Tag Archives: washington

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

Going Overseas

My father used to call Europe “overseas”. He also called the frig the “icebox”. This past weekend we went overseas with our icebox. Amazing how little things change. We took a ferry across the Strait of Juan de Fuca (the sea) in our camper van, carrying with us a cooler, which is in fact a box full of ice. We were not in Europe but in this case Europe came to us, or to Langley, Washington that is.

Among the assembled talent were numerous European musicians doing their bit to keep the spirit of the “gypsy jazz” genre alive. Although it is a sad state of affairs that here in “America” (north) we can only muster a few hundred diehard fans to come and see the best festival of its kind outside of Europe, perhaps that is a blessing in disguise. Tickets are plentiful, and the venues are small enough to actually see the performers well enough to talk to them. Try that in a giant arena at the next rock festival you go to. Despite the fact that in 10 years since I first attended Djangofest NW the ticket price has risen from $20 to $65, the price of a rock concert has gone up beyond all comprehension.

McCartney charges $180 now for the privilege of watching him from a half mile away on a giant screen. In their heyday the Beatles charged about $10 a seat. Nostalgia is not worth $170. I’d like to see all the old billionaire rock stars go on tour and charge nothing as a payback for the fortunes they’ve made off the millions of fans over the years. I’d also like to hear an intelligent debate from politicians. And while we’re at it, I’d like to find some really well preserved old typewriters for sale.

Well – some dreams do come true if only partly – you will see here that I had part of my wish this past weekend. While out for a walk we passed a store in Port Angeles that had the machines shown below in the window, not for sale but only on display. This saved me the agony of not being able to buy them had they been for sale, as it might have been hard to choose which to leave behind. Right around the corner from there was a favourite pub of ours where we quaffed some excellent micro-brewed beer while I felt a pleasant contentment to have bagged some good pictures.

ticket prices then and now

Harris No. 4

Smith Premier 10

Oliver 9

Royal 5


Filed under Guitars, Photography, Typewriters, VW Vans