Monday, 29 July 2013

Bing's First Trip: A Surfer's Hangout, Glampin' Style!

Destination: Jordan River Campground, near Sooke BC on the wild, west Pacific Coast! 

Duration: Three Nights

Departure Date: July 11th, 2013

For my birthday this year, I wanted one thing only: to finally go camping in Bing either on or before the Big Day, July 17th. Doug's holidays started on July 8th so we set a hell-or-high-water departure date of the 11th and worked like mad to get Bing on the road. 

We succeeded! I didn't get any of my wall decor hung up in time, but who cares? We were off, on the road, actually out camping after 10 months of longing. Here's the story, starting with a few last minute projects I managed to squeeze in before we left. 

Pick a Pillow

I hadn't sewn any pillow cushions for Bing, and I wanted everyone in the family to have a special one to take glamping. My daughter is in love with cheetahs and had picked out a cheetah-print swatch in the Sidney Captial Iron a couple of months ago. I also had a quilting panel of retro Little Golden Book covers that I'd intended to use in some way for my little guy, Graham. I decided to pull everything together following this Annie Sloan online tutorial for a simple, trimmed edged pillow cover: 

I appliqued the train picture onto a fun checkered patterned fat quarter I had in my stash. I love the retro look!

This pillow method gives you two finished sides. Simply flip the pillows over for a completely different look. Ariel and I have this Paris thing going on, so I cut out a French Patisserie graphic from a tea towel and appliqued it onto some plain pink cotton for the back of Ariel's cheetah cushion. Here's what the pillows look like on the backs:

Project: Pack a Glamper

Here are Ariel's things, all packed and ready to go.

And Graham's glamping goodies, including a red plaid shortbread tin for his matchbox cars.

They each get a roomy drawer under the front bunk for their clothes and toys. The drawers were originally rough, unfinished, and grimy, so I painted them inside with several coats of white melamine to make them nicer to use. They are big enough for a week's worth of clothes.

I still didn't have a curtain for the bathroom, so I quickly sewed a piece of ribbon onto the tops of a pair of vintage embroidered guest towels from my linen closet and hung them up with some curtain clips I had in my crafts room. Later, I'll paint the curtain hooks white.

We also bought a Dometic 19L portable toilet from Canadian Tire, which proved super easy and clean to use. During our entire trip, I was so darned glad Bing has a bathroom!!

I also used up my Martha Stewart chalkboard paint on this swatch of wall in the bathroom, and embellished with the same plastic scroll work stickers I decorated the fridge with. Unlike the rest of the glamper, the bathroom has lots of wall space, which I plan to decorate!

I bought a closet organizer from Canadian Tire for my clothes and Doug's.

This shoe holder on a hanger from Homesense kept all our toiletries and loose items organized and within easy reach in the closet! We were packed and ready to go!

Hook 'er Up and Hit the Road!

Jordan River is a teeny logging community about 30 minutes northwest of Sooke on Vancouver Island (about two hours from our house on VI's southern tip). It's a favourite hangout for surfers, especially in winter, when the seas kick up some decent wave action, albeit in freezing cold conditions! The view encompasses panoramas of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, with the mountains of Anacortes, WA and remote Cape Flattery across the other side. It's a windy spot, but one of the best places on Vancouver Island to camp pretty much right on the beach.

We picked a site made private by a small thicket of blackberry and trees, parking Bing on a little plateau above the mouth of Jordan River. The beach is covered in rocks worn smooth and round from the constant pounding of the surf. Those rocks are fascinating enough to keep any geologist happy--next time I'll take along my old geology textbook and attempt some rock identification! Ariel collected several dozen swirly, sparkly, marbled specimens, some of which she is sure are ancient dragon eggs, camouflaged among the regular rocks while they incubate for several thousand years. Of course we didn't keep them all, but I believe Ariel and her dragon egg collecting habits could give Lucille Ball and her Long, Long Trailer a run for her money.

The mouth of Jordan River spilling into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Pinch us--we're finally glamping!

Time to frolic.

That first night, I celebrated with a carton (doesn't have the same ring as bottle, does it?) of this organic red wine. Scrumptious. I wish I knew the story behind the silver-plate wine glasses, but I can only speculate because I found them in a local thrift store for a $1 each. They're engraved with the names Frank and Jane. Who are (were) Frank and Jane? What special occasion warranted the engravings? (A silver wedding anniversary? A long ago wedding? A gift from a friend?) And why did their special occasion glasses end up in the thrift store? I'll never know, but it's fun to speculate about Frank and Jane. And anyway, the glasses are practical. Glamourous in a quirky sort of way, yet unbreakable. We gave 'em a good polish beforehand as I brought them home from the thrift store with Frank and Jane's fingerprints tarnished on. I suppose a little forensic science could have solved the mystery of Frank and Jane, but I just don't have the right connections for that.

This little cafe was a stone's throw from our campsite. Word had it they served up the best plate of fries this side of Victoria, so we headed over for a snack. The fries were delish, as was their coffee--the best cuppa of my life. The outside railing is fashioned from old logging/shipping salvage from the beach. Incidentally, Doug found an identical piece of chain and we brought it home. We'll seal in its rusty patina with a coat of varnish and hang it up as wall art.

The cafe is ultra cozy inside. I can imagine surfers warming up in here all winter. Cool, dude.

The playroom is also wicked awesome.

After lunch we headed down the highway about five minutes to the trailhead to Mystic Beach. The hike is rough, and takes you through rainforest and even over a suspension bridge. Adults in decent shape can get to the beach in about 45 minutes, but we had a pair of tiny legs with us so the journey was more like 90 minutes both directions.

The beach is worth the hike, don't you think? Gorgeous.

There's even a huge cave...

A trapeeze swing slung over a tree teetering over the edge of the cliff above...

And a waterfall. In summer's drought conditions, the waterfall's more of a splash, but in winter, great gushes pour down onto the beach.

Nothing's more fun than dragging around a strand of sea kelp all afternoon.

By the time we got home to Bing, we were all wind blown and happily exhausted, but not too tired to accomplish a few housekeeping chores. Graham does love to sweep...

That night, Jane and I celebrated a gorgeous day and the glory of glamping in Bing with a tiny bottle of sparkling wine. Cheers!

The view from the dinette while I poured my champagne.

The third day, we hiked to China Beach, which has its own provincial campground in the trees with a ten minute hike down to the water. The trailheads to China Beach and Mystic Beach share a parking lot which is just up the road from Jordan River. You can actually hike along the water to China Beach, even at high tide. Mystic Beach tends to be more wild and windy, while China Beach, at least on this day, was hot and full of people there to play, like us.

Higgins found it a bit hot, so we tucked him into a shady spot near a pile of driftwood.

After another day in the sun, Graham was happy to snuggle down for the night, even though the sun was still up outside.

Ariel befriended a little girl at the campsite next door, and they were thick as thieves the entire weekend. See the sunset reflected in Bing's dinette window?

I built a fire and the girls spent their last evening romping through the tall beach grass until late at night.

When the moon set, it caught fire and burned deep orange as it sunk into the sea, while the bonfire further down the beach burned well into the night. A stunning end to our first adventure in Bing.

Now you tell me--does life get any better than this?


  1. Wow - you have a gift with words, Adrienne. Such a wonderful place, I am keeping a notebook on blogs such as yours and this place will certainly be on my must camp at list. Your journal certainly made me feel like I was there. Looking forward to reading more of your travels with Bing.

  2. Looks like you had a great trip, Adrienne! Bing looks gorgeous. Great idea making the kiddies their own pillows. Hope you get out to make some more memories soon!
    Happy trails,

  3. Thank you Lily and Beth! Lily, Vancouver Island has so many gorgeous places to choose from. Do you live nearby? Beth, I made a dish drainer quilt yesterday from the cherry fabric you sent. I'll post pictures soon! We're planning another trip with two other families this week. Can't wait to spend more time with Bing!

  4. We just bought a 76 Travel Mate and someone from GCC suggested I follow your blog - we live in Victoria. Your pics are wonderful and have helped a lot (ours has shortened bunk beds with a storage cupboard added and we didn't know how it looked originally). We've been looking at your reno pics and feel inspired about the potential. thanks for sharing! (and not to confuse you, i'm not the same Beth who commented above) :)

  5. Hi the other Beth,:)
    Thanks for checking out my blog! I heard that you bought Bing's twin! I left you a FB message--did you see it? I'd love to show Bing to you in person if you ever want to drop by, and I'd love to see your Trav-L-Mate too. Good luck with your reno. Is she in good shape? I saw the ad just before it was taken down and she looked great. Will you keep the bunks as they are, or restore their original length? I do like the idea of an extra cupboard if you don't need the longer bunks.
    Take care and thanks for writing,