Probably I’m the only person in the world who would wholeheartedly trust the directions on the reservations.gov website. But, come on, it’s got dot gov at the end, surely the government wouldn’t LIE to me? That’s what I thought last Friday when I was still niave and trusting. BEFORE I tried to go to my online reserved campsite at Moss Creek Campground following reservations.gov directions.
The directions clearly say, “Drive 50 miles on Hwy 14 to Cook. Turn north on County Road 1000. Campground 5 miles ahead.” Something like that. So we drove 50 miles away from Vancouver on 14. Guess what? Cook is NOT 50 miles away from Vancouver. No big deal. EXCEPT that County Road 1000 also DOES NOT EXIST. So then we weren’t sure if the 50 miles direction was right or the turn north at Cook was right or what. So we tried it ALL. Plus, we drove another twenty miles in each direction just to MAKE SURE that County Road 1000 didn’t exist. It doesn’t. I’m pretty sure of this.
Finally, I called reservations.gov, waited forever on hold listening to bad music, and then informed the nice man in NY who answered that it was getting dark out on the west coast and I wanted to cancel my reservation. He was sure he could direct me to the campground with Google Earth. I’m a sucker. We gave it another go. Finally, finally, we found it — not 50 miles away from Vancouver, not one turn north out of Cook, but somewhere a couple of turns up in the hills. Of course, by then it was dark out and the idea of camping there had lost much of its appeal. It didn’t even have running water. A person needs some time to adjust to that idea and 7-11’s in the vicinity need to be open in order for that to work (there were no 7-11’s in the area, but if there had been, it would have been too late).
In my defense, I would like to say that I wasn’t able to find an actual address for this campground (okay, maybe that should have been a clue) so it wasn’t like I could mapquest it or anything.
On the plus side, the drive there (and back and forth and up and down and back again and through at least twenty tunnels) was absolutely stunning and it was sunny and the Columbia River was all sparkly and mountains would pop up here and there and the bluffs were so green and tall and wonderful and the orchards and vineyards up in the hills were so bountiful it felt like we’d left the planet and were in Mt. Olympus or something. So there’s that.
But still, I’m not betting on reservations.gov any time soon.
We went back a couple of days later to Hood River since we’d been hoping to visit from our campground — it is the cutest little town (though populated entirely by young people who seem to have some money to burn). The windsurfers there are seriously fantastic and bear no resemblance to my windsurfing in Madison, WI which was more like windfalling as I spent most of my time in hitting the water.
Hood River also has a lovely bookstore full of paperbacks. Not just books that are published in paperback but really great hardcover titles republished in paperback. So smart for a tourist town. Of course, I’d read most of the young adult titles (that is the downside of reading everything published as soon as it comes out) but I found something I’d missed before. It’s called Set in Stone by Linda Newbery and is wonderfully gothic and intriguing.