Mount Hood, Oregon: Five Friends and One Thousand Trails
A funny thing happened as we left California. We drove north, away from Travis Air Force Base, and we were ready to hit Oregon hard. We had traveled all of two miles when DonMichael spotted disaster behind us: a car with smoke rising out of the engine! DonMichael pulled over, jumped out, and rushed in to save the day. He threw open the car’s hood, dodged FIRE that leaped out, ran around in small circles, jumped back in the RV, grabbed our 2.5 gallon water jug, ran around in two more small circles, dashed back to that car, and dumped the water on the engine. Catastrophe averted… engine fire out. No explosion, no death, no injuries. Lily and Andie cheered. “Yay, Daddy! You saved our car!” See… it was our car. Our beautiful tow car, the Hyundai Veloster Rally, one of only 12000 made, painted in matte blue and looking ready to race. It still looked ready to race, as long as you closed up the engine compartment and ignored the smell of burnt hoses, belts, and major components. As we sighed with relief, the transmission peed on our feet.
Luckily, only days before, DonMichael had purchased a year-long membership to Thousand Trails, a network of RV parks across the country. If you pay about $700, you can stay in the Thousand Trails parks whenever you like… for up to four days at each…. or two weeks if you then spend seven days not in the parks… or three weeks if you buy a lifetime membership for around $9,000…. but, even then, not in the special Encore parks… and never on a night any local bowling alley has $1 game specials. If you wanna know the rest of the innumerable rules, you’ll just have to try to book what you want, and they’ll tell you if it breaks a rule. All in all, we’re pretty sure it’s a Jenga tower of fraud run by Russian bots and overrun with crotch pheasants. But, on the bright side, they had a park near Portland, where we dropped our car for repair. In just one long stay at the Mount Hood RV Resort, we recouped our $700, and we have one whole year to go to more parks and live it up!
After dropping our fiery ball of scrap metal at a Hyundai dealership in Portland, we headed over to that park. The Mount Hood RV Resort has 2.5 stars on Google and is touted as having disgusting bathrooms, uneven RV spots, and a pool made up of only two ingredients: chorine and e. coli. Well, bitches be cray: Mount Hood RV Park is a land of magical, foresty grandeur. There are trees and trees and trees, as well as rivers and waterfalls and bike trails and edible clovers and berries. The indoor pool and spa are warm and filled with joy. There are happy children everywhere, biking and jump-roping and laughing and making cookies with tree elves. The Firefly Café serves the most delicious pancakes you’ll ever fork in your mouth. In case you’re wondering, the secret ingredient is almond extract instead of vanilla. Oh, and, yes, the bathrooms are pretty disgusting.
But, best of all, we met our best friends FOR LIFE! Charlie and Kaycee own four children – 9-month-old Kinsley, 4-year-old Brinley, 5-year-old Kaylie, and 9-year-old Ty – and a dog named Lilly The Dog (so she can be understood as separate from Lily The Human). Lily The Human became besties with Brinley and Kaylie and Lilly The Dog. Kaylie taught Lily that the clovers all around us taste like sour apple candy. Lauren became besties with Ty. Lauren and Ty spent all day, every day, playing video games on their tablets in the great outdoors. They had at least one dramatic, tear-filled fight per day. Charlie is a pilot for a huge airline that you’ve never heard of. He looks like Brawny, the paper towel outdoorsman. Kaycee is the funnest, most laid-back mom evs. She looks like Amy Schumer, but she’s funny. We traded off making dinners, took hikes together, and each tried to convince our children to play in the other family’s RV spot for the whole stay. Charlie and DonMichael competed at finding firewood; they upped each other until Charlie downed a redwood with a nest full of baby spotted owls.
We love Thousand Trails, and we stayed two whole weeks, which means we have to spend a week not in the Thousand Trails parks. We are moving on to a Coast Guard campground in Westport, WA. It has a lighthouse, five RV spots, and mosquitoes. We’ll tell you all about it soon…