KOA Kamping in the Pacific Northwest by Bonnie and Bill Neely

KOA Seattle/Tacoma Kampground in Washington State is certainly the BEST place to stay when you are visiting the city area. Well located on the outskirts of the traffic near Highway #5 at Exit #152 in Kent, KOA is convenient to the excellent bus system for the metropolis area, which is a huge plus since parking in the city is next to impossible. With all the amenities travelers expect and look forward to at KOA Kampgrounds, you will be Happy Kampers here!. The beautiful grounds are mature with tall trees at many of the sites and nice, grassy plots.
The K9 Kamp is the right place to give your pets a great run and is well equipped for their fun as well as keeping your Kampsites clean. The playground and swimming pool areas have games that are fun for the whole family, including horseshoes and life-sized chess. A bike path is nearby along the beautiful Green River, and bikes can be rented here also. An unusual feature at this KOA is that you can have extended stays throughout the fall and winter in the metered sites, a plus for those workers in the area as well as being very convenient to the Sea-Tac airport. Each person is thoroughly vetted before staying here. We have stayed here over and over, which is our BEST recommendation for any campground. You are also about a 90 minute drive to many of the amazingly beautiful and wondrous places in this area, including: Mt. Ranier, the Olympic Peninsula, and springtime fabulous tulip fields, also being even closer to the Puget Sound and ferries or cruises to Vancouver and San Juan Islands. We highly recommend this KOA as one of our favorites!
We journeyed to Junction City, Oregon, where there are thousands of RV’s for sale or rent and the home of many RV manufacturing companies and repair centers. We had to make a necessary stop and got good service. We highly reccomend the Chinese restaurant on the main drag. This is also a Scandinavian town with many festivals and traditions honored. A very nice place to have to make a mandatory stop.

Driving west to the Pacific coast Highway 101 we journeyed 60 curving miles on a narrow two lanehighway through the mountains , which was a beautiful but beastly hard drive in an RV in the rain. Even in the rain and fog what we could see of the Oregon coast was so beautiful all the way Southward. It was cold, so we didn’t stop much along the way. We made it to the California line and had to eat two oranges and forfeit two…We had forgotten about the agriculture checkpoint.
About 15 miles south of the Washington/Oregon state line we found the Crescent City Redwoods KOA, where we stayed two nights. The KOA didn’t look great as we drove in in pouring rain, but our campsite is facing the gorgeous, enormous Redwood forest, where the Kabins and a few RV sites and many tentsites are situated. We walked through the forest, a beautiful place. It rained all night and on and off all day the next day. Walking beneath these majestic woods in front of our RV is no problem because the enormous redwoods form a heavenly umbrella, and the soft reddish-brown needles all over the ground beneath the ferns are lovely to walk on and prevent any mud. But the hookups are never easy in the rain.
We followed the Self-Guided Tours the KOA gave us and drove about 12 miles away to enter the Jedediah Smith State and National Park in the Redwoods. All along the Northern California coast thousands of acres of coastal trees have been preserved by private, state, and national funds working together, so a corridor of the towering beauties exists all along the coast and Hwy 101 runs through it, a gorgeous drive. We spent all afternoon in the Jedediah Smith and Stout Forests. Stout was a lumber baron in the late 1800’s and when he died his wife donated 44 acres of redwood dense forest in his memory for a state/national park. The trees tower over 300 feet high and are 650 years old up to 2,000 years. Many years ago someone cut down one of the largest ones to count the rings and discovered it to date back to the time of Christ. The scientist was terribly chagrinned to have done this, and cutting down trees in this area is strictly forbidden now. No core sample testing works because the trees are so thick the drill breaks before extracting a core, so thankfully, we can only guess at the age of the other trees.
The woods are totally silent, and in the rain and cold there is not even birdsong. We took the Mill Creek Trail which is mostly flat, wide, gorgeous, with the understory of luscious ferns and beautiful redwood sorrel, which looks like bright green plants in the shalpe of shamrocks. The trunks of the thousands of redwoods surrounding us as far as we can see in any direction are absolutely straight, and they have no limbs or foliage until about 100 feet up. Then the green tops reach so high we cannot see the tops of any of them. In a very few places sun gets through and there are deciduous trees there and grassy understory and berry bushes. The path crosses the Mill Creek in a couple of places and forks into two other trails. We almost got lost, thinking we were on a loop, but it made our walk longer and more beautiful.
In late afternoon we drove on to the National Park Visitor Center where we got a good explanation of the way the parks are set aside and saw an excellent film about the redwoods and this history. For centuries no one thought of preserving these majestic trees but just cut them to build as they were needed by early settlers and then for money by lumber companies. Fortunately, before the ancient ones were all gone, preservationists became active in about 1900. But this area was not a national park until President Johnson in the 1960’s, although Rutherford B. Hayes had tried to get it passed. Lady Bird and other women organized to stress the importance of these ancient trees and their preservation. Thank goodness. Many of these magnificient trees have withstood fire, earthquake, fierce storms and other natural attacks through the centuries and have grown on through it. We could see evidence of some of the healthy trees having been burned severely at the bottom. The film explained that the thick bark and underlayer protects the heart of the tree and the heavy moisture of the area keeps it growing… amazing! Nearby is a tree so large cars drive through the trunk, but we did not get that far.

The well-maintained Highway 101 is a difficult drive for large RV’s, along the beautiful coast and amidst the corridor of enormous redwood, if you are in the pouring rain, as we were.. We were thankful there were many pullouts where drivers can rest and many overlooks for photography.