What is Included when you rent from Chuckanut Westfalias

What is included in the price?

Incluso nel prezzo, Inclus dans le prix, Im Preis inbegriffen….in any language the question is the same. When you rent a van are there hidden costs? At Chuckanut Westfalias we include everything you need for a great outdoor experience at no extra charge. Here is the list:


Your Ride: Our vans are completely safety checked before every rental. We know these vans inside out and make sure that the upgraded suspensions, Audi brakes and oversize tires are in top shape. The van you rent from us is road trip proven. Both vans have new three point seat belts front and back and will be a pleasure to drive.

Your Meals on Wheels: Part of camping is keeping your food cold, dry and easy to access. Every van has a large high efficiency electric refrigerator. No ice chest to step over, no drippy blocks of ice, and no added charge! In fact, our refrigerators will keep your ice cream cold and make ice for your evening sundowner. We supply two plastic boxes to keep your food organized, dry and safe from those four-legged creatures that can make your life miserable in a camp ground. All plates, bowls, wine glasses, and quality cooking pans and utensils are included. At Chuckanut Westfalias we have a wealth of camping experience that we are happy to share with you. Great meals are possible in a Westfalia Van! Try some shrimp tacos and a little Spanish wine.

Your Creature Comforts: When you rent a Westfalia Van from us you do not need to bring anything but clothing. Our vans come with as many freshly laundered North Face Homestead Twin (40” wide) sleeping bags as you need for your group. These can be zipped together to make a double or used loose as a comforter. Is your van chilly in the morning? Just reach up, turn on the built in forced air furnace, start your coffee water and climb back under the covers. We supply you with clean pillows, a set of towels for every member of your party and of course dish towels and a supply of paper towels.


Your Outdoor Life: Your van rental comes with chairs for every member of your group, small foldable table and even a portable solar panel if you plan to stay in the same place for a week. If you like to cook outdoors we will send you with a small portable stove. Every van comes with an axe, small saw, shovel, fire starter and extra dish pan in case you find washing dishes outside easier. It is all-inclusive and at no extra charge.

The places you will go: We are your northwest camping source. We camp the sunshine coast of B.C., Banff/Jasper, Highway 20 and the North Cascades, the West Coast of Vancouver Island and of course the Olympics. We will help you with an itinerary and give you advice on reservations at no extra charge. We have many resources and they are at your disposal when you reserve one of our vans.

When you rent from Chuckanut Westfalias there are no extra charges….. Incluso nel prezzo? Tutto ciò di cui hai bisogno!

The sun is out! Lets go camping!

Bob and Maureen

Chuckanut Westfalias


Camping San Juan Island, Washington

Camping on San Juan Island-

Travel to the San Juan Islands used to be an all day affair.  The new Washington State Ferry Reservation System  makes access to the San Juan Islands both easy and economical. It takes the stress out of ferry travel and allows advance planning and full use of time on the island.  A trip to San Juan Island takes about an hour and if you are lucky you will see members of our local Orca pod, seals and even dolphins during the crossing.  Plan ahead, make your reservations and enjoy beautiful campsites, great hikes, and enough food and spirits establishments to satisfy the most discriminating epicure. We like to chose one island per trip and set up a base camp making day trips in the van or by cycle and hikes from that location. 

Where to Camp-

Make reservations so that you are able to secure a nice camp site on San Juan Island.  Consider the San Juan County Park as your first choice.  Gather shells on the beach, use the no bank shoreline to launch your kayak or take a short drive with a picnic lunch to Lime Kiln State Park to watch for Orcas that often frequent that shore.   You can also camp at Lakedale Resort which is located on the northeast end of the Island and has a variety of nice campsites that can be reserved in advance. 

Activities on the Island-

  • Be sure to stop at English Camp to walk the grounds, visit the formal garden at Garrison Bay.  Try to envision island life at this small outpost in the mid 1800s. If you are there in early July you may be able to pick some of the tiny wild blackberries that grow along the trails to the beach.
  • Pack a lunch and take a short drive to the other end of the Island for a day on the wild beaches of American Camp.  Walk the shoreline out to Cattle Point and view the over 150 nesting pairs of eagles present at this National Park Site.  If you are there in spring you may be able to view one of the nests of fledglings through a telescope at the interpretive site.  Pause during your walk through the open fields to the beach to look for Black Foxes on this part of the island.
  • Make time to go into the city of Friday Harbor and visit the nationally acclaimed Whale Museum. You will enjoy looking through the shops and restaurants in this little town that has a population that ebbs and flows with the arrival and departure of the ferry.


Where to eat and drink on San Juan Island-

  •  Downriggers Restaurant in Friday Harbor is top on our list of places to eat if you are tired of camp food.  They have fully recovered from the fire that devastated the restaurant in 2013. They have great views and a wide assortment of Northwest seafood.
  • For a variety of ethnic menu choices in a beautiful garden setting make reservations for dinner at the Backdoor Kitchen.
  • Stop by San Juan County Distillery and taste their latest spirits.
  • Make time to visit Roche Harbor.  We enjoy walking the docks, looking at the yachts and hiking around the grounds of the old estate. Enjoy lunch at the Lime Kiln Cafe out on the end of the dock.  This is also a great place to get a hot shower if you feel the need.

San Juan Island is just a short ferry from Bellingham but the “island feeling” makes it feel miles away. A trip to the island is a great camping experience with each coastline offering a different view of life on this island.  There are opportunities to study the history of San Juan Island, appreciate the marine life and as you explore the island you will have many opportunities to visit the variety of farms that sustain the full time residents.  A camping trip to the islands is a great chance to slow down, smell the salt air, listen to the birds and appreciate this part of the area known as the Salish Sea.

Let us know if we can help with your camping plans,

Bob and Maureen Jorgenson
Chuckanut Westfalias

Camping the Wild West Coast

Camping the West Coast of Vancouver Island

If you love to camp and have not been to the West Coast of Vancouver Island this trip needs to be your next outdoor adventure.   Vancouver Island is easily accessible from Bellingham.

Make early ferry reservations and take the BC ferry from Tsawwassen to Duke Point/Nanaimo. Plan to have breakfast on the ferry and keep an eye out for whales and other marine life during your two hour crossing.

Be sure to stop at the MacMillan Cathedral Grove on your way to the Long Beach peninsula and walk through the type of forest that transforms you into a dark world that makes you feel tiny. Next stop is Port Alberni where you can pick up any supplies that you have forgotten to pack before continuing your trip to the coast. Farther down the road to the coast you can eat a picnic lunch at the Taylor River Rest Area. It is a nice stop with clean restrooms and a river next to the picnic tables. Feel like doing some cliff jumping or swimming in a giant river pool? Stop a few miles farther toward the coast at a spot marked as “cliff diving” on Google Maps.

When you reach the Long Beach Peninsula information center you are almost at your destination. You can turn left and explore the fishing town of Ucluelet or turn right and continue on to the surfing town of Tofino.


 Camping in Ucluelet

If you are ready for wild beach camping with pit toilets and outdoor showers make reservations at Mussel Beach Campground. The road in is six miles of washboard dirt but the reward at the end of the road is your own beach fire, great kayak access and a beautiful view of the broken group islands. Be sure to bring your own water!


Hiking in Ucluelet

Plan to spend an hour or two hiking out to Amphrite Lighthouse and walking along some of the Wild Pacific Trail.  Take photos of the ocean between wind shaped trees and look for stairs down to hidden driftwood-covered beaches.



 Eating in Ucluelet

If you are tired of camp food be sure to make a reservation for Norwoods Restaurant. Their menu item “A Taste of the West Coast” offers a gourmet approach to great West Coast seafood.  If you are an Oyster fan be sure to reserve a table at Raven Lady Oyster Forte. You will not be disappointed.



 Camping in Tofino

If you are interested in forest camping with access to a beach that you can walk six miles in either direction then Parks Canada Green Point is your campground. Each site has electricity and there are four large new tiled bathroom toilet facilities with room to clean dishes, take showers at no extra charge. Simply the best facilities we have ever seen. Reservations are open now and they go fast.

Another great campground is closer to Tofino on Long Beach where you can walk six miles on a flat sand beach is Bella Pacifica. At least check out their list of things to do in Tofino.

 Hiking in Tofino

Be sure to take a shuttle out to hike the Big Tree Trail on Meares Island. This island is part of the B.C. conservation history and the opportunity to stand among these giant cedars is something that reminds us of our place in natural history.


Eating in Tofino

Plan ahead and find a way to eat at Wolf in the Fog. This is a very famous restaurant with outside and indoor seating. West Coast ambiance plus! Stop off and buy a bag of Rainforest Blend coffee at Tofino Coffee Roasting Company on your way into the city. Rainy day? Find The Pointe Restaurant Wickaninnish Inn Tofino for a great lunch with a view that consists of a 200 degree window to the waves of the West Coast. We park in their lot, have a great lunch and then go down their stairs and walk the beach in front of the Inn. You can walk for two hours in one direction on a low tide.

What else to do in Tofino?

The list ranges from Salmon Fishing to First Nations Art Galleries. You can rent Kayaks, go on a whale watching tour or spend time at their farmers market and craft shows on Saturdays. It is a great community that gets more interesting every year that we visit.

Please let us know if you would like more information about travel on the West Coast of Vancouver Island and of course, if you would like a comfortable, safe restored Westfalia Van to use during your trip. All of our vans have heaters and a built in electric refrigerator.

It is time to plan your summer adventure!

Bob and Maureen

Chuckanut Westfalias


Time to Reserve a Campground

Planning for your Summer Camping Trip 2018

It is the middle of winter but it is time to start thinking of those summer reservations and itineraries so that you are able to spend your spring, summer and fall camping time planning where to find that great micro-brewery or coffee shop instead of driving around hoping to find an empty campground. There are many great places in Southern B.C., Washington and Oregon to park a van, set up camp, get out your fly rod and enjoy the outdoors. Here is information on the 2018 reservation windows for parks in Washington, Oregon and B.C. We can help you with an itinerary if you simply mail us, info@chuckanutwestfalias.com. We have some really great four day itineraries for spring and fall that get you outdoors enjoying the beaches near Tofino or Mountain biking in the Whistler/Pemberton. Even if you already own a van or plan to use your tent and need advice for camping, mountain biking or hiking in our area simply drop us a mail and we would be happy to help you out. (as long as we are not busy getting one of our vans ready for the road).

Reservation Windows:

BC Provincial Parks– Make your reservations up to four months in advance of your anticipated camping date.  The campgrounds on the sunshine coast and near Quadra Island are perfect for your salt water beach adventure.    http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/reserve/frontcountry.html


Canadian National Parks (Banff, Jasper, Green Point on Vancouver Island and many other great parks on their web site) Reservations open on January 8, 2018 and they are sites can be reserved from April 2018 until March 2019. Now this seems crazy to us but that is the direction they are moving.



United States National Parks-Kalaloch is booking now and reservations can be made 6 months in advance. https://www.recreation.gov/camping/kalaloch/r/campgroundBookingWindow.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=70944

Sol Duc Hotsprings resort camping reservations can be made a year in advance. This is a great place for a day hike in the rain forest followed by a soak in a modern hot springs.  This is not the log lined hot springs that we visited in the 70s.



Washington State Parks – For these parks you need to go to the reservation site https://washington.goingtocamp.com and check out availability. Extremely popular sites like Spencer Spit on Lopez or Fort Casey book out early.


Lake Chelan City Park-They take reservations 9 months in advance and this is a park with tight camp sites but the walks around the city, wine tasting, swimming in the lake and the quiet vibe of the city of Chelan, wine tasting and makes it tolerable for one or two nights on a North Cascades loop trip. https://cityofchelan.us/departments/parks-recreation/rv-park/


Oregon State Parks-Reservations are available up to 9 months in advance. The most recent check of our favorite location at Beverly Beach had several nice tent sites (the type of site that we use for our vans) left for mid July. These campgrounds always have some first come first served sites but so often people already camping in the area will run up and “occupy” those walk up sites until their friends arrive.

Camping Resources for Wild Camping or the unusual private campground:

Hipcamp– We have had customers use this site to find some really interesting campgrounds. www.hipcamp.com A known favorite is a little spot on Whidbey Island called Whidbey Island Sheep Camp.


IOverlander– This is the site that we use to find free campsites and DNR/Forest service camping. They do not have much listed for the North Cascades National Park but there are many sites on the Olympic Peninsula. http://ioverlander.com


Travel Resources:

GasBuddy– we use this handy app to help us find gas stations when we are on the road. This is especially useful when driving VanGogh as that van only runs on premium gas.

We hope that planning your summer adventure will give you some respite from the short days and grey skies of winter.  Meanwhile, we are looking forward to Baja camping soon,

Bob and Maureen

Chuckanut Westfalias

Pemberton and Whistler Mountains and Bikes

Marble Canyon to Whistler

June 21-23

Driving South from Prince George, through Williams Lake and south nearly to Cache Creek we made the decision to turn off of Highway 97 and head southwest on highway 99. We set up a peaceful camp at Marble Canyon Provincial Park. The campground itself is just off the highway and is not very aesthetic but a short walk down the hill toward the lake brings you to a beautiful tent camping and swimming area. The road through Marble Canyon is covered with fine marble dust that will cling to underside of the vans until the next major rainstorm.

This highway opens up some of the most beautiful scenery in southern B.C. The drive through Fountain Valley, past Lillooet and over a pass to Pemberton at 30mph is stunning. The trees change from the east side pine tree cover to the coastal Douglas Fir and Hemlock.  There are BC Natural Resources campgrounds the entire way. They are near streams, have great views and are largely unoccupied. We could have spent a week there. The highway has sharp corners, grades of 15% and there are views of glaciers on nearly every corner. We had to stop half way down the pass to let the brakes on the vans cool.  I would hate to see what a Westy with standard factory brakes would do on that pass.

The city of Pemberton is a real mountain bike hub for the interior. There are many options including helicopter or floatplane drops into the interior for a multi day ride out staying in hosted cabins along the way. www.mountainbikingbc.ca/vancouver-coast-mountains/pemberton one of the most exciting bike destinations is a trip into the Chilcotins .   http://ridespots.com/destination/chilcotins A friend made the trip and she thought it was one of the most difficult but amazing bike trips of her life. Check out this video:     https://instagram.com/p/BWrVBZeFead/

We headed down the road from Pemberton for a day in Whistler. A favorite of our van renters is to head up and spend a week hiking and riding in Whistler. It is so close to our base in Bellingham and renting a Westy to use as a base is a really cost effective way to enjoy all of the mountain biking in Whistler. http://bike.whistlerblackcomb.com Plan to head home from Whistler by noon or you will find yourself in traffic on one of the most congested highways in B.C. The increased housing density in B.C. without increasing the highway capacity has resulted in a real rush hour mess twice a day.

We had an amazing trip from Bellingham WA to Skagway Alaska despite the weather. Our friends from the Netherlands are used to adverse weather but they did not anticipate hats and gloves for three weeks.  There was not a complaint the entire trip….that is until a mouse was running around in their van at 2:00AM eating all of Kees last rationed Mento candies.  Would we do the trip in June again? Probably not! The promise of nice weather didn’t pan out. By the way, I am writing this in mid July and it is still raining in Skagway….maybe September? June is just so darn cold! Would we travel in two vans with our friends from the Netherlands again?  You bet!  They had never been camping before and were the perfect travel companions.  We all lost a little weight (maybe staying warm) despite the nightly G.&T. attitude adjustment sessions.  We celebrated our trip with a great breakfast at home skillet


Great to be home and thinking about our next adventure.

Bob and Maureen

Chuckanut Westfalias


The Cassiar Highway toward Prince George

June 19-20

The beautiful campground at Boya Lake was our first stop on the Cassiar Highway. It is an amazing turquoise lake set among small old growth fir trees. (see our previous post) We wish that we could have stayed another night and rented canoes from the people who have a seasonal canoe rental business. They also sell the best firewood that we have ever purchased. (small things make you happy when you are camping).

It was time to head south.  The website Milepost www.themilepost.com has a great mile-by-mile description of this beautiful highway: “The Cassiar Highway was completed in 1972, and is asphalt-surfaced with the exception of a few short gravel breaks. The highway is generally narrower than most 2-lane highways, with little or no shoulder. It has easy curves and some long straight stretches. Although not particularly hilly, there are a few 8 percent grades and 2 switchback turns. There are no passing lanes, beyond one in the first few miles of the highway. The centerline and edge line markings may be missing along some northern sections of the highway”

We spent our day on the Cassiar Highway following rivers, lakes and small streams driving 320 miles south toward Meziadin Provincial Park on the lake. It takes a full day to cover those miles in a Westfalia if you include a nice lunch stop. There are several campsites right on Meziadin lake and it is a beautiful campground. They even have Wifi! (for $6) There were quite a few mosquitoes when we were there so a bug tent would be nice to have. This lake is supposed to have great fishing and I would like to have spent a day trying my luck. There were several fly fishers camped there.

The next morning we were up early and headed further down the highway to one of our previous campgrounds at Beaumont Provincial Park. As we left the Meziadin campground we knew that we were reluctantly passing up a visit Stewart and Hyder. The highway to these two villages pop. 100 each (one in BC and the other in the US.) passes the Bear Glacier and that have always been on Bob’s list of places to visit. This is a great destination in late July because the bears come to feed on the salmon. Since the salmon runs had not begun we decided to continue south. As we headed down the road we suddenly came upon a glacier that comes right down to a lake that is just across from the highway. We slowed, took pictures and continued on toward Beaumont Lake…..or so we thought. We soon encountered signs for Stewart and Hyder and suddenly realized that we had turned the wrong direction leaving the campground and had taken a 30 mile detour out to Hyder.  We made a U-turn and headed back to the main highway stopping to take some photos of the bear Glacier along the way. The drive to Hyder is beautiful and winds through rock canyons and follows a wild river. The scenery is among the best along the Cassier and is not to be missed. It was a lucky detour.

Juneau to Skagway to the Cassiar

Juneau to Skagway to the Cassiar

June 16-18

We were up early in a massive rainstorm to catch the ferry to Skagway. The ferry LaConte had refrigeration problems so the menu selections were minimal but the scenery between Juneau and Skagway is beautiful. We saw several dolphins and whales along the way despite the 30 knot winds. Skagway is Tlingit for “big seas caused by strong winds” and the city lived up to its name. Our landing in Skagway was a wild one in the wind but the ferry captain made the landing despite being blocked in by two massive cruise ships. We had originally planned to head up to Dyee campground but after a week in the rain we decided to stay in the city at a private campground. The only advantage to camping at Pullen Creek RV Park is that it is a 3 minute walk to town. The reviews on the campground are a solid 3.0 and everyone complains about no hot water in the coin operated showers. We discovered that in this campground absolutely every faucet is reversed and hot is where cold should be and cold is where hot should be. Want a hot shower? Simply set it to cold! The campground is dirty, full of locals living in anything with a roof and their personal items encroach on all of the overnight spots.

We booked a 4pm National Park Tour of Skagway on the national park web site and it was one of the best presentations that we have seen. The ranger gave us the true feeling of the city of Skagway during the gold rush days. The tour takes 45 minutes and is great. Like Juneau, the city of Skagway has been taken over by cruise ships and their associated jewelry shops. Thankfully everyone returned to their ship at 5:00pm and that left the city to us. After the tour we walked up the street to Skagway Brewing Company for some great local beer and onion rings. Up at 7am for one of Marijke’s great yogurt and fruit breakfasts in 40 degree weather and 30 knot winds. Marijke and Kees kept smiling but what a first camping trip for our friends from the Netherlands! We decided to head for warmer weather and as we climbed through the fog and snow toward the Cassiar highway we had to use our imaginations to see the beautiful alpine environment that rests just above Skagway.

We cleared customs at 3000 feet with snow just above us and as we stopped we heard what sounded like a muffler rattle from Honu. Well keep calm and carry on….down to the Cassiar highway.  The Cassiar is very isolated and there is not even a center line for the first 100miles.  We did not see one other car as we made our way to      a beautiful camp at Boya Lake Provincial Park. This is a beautiful campground set on a turquoise lake with many lakeside campsites and virtually no bugs. It was not raining and the sun even made an appearance. A great foil tent dinner followed by smores by the fire and we were really living the camping life.



A Week in Juneau

June 11-15
A week in Juneau
We spent a week in Juneau and there is so much to do. First, camping in the forest service campground with a view of Mendenhall Glacier is amazing. They have great facilities including showers, the sites are well spaced and very clean. It was so wet when we were there that we had to source dry firewood but that was available at the local Home Depot store. Juneau has a Costco and Fred Meyer were we bought hats, gloves and replenished our happy hour kits. Our outdoor activities included a hike up near the Mendenhall Glacier, a cruise up Tracy Arm to see the whales and glaciers and a floatplane excursion into Pack Creek on Admiralty Island to see the Brown Bears. Bring your warm clothing and be prepared to dodge the raindrops. One afternoon we stopped downtown where the cruise ships dock.

On any given day Juneau swells with the populations of three to five cruise ships. Each carries nearly 3000 people and they all seem to be interested in purchasing jewelry. The cruise ship companies have purchased nearly half of the property in Juneau and when the season ends they close their doors and a large part of the downtown core becomes a ghost town. The passengers are given certificates that give them a “special gift” if they visit the shops on shore owned by the cruise ship lines. The on shore excursions turn Juneau into Disney Land. At one point we saw 8 helicopters hovering over the Mendenhall Glacier as they prepared to land and take a Glacier Sled Dog Ride all for the mere price of $1000. It is sad to see how Juneau has sold out its local population by allowing the ships to run the town. The cruise ship lines are run by foreign companies and little of this wealth comes directly back to the U.S. with very little returning to Juneau. People getting off the ships were always asking to pet Bailey and we heard their entire family history with dogs during these petting sessions. Mr. B ate it up! People from the south wanted to talk about our opinion of this great president and “America First” even though all of ther vacation dollars were heading overseas. We deferred comment emphasizing our great appreciation for the outdoors as people from the Northwest. It was funny to hear them introduce themselves as “not cruise ship people”. I think that being on a ship with 3000 people must be one big stand in line…..but how would we know??? “we are not cruise ship people” We were up at 5:00AM on Friday morning in a huge rainstorm to catch the ferry up to Skagway.

Mendenhall Lake Campground

June 12, 2017
We landed in Juneau and after quite a while were allowed to drive off the ferry (wouldn’t you know, they decided that they would keep our vans on the edge of the ferry deck to use as ballast.) Every time we were on the car deck with other drivers they asked about our vans, our rental business and ask for a card. We hear so many cool family stories about people driving these vans all over the U.S. and even Eastern Europe. Ourt vans have drawn so much interest and started many really nice conversations.

The rain finally found us so and settled into bed for more reading and early sleep. It could have been the rain or maybe the Gin and Tonics that made us ready for bed so early. We spent the day hiking around the base of the Mendenhall glacier and enjoying a great video on climate change. Tomorrow we are flying into Pack Creek to view the Grizzly bears. Only a 90% chance of rain tomorrow so we are thinking about bringing our bathing suits. Darn….will this rain ever stop?…oh wait….it just started. We went by Fred Meyer to stock up on umbrellas for our trip tomorrow in the float plane. The tide will be very low so we will put on our Tevas, roll up our pants and wade ashore to the viewing area.

Bob and Maureen
Chuckanut Westfalias

Ferry Fun!

June 10, 2017
Today was our first full day on the ferry. We made shorts stops at Wrangell, Petersburg, Kake and at 2AM at Sitka. We took Bailey off the boat at every stop and he forced us into walking for the half hour time that we could be ashore. When I took him off the boat in Sitka at 3AM Baily ran in circles for a long time. When I returned to the boat the purser asked me if we had seen the three bears in the field where he was running. The only bears on Sitka are Grizzlies…glad we did not meet any.
The weather has been cool and cloudy but thankfully no rain. We have seen whales, sea otters and dolphins all from the window in our room and the deck above. A trip on the Alaska ferry is not a cruise ship experience and that is what we like about it. For a small additional fee you can rent a “stateroom” with a window and a small bathroom with shower. The ferry is full of fishermen, tourists from the U.S.A., Canada and Europe. There were also plenty of 60+ year old men on the ferry who are so happy with the direction that our country is taking. They are getting their pictures taken with the flag and one man was wearing a shirt with the stars and stripes. It was interesting for us to hear them talk the glory of bringing back America. Hmm…..a diverse country we live in! The food is not expensive and if you don’t want to buy your food in the cafeteria you can still eat there with your own food. In all a great experience and being able to go to our little state room with a window view made it great for very little extra money.

Bob and Maureen
Chuckanut Westfalias