Friday, September 7, 2012

The Scoop: Ice Cream Renaissance

Granite table tops, red-backed chairs, and classy cow-patterned lamps make Ice Cream Renaissance, in Vancouver, WA, one cool café. Their homemade ice cream is such a local favorite that they were named the winner of the 2009, 2010, and 2011 Best of Clark County Desserts.
This summer the focus is on fruity. Try their Black Raspberry or Blackberry Lemon Swirl. And if you want to indulge a little further, pair it with a piece of freshly-baked pie, courtesy of the Williamette Valley Fruit Company. Ice Cream Renaissance, 1925 Main Street Vancouver, WA 98660 (360) 694-3892

Thursday, September 6, 2012

On the Waterfront: Iron Springs Resort

Thoughts of the beach bring to mind southing sounds of ocean waves, smell of salt water in the air, and surroundings of peaceful natural beauty. Nowhere is a beach retreat brought more to reality than rustically luxurious Iron Springs Resort.
Situated on stunning beachfront cliffs along the Pacific Northwest Coast in Copalis Beach, Iron Springs Resort is comprises of 24 unique and private cabins, each designed to offer unparalleled ocean views and beach access. The resort is carefully positioned on more than 100 acres of coastal woodland, where trees and shrubbery provide natural boundaries between cabins, making each feel like your own private beach house. Iron Springs Resort retains the original charm as when it was opened in 1947 as a small eight-cabin, one-lodge vacation property at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Renovated in 2010, Iron Springs was careful to keep the original floor plans and historical character of the property while providing the modern comforts of home. Snippets of the past echo throughout the resort. An upside-down boat welcomes guests in from the highway when they arrive, salvaged wooden siding from the original cabins was used to create one-of-a-kind side tables and wall accents in the newly constructed lodgings, fallen Spruce trees became striking, knotted benches that line the cabin entryways, and the signature plush chairs, distinctive to each cabin, were upholstered from vintage Pendleton and East Hudson Bay blankets.
Iron Springs offers memorable stays for couple and family (including your four-legged friends). Sip a glass of wine and watch storms roll in from the warmth of your cabin or follow the trails to the shore for beach combing and some of the best razor clam digging around.

Iron Springs Resort, 3707 Washington 109, Copalis Beach, WA 98535 (360) 276-4230,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Washington's Top Hookup Spots (for RVers, that is)

Deception Pass Bridge, gateway to the San Juan Islands. 

There is no shortage of great hotels in Washington, but nothing beats seeing the wonder of the state from the comfort of an RV. Fortunately, there are plenty of terrific RV resorts at which you hook up your rig. Staying at many of these resorts will place you right next to some of the most popular attractions in state.

Bayshore RV Park is located in Tokeland, about 20 miles south of the coastal town of Westport. Most visitors to this area will bypass Tokeland -- and never know what an attractive area they've missed. This rustic park is set just behind a low berm that separates the RV park from the sandy beach. Much of the first 500 yards beyond the initial waterway is tidal, providing a labyrinth of islands and waterways at different tide levels. The town is slightly inland from the mouth of Willapa Bay, and tends to be both warmer and sunnier than areas exposed directly to the incoming surf. Nearby is the historic – and reportedly haunted - Tokeland Hotel, which is a must for a meal out when staying in this area., (800) 638-7555

Alderwood RV Resort is a highly rated destination park in Spokane (actually in the small town of Mead, just few miles north). You'll find professionally landscaped sites, separated by carefully maintained trees and shrubs that provide privacy and shade -- without creating overhead or lateral obstructions. The garden-like setting creates an illusion of being parked inside a very large nursery., (888) 847-0500

Icicle River Resort is a short three miles south of Leavenworth. The park is situated along the banks of the Icicle River, and is beautifully landscaped and maintained. The sites are all paved, and have individual patios of concrete or wood decking., (509) 548-5420

Located between the magnificent Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan De Fuca, in the quaint city of Sequim, Giligal Oasis RV Park is one of the newest and most modern RV facility on the Olympic Peninsula. Amenities at the 28-site park include full hookups with cable and phone, high-speed DSL internet, clubhouse with modern kitchen, laundry facilities and more. Giligal Oasis is the perfect base from which to explore nearby Olympic National Park, view wildlife up close and personal at the Olympic Game Farm, or set out on the coastal waters in search of whales., (888) 445-4251

If golf if your game, the Sage Hills Golf & RV Resort in the heart of the Columbia Basin, 15 miles south of Moses Lake, will fit you to a tee. This golf course and RV park provides a prime location for a perfect game amidst beautiful hills and valleys and surrounded by sand and sagebrush. The 18-hole championship golf course features oases of green fairways, mature trees and some of the best greens in Washington. Fifty RV sites are available that comfortably fit large and small rigs, including tents, ATV's and boats., (888) 628-3066

Life on the Road (doesn't have to be a bumpy ride)

RV'ing Made Easy

From their ten years of traveling together, Lynne and Dana Massie, of Medical Lake, Washington, wrote and published, “RV'ing Made Easy,” a humorous – and practical – guidebook explaining the ins and outs of operating and driving a home on wheels.
Think you know everything there is about owning a motorhome?
So did Lynne Massie and her daughter Dana when they bought an a 30-foot Suncrest RV to travel around the country to dog shows, fairs, and festivals selling hand-crafted dog silhouettes. Lynne had camped three times in her life and Dana had driven nothing bigger than a compact car. Still, they figured what could be the big deal?
“We figured it was just a house on wheels,” remarks Lynne.
In 2000, they struck out on their first 1,600-mile journey from Olympia to Denver, Colorado – having only practiced their driving skills on the short trip from the dealer to home. Horn honking, whooping at the top of their lungs, and waving to friends, neighbors, and anyone else who happened to pass by, they confidently pulled out of their driveway and hit the road. It wasn't until they merged onto the I-5 freeway that they realized just how big the RV was compared to other vehicles.
“Dana was driving and I was hanging out the passenger window going, ‘You’re too far right! You’re too far left!’” Lynne says.
Three hours later they pull into an RV park in the town of Kalama. They had gone a total of 75 miles; a trip that should have taken no more than about an hour. But the fun had only just begun. As they tried to set themselves up in the RV park, it took no time at all to realize they were in a little over their heads. One of them had the water hose in hand and the other the electrical cord. They stared at the boxes next to their space and at the giant machine on wheels and were absolutely clueless about how to connect the two.
The next day, Dana was in the middle of a shower, covered with soap when the water flow stopped. Lynne checked the hose connection and made sure the pump was on. Nothing was wrong. Everything seemed okay, yet, obviously something was wrong with the RV. So Lynne called the dealer while Dana stood dripping wet. The first question he asked was, “Is the switch labeled ‘pump’ on or off?” Wanting to show off her knowledge, Lynne said, “Of course it is on.”
And therein was the problem. Who would have thought when you wanted water, and you are connected to an outside source of water, the water pump should be off?
The duo quickly realized they had MANY lessons to learn. And they were not alone. As they talked with other RV owners, they heard many stories of the mistakes they too had learned the hard way - and some of those lessons were a very costly education.
“We were completely clueless. We had no idea that RV’ing was a whole world of its own,” Lynne says. “We had gone through the owner’s manual page by page, but it’s mostly mechanical; nowhere does it talk about the ‘usability’ of the RV.”
Out of their experiences, came “RV’ing Made Easy,” a 260-page easy to read guidebook filled with stories of their adventures and handy tips from lessons learned.
Things like operating the generator while you’re traveling in order to run the roof air conditioner. That would have come in handy on their trip through sweltering Las Vegas one summer.
“There we were in our swim suits, driving down the interstate, just dripping with sweat,” Dana recalls.
And don’t forget the duct tape. Better than a wrench or a screwdriver, a roll of silver duct tape comes in handy for instant repairs such as when your fenders fall off – like they did on Lynne and Dana’s trip to Denver one winter when the glue that hold them on failed because of the cold.
“It’s the number one essential,” Lynne says. “Don’t leave home without it.”
Whether you own a tent trailer, travel trailer or 40-foot diesel pusher worth half a million dollars, you can never be too sure about your rig.  Covering everything from electrical power and backing up to storage and dealing with winter weather, “RV'ing Made Easy” will help you get the most enjoyment out of your home on wheels.
“There’s always something you’re going to experience and learn,” Dana says. “As soon as you think you’ve got it all figured out, it will wake you up with one more thing to learn.”

“RV'ing Made Easy” can be purchased online at for $29.95 (plus shipping). You can follow the Massie's continuing adventures at