September 6 Chores

We were pretty dull again today. The weather turned ugly and rained last night. There was plenty of thunder and lightning. We figured we might as well do stuff that didn’t require good weather.

Peggy was very sweet and took all our clothes over to the laundry and made them unstinky. I changed out our shower head. In our shower, which for a big bozo like me is like standing in a coffin, we had a very lightweight but disappointing hand wand type showerhead that would emit water but not completely shut off when commanded. The result was, for some unknown reason, when the shower head valve was re-opened by some soapy bather the first water out was scalding hot. This could be annoying when the water was directed at certain spots. Turning the old shower head on and off also required superhuman strength or voodoo to make it operate.

A couple months ago, we picked up a new, improved shower head assembly when bumbling about in a Camping World store in Mount Vernon. We knew we would be replacing our former, miserable shower head soon but experience has taught us to never do any plumbing on an RV unless within 25 miles of an open Home Depot or other suitable hardware joint. Almost without fail, anything will go wrong and one or more trips to the Home Depot will be required before the plumbing repair is watertight.

However, today’s plumbing work went off without a hitch or a leak. It was almost like someone else, like a plumber, did the work, Nobody is more delightfully surprised than us.

September 4 Sequim to Chehalis

Today was another travel day. We packed up all our camping stuff, hooked up the trailer and pulled out of the Diamond Point RV Park near Sequim. I didn’t regret leaving – for some reason, maybe the sardine can proximity of campers, I was not thrilled with this RV park although they had good utility hookups, cable TV and good satellite reception. They also had RV spaces that I found quite challenging to back into, souring me on the facility.

We quickly got back on US-101, this time going south for the first time in a long while. Instead of crossing Puget Sound and driving down I-5, we elected to stay on the Olympic Peninsula for our southbound travel. Using this route, we were able to completely avoid the hellish traffic nightmare that is Seattle. 101 south on the Peninsula is a gorgeous but curvy road with very few straight sections longer than about 200 yards. We also noted the paving surface was quite bumpy and not even close to being planar. We stopped for a restroom break near the south end of the Hood Canal and found that some drawers and items in the trailer had been tossed around during the trip. Nothing broke so we were good to continue.

After the stop, we headed southeast toward the interstate, emerging from rural America at the capital city of Olympia which we skirted before getting on I-5 south. From there it was about a 45 minute drive to the city of Chehalis, where we left the freeway and headed toward Mount St. Helens and the Chehalis Thousand Trails.

We had to wait a bit at the entry booth but the poor grunt that operates the facility finally showed up and soon we were roaming the campground, looking for that good RV spot. We eventually found one at the top of the hill with great satellite antenna reception but no sewer and no WiFi. We will contact the honey wagon operator tomorrow so we don’t have to pull out the trailer out to dump the tanks in a few days. The WiFi we can access in the facility activity center a short drive down the gravel road from our site. The TV reception is superb. We may have found one of the very few sites with an unobscured view to the south, a requirement for satellite antenna operation. Strangely, it is only two spots away from a site we stayed in back in 2017.

Now that everybody’s kids are back in school, it is much easier to find a variety of nice RV spots. Maybe we should go to year-round schools in the U.S.

September 3 Port Townsend

We took a spin into the city of Port Townsend today. We passed through it quickly a few days ago when we arrived on the ferry from Coupeville on Whidbey Island but decided it looked quite interesting so we made a return trip.

Port Townsend was a massive shipping, wood products and boat building city in the past. Now the mills and most of the ships are gone but the town is still gorgeous. The town sports a terrific variety of old wooden houses that have been meticulously maintained, stunning downtown masonry structures and a long waterfront area with boats of all kinds both in the water and hauled out on land. Big, multi-masted sailing ships were being spiffied up by crews of yacht yard gorillas sanding and grinding and painting. We spotted a lighting and antiques store where the owner proudly displays the movie producers and movies that have used his gorgeous vintage lighting fixtures and household hardware in their pictures. There was a big list.

After quite a bit of cruising around, Peg and I decided we needed a reward for our efforts so we pulled into the Port Townsend Brewery where Peg had a flight and I ordered a pint of porter. The bar was nice and cozy and the beer was good but no match for Deschutes Black Butte Porter from Bend, OR. I guess I’m spoiled.

We got some pix. Click the link.

September 2 Hurricane Ridge

Today we were back in explorer mode so we decided to take a spin into the Olympic National Park, specifically to Hurricane Ridge. We started by getting from our current RV spot at Diamond Point RV Park up the serpentine road to US-101 which we took west to the city of Port Angeles. There we turned onto Hurricane Ridge Road. At the bottom we were pretty close to sea level (Strait of Juan de Fuca level here) and we started to steady climb up the first five miles until we got to the Park Service toll booth where there was about a half hour backup in the traffic line. It was a gorgeous day today so we supposed that lots of folks had decided to go up to the Ridge to enjoy the view.

Once we got very close to the toll booth, a National Park Ranger was stationed alongside the traffic line who noted that we had a geezer pass to cross onto federal properties for free and she waved us through. Free access to National Parks is one of the very few benefits of getting older.

The road continues to climb through several climate zones before emerging at 4500′ almost above tree line where there is a parking lot and many folks wearing funny garb usually associated with pesky ferners. We heard Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and quite a few other languages that we couldn’t understand emanating from the myriad of folks on top of the mountains enjoying the view.

From the visitor center at the end of the road, Hurricane Ridge occupies the entire southern horizon from west to east. There are some glaciers clinging to the sides of the taller peaks and visible below is a massive old-growth forest. There were animals everywhere. We spotted hordes of deer and noted some gray jays hanging around the visitor area, dive bombing and snatching loose food from those foolish enough to keep their grub in plain sight. We even met some nice doggies who had accompanied their humans to the top of the hill.

The scenery is spectacular there. Click the link to see photos.

September 1 Delayed

Today we intended to take part of the day to lounge around the trailer to watch the NASCAR Darlington race. It was supposed to start at 3:00 PM but, due to the effects of Hurricane Dorian which is decimating the Bahamas, the race was delayed by rain. It ultimately got going by about 7:00 and lasted until after 11:00 PM Pacific time so there is nothing to report for today. Except that Peggy was more than reasonable about letting me loaf all day. It’s NASCAR’s fault.

August 31 Into Sequim

Today we did a bit of exploring in the nearby town of Sequim. The town itself was not too exciting but a cruise around the area surrounding Sequim was enjoyable. We swung into Dungeness State Park where we soon realized we had stayed there back in 2014. I barely remember it. They say the mind is the first thing to go.

There are some beachfront communities scattered around the same area and, as is usual for beachfront communities, there were some architecturally gorgeous homes, nice wooden boats and nifty yard art. There are also herds of deer and we even spotted a Northern harrier, dining on some formerly unwary small animal. It was great, except from the small animal’s viewpoint.

See pix. Click link.

August 30 Concrete to Sequim

Today we had a monster travel day. It wasn’t the distance so much as the route that made the day long. We started out by packing up all our stuff and hooking up our trailer in Concrete. We must be like the Empire in The Empire Strikes Back – we discarded our trash and then took off. WA-20 took us down the Skagit River, through Sedro Woolley and Burlington, before emerging on the other side. We crossed the Swinomish Channel and drove onto Fidalgo Island. In Anacortes, we turned south and headed across Deception Pass onto Whidbey Island. About and hour later, we turned off the main highway at Coupeville and took a short drive to the Port Townsend Ferry Terminal.

We have used this ferry before but every time we arrive, the procedure is a little different. Like the last time we lined up for the ferry, we pulled behind a few vehicles on the right shoulder of the road outside the ferry terminal considerably before our reserved crossing time. This time, however, there was a rotund Washington State Ferries employee with a big head and a walkie-talkie standing in the road. He directed us to pull up to where he was standing so he could speak with us. The state website states that those wishing to cross Puget Sound to the Olympic Peninsula on the ferry must arrive not less than 45 minutes early so the benefits of queuing up can be fully appreciated. The guy with the big head told us that we had arrived too early (about 45 minutes) and, if we didn’t pull out of line and go elsewhere, we would go on standby and sacrifice our 3:30 PM slot. We could not grasp his reasoning but figured anything else inside the guy’s head would make it pop so we pulled past the terminal and parked for a while at a boat launching ramp nearby.

Peggy seized this opportunity to whip up a tasty lunch which we devoured. Then we drove the wrong way past the terminal again, then a mile up the road and found a place to turn our big rig around to head back in the right direction. We then pulled into the roadside queue where we were greeted by a much less ugly ferry employee who told us to shut it down and we would be installed in the boarding lane shortly.

Forty-five minutes later, we drove onto the car ferry and off on our short duration crossing of the Sound. There were lots of dolphins (or porpoises?) swimming around in the strait and we hung out at the very front of the car deck to ogle them as they scampered away from the looming ferry. About 25 minutes later, we were disembarking into the Port Townsend ferry terminal and back onto our road route. The road south from Port Townsend (still WA-20) is skinny, curvy and pretty high speed for an old codger like me because I seemed to always have some furious youngster right up my trumpet almost all the way to US-101. At 101, we turned back north and did some more squiggly racetrack to the town of Sequim. Despite the plain spelling, everyone around here pronounces the name as Skwim.

One more skinny, twisty side road of about 5 miles and we pulled into a place called the Diamond Point Resort. We were now on the very edge of the continent. It is pretty close to the Strait of Juan de Fuca but you can’t see it from the park. Getting into the park was a challenge because: A) Our GPS was completely befuddled in the tall trees and hills and B) The park is obscured from the road. Thanks to Peggy and her patience, we eventually pulled up the gravel driveway to the office.

Things sort of went to shit after that. I must have been more stressed out then normal because it seemed I was almost completely unable to get our trailer into the space we had been assigned. Soon, many park denizens were helping, all pointing in different directions and issuing conflicting advice. After numerous changes of direction, only limited cursing, considerable befuddlement and only one car needing to be moved, we backed our monster trailer into the correct orientation.

This park has full hookups, a staff more than willing to offer tenants conflicting trailer backing directions, WiFi and cable TV. I believe we could use our satellite antenna here but we selected cable for this stay.

We didn’t cover many miles today but from starting our routine in Concrete to being set up in Sequim took eight hours. That’s a long day for me and I will endeavor to assure it never is that long and miserable again.

See some pix. Click the link.