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BT Journals

Negative Town and the Search for the Happy Camper

Negative Town and the Search for the Happy Camper

by Basic Terrain

3 years ago

It was Jared and Alicia’s idea to travel on from Lake Cushman out to the coast. They’d come all this way, might as well keep going, right?

Right! Count us in!

We don’t get to hang with them very much outside of winter in Utah, and while it was awesome to have them up at Skokomish, we were excited to hit the road with them. They know what they’re doing. They have walkie-talkies. They mean business.

The plan is to hit one of the coastal campgrounds in the Olympic National Park. The only thing was we couldn’t make reservations at those campgrounds. They were either ‘first come, first serve’, or ‘show up and hope for the best’.

As a control freak fronting as a ‘laid back’, ‘go-with-the-flow’ kinda gal, not having a reservation would usually freak me out. And it did, for a moment.

Ok, maybe two moments, stretching into three…

No, I told myself, you will not complain to Dave. You will not chicken out. You will go with the flow. Remember?

A wise friend once said, “Stick to the plan until the plan changes.”

Yeah. I’ll just do that.

I cool. I’m easy. I’m breezy. I can roll. I got this.

I know Dave was waiting for me to break character. But I didn’t. I kept my cool, for the time being.

That Sunday, our two-family caravan set out for the coast, driving through small towns, farmland, and the birthplace of Kurt Cobain.

“Smells like teen spirit!” Oh, never mind.

Seventy-three miles north of Aberdeen, along the forested coastline of Highway 101, we arrive at our first stop, Kalaloch Campground.

“What happens if we get there and there aren’t any spots available,” I ask Dave.

“We try the next one,” he says, aka “Don’t trip." 

So I just breathe, because I’m so cool.

We pull into the entrance and are greeted by a sign that said ‘full’. I roll my eyes and look the other way. But Jared ain’t going out like that. He heads over to the park ranger and is told to take a loop around just to be sure. Signs make mistakes too.

As we pass campsite after occupied campsite, we catch glimpses of the ocean from the bluff on which the campground sits. I imagine us parked in one of the oceanview sites, sleeping with the bedside window open, the waves carrying us off into dreamland.

But that maritime meandering will have to wait until next time. We reach the end of the loop. “No campsite for you!”

We leave the happy campers behind and head for the next location. My ‘cool’ is fading out with the tides.

“What if the next one or the one after that is full? Or what if there’s only one spot available? What do we do then?”

“We drive back to Chehalis,” also known as, “Didn’t I say, ‘don’t trip’?”

Right, because we were probably only four or five hours from the house. It’s not like we’d be stuck in a land far, far away.

If things don’t work out, we have a backup plan. Okay, I feel better, though my brain is already making its way back to the driveway in Chehalis.

Jared and Alicia radio over that we should bypass the next spot and just head to the Mora Campground near Forks, WA. “We were told it has a lot of campsites and we’d have a better chance at scoring a couple of them.”

But what if… 


A wise teacher once asked, “Why you gotta go to Negative Town?” Yeah, why?

What if I just breathe and enjoy the ride, because there are no happy campers in Negative Town.

- Joy


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  • Always wise to skip Negative Town and start worshiping in the Church of Chill. Everything is an adventure if you’ve got no destination in mind. Love you all and sad I missed this one!

    Katie Deschamps on

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