Dry-camping Delight

4th trip, Day 11-13, Oct 2-4, 2020 North Fork Campground, Eden, UT

This was a fun camping trip. We went with my cousin, Duane and his wife (and my wonderful friend) Jennette. We followed the GPS, which rightly took us to North Ogden, over North Ogden Canyon Rd. and over the North Ogden Divide. The divide is 6 miles long and goes from 4501 ft to 6190 ft and then down to 5167 ft above sea level. It is a narrow but paved road that is steep. Our truck and trailer handled it with no problems at all. It was a gorgeous drive. We had a hard time finding the actual campsite and turned around on the Eden road (to very fancy houses!) two times. We laughed and said we were “practicing” backing up and turning around in the middle of the street. 🙂 We ended up calling Jennette and Duane to get directions to the specific campsite.  They had gone up the night before. Incidentally, when we left, we went out an entirely different and much easier way. Ha

Beautiful double site. North Fork Park Campground, Oct 2-4, 2020

We got settled in quickly in our nice double campsite. Totally dry camping and that is fine because we have batteries, water, and sewer all onboard. Jennette made chicken wrapped bacon, red potatoes, and chocolate cake all in Dutch Oven.  So nice to arrive and dinner was cooking. It was delcious! We enjoyed a nice campfire that evening.

Outside view from inside our trailer. Stunning autumn colors!

Saturday morning Kevin made breakfast for everyone. He used the Blackstone Griddle and made hash browns, bacon, and eggs. Delicious! Everyone had seconds.

Can you believe the stunning colors behind Kevin?!!!

Kevin and I then went on a hike. There are lots of trails around there used for walking, bike and horses. The colors of the changing leaves were very pretty. There is a ribbon of granite running along the mountain with bits of Evergreens and trees with autumn leaves. It was beauty to behold.  We walked about two hours. Kevin said it was extremely quiet and with no wind, silent.

On our walk, beauty to behold!

Back at camp, Duane was whittling wood figures and Jennette was working on crocheting.

Duane & Jennete

Lunch was on our own; Kevin and I had sandwiches and fixings. After lunch, Jennette and I worked on her puzzle. In the afternoon, their daughter, Susanna, and husband Nick, came up. They are a fun couple and we enjoyed visiting with them. She knows some ASL so that was super nice.

Susanna & Jennette working on a puzzle.
Susanna & Charla having a good laugh while working on a puzzle.

For supper, Kevin made everyone Smashburgers. Delicious! It was a hit. Campfire and S’mores that evening.

Sunday was lazying around. Took our time getting packed up since check out was at noon. The drive home was really nice. Duane and Jennette said they want to camp with us again. That is a good sign! HAHA

Jennette is an amazing quilter and embroiderer. Her business name is The Masked Embroiderer and you can find her on Etsy at: themaskedembroiderer and on Facebook. She makes the cutest masks, towels, yard flags, etc. Check it out.

Willard Bay State Park

3rd trip – Day 8-10, Sept 25-27 Willard Bay State Park, South Marina, Utah

Willard Bay State Park, South Marina Campground, Sept 25-27, 2020

We found this place from a camping app. A few days prior to going, I looked at reviews and they were awful! People, sometimes full-timers, said it was the worst campground they had ever been to. Some of the reviews were this month. I was a bit wondering. I even checked on availability at a KOA campground in Brigham City in case we needed to leave. 🙂 It wasn’t bad at all. The South Marina is a “parking lot” with grass (dead grass this time of year) behind the trailers with nice picnic tables and fire pits. We picked a site on the end and had lots of lovely trees around. Other tables that didn’t have shade had nice covers. Yes, there were a few mosquitoes but what do you except, you are by a lake. They weren’t bad at all. A few gnats but more in Helper than here (see other post). I know in the summer the bugs can get really bad around the lake.

Willard Bay State Park, South Marina Campground, Sept 25-27, 2020

We got settled into our camp spot and I took a walk-about. I like to see how other people set up their campsites. Next to us was a large motor home with 2 TV’s on the outside. Wow!

We couldn’t see the lake because we are next to a long berm, or dam. But across the bridge and up some stairs and wow, this fresh water lake is huge! There isn’t a beach here on the south side but there is a boat ramp. Several people were fishing. Of course I got my iPhone out and started snapping pictures.

Willard Bay State Park, South Marina Campground, Sept 25-27, 2020

For our evening walk-about we walked along the water on the berm/road. After about 15 minutes we started feeling the mosquitos and goodness, we should have sprayed ourselves. Kevin is sweeter than me and got several bites. I didn’t get bit at all. It was getting dark and we went inside, relaxed, and read. OH boy, we sure sleep great in our trailer! Every night is just like being in our comfy bed at home. The mattress is the same size, a queen, and very comfortable.

Willard Bay State Park, South Marina Campground, Sept 25-27, 2020

The next morning Kevin cooked on the Blackstone Griddle that his brother gave to us. He cooked hash browns, bacon and eggs. Delicious!

Come and get it! Breakfast is ready.

After cleaning up, we drove the truck north to the main marina. Kevin wants to try a kayak and we checked into them. They are cheap to rent. But the wind had picked up and it was a bit cold to be on the water. He will try it another time. We drove through the two campgrounds. Back to those reviews, some said the freeway noise was horrible. Kevin agreed. Something with the noise bouncing off the close mountain made it exceptionally noisy. (I wouldn’t know became I am deaf. 🙂 )We found a spot we would like to stay at on the water’s edge. Next time.

Willard Bay State Park, South Marina, Sept 25-27, 2020

Next we headed south to Lifetime Products Factory Outlet. They make hard plastic chairs, tables, play grounds and sheds. We were interested in a shed so we can move yard tools and things out of the garage. That way we have more room to get around our vehicles, and Kevin has more room in his wood shop. We found one we like and asked about “scratch and dent.” We bought one; the only thing that was damaged is the box. We will need to pick up this week. It is a cute one.

This is the finished shed after we put it together. 🙂

I looked up in my Traveler’s Quilt Book and found a few fabric stores in Ogden, where we were. We went to “My Heritage Fabric” and bought some fabric that had cute quilt saying on it. I will make them for my sewing friends for Christmas. As we were checking out, I saw a lady with an amazing panel: a map of the US and then National Parks around the edges. I have been looking for a good National Park fabric, even online, and everywhere was sold out. And I liked this one better than any others I had seen. After she left, I asked the saleslady for it. She said that lady had bought the last 3 panels. Oh, I was so disappointed. She offered to call her “sister store” and see if they have it. They do! We drove to the other side of town and got it. A darling store, in an old house, called, “Bertha & Beulah’s”. I got great fabric to go with the  panel. Kevin suggested a quilt for the trailer. Oh yeah!

My Heritage Fabrics quilt store.
Bertha & Beulah’s quilt store

On the way to our campsite, we stopped in at Smith & Edwards. It started out as a military surplus store. It still has a lot of military surplus, but has expanded to sporting goods, farm supplies – just about everything. It is a huge store. I mean, ridiculously huge. Kevin bought me a hiking pole.

Back to our campsite. After relaxing, armed with my new hiking pole, we walked along the lake for about a mile. The wind had picked up but it wasn’t really cold. We liked to watch the seagulls and the boats. We tried for find a geocache but it looked like it was in the canal. Nope, not going to do that. Back to the trailer and Kevin made smash burgers on the Blackstone. I had them all mixed and prepped in balls at home so it wasn’t so messy. Oh man, they are delicious! After dinner, Kevin made a fire in the fire pit. No bugs, light wind, perfect relaxation. Let me tell you, the sky gave the most amazing sunset. I kept running up to the lake and over to the trees to take pictures. The sky was breathtaking.  

Willard Bay State Park, South Marina Campground, Sept 25-27, 2020
Willard Bay State Park, South Marina Campground, Sept 25-27, 2020

Sunday morning I heated up the breakfast from yesterday. The temp outside was 47 but we were nice and warm inside. We didn’t even have to turn on our heater at all this trip. It as a great weekend and we want to come back. We will try the north campground by the lake but not in the summer.

As I look back at photos I have taken, I realize I like old posts. 🙂

History of Smith and Edwards

Willard Bay State Park

Just Put That Thing On The Coals.

A fun way to cook while camping is: put it together, set it on hot coals, let it cook, open it, and enjoy. Oh, clean up is easy because you throw it away.

Foil Pack cooked in the fire pit on hot coals

Let me explain. 🙂

A Foil Pack, also called Hobo Dinner, Packet, and several other names, is where you use aluminum foil to wrap up the food and then you place it on hot coals. You can cook all sorts of things this way. Start with 2 large pieces of aluminum foil (I like to double it so food doesn’t burn as easily.) You don’t want your food to stick to the foil so you can spray the foil with cooking spray, add butter, or add oil. Place the food in the center of the foil. Grab the long ends, bring them together and then roll down towards the food. Leave some room for air and steam. With the short ends, crimp and fold over a few times. You place the foil right on hot coals and let it cook. When it is done, use a shovel or tongs to take the pack off the coals. Be careful where you set the Foil Pack because it might melt something plastic. Open carefully, remembering the steam will be very hot. Let cool slightly and then enjoy. Be sure to look online for other tips to use. There are a lot of Foil Pack recipes online as well.

One time I had planned what sounded to be a yummy Foil Pack Breakfast. That morning I woke up and I thought, “ What? Am I crazy? How long will it take to start a fire, get it nice and hot, let it get coals and then be ready to place my Foil Pack on it? Too much time, I am hungry now.” 🙂 So instead, I made it in our trailer on the stove. Just like cooking at home.

Too hungry to wait for coals so I made this on the stove in the trailer. 🙂

Our favorite is Foil Pack Taco Burger & Potato Delight. In fact, years ago when we were camping, we made these. We liked them so much, we drove down the mountain to a store to buy more ingredients to make them again the next day. 🙂 

Foil Pack Taco Burger & Potato Delight

1 pound raw hamburger meat

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

2 Tablespoons taco seasoning

1/4 cup milk

3 cups frozen southern-style hash browns

1 can condensed fiesta nacho cheese soup

Mix the first four ingredients together. Form into 4 patties. Place one patty each on a sheet of aluminum foil.

Mix together the potatoes and soup. Put onto the 4 patties.

Cook about 40 minutes. Make sure to test the doneness of the meat.

Other ideas:

Italian sausage links, bell peppers, onions, olive oil

Chicken, taco seasoning, black beans, salsa

Flank steak, bell peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, provolone cheese

Nacho chips, cooked chicken, enchilada sauce, black beans, nacho cheese

Eggs, hash browns, ham, cheese

Camping Castle Gate RV Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

The possibilities goes on and on. Please share with me if you have a favorite Foil Pack recipe.

Who did the town of Helper help?

2nd camping trip- Day 5-7, Sept 11-13, 2020 Helper, Utah

Kevin found a campground through the app called “Good Sam” and we thought the area would be a nice place to explore. We left on Friday right after Kevin got off work. We drove up Highway 6 through Spanish Fork Canyon. The truck pulled the trailer with not a problem at all. Kevin is an excellent driver and very safe. Hwy 6 is a stretch of road that used to be the worst in the US. Thankfully, UDOT has added a lot of passing lanes and I know that has helped reduce so many accidents. We got to our campground and greeting us was a huge barn that is several stories tall. It looks new-ish and has the registration, store, and laundry for the campground. The people who built the campground said (on their website) that they traveled to Helper over the years for the Art Galleries, Christmas festivals, and other times throughout the year. They wished there was a campground there. So, they built one and it is charming. It is called, “Castle Gate RV Park”. The campsites have tiny, packed gravel with different colors so you know where to park.

Camping Castle Gate RV Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Once we got set up, we had sandwiches and then just relaxed for the evening. Our evening walk-about was nice with just a few swarms of gnats. When searching the area for things to do, I came across a museum that sounded like something we would enjoy. However, it  was closed due to Covid. That evening, I looked up the website again and it said closed, but opening in the Fall. Well, I exclaimed, THIS is Fall! HAHA 

The next morning Kevin called the museum and yes, indeed, they had opened back up the day before. Wahoo! After I cooked eggs and hash browns in the kitchen, we ate, and then drove through the tiny town of Helper. So named for the trains that need to “help” the long trains up the incredibly steep grade.

Display at Western Mining & Railroad Museum, Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Many of the houses are original to the coal mining days. The town has a small grocery store, several bars, a school, and a few other stores. We drove south of town because I thought I saw an old train water tower and building. As we got closer, we saw they weren’t ancient. 🙂 The railroad tracks led into an old repair building.

Train maintenance shed, Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

We followed a dirt road up the canyon and enjoyed beautiful mountains with layers of rocks. We were able to drive several miles before coming to the end of the road and a gate.

Beautiful layers of rock. Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Then it was off to see the Western Mining and Railroad Museum. Masks were required, which we were thankful for. We were there almost 3 hours! We decided to walk down the old main street. Many of the buildings we read about in the museum, we now saw with our eyes. How cool is that! It was way past lunch time but there wasn’t a lot open. We walked to a gas station, got big drinks, packaged ice cream treats and sat at a nice picnic table they had outside.

Main Street, Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Back to the campground for lunch. Then we took our chairs and walked behind our campsite where the rush water of Price River was flowing. We sat under the shade and read our books the rest of the afternoon.

Camping Castle Gate RV Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Dinner was foil dinner (AKA Hobo Packets) with brats, peppers and onions. You put the  pack right in the fire pit on the coals. It is done when I smell it. HAHA

Camping Castle Gate RV Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Ate outside and enjoyed it. We sat around the campfire the rest of the evening. One thing I noticed about our trailer is that the smoke doesn’t get inside the trailer. That is nice: I like campfire smell outside, not in. HAHA

The next day it was time to pack up and head home. The campground was great; I think with the rocks it would be terribly hot in the summer,  but when we were there, it was perfect.

If you want to learn more about Helper and the “help” the engines were to the railroad, read more here..

Wikipedia on Helper

Castle Gate RV Park

Railyard, Helper, UT Sept 11-13, 2020

Next time I will share some tips and recipes for camping.

With a kitchen like this…

I like to cook. I like to cook a lot! So much so, that when we look at travel trailers, the very first thing I look at is the kitchen. I am not as talented as many cooks who are able to use a small space to create amazing dishes. Nope, I need room and lots of it. As soon as I saw this kitchen, I was “sold”! The stove has a cover that folds back and gives 3 large gas burners. It has an oven, which made me squeal with visions of all sorts of food coming out of it. The microwave is fine, I don’t normally used one much. Kevin likes microwave popcorn so this is nice to have. The sink is very large and is the “farm style sink” which means it is one big open space. I don’t mind it at all. If we are boondocking, I will use a small wash basin if I need to conserve water. I can’t wait to share with you some things cooked in HOWE (Home On Wheels). Of course, we don’t limit ourselves to only cooking in the travel trailer. Lots of cooking is done outside. Watch for more posts about food, cooking, storing, packing, and of course, eating.