium distance between units because of fire regs. But thats very close next to you and a bucket under the outlet hose doesn’t take much.

    Thats the worse thing about campsites during school holidays, there are full of kids ….and they all having a whale of a time. They should be home watching TV or on the computer!!

  11. That is my nightmare come true! I hope I never have such an experience. 5 months on the road so far and nothing even close to that. Of course you have a year on me, so my time will come. I am sure…

  12. The end of July through the end of September is usually crowded in Seattle, as of course, this is our best weather time. And this past week, we wrapped up our annual Seafair Celebration, which may account for some of the large crowds. If you come back up to the area, and don’t mind being about 45 minutes north of Seattle, there are a few great little campgrounds in the Snohomish area. One is the American Legion Campground. It is not advertised, but if you call the the AL Post in Snohomish, they will give you the phone number for the managers. No amenities other than free ice, and a spot along side the river, and a block from the Centennial Trail for biking or walking. There are only 5 or 6 sites, all full hook ups. I don’t recall if they have 30 or 50 amp power, but it was never an issue for us. We were there for about six months. Also you could check out Flowing Lake County Park, also in Snohomish. There is a Thousand Trails park in Monroe (connects to I 90 just east of Issaquah by way of Highway 203) which is okay. If you don’t need a sewer hook up, the spots on the river are great.

  13. Further evidence of your hardiness, as if I needed any after reading your book. I might have lasted a day before leaving. Oh, and if my only choice was that or 300 hundred Harleys I would opt for suicide.

  14. Suzanne,
    Maybe there is something wrong with your AC. With a suitable gauge extension cord or just a convertor plug, ours runs well on a 20 amp circuit.
    Tom the awning fixer

    • Tom! My awning savior! I still think of you every time I retract. 😉 The campground actually had “No ACs! Not enough amps!” posted on their rules, so I didn’t want to push it, especially having to run my work equipment.

      Hope you and Corrine are doing well, and still enjoying your Oregon “souvenirs.” I am down to one remaining bottle. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

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