Lakeshore RV Park, Chelan

Lakeshore RV Park is in the heart of Chelan, WA, bordering a gorgeous 50-mile glacial fed lake aptly named, Lake Chelan. RV sites boasts full hookups for $34/night (value season) to $65/night (peak season) and tent sites range from $27/night (value season) to $35 (peak season). Full list of rates.

The Reinbold’s save the day!!

We spent the last week of August 2018, vacationing in Lake Chelan, WA, and it has taken me ten months to put the review to the keyboard because I’m just now able bring myself to relive the horror. We found ourselves broken down on the side of the highway in Entiat, pulling our Coachman Freedom Express 257BHS. We straddled the white line of a tiny, practically nonexistent shoulder in 90-degree heat on day 1 of our vacation. Oil gushed out of the bell housing of our tow vehicle. One child cried from the backseat, “More screen time,” while the other threw a vicious tantrum because we wouldn’t let her jump out while semi’s barreled past us. The summer forest fire season was in full effect and while our eyes burned from poor air quality, our cash was about to burn from our wallets. I’ll post the whole ordeal in the coming days, but for now, please enjoy my Lakeshore RV Park review below.

Pros:

Family summertime activities are the bread and butter of this seasonal tourist destination popular with Seattlites craving the sun and Spokane residents looking for an affordable Coeur d’Alene alternative. Everyone from all corners of the state and beyond enjoy the dry warm air and welcoming community.

Within walking distance of Lakeshore RV Park:
  • Don Morse Memorial Park has a scrumptious sandy beach and grass area for all-day lakeside lounging.
  • A block toward town is the City of Chelan Putting Course (this putt-putt puts all others to shame)
  • LakeRider Sports (go-karts) is fun for the kiddos, comical for tall people.
  • Shoreline Watercraft and Boat Rental will happily take your money in exchange for something that goes vroom.
  • If delicious hometown pizza is your thing, we can’t say enough about Company Creek Pizza across the street to the entrance of the RV Park. The atmosphere is modest, but the flavor of the food will make your eyes roll back in your head.
  • Also across the street is Chelan Lanes. When you walk through the doors of this old-school bowling alley, buckle up for a ride back to the early 1980’s. Fun for all ages.
  • Don’t miss the variety store. One of the few places you’ll find overpriced plastic crap you’ll actually want.
  • There is a Starbucks in town.
Cons:
  • Forest fires during the high season are a real concern here. The air quality declines rapidly and you will incur cancellation fees if the smoke is enough to deter you (see mid-day photos below).
  • There is a Starbucks in town. (It’s a pro and a con)
Must Do:
  • If a water park with rambunctious screaming children is your thing, I suggest Slidewaters. Best when coupled with hot weather (photos below).
  • Wine. Seriously. Grab a designated driver, leave the kids with grandma and drink your way through the vineyards. In the photo below, my friend Danielle is pointing out something terribly funny (likely of the falling cow variety), at the Lake Chelan Winery. Special mention to Tsillian Cellars (possibly the most elaborate koi pond in Eastern Washington) and Karma (ask for a flight).
Good to know:
  • It’s busy during the high season. Lakeshore RV Park is one of only a few full hookup parks servicing the area. We highly recommend making reservations 9 months in advance.
  • Cellphone coverage in the surrounding area is less than stellar.
Lakeshore RV Park, Chelan, WA

The Complicated World of RV Tires

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A year after buying our first travel trailer I stumbled on a Facebook group for owners of the same brand as our own. The term, “China Bombs” started popping up in threads. They were referring to the stock 14″ Castle Rock tires manufactured in China.

From what I can tell, the majority of irate Castle Rock customers either had a blowout or were simply distrustful of the tires because they came from China. Most said they were lightweight and inferior, but yet still other owners said they worked great. What’s a new trailer owner to do?

Reviewers who experienced failing Castle Rocks are unable to conclusively say if maintenance/drive style played a part in their failure. It may never be known because they probably didn’t realize they exceeded some of the strict low capacity loads common in these type of tires.

Castle Rock Tire capacity:

  1. Load range: C, Ply rating: 6 with a maximum load: 1,760 lbs at 50 psi.
  2. Maximum speed: 75 mph (speed rating L).
  • Castle Rock tires need to be checked and filled frequently to 50 psi. For some, this might be after every trip or two depending on use. Under-inflation is a common complaint and can lead to catastrophic failure.
  • Castle Rock tires have a lower weight rating than what owners may be aware of so may unwittingly exceed the tire weight limits which can also lead to failure.
  • Castle Rocks are designed with a 75 mph speed rating and some drivers might not actually adhere to this limit in practice. But none of us, right?

Any single one of these factors can lead to a catastrophic high-speed blowout.

Investigations into these failures are either never done or not published (likely the former) so it’s difficult to prove the real reason for blowouts, but Castle Rocks have not been recalled and manufacturers continue to use them on all brands of new trailers. With proper maintenance and use, they apparently perform as designed according to the manufactures who use them and users who stand behind them.

That wasn’t good enough for me. I want to load my trailer without worrying about my tires. There are enough other issues out of my control to worry about – I’m talking to you, driver who cut me off entering the freeway. I never drive over 60 mph when I’m towing, but if I have to pass a broken down vehicle or swerve to avoid road kill, I want to do so confidently. It’s worth it to me to get new tires with a higher load rating and user reviews. With that, this year we purchased 14″ Goodyear Endurance Tires. Trailer enthusiast groups suggested we opt for the 15″ tires, but I’m still not sure what the advantage-to-cost analysis is on that.

As the tire tech’s removed our Castle Rocks they shook their heads in disbelief and one said, “These are in terrible condition. Not safe.” They were two-years-old, living in a mild climate (Seattle) and maybe had 2500 miles on them total. Maybe. Six extended weekend trips total. Nothing looked wrong with them from my untrained eye. I think changing them out was a good call, albeit a hit to the wallet.

A note about installing trailer tires in the city

Installation was challenging. Very few tire shops could accommodate the length of the trailer so I picked a store based on the size of their parking lot and quickly learned that’s where most people take their RVs in the area. They scheduled me for a day and time when the delivery truck would not be blocking the parking lot, but alas there was an unscheduled delivery truck in the middle of everything. I squeezed in, my rig blocking five garage bays and it was chaos. One employee wanted me to disconnect, another didn’t, I was messing everyone up. I don’t know what it’s like in other areas of the country but this was an experience I thought worth mentioning. I’m glad I did it, but I wish I had known what to expect.

Before I go, can we please consider calling them something other than, “China Bombs”?

If they perform as intended (and I’m unable to find data that says otherwise) and if the majority of failures are caused by under-inflation, high speed or overloading, is that really something to use a derogatory cultural name for? Based on the concentration of online consumers that freely admit they hate them simply because they come from China and not on the merits of their actual quality, it sounds racially motivated. I’d like to suggest if you really hate them simply call them shitty Castle Rocks instead. Leave the word “China” out of it. Lord knows America has made some bad tires over the years too.

Watch it! Road Condition Resources for RVers

“Country Bridge” by Bill Dickenson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

I think most RV drivers share the same heart-stopping fright when we stumble on road construction or narrow lanes we don’t expect. Have no fear, there are some great free online resources to help us familiarize ourselves with road conditions before we go and plan a worry-free route.  Trips are best enjoyed safe and fright-free! Continue reading “Watch it! Road Condition Resources for RVers”

Seaquest State Park

Seaquest State Park & Mt. St. Helens

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Seaquest Explorers

Our August 2017, Seaquest State Park was memorable for two things; the Mt. St. Helens bugs and our first experience with a full hookup site! Magical!

I have to admit, I’m a wee bit concerned all the seismic ring of fire exhibits might frighten my girls away from visiting a volcano ever again. Fingers crossed Mt. Rainer happens someday.

Pros:

  • Full hookup pull-through sites available.
  • Smaller, more private primitive sites available for smaller RVs.
  • Yurts available for group camping.
  • Clean and well-kept.
  • Lovely day-use picnic area with covered shelter.
  • Good access from I-5, with easy maneuverability for large RVs
  • Close to Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center (connected by an under highway pedestrian tunnel).
  • Dump station.

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Fort Worden State Park

Mother/Daughter Road Trip Spring Break 2018

Two nights and one full day at this magical place is simply not enough time! I wouldn’t call the constant precipitation sideways rain as much as a pummeling mist. Pacific Northwesterners know what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, due to weather and time restrictions, we didn’t see half of what was available so have made plans to come back during the summer and we’ll bring the entire family!

Pros:

  • Historic – plenty of learning opportunities for kids and adults alike. There are few places in Washington with a history as long and rich as Port Townsend, which is older than Seattle and Tacoma and retains much of its original charm.
  • Great walking trails.
  • Lodging in the Officer’s Quarters is a unique and fun experience.
  • Breathtaking views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Mt. Baker and Whidbey Island.
  • The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is worth checking out.
  • There are several on-site food options.
  • Convenience store next to beach sites.
  • Conference center.
  • Camping bathroom and laundry facilities are top-notch.
  • Cell service is great and you can even get a decent TV signal from Seattle.

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Hot Water Trouble, shoot!

My first camping trip after winterizing was an exercise in patience and problem-solving. I was out alone with my eight-year-old and had never been through a de-winterizing before. The dealership winterized for us this first time because I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize the warranty. Also, I am a newbie and am not confident I’d do it correctly. Before the trip, I flushed out the antifreeze and thought I was ready to roll! Not so fast. Continue reading “Hot Water Trouble, shoot!”