Finding Nirvana in Unlikely Places ~ Cosmopolis, Washington

{Dates of visit Aug 20-22, 2014}

We often find ourselves in uncharted territory. That is, after all, the whole reason for hitting the see new things, go new places, meet new people. But it often means we have no idea what's out there. We rely, like most RVers, on a collection of websites, blogs, FB pages and word-of mouth recommendations from fellow fulltimers to steer us in the right direction. Of course, we sometimes go places without Internet and then we are left to own devices. It's hit or miss sometimes (like out train experience in Eastern Washington, which was a miss). But our stop at Artic RV Park on the outskirts of Cosmopolis, Washington was a big, unexpected, hit.

We (and by "we" I mean "I" {Lynn}) found this place on a whim. Truth be told, it could have been that the end of the month was approaching and this was the cheapest place within our preferred driving distance. Either way it was one of my favorite private campgrounds to date.

I don't really write RV Park reviews but instead, I like to mention our personal experiences. Reviews are time consuming and I rarely have the desire to inspect bathrooms and laundry facilities unless I have to use them. Also, so many people have different expectations, needs and tastes. We have friends who love to stay in full on resorts (price is no concern) with cement pads and decks at each site while others would love nothing more than to wake up each morning surrounded by dirt, trees, wildlife and no one else for miles. A camping site we love might be someone else's worst nightmare.

Red huckleberries.
But, I have to tell you about Artic RV Park and the surrounding areas. The parks is right off Highway 101 but, once you pull in, it feels much more private. All of the sites are nestled in the trees and many of them have either blackberry bushes, huckleberry trees or rhododendrons offering privacy (and snacks). Some sites are huge and some are small. Some take a bit of creativity to maneuver into and when we first pulled in we weren't sure we even wanted to stay because the road looked pretty tight (obviously we managed). They offer electric and water sites, and a handful of full hookup sites and two on-site dump stations...which are on hills and in awkward places. But still...

Our beautiful secluded and serene.
Avi approved.
The owners of the park make you feel like invited guests. They helped us get situated in our site and then immediately wanted to show us their garden. They have a small house onsite which doubles as the office. Behind the house is a huge garden full of fruits, vegetables and flowers...specifically dahlias. And all of it is available to the guests of the RV park. Yes, you can pick to your hearts content (just be sure to not be wasteful). You are encouraged to cut some flowers and create a beautiful bouquet for your RV (flowers always brighten up a place). There's also a pub. Yep, you read that right...a pub. It's nothing fancy but they offer several kinds of bottled beer and have a few on tap. Seeing as Clark is a fan of beer flavored beer, like Pacifico, Stella, Coors Light and an occasional Shady, this was right up his alley. They also have a few wines available. It's kinda nice when you can walk a few hundred feet to grab a burger and a couple of beers and walk home afterward.

The Garden.

The owners have also spent quite a bit of time carefully tending to a mile and half long trail that skirts along the river and through the rain forest. You can stop to fish for crawdads or make it a loop and pick several pounds of blackberries on your return trip. Pure nirvana.

The owner's cat acted as our trail guide and accompanied us for the entire hike. He put on quite a show too...running like crazy, climbing trees and jumping out to surprise us.
Speaking of Nirvana (see what I did there) we made the drive to nearby Aberdeen (whose welcome sign says "Come As You Are") to see Kurt Cobain's childhood home and the Kurt Cobain Riverfront Park...a small area dedicated to the late singer/songwriter's life in the area. Apparently, the town isn't too keen on celebrating their most famous resident due to his drug addiction and eventual suicide but, we've honored others for the same (I believe even Elvis Presley wasn't immune for the rock-n-roll drug culture). Regardless of anyone's personal beliefs and aversions to the potential glorification of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, Cobain had a huge influence on music, lyrics and the lives of a lot of us Gen Xers. I'm glad they've at least made a small memorial.

Although the actual value of the home is around $67,000 it's currently on the market for just under $400,000 (down from the original asking price of $500,00). There is talk of private investors buying it and converting it to a museum.
On our way back to Artic we stopped at Luna Rana in Cosmopolis for a much deserved afternoon latte (you can read my Yelp! review here). These are quite possibly the nicest coffee shop owners I've ever met. First, they welcomed us into their cozy establishment like we were long lost friends. Then they chatted with us regarding our order so we would get the best drink possible. Next, we were presented with beautiful lattes...sometimes these touches really matter. Finally, we sat for a good hour or two conversing with the husband and wife team while they homeschooled their son. The coffees were delicious and they refused to take payment. Be sure to stop here even if you're just passing through the area. They offer whole bean local coffee, loose teas, and locally made arts and craft. They also serve food.

There were several local excursions that were recommended to us...fresh seafood, beaches, picturesque drives and a trip to Greater Gray Harbor, home of the Hawaiian Chieftain and Lady Washington, two of the tall ships used in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, where you can tour the ships or even go sailing on them. Unfortunately, since we didn't know all of this was available when we passed through we didn't have time to enjoy it all. It is, however, on the short list of places to return.

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