New Olympic Event – Speed Touring

from the sketchbook

from the sketchbook

Before the Olympic Games came the Olympic Mountains. The latter occupy a large peninsula up in the top northwest corner of the USA, aka the bottom southwest corner of Canada. A simple twist of history and the Canada US border might now be the Columbia River, and the State of Washington – the Province of Olympia, or something. But nevertheless, we love the place, even though it costs $81 just to get there. Lat weekend, plus a few vacation days, we did a quick circle tour of the Salish Sea. That name has been given to the great inland waters that divide and unite us up here/down here as the case may be. On and surrounding that sea can be found the great cities of Vancouver and Seattle, as well as many smaller ones, and innumerable towns and villages.

Victoria to Langley, Washington - the long way

Victoria to Langley, Washington – the long way

We began our tour by being refused room on the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, this on a Thursday. Where did all those tourists come from? So we toured clockwise, leaving via the BC Ferries route over to the US Border crossing on the mainland. When we arrived we saw that all Canada bound traffic was being turned back. Had the refugee/illegal immigrant/future brother-in-law crisis reached the great north/south west? No, it seems there was a gas leak.

Langley - county fairgrounds

Langley – county fairgrounds

First stop in the US was Langley, Whidbey Island – where the annual Djangofest was getting underway. We love this town, it is hip but unpretentious, has cheap and pleasant camping available, a lively arts scene, great food, numerous coffee shops (and no *bucks), and world class pizza, not mention world class NW microbrew. We are in the golden age of beer, thank Dog I lived to drink it.

We had breakfast here:

cafe in Langley

cafe in Langley

One night there, complete with concert and fifteen minutes of jamming, then across Puget Sound by ferry (love these boats) to Port Townsend – yet another great little town full of history. They were having film festival – outdoors! A giant inflatable screen and hay bales occupied one block of the downtown core.

outdoor cinema

outdoor cinema

Washington State ferry boat - Salish

Washington State ferry boat – Salish

Whidbey-Pt Townsend ferry

Whidbey-Pt Townsend ferry

On the street, Port Townsend:

a pay phone - how civilized

a pay phone – how civilized

How can I resist this one?

Corona folding typewriter in stationary shop - Pt Townsend

Corona folding typewriter in stationary shop – Pt Townsend

Not for sale..but I did buy an old Eversharp fountain pen, with 14k gold nib, at a consignment/antique/art/clothing/furniture/jewelry/carpet shop.

old Eversharp pen

old Eversharp pen – filled with ‘Herbin Larmes de Cassis’  ink it writes like a hot damn

Next stop Port Angeles, where they were having a beer festival. I know this just sounds too fantastic to be true, but it is true. However, we had our own mini beer festival courtesy of Safeway, and retired to the National Park to camp. With only five days we had to keep moving.

Langley to Kalaloch Campground on the coast

Langley to Kalaloch Campground on the coast

doggy in shop window - Pt Angeles

doggy in shop window – Pt Angeles

Next scheduled stop was to be the Olympic Hot Springs, up the Elwha River valley, but alas the road was closed for repairs. So we went to the Sol Duc Hot Springs instead. These are your tourist type hot baths, basically concrete tubs full of bored looking folks and always some Russians. (Russians – what’s the story?) Not that we mind them, we just prefer to hike two miles and bath privately naked in the wilderness (or at Harbin – see previous post). Warmed and relaxed to the point of narcolepsy, we had to return to the highway (US101) to camp, since the campground at Sol Duc was full – of course! But in this way we turned adversity to opportunity and discovered yet another gem in the way of Fairholme Campground on Lake Crescent.

dock - Lake Crescent

dock – Lake Crescent

There we watched the super moon rise over Lake Crescent, an awesome site indeed.

super moon over Lake Crescent

super moon over Lake Crescent

Next day we went west and south out to the big wet called the Pacific Ocean, where we camped on the shore and listened to the lullaby of thundering surf. All this time we were enjoying blue skies and sunshine, incredibly.

fellow VW bus on the road Hwy 101

fellow VW bus on the road: Hwy 101. Honest pollution!

Then the sea, the endless sea.

Pacific beach logs

Pacific beach logs

cliffs at Kalaloch

cliffs at Kalaloch

The trip ended the next day but not before we had a great breakfast in Forks (Vampireville, USA) at one of those perfect little restaurants which we pray for constantly when hungry. Why is it so difficult to cook one egg perfectly? Who knows, but one cook in Forks sure can do. Then we were back in Port Angeles and on the Coho ferry home to Victoria.

crazy tree on ocean cliff

crazy tree on ocean cliff

Stellar's Jay - camp robber

Stellar’s Jay – camp robber


for typerati only..seen on safari:

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Filed under Photography, Sketching, Thrift shop finds, Travel, Typewriters, VW Vans

7 responses to “New Olympic Event – Speed Touring

  1. Nice trip. We were just up thataway last week, but alas didn’t have the time to really explore the area like it deserves. Nice b/w pics, too.

    • Thanks, I hope you get back and have a better look. The photos were all colour originally, but I converted them in an attempt to see how well the compositions stood up in b&w.

  2. Mary Louise Reilly

    Don you are a fabulous writer and artist. I feel jealous I wasn’t on the trip with you guys it really looks like the perfect holiday.
    Mary Lou and Mark

  3. Wonderful pictures – lovely part of the world. Your post makes me want to head up there this fall.

  4. Sheila Grigg

    So awesome..I feel like I just had the mini tour with you (although not sharing the van!!)..loved your black and white photos..just adds to the dated quality of the trip. Sheila

  5. Becky Leach

    I took almost that same tour, also camping in Kalaloch and dining in Forks, in 2013. It was one of the highlights of a long vacation–24 days–with my husband, that also incuded the breathtaking Many Glaciers Lodge in Glacier NP, downtown Portland, a B&B on the Harbour in Victoria, and Redwoods in CA. That amazing, tenacious tree resides in my digital photo library, too.

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