From the Blog

Tank Full Of Gas, Chapter 18: Camp Creek, OR, Again

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Because we like it. Of all the various places we’ve camped and visited, Camp Creek has been my favorite. It’s close to Portland, it’s got big trees, the sites are spacious, and you can hear the river throughout the campground. This is important, because it is close to 26, and you can sometimes hear traffic through the trees. This sounds philosophical. But it’s not.


I am conflicted about sharing my love for this place. I am afraid of the power of the internet and my six readers the hoards of people that read my blog might all want to go camping at once. There are only 25 spots. And the best sites are booked months in advance. We will have to keep our eye on the calendar for next year and begin booking as soon as we are able.

There are no terrible sites, which makes this campground remarkable. We’ve driven through campgrounds and couldn’t find a single site that we liked. At Camp Creek, some sites are just a little less awesome than others.

The super extra awesome thing about this particular campsite? This was our fire pit…


Pretty fricken awesome. The campground was built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Needless to say, there were no RVs back then. I don’t know if there was a structure originally built around this fireplace. It was the size of a ski lodge fireplace. We were very excited not to have to worry about smoke in the face.

For our first morning, we went for a walk after our blueberry pancake breakfast. We took a new route following the Zigzag River and happened upon a village of vacation cabins in the woods. I was flabbergasted at how goddamned cute they were. They were perfect. We walked by a dozen of them, some new, some old, some elaborate, some rustic. In the woods, with the river babbling below.

It got my little brain all fired up if we got a little getaway cabin like this. It’s a perfect little spot. Except. We noticed a fire hydrant that had a snow pole going up to four or five feet. These places get buried in the wintertime. I don’t know if they plow these little roads. I guess the owners shut them down and winterize them and hope for the best. But I’d want to be there in the snow. I’d have to trade in my car for a Jeep.

Maybe a cabin in the Coast Range instead.


Is there a way to camp without looking trashy? We unpacked all our stuff, and I imagine the camp hosts were worried we were going to hang engine blocks from the trees.

This time we were joined by other friends which meant we got to cook more food. For us, camping is all about the food. What kind of elaborate craziness can we concoct on a campfire? And still eat it? And on this trip, there was also a bit of vodka involved as well.


Here’s me, Amy, Diane and Risky the Dog making s’mores. And drinking vodka. This was our pre-dinner dessert. For dinner, we had marinated beef and chicken skewers with sweet cherry tomatoes, onions, peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms. And potatoes and onions with roasted with butter. And corn on the cob roasted on the fire. For post-dinner dessert, Diane brought a goddamned delicious blackberry coffee cake. Oof.

All this food was after, and I can’t really believe this, Amy and I drank each a half bottle of vodka. I can’t remember the last time I sat down and drank a half bottle of vodka. It was tea flavored. We drank it with lemonade. It tasted like Snapple. We are girls. We are allowed to drink foo-foo vodka.

Needless to say, there were none of our customary driving ventures on this trip. We know the area fairly well at this point, and it was a pleasure to just sit and relax all day. And eat. And drink. And crank the Guns and Roses. (No we didn’t.)

I went to bed with an uncomfortable tummy and a slight headache. This sounds like the beginning of a disaster story, doesn’t it? And there was no running water! And only pit toilets! What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing went wrong. I slept great and woke up fresh as a daisy. Odd.


For breakfast, Dave cooked biscuits on the fire. We learn something new every time we try to bake with the campfire. This time, we learned that you have to have heat UNDER your biscuits, or the bottoms stay doughy. Furthermore, when you spread hot coals under the pan, the bottom of your biscuits will burn very quickly. Eventually, we will get a real reflector oven. But these food + fire experiments are fun. I sort of feel like I am making up for having failed science in 5th grade.


What hangover?

By Sunday morning, we had gone 48 hours without showering and could no longer stand ourselves. We followed our usual routine, packed up and were on the road by 11 am. We were home, showered and in bed napping by 12:30. Divine.


Even a quick trip, just 36 hours, makes the weekend feel like it was a week long. Or it could have been the vodka. Either way, totally worthwhile.

Other Tank Full Of Gas chapters:

Chapter Seventeen: Camping in Moss Creek, WA
Chapter Sixteen: Astoria Midsummer Scandinavian Fest Part 1, Part 2
Chapter Fifteen: Camp Creek, OR
Chapter Fourteen: Camping On The Coast, Part 1, Part 1.5, Part 2
Chapter Thirteen: The Gorge, Stonehenge, Hood River, Mt Hood
Chapter Twelve: The Oregon Coast
Chapter Eleven: Oregon Wine Country (hic)
Chapter Ten: Astoria, Oregon
Chapter Nine: Panther Creek Campground, WA
Chapter Eight, Green Canyon Campground, Mt Hood, Oregon
Chapter Seven, Spruce Run Campground, Coast Range, Oregon
Chapter Six, Bend, Oregon
Chapter Five, Seattle, Washington
Chapter Four, Mt Saint Helens, Washington
Chapter Three, The Gorge and Hood River, Oregon
Chapter Two, The North Coast and Astoria, Oregon
Chapter One, Waipi’o Valley, Big Island, Hawaii


  1. Looks like fun!! Love the fireplace!! Looks like you guys are all crowded around the TV, including the dog. Great pictures!!

  2. Do you know if this site is still available with the fire pit? I know it’s 25 but on reserveamerica it doesn’t go up that far. Just wondering. Great blog! Thanks!

    • Megan, it might be site 22, from looking at the map. I know it was off to the left as you drive in from the entrance, but not the first site. I think it was the second site. There may be someone you can all to find out. Someone at the Mt Hood National Forest? Good luck!

  3. So glad I found your blog. We’re headed out to Camp Creek and I was trying to find photos of the campground…which led me to your blog! I spent the better part of an hour perusing your travel entries. Love your commentary, and photos :) We bought a little Bambi last summer and have been trying to take it out on the weekends whenever we can.

    Thanks for sharing the photos…really enjoyed them :)


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