The Circus That Was My First Overland Trip *PIC HEAVY*

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Truckerbizz

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I just got back from my very first overland trip and all I have to say is wow it didn't go as planned.

The Plan:
My plan was to leave Thursday morning and drive down to take the Port Townsend/Coupeville ferry, take US 101 to Brown Creek Campground. Then Friday I would take a series of Forest Service/Logging roads to get to North Forks campground, spend two nights and then leave and go back home on Sunday.

The Circus That Was my Trip:

Thursday:
I woke up on Thursday morning jazzed about my trip. I was so excited the day was finally here. I packed up the truck with all my new gear I got for my birthday and headed towards Coupeville to catch the 8:45 ferry. I really wanted to take the ferry because I have never been on one and I thought I might as well since this is an adventure. I get to the ferry at 9 am and have to wait till the next ferry at 10:15. No big deal, I was in no rush. When it came I was one of the first cars on. I locked my truck and went on the hunt for my morning coffee. The ferry ride lasted only about 30 minutes.

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After I got off the ferry I headed down US 101 which was a beautiful drive and then I finally hit the dirt. I followed a logging truck to the route I had planned. I was loving the drive... until I hit a sign that said the road I was turning onto was closed because of a washout.

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So I turned around and headed up the way to the campground that was paved. When I finally reached the campground the weather had turned and the skies opened up. I rushed to put the firewood I brought under the table to stay dry and I threw on my rain jacket and started unpacking the truck. I got my new tent set up, had the air mattress blown up and all the other stuff stored under my tailgate so it wouldn't get rained on.

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I tried covering the fire pit the best I could so it would be a little bit dry but I had no luck. It took me the better part of an hour trying to get a fire started and about a gallon of gas haha. The rain finally stopped and the clouds were sweeping to the north revealing the bright blue sky and boy was that a happy moment.

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I broke out my new Colman stove and cooked up some salmon and had more than a few beers. It was nice to finally be in the outdoors again away from the hustle and bustle. I explored around a bit and went to go fish but the river was closed for fishing so I settled for watching the curve of the river and listening to the thunder of the water.
(continue to post #2
 

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Truckerbizz

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Friday:
I woke up Friday morning relieved that the air mattress had held its air all night. I was excited because today was the biggest part of my adventure. It put my navigation skill and truck to the test. Little did I realize when I left how much it would test both my truck and I. I would also like to say sorry in advance because there aren't many pictures of what happens next because I was too caught up in the moment to document it. I made a cup of coffee in my new Jetboil and had an eggs and bacon mountain house meal. I took down the tent and packed the truck up and went on my way.

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I made a point to put my new suspension parts on before I went on this trip and I am glad I did. I was able to fly down these fire roads and the truck felt like it was driving on the freeway. There was a time when I had a straight away and had it floored to 50mph. I was super excited, this was going to be a cinch. Then I turned off that road and thats when all hell broke loose. The road wasnt as well maintained as the previous and there were ruts, rocks and there was one section where my truck just barely fit. I thought to myself, "wow really glad I only have to do this once"... right. I was climbing higher and higher and so was my heart rate. The road was really deteriorating and I was concerned with getting stuck. I have no winch or trac pads, all I have is a shovel and an axe.

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I am really making good progress and I kept thinking that the road was almost done and then I turned a swtichback and was faced with snow. My heart sank but I switched into 4WD and followed the ruts of a previous adventureer. It wasnt bad until it got REALLY bad. I was plowing through no problem and then it got deep, and I mean I was pushing snow with my bumper deep. I was so focused on staying in the ruts for fear of being pulled off the cliff or into the wall next to me if I got in the soft stuff. Every once in a while I would feel a slip and I would push my foot closer to the ground. I was praying that it would end soon. And end it did. The ruts I was following stopped, obviously the previous person had the same oh sh!t moment I was having. I stopped and got out to see how much farther the snow was and from what I could tell it was only getting deeper. I decided to turn around and run with my tail between my legs.

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I turned around and my heart was racing, adrenaline was shooting through my veins and all I could think was do. not. get. stuck. I successfully turned around where the sun was and the snow was shallow and then I had a substantial hill to climb back up. I pushed my way up the hill, snow flying, bouncing around willing the truck to keep going. Next thing I knew I was up, I was over the hill and I followed the road till the snow stopped. A huge wave of relief hit me and I could feel my blood pressure slowly returning to normal. I was AMAZED by what the truck had accomplished. This was by far the hardest I have ever pushed my truck and myself for that matter. But I did it. I fu#king did it. I made it back down the mountain and stopped to take some pictures.

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(continue to post #3... sorry this is much longer than I anticipated)
 

Truckerbizz

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I got back to town and decided that since it would take me close to 6 hours on the road to get to the campground that I would just head back and camp at Deception Pass for the night. I made my way back up US 101 and arrived in Port Townsend. I arrived 30 minutes before the ferry got there and the lady asked if I had a reservation, I said no and she informed me that I might not make this one and may have to wait till the next one in 2 hours. I pulled up in the lane and got out of the truck. This was my first real opportunity to check everything out and make sure I was all in one piece. Not a thing was broken to my amazement, but my lower control arms and cross member were spotless from the snow. The ferry pulled up and they started loading up. It was finally my lane's turn and I followed the car in front of me and then the guy told me to stop and pull up to the line. It looked like I was going to have a few hours to kill and then he called someone and they said they had room for two more cars. I was lucky enough to slide on in. IMG_1905.JPG IMG_1907.JPG

I arrived at the Deception Pass State Park and got a campsite for the night, relieved that they had an opening. Camp set up was a breeze since I knew what I was doing this time and it wasn't pouring rain. I got a fire going, fried up some chicken and drank some beers. After dinner, I walked down to the beach to take a look. The sun was starting to set and it was beautiful.

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Saturday:
I woke up and walked back down to the beach with coffee in hand to watch the sunrise, I made some breakfast and sat by the fire. It was a nice change of pace from the previous morning. After a few hours I started cleaning up and took down camp and was on my way. I stopped at a few places on the past and then an hour later I was home.

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Laughing Otter

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Steve

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Wonderful photos, and quite an adventure! Having had the circus, as you called it, only made the trip more memorable. And taught some lessons for the next time.

When we were there last September, we'd taken the ferry from north of Seattle to the south end of Whidbey island twice (once in the loaner, up through Deception Pass, and down the mainland, and once after getting the repaired Outback and on our ay to Olympic NP.) There had been no waiting, so at the end of our exploring on the second loop of Whidbey, we got to the Coupevdlle to Port Townsend ferry only to have the same question asked: "Do you have reservations?" Ummm, nope. "Go wait in the standby line, then."

Except the ferry we were on standby for was the last ferry of the day! We made it with plenty of spots left when we departed, but it was trying on us. While we were waiting, we used the iPad to see where we could get a room if we missed the ferry, and on a Friday night, it was pretty booked up. Plus we already had reservations in Sequin that were too late to cancel.

Looking at your photos makes me even more eager to get back out there!
 

Laughing Otter

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Wonderful photos, and quite an adventure! Having had the circus, as you called it, only made the trip more memorable. And taught some lessons for the next time.

When we were there last September, we'd taken the ferry from north of Seattle to the south end of Whidbey island twice (once in the loaner, up through Deception Pass, and down the mainland, and once after getting the repaired Outback and on our ay to Olympic NP.) There had been no waiting, so at the end of our exploring on the second loop of Whidbey, we got to the Coupevdlle to Port Townsend ferry only to have the same question asked: "Do you have reservations?" Ummm, nope. "Go wait in the standby line, then."

Except the ferry we were on standby for was the last ferry of the day! We made it with plenty of spots left when we departed, but it was trying on us. While we were waiting, we used the iPad to see where we could get a room if we missed the ferry, and on a Friday night, it was pretty booked up. Plus we already had reservations in Sequin that were too late to cancel.

Looking at your photos makes me even more eager to get back out there!
I live in Port Angeles...so if either of you are in the area, I'd be up for a meet.
 

Truckerbizz

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Thanks, guys! I will definitely do write ups about my trips, hopefully, people will enjoy them and I can successfully present the emotions I was experiencing. All these photos were with my phone! I am already planning my next adventure and will be making changes from what I learned. I think a few recovery items are in order!
 

Laughing Otter

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Thanks, guys! I will definitely do write ups about my trips, hopefully, people will enjoy them and I can successfully present the emotions I was experiencing. All these photos were with my phone! I am already planning my next adventure and will be making changes from what I learned. I think a few recovery items are in order!
Pick up a copy of the "4x4 Owners Bible" by Jim Allen...lots of great novice and expert info in there...especially recovery.
 
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Hank_

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Really enjoyed the story and the pics. What phone are you using to take the pics. I think they look great. Also get yourself a winch or at least a hi lift jack. I was hoping you were not going to have issues and luckily you didn't but next time you never know.

Great job,
Hank
 

Truckerbizz

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Thanks, Hank_ I'm glad you enjoyed it! It's an iPhone 6s+ and I edited them with photoshop express on my phone. I am definitely looking into a winch with a hitch mount and some traction pads. I got very lucky this time but I don't want to push my luck haha. Unfortunately, I don't really have anywhere to use a Hi-Lift. From the little research I have done in the past, you have to use them on something sturdy that's mounted to the frame and not a quarter panel for example. I was thinking about getting a come-along hand winch before my trip but I didn't think I would get into anything this serious so I didn't get it.
 

Jhberria

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I see you made a visit to the High Steel Bridge, and then what looks like the Browns Creek Campsite? I spend a lot of time in that area, in fact I camped at Browns Creek last night.

I would be game for an OB meetup out on the Peninsula, as well.
 

Truckerbizz

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I see you made a visit to the High Steel Bridge, and then what looks like the Browns Creek Campsite? I spend a lot of time in that area, in fact I camped at Browns Creek last night.

I would be game for an OB meetup out on the Peninsula, as well.
Yep! That's a bummer, I must have just missed you.
 

ShawnR

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Great trip report. Great photos. Amazing they came from a phone. It's crazy how far camera phones have come. Glad to hear you had a good adventure and were able to conquer the challenges you faced. Your trip is inspiring and that's what makes forums such as this so great. You're inspiring others to get out and do it, while educating them on your experiences.
 
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Lifestyle Overland

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Loved the write-up and photography! Bet you can't wait to get back out there, huh? Overlanding has a way of doing that... look forward to seeing more of your adventures!