Rasar State Park Feb 2015
Tuesday, February 10 - Friday, February 13, 2015
After picking up Rocinante, we decided to make a dry run to ensure her readiness for the coming season. We chose Rasar State Park based on reasonable driving distance for a quick trip, info on the Washington State Parks page, and comments posted at RV Park Reviews.
Utility sites at Rasar offer only electric and water, though there’s a dump station on the way out. Campsite water is still turned off this early in the year, but we didn't mind since we’re dry camping to prevent any possible freezing damage. The campground has one central bath house, with showers. We’d be getting our water at that location for this visit. As a bonus, early season rates are only $25 per night for any campsite with electric, or $20 without.
We arrived Tuesday afternoon, around 4:30. The gatehouse / pay station was closed, which is normal this time of year. We hadn't bothered with reservations and it was clear the campground was empty - plenty of room for us. There were pay envelopes, though we preferred to pay by credit card if possible. That would mean waiting for the ranger or finding the camp host. All we really needed to do was pick a spot, and the rest would come together.
As we looked at the campground map, the ranger rode up in his cart. He was kind and suggested that with the coming Presidents' Day weekend it might be convenient to grab one of the two non-reservable utility sites (#2 or #6), as that would eliminate any need to move if we extended our stay. #6 was the deeper and more private spot. It was a bit uphill, but nothing too dramatic, so we chose it, paid up and bought a bundle of firewood and fire starters in anticipation of smores.
As we looked at the campsite we noted that it turned to the left, in addition to being slightly uphill. This bendy campsite threw us a curve, but we got the rig parked. Next time will be easier, as we learn something each time we back into a site. We were glad the campground was quiet; we had no audience, and no traffic backed up behind us as we practiced our technique. It was getting dark by the time we finished setting up camp, but we were comfy.
The campground is nice. Spots are spacious with plenty of room between them, and lots of trees. Each site parking area is paved and the site is graveled to keep down any possible mud. The fire rings are great, and the picnic tables are big. We had more than enough room for our rig and we could have easily opened up our awnings and put up a gazebo. We had acceptable coverage from Verizon while there (2 bars of LTE without a booster), though our T-Mobile-equipped iPad had no signal at all.
Weather cooperated as well as can be expected for February in the PNW. It was cool, in the 40’s at night and low 50’s in the day. We had occasional light rain, but were able to enjoy campfires (and smores!) on two of our three nights.
We also walked with our faithful Golden on all the park’s trails. They are an easy going couple of miles, though the field was a bit muddy. We had hoped to see the famous eagles along the Skagit and elk in the park’s open field, though we saw neither this time. We even squeezed in a quick bike ride, which was pleasant.
We drove to Newhalem, WA, where we took a look at the Gorge and Newhalem powerhouses. We also walked on the Trail of the Cedars, which is a pleasant nature trail. There’s also a nifty locomotive there, used by Seattle City Light to help build the dams and power houses though it’s not operational today. We still saw no eagles along the river or elk in the fields by the road, but it was a pleasant, scenic and relaxing tour.
By the end of our dry run with Rocinante, it was clear that while all the previous warranty problems had been resolved we had uncovered a couple of new ones. The blue LEDs on the Furrion power inlets no longer light up, though power does reach the trailer. Our Dometic heat pump spills water off the roof instead of running it down a drainpipe, which we hadn't seen before. So, it’s back to the dealer to resolve these issues under warranty before we camp again. Lucky for us, we live within a half hour of our dealer!