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  • Writer's pictureAngela Erickson

Camp by myself Lake Chelan!

(longer than usual post, but SO much to see!)

This may not seem like such a big deal, but even when I have my own campervan, camping alone seems a little intimidating. I have to admit I like hiding in Bitsy with my coffee and my book until one of the guys gets up and gets that campfire going. And preferably the grill as well. And the bacon. LOL.

But….it was time to try this on my own. I think I can call this a “check!” but I should say that it was baby steps for sure. For one thing, I went to an established campground instead of the woods. It’s a great conversation, which do you think is safer for a single female to hang out at? I decided the established campground and I let the female camp host know that I was traveling alone.

For another thing I went to Lake Chelan. A place I have been going every year for 25 years, so I am very familiar with the area. This was my very first time there in the summer that I no longer own my condo, so I had the opportunity to explore Chelan and Manson in a completely different way.

A few ideas if you go: I camped at Wapato Lake Campground. This campground is up the road behind the casino, tucked along Wapato Lake, not to be confused with Wapato Point, where my condo was. And yes, there are wineries all around it ( I was in Spot RV20, a true RV spot, but only because I called at the last minute and got a spot that had been canceled. It was only $30 a night so I reserved 2 nights. Considering the hotels in Chelan/Manson are $300+ a night, it is quite the bargain. I don’t need water or power so next time I will try to get the tent spots T11 or T10 (only $25 a night!) I would have a firepit on the beach and be right on the lake. In my spot I didn’t truly have a firepit location, but maybe it is time to get one of those propane ones, that is what everyone else had. I brought my Kayak along, but was surprised to see how much the small lake is used by fishermen so I never drug it out and made my way around all of them. I just kept moving it into the passenger seat for the night…the joys of having a fold up kayak. Love my Oru Kayak ( )

My neighbors on both sides were incredibly friendly, coming from W Washington for the most part and lots of kids, a very family oriented campground. The groups got that got the beach sites were college age kids, over for a party. However the entire campground was clean and quiet after 10ish….they had a shower in the restroom (my first experience) that used quarters…that’s pretty glamping. Tip: Don’t forget your quarters!

The Wapato Grill ( ) has become a bit spendy in the last 10 years, but they offer a great winetasting before 5, after 5 it is a full bar. And Friday nights (only) they serve a FANTASTIC fried chicken platter that is pretty reasonable and a huge portion. It is first come, first served. I am not too proud to tell everyone that I have truly RACED over to Lake Chelan for many years to get the fried chicken. I tend to order with the baked potato (with loaded ingredients on the side) and save that for breakfast. Especially when camping…cut it up and fried it, added all of the “loaded ingredients” to the pan for a cheesy fried potato dish with bacon and onions. Used the butter to fry the potatoes, topped with sour cream and a fried egg. A perfect start to a Saturday morning, lounging in Bitsy with my breakfast and a hot cup of coffee looking out at the lake.

Saturday afternoon I decided to wander around. It does feel strange to leave my campsite with my van, I left a few chairs and a rug etc. to show it was occupied, but I need to finesse this a bit more. Any ideas?

I wandered about to look at Wapato Point to see what changes are being made, stopped by the farmers market in Manson at the grange. With only my small fridge in Bitsy I didn’t buy as much of the fresh produce as I usually do. Tip: Get there early if you want flowers. There is a wonderful woman there that has been growing flowers for 50+ years (someone tells me) …she sells huge bouquets for $10 in a vase or $5 if you have your own or bring one of hers back. They look like the flowers at the Pike Street Market, just gorgeous.

It was another beautiful day in Manson, bright blue sky and getting hot by 11 am. I wandered around on foot (got to have a taco at the taco stand in the Red Apple Grocery Store Parking lot) and then decided to check out the public swimming area at the State Park, right on the corner. You know, all of the years I have come here, I have never swum here. We all had our own beach and pool at the condo so never explored. I wandered down and was struck by the clear blue water. Incredibly welcoming with concrete stairs to sit on, like at the CDA beach. Quick swimsuit change in Bitsy in a neighborhood and I am in business! Armed with water, sunscreen, and book I wander down and hang in the water on the stairs until I am toasty warm and a little pink from the sun. And hungry. And ready to hit the wineries.

Traveling alone as a female is a trip every female should do once in their lives…you will hear me say this more than one time. Of course you will want to be aware of your surroundings and not too trusting, but the way you are treated is something you will never experience any other way. When locals find out you are traveling alone they not only offer you the very best experiences but they all look out for you and share secrets only the locals know. I have taken 3 solo trips and this one was no exception.

KARMA WINERY: Started on the other side of the lake at the furthest one back. It is a rare thing to get into this winery on a beautiful Saturday in the middle of summer because so many people use this venue for weddings. When I pulled up, the open sign was out but the parking lot was jam packed so I was not very hopeful. There is a “check in” tent outside, I stopped and asked if I could go in for a tasting. The woman started telling me they were full-up, but then got on her walkie talkie and asked if they could accommodate “a single lady”. LOL. Perfect! They had me wait for a few as they set me up with “the best table”. When I walked around to the outdoor patio (I didn’t want to sit inside in the cool cave on this gorgeous day but be sure to check it out) , they had placed me right by the Koi pond with a gorgeous table. I ordered the Supergreen Hummus and a flight. I didn’t know there were green garbanzo beans you could use to make hummus, but it so very good. I enjoyed my flight, and the server Aaron was awesome. Management even came out and introduced themselves to the solo traveler, and offered a few additional tastings for discussion purposes. There are benefits I tell you.

SIREN SONG WINERY: -Wandered over here next, as I am a club member and find this to be one of the most gorgeous views of the lake, with wineglass in hand. I checked and asked for a table for one with some shade. I honestly cannot remember if I mentioned I was in the club or not, but they asked me to wait while they prepared a table on the veranda for me. I was a little perplexed when 5 and then 10 minutes went by and I was still standing there. I could see a lot of activity on the veranda, moving a table around, and then an umbrella. They were putting this table right at the very front next to veranda wall with the most sweeping view of the lake. I wondered what important customer was coming for lunch. Me! It’s me! They put me at that table and then treated the solo traveler like a princess. Beautiful views, beautiful wines, generous pours in my tasting. I always have to stop here and have a personal wood fire pizza...I pick the simply cannot go wrong, it is perfect every single time. Managed to load a few cases into Bitsy for me and others back in CDA and off we go again.

Went into Manson again and stopped at Vibe Cellars Tasting Room ( and listened to some live music they had playing on the outside patio. You can almost always find live music in Manson and Chelan in the summer months on Fridays and Saturdays. Tip: There are weekend calendars around, check out as early as possible, most of the venues (wineries) are free, but fill up quickly.

Dusk was starting to creep in so I decided I would head back to camp and after exploring around a bit. Decided I didn’t want to cook at camp so swung by the 12 Tribes Lake Chelan Casino to effortlessly lose all of my “mad money” within an hour at the slot machines. Checked out who the show was, just in case I stumbled on something fun and then rolled into the Café/Restaurant called Crosswinds and grabbed a clam chowder and salad. Tip: Go try the clam chowder here. Wow. They say the get the ingredients from W Washington and make it homemade. A secret. Only $5...worth losing my money on my way in.

Another quiet night at camp, comfy and feels incredibly safe.

Sunday morning I read my book and drank coffee in the morning hours. It was Sage’s 28th Heavenly Birthday so it felt perfect to be somewhere she really enjoyed being when she as with us. I wandered the camp and lounged around...for one of the first times, decided to skip Blueberry Hills for breakfast, a tradition I will uphold next time I am over. Especially if the blueberries are on, it is a U-Pick farm too!

BENSONS WINERY: I really enjoy the Cab Franc that Benson’s serves, so I swung by to grab a bottle or two to bring back. I was thrilled to find that the local favorite (Local Myth Pizza in Chelan ) had opened a café on the grounds of Bensons Winery called Café Myth ( )and it was still there. I bought a burrata platter to enjoy in the sunshine while I looked at the view from this side of the lake. Watching the kids play in the fountain was a hoot, they were having a serious conversation about finding fish in the fountain, only to have one of the little boys suggest there were probably “blood sucking leaches” too. This did not dissuade the girls at all, in fact they looked harder. Bensons was having a bingo game on this Sunday morning, so I actually stayed longer than anticipated so I could participate.

LAKE CHELAN WINERY: A good old standby. The sister winery to Wapato Point Cellars. They are so friendly here and typically offer free wine tastings, the wines are very fun and good. They have a summer BBQ here that many of my friends prefer to stop at. Tip: This is where the local cheese monger cases are...this is where you will want to get good wine, good cheese and fun gifts. I always stop a few times while I am here for longer visits, but sure on the way out of town. Try the Coconut Gouda with a white wine. Tastes like coconut cream pie.

I spend a lot of time here, so will tell you about other locations in other blogs, but this was my experience as a solo traveler camping alone. Try it!!!

For additional pics and videos and what-not, please click on the FB and Instagram links. Thanks for hanging with me! If you go to any of these places, please tell them the Sightseeing Tipsy Gypsy send you! What’s on your bucket list? #sightseeingtipsygypsy

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