My apologies for the delayed posting. I spent Thursday night at a “Best Western”. Obviously the term “best” has no legally binding connotations, and if it does, I can only imagine that the lawyers of said establishment have had plenty of legal font sized disclaimers to cover themselves from any obligation to even approach the Webster’s definition of the world. But I’ll save the hotel dramas of the world’s worst wifi, belt-sander towels, and friendliest spiders for the first person that buys me a drink at journey’s end.
Thursday morning was beautiful in Port Angeles. I made my sad farewells to family and got underway. Highway 101 was my route of choice for its scenic views and rambling path. The first stage took me along the northern border of the Olympic National Forest and a handful of lakes. The trees of this part of the country have always impressed me, particularly when you find a stand of older growth ones like those that line portions of the northern portion of the 101. These form dense primordial pillars which stretch back in rows like a dimly lit cathedral. The farthest reaches never quite becoming completely black, but always hinting at something further in the forest. You stare into those sort of forests and you can see why people wove darker faerie tales in ages past.
Eventually, those mythic thoughts gave to more contemporary and commercial tales as I entered Forks, mecca of Twilight fans world wide. I kept one eye on the road and other peeled for product drenched sparkly men giving teen girls piggy back rides through the woods, but nothing. What I did see was the liberal application of the word “Twilight” as a prefix or suffix to various business and product names. While I’m sure that Twilight coffee is much more dark and bitter than its non-Twilight version, I was not tempted to put it to an empirical test. My escape from Forks was halted at the southern outskirts of town by an extraordinarily long road crew delay. Probably a Vampire Crossing (see what I did there?) but at least meant I spotted this one last Twilight product before leaving Forks behind. I wonder if you can whittle wooden stakes out of Twilight Firewood?
101 returns to following the outskirts of the Olympic National Forest again. Along the way, inviting, mist shrouded northern rain forests peel off along the left hand side. When it crosses the Ho River the 101 decides to follow the river to the sea for a while before returning again to its forest roots. It was during this run to the sea that I came across a park sign for Ruby Beach and needing to stretch my legs I took the road down to a small parking area. I am happy I did, a short walk takes you down to a stone beach where a small river empties into the ocean. Majestically eroded sea stacks guard the shore, some stopped with rugged vegetation. One was accessible from dry land (perhaps low tide) and sported a pair of keyholes through its base. From the right angle, its weather edge looks like a man’s face and a laurel of vegetation makes for a convincing mop of hair. But you be the judge.
Time Lapse Dashboard Camera Video
Leaving Ruby Beach, 101 returns inland before making its way to the Gray Harbor area. No Cirdan or ships bound for Aman. There were plenty of rich looking estuaries and wet lands. The strong smell of the sea and beckoning signs promised all sort of sea food. Passing through the town of Aberdeen, I amused myself by pronouncing it with the strongest, most ridiculous, over the top, Scottish accent I could muster… but not in front of the locals.
I was seriously tempted to check out Portland, but honestly after my Oregonian encounters, I wasn’t sure I really wanted to spent half a day bouncing around a strange city. I decided to keep my encounters small scale and enjoy the quickly changing road and ephemeral gifts each bend offered. I did find parts of Astoria every bit as pretty as I’d been told. It is definitely a divided town though, with some well-developed areas while others seem to be crumbling.
That leaves Tillamook. We are talking serious dairy country. Although, I don’t find the smell of cows unpleasant, it is definitely an aroma you can’t help but recognize. But hey, any town with a giant cheese factory in its midst can’t be all bad.
Still Photos[nggallery id=22]
So that’s where I am now… writing this out and messing with the thousands of stills from the dashboard cam here at the Worst Western. Did I mention I have freelance “homework” to take with me. Good to have some revenue coming in while on the road, but my it is hard to do web development with 1 feeble bar of wifi and AOL-like “high speed”. Next hotel I pull up in front of, I’m running speed test from my phone’s wifi before walking through the door.