Archive for May, 2008

Milo McIver State Park in Oregon

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Milo McIver State Park is located in northwestern Oregon just 45 minutes from Portland and a little over 2 hours from the beautiful Oregon coastline.

The park is along the scenic Clackamas River where kayak, rafting, and canoing enthusiasts can challenge themselves.

If careening through the water is not your thing, there are lots of other things to do in the campground or at the 2 nearby day use areas within the parks 951 acres. clackamas river

They include:
– hiking trails, one of which is a self guided bat trail with bat houses and several stations to stop and learn about the bats (click here for a brochure explaining the bat trail)
– biking trails
– horseback riding trails
– model airplane field
– boat and raft access ramp
– an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fish hatchery that raises and releases over a million Chinook salmon each year
– a 27 hole disc golf course (discs are available at the park for rent or purchase)
– pet exercise area
– Civil War enactment every September that over 300 actors participate in
– bird watching
– nature watching
– fishing
– evening and interpretive programs at various times of the year milo mciver bat barn

The campground has an RV waste dump site, phones, showers, restrooms, handicap accessible campsites and group campsites.

The campground is open from mid March to October 30. There are 44 electrical campsites, 9 walk in tent sites, 1 hiker/biker site, and 3 group tent sites. To view a map of the campground, click here.

To view a map/brochure of the park, click here.

Pets are allowed in the campground but they need to be controlled at all times. When outdoors they need to be on a leash no longer than 6 feet.

Reservations can be made from 2 days to 9 months in advance. Reservations can be made online through the Reserve America reservation system or by calling 800.452.5687.

There are fees for day use of the park and for camping.

For more information on the park, visit their website by clicking here or calling 800.551.6949 or 503.630.7150

Check To Make Sure Everything Works Before You Go Camping

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Before you leave home on your camping trip, take a little time to check to make sure everything works even if you think you do not have the time.

I, unfortunately, did not take this piece of advice to heart when I went camping over Memorial Day weekend. My family had a bad week with 2 family funerals so time was short. By 6 pm Friday night we were so anxious to get on the road we decided to just leave and go relax at the campground.

If we had taken the time to check things out beforehand, we could have left 15 minutes sooner than we did because we found the trailer lights were not working and had to take time to fix them.

Once we got to the campground we found out the electrical system in our popup wasn’t working either so we spent the weekend without lights, running water, and heat.

We were okay because we cooked over the fire (which we had planned to do anyway), switched the camper’s fridge so that it would run on propane, hung lanterns inside the camper for lighting, and used our sleeping bags to keep us warm at night when the temperatures got down into the 30’s. The only thing I dreaded was getting out of the warm sleeping bag in the morning and trudging to the bathroom.

But, the trip would have been more fun if everything on the camper was working the way it was supposed to. Although we couldn’t have done anything about the electrical system if we had checked it just before leaving, we typically pop our camper up the week before a camping trip to check that everything in the camper itself is working and that the supplies we keep inside the camper are fully stocked. But, because of the bad week we had, we skipped doing that check and paid the price for it.

We won’t skip it again.

Play Bocce Ball While Camping

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

One of the games our family played while camping during Memorial Day weekend was Bocce Ball.

If you have never played bocce ball or have never seen it played, it is a form of lawn bowling.

Balls are tossed or rolled at a target. Whoever is closest to the target scores points.

To see a demonstration of how the game is played, click on the youtube video link below.

The game was first played in Italy and is traditionally played on oyster shell courts. Our family plays a version that is called the West Coast Style which means it isn’t played on a court but instead in an open grassy area, although we also play it on the beach.

It is a great game for camping because it can be played anywhere there is a little bit of open grassy area. We usually have enough space to play it right at our campsite, but I do want to give a word of caution. The balls may look harmless but they are heavy so care needs to be taken to play away from camping units and other people. The ball hurts if it hits someone.

Although the game is intended to be played on flat ground, our family never lets a little bit of uneven or hilly ground stop us. And, if the area we have to play in is small, we don’t throw the target ball very far. If we have lots of space then we will toss it further away although it is challenging at any distance. I think it is most challenging and fun when the distance the target ball is thrown each round varies.

Our family’s technique varies according to the surface we play on. A toss with a roll is best for grassy surfaces where a ball is almost guaranteed to roll a little. On sand the ball usually comes to a dead stop when it lands so an accurate toss is essential if a person wants to score any points.

It can be played with single players or teams of players. This weekend we played with four teams of two and then with 3 individual players later on. It is easy to adapt to the number of people playing.

The game is available at stores such as WalMart and Target during the summer months and can be purchased online any time of the year. Prices range from about $20 up to about $100.

The set pictured below is available through Amazon. When purchasing a set to play while camping, I suggest buying one with brightly colored balls that will be easy to see on the grass.

bocce ball