Under the stars on Chuckanut Drive

Deckhouse View of Salish Sea

We rekindled some old memories this week at the Deckhouse on Chuckanut Drive.

When I was young we had a 1950’s era tent trailer. It had plywood sides that were stained dark brown, long before plastic I have no idea what the flat roof-top was made of, only that it was heavy. The sides of the part that expanded, an unpleasant task for one or two people pushing the roof up, then poking metal pins into holes in the four corner posts to keep it up, a process destined to produce a few swear words, were made of faded green canvas. There was a Coleman style stove for cooking and four bunks; in those days any kind of “indoor” toilet was not even a dream. The mattresses were standard camper and youth camp issue of the day: off-white ticking with blue stripes. For some reason after the tent-trailer was passed on to some other unwary soul we ended up keeping the mattresses, stored on shelves in the garage. They turned our backyard on Harrison Street in Milwaukie into everything from a camp ground, a place for tumbling and gymnastics, and the interior design for multiple tents and forts. 

Us kids frequently slept outside in the summer; I remember sleeping outside every day for a week or more when I was maybe ten. The camping adventures that we did as a family, unenthusiastically by mom, but a favorite of dad’s, are some of my best memories. I loved sleeping outside. I remember one night, when I was about six, on Saddle Mountain in the Coast Range, not far from Astoria where we lived at the time. It was just Dad, me, and the violent thunder and lightening that shook our tent. As I got older backpacking was my passion, often with only a tarp for a tent, strung between a couple of trees, or on occasion, just sleeping on the ground with the tarp on top of the sleeping bag if there was chance of rain. But the back yard adventures are a special memory.

The Deckhouse on Chuckanut Drive has a large deck, with an amazing view of the Salish Sea, game trails through the underbrush, frequented by deer, just a few feet away, and two enticing chaise lounges. I don’t know who suggested sleeping outside first but Tricia and I looked at each other and said, “why not.”

No sleeping bags, there was one large fleece throw, a couple of large beach towels for hot tub use, and a couple of extra bath towels. Tricia used the fleece, I retrieved a wool plaid stadium blanket from the trunk, grabbed a beach towel, and we settled in. Eventually the stars came out, with the sun down the far away lights of Anacordes twinkled on the horizon, and we fell asleep. It was like the back yard on Harrison Street all over again. 

At about 1.30am we both woke up, and decided to move inside. Yet we enjoyed it so much we did the same thing the next night. Thankfully we don’t grow out of everything we did as a child.

Here are a few other sketches from the week. Imagination of a chapel, and sketches at Taylor’s Shellfish Farm

Wherever your travels take you this week, keep on capturing the moments in your sketchbook.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Love this; it was a fun filled mini vacation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shirley Riley says:

    What a beautifully written story of your mini-adventure. Fun! What a lovely place ad what a lovely memory you both created!


  3. elissbaker says:

    Your childhood camping story is as delightful as your sketches.


    1. Thanks, almost as delightful as Tricia’s mussel recipe, did you see it on her blog?


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