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My Summer Vacation


I just got back from a week of camping at my favorite spot, Sand Island, a public marine park next to St. Helens, Ore. Sand Island sits right in the middle of the Columbia River. There is usually a cool NW breeze that comes right up the river from Astoria on the Pacific Ocean. We’ve been camping there for the last 20 years.

We camp with other families and friends and there is often a large group there. During the week we have the island to ourselves. I’m still amazed that such a nice place is not more popular. We swim in the Columbia river, play with the boats, throw sticks for the dogs, read, read, and read. There also seems to be an endless game of hearts going. I almost shot the moon two nights ago.

We went this year on our new, almost finished Tolman Skiff. I started building it 2 years ago, on Memorial Day weekend in 2003. I’m still working on the inside but we were able to sleep on the boat this year instead of in a tent. There is nothing as nice as sleeping on a rocking boat with the hatch open. You have a fresh breeze blowing through the cabin all night and a canopy of stars above. The forward bunk is also a great place to read during the day.

When camping on the island, one routine adventure is a trip to town. In this case, that means the Wal-Mart in St. Helens. I know it’s PC to hate Wal-Mart but these really are amazing stores. They have everything. It’s fun for me just to browse around. The find of the week for one of our fellow campers was the Bubba Keg, a 52oz. stainless, beverage mug. I’d never seen anything like that before and perhaps it was appropriate that it came from Wal-Mart. After getting back home I did a web search on Bubba Keg and discovered that they are sold all over the place. If you search on eBay you’ll discover that they come in sizes as large as 1 gallon. The only question is, do I really want one of these? I think I’ll wait. ;-)

Almost all of the small stores along the river front in St. Helens were closed. We used to enjoy going to these stores over the years during our trips to town. I would have enjoyed walking through all of them but the only thing open was the Wal-Mart.