Saturday, November 24, 2012

Another Volunteer Adventure

We’ve begun our three-month volunteer adventure at the Coastal Artillery Museum located on beautiful Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend, WA.  This year we decided to do something different; instead of heading south to Texas or Arizona, we decided to head north to the Olympic Peninsula.  We’ve always enjoyed the Pacific Northwest, and this is a great place to spend the winter.  Port Townsend is located 25 miles from Sequim, and is in the famous “rain shadow” of the Olympic Mountains that keeps the bulk of the winter rain away (we hope).  It’s a neat town and bills itself as one of only three “Victorian” seaports in the country.  We’ll post pictures of this interesting place in a later blog, but for now we’ll tell you about the
Fort Worden is an extensive state park with most of it’s original 1900-era buildings intact – in fact the Officer’s housing, NCO housing, and some of the barracks have been restored and are rented to people visiting the area.  The fort was originally built in 1902 for coastal defense, and was the main fort in the “triangle of death” – the three forts (Worden, Casey, and Flagler)that guarded the entrance to Puget Sound with it’s many shipyards.  Immense concrete gun batteries were built along the top of “Artillery Hill”, the highest point on the peninsula, and although the guns are no longer there, the structures still remain.  For us, we’re taking care of the museum, which displays the history of the Fort and of it’s activities during WWI, WWII, and the period afterward. 
RV Site2On our arrival, we were guided up the hill to the volunteer RV spots.  The trip was an adventure, taking us over broken asphalt, sharp turns, and through a deep hole caused by a broken water main, where we RV Siteleft one torn-off mud flap.  Finally parked, we set up on our home for the next three months – a grassy area with a view of the water in the distance and plenty of Black-tailed deer grazing under the watchful eye or our cat.

The museum is located in the first floor of one of the barracks that housed over 100 men, complete with a dining hall.  If you look close, you can see the barred windows.  The building was one of many that were used in the 1970s as a “diagnostic center” for troubled youth.  Apparently not all the diagnosis went well, since the windows have bars and there are four steel-lined cells in one of the closed wings.  Coastal Artillery MuseumView From Porch
The museum has a surprisingly extensive collection of coastal artillery history, including photos, equipment, and videos.  It’s a subject not well known to those who didn’t live on the East or West coast (including us), and we’ve been surprised at the immensity of the fortifications.  But when you realize the need to protect the extensive shipyards in Puget Sound, you begin to understand why these forts were built.  You can read about the history of the fort here. 
CAM West Wing
CAM East WingCAM East Room
We’ll be here until the end of January and plan on spending a lot of time exploring the area – there’s a lot to see and do, so check back with us!


  1. You are in a beautiful part of the country. Your spot looks so spacious.
    Not sure I would head to that area for winter. We are trying to avoid snow not find it.

  2. Snow here is rare since we're right on the water....we hope!

  3. That sounds like a very interesting winter work camping choice. We have friends that live in the hills outside of Seattle and they always head south for the winter. Hope the mountains protect you from the rain:)

  4. Fort Worden has a special place in our hearts ... first place we ever camped ... even if it was in the back of our car. We hope to get out there someday in our motorhome.