Dash Point

Cold. That’s what Dash Point was all about. How sad is this—I totally forgot we went on this trip until seeing the pictures. It wasn’t even three months ago. I suppose I blocked it out because, cold. This past winter really got to me. My age is showing, I can’t deal with the cold anymore. It’s never stopped me before until this past winter. Maybe starting last winter?! I’m only accepting it now. I still do love the cold, from the inside. With heat.

Growing up in California, it was always so weird to me how people retire somewhere. My grandparents, my parents, friends’ parents and extended families—most of them just retire where they are already living. When we moved up to Washington, I noticed how often people talk about where they/their parents will retire. It never dawned on me how many people retire elsewhere. I totally get it now. Not that I want to retire anywhere. Although I have been having moments of wanting to move back to California. Probably because of the cold. Like at Dash Point.

We weren’t supposed to be at Dash Point. We had a cabin booked at Steamboat Rock State Park. But it was frigid the days before we were set to leave, with icy roads and snow in the passes. We didn’t want to risk driving east in any kind of wintery mess. There were three families, ours included, so I went on the Washington State Park site to see if any other state parks had three cabins open. Our only option was Dash Point. I was surprised anywhere had three cabins open—they actually had all four cabins open—a few days before the weekend. Washington people like to be active. We’re an outdoorsy, adventurous state.

Dash Point was perfect. It’s about an hour drive. We had been there before for a day trip. Being closer than Steamboat, it allowed for Blaise and Laine to be around for their online math class; they would have missed if we went east. Brian and I loaded up the car while Blaise and Laine were in class, and we quickly loaded them (and the other kiddos) in after their class ended and headed to Dash Point.

It was an uneventful drive. We did notice an abandoned building not far from Dash Point that looks worth checking out. And sure enough, it was on my TikTok FYP not long after. I love TikTok but man they are so nosey. The other night I commented to Brian how TikTok listens and reads all my texts because I keep getting applicable stuff in my FYP. To test this out, Brian said, “I sure like sloths. I really want to see more sloths.” Not even five minutes later there was a freaking SLOTH video in my FYP. Eh, it’s not like Facebook doesn’t do the same nonsense. I remember messaging a friend about mattresses and not even minutes later, there were mattress ads in my feed.

The abandoned building is the former Weyerhaeuser headquarters. Apparently there are public gardens nearby and you can accidentally wander to the former headquarters. But I hear there is a security guard who will ask you to leave if you get caught. I’m too much of a rule follower to attempt wandering but maybe with this getting older thing and being bothered with cold, I will lose some of my rule following tendencies with age. Not long after passing the abandoned building, we were at Dash Point.

We quickly unloaded the car and settled into the cabin. Well, Brian and the kids quickly did all that after Brian started a fire; I parked it next to the fire and barely moved until bedtime. Brian takes one for the team whenever we cabin/yurt/hotel. I do all the legwork—all the scheduling, planning, coordinating, packing, and whatnot—and Brian does the actual work once we arrive at our destination. It’s how we roll and I think it works. I’m not complaining, he’s not complaining… although he might appreciate a bit more help. Thankfully he doesn’t ask, haha.

The fire was warm but I was still cold. Laine brought an extra blanket in addition to her sleeping bag. I stole her blanket and wrapped myself in the sucker in front of the fire. I sat so close that the fire sparks burned a few holes in her blanket. Sorry, kiddo. Technically, it was my blanket that she took over, not that she cares. As I sat, the kiddos ran about while Brian started in on dinner. Burgers were on tap. Our usual for cabining. Everyone ate and then we all sat around the fire, while kids came and went with headlamps playing around the cabins. It was dark before 7pm in February, which made for a shorter night. After s’mores, we all called it a night just after 9pm. I’m trying really hard to remember it all, maybe the big kids stayed up a bit later?! Yeah, the did. They were at the table in front of our cabin playing chess. That’s right, I had just bought a cheap chess board because Saige wanted to learn and Blaise won’t let her use his nice set (understandably).

One of our trips last year, I think it was the Grayland Beach yurt, I had the brilliant idea to bring the blowup twin bed. All for me. These cabins/yurts typically have a bunk bed—full size bed below, twin on top—and a futon that folds out into a full size bed. We always double-up the kids on the bunk beds, and Brian and I on the futon, with Maive once she joined the family. But with Maive getting bigger and me getting grumpier (who knew grumpier was possible!) with losing sleep, bringing the extra bed has been amazing. I sleep on that sucker, Brian and Maive sleep together, Blaise and Laine sleep together, and Saige and Baby sleep together on the top bunk. Even here at home—where they have their own beds—Saige and Baby sleep together on the top twin size bunk. The first night we all slept well. And stayed warm. The cabin has a heater.

Saturday was still cold. With a snowstorm in the forecast for that night. Snowstorm forecasts up here are always a big deal; everyone thinks it’ll be inches of snow. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. It’s always a surprise what happens. No matter what the weather folks say, they never are spot on. I spent most of Saturday, you guessed it, by the fire. It was still so freaking cold. I even doubled-up my layers—even socks—wore my puffy coat, and had Laine’s blanket. I was still cold. The kids didn’t seem bothered by the cold. They never are. I don’t remember being hot or cold as a kid until I was about 17. That was the first time I remember being so freaking hot, during cheerleading practice in the summer. It was in the upper 90s and life goes on as usual when hot weather is the status quo. As for cold, I never had a winter jacket. Sure I had a light rain jacket and style jackets—like a jean jacket and Starter jacket—but nothing meant for warmth. It wasn’t until I moved up to Seattle that I needed a puffy coat. But the kids, they were all roaming about with only sweatshirts. Maybe a jacket if they weren’t actively moving around.

The big kids rode around on their bikes to check out the area. The younger kids played close by, either inside one of the cabins or nosing around just outside. Some of the campsites close for winter. Baby and her buddies found a campsite behind the cabins where they made pinecone creations to sell. Pretend sell. It was cute, they’d disappear for a while and then come get us to check out their store. It was a quiet morning spent around the cabins.

The kids were taken aback by two families who parked outside of the restrooms. They were clearly living in their cars and used the restrooms for showering. It was depressing, one was a family with young kids. The other was an older man. Our kids live in such a bubble that this was startling to them. A few of them were sketched out by this but we told them not to be concerned, that sometimes people have to live out of their cars. They’re normal folks down on their luck. Man, I hate our country sometimes. More sometimes than not these past few years.

For lunch, we had already planned on going out for pizza. It was easier, and fewer things to pack. All families went to a Round Table Pizza maybe 15 minutes from the cabins. We took over the limited seating they had, four tables for us. Thankfully it was pretty dead. We ordered and sat in the warm restaurant while we waited on all the pizzas. The kids found the small arcade area, going between the tables and the games asking for more quarters.

Back at the cabins—with more wood acquired—the fire kept going. And I kept sitting by the sucker. It was cold, if I didn’t mention this yet. Once everyone arrived back at the cabins and settled back in, it was time to hit the beach.

Dash Point beach is a drive down a hill across from the camping area of the state park. We all drove over Saturday afternoon to check it out. It was pretty dead. A few others walking the shore but mostly just our large group. Three families—five parents and 12 kiddos. There was digging, splashing, running… all the fun beach activities. One of the kiddos found a large sea snail. That was cool. It was put back; although I’m not sure if there was anything in the shell? About an hour at the beach, we were all getting cold and some of the kiddos were wet. It was time to head back to the cabins.

Back to the fire I went. It was nearing dinnertime. Brian got dinner going; I forget what we had. I stayed at the fire. The kids went about their business, roaming around some more. The rest of us were checking weather reports, the impending snowstorm was making me question if we should stay or go before the storm hit. There was concern the roads would be rough getting back home Sunday morning. Brian wasn’t worried and quite honestly, the thought of having to pack and load up the car made me lean on Brian’s call. I settled in for another evening never leaving the fire. The kids eventually came around for another night of s’mores. I called it a night when Maive finished her s’more and we went into the cabin to put her down. Of course she was out quickly, keeping up with the big kids is exhausting!

All kids called it a night around 10pm, as did Brian and I. I think I was already half-asleep when they all came in?! I may have taken sleeping pills to pass out on the blowup bed. I don’t sleep well not at home. Another night down, with the question of snow up in the air. Literally and figuratively.

Sunday morning we woke up to a light dusting of snow. Not inches. And cold. Did I mention it was cold?!

Brian made breakfast while I started packing up the sleeping backs and rallying kids to get dressed and brush their teeth so they could pack up their bags. They kept disappearing to play football or whatever. Like herding cats. That video of the bear mom trying to get her cubs across the road comes to mind.

It wasn’t long after breakfast that we were loading the car for home. It was a smooth drive back. We were home before noon, and we had the entire day ahead of us. Blaise had a ride that afternoon. It’s never quiet around here. Until next time. And note to self when booking our next adventure: avoid the cold.

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