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Olympic Peninsula 101

 

peninsulaTo Edmonds

The ride to the Edmonds ferry from north Seattle only took only a few minutes going down Interstate 5.  It was earlier in the day.  Sunday morning at ten.

The slowly Vanagon was nearly floored trying to merge into faster than normal traffic.  A small SUV came through weaving in and out of lanes passing us at a quick pace.  Up and out of sight.  Several exits later when we were taking the exit lane to catch the Exit 177 a state patrol officer was exiting his vehicle.  It was the same small SUV that had threaded through traffic and passed us.  We were doing about 65 so Id think he was doing around 80 or so.

Slowing and downshifting the brick shaped minilodge listed to the left as we made the loop of the offramp to catch Wa 104 West toward Edmonds/Kingston ferry.

Traffic was light so the downhill trek was pretty easy and we managed to miss having to stop at most of the light.  Within a few minutes we were at the station, nearly, we were waiting for another small SUV who didnt know which lane was going to move faster.  Instead of licking a lane and making a choice he blocked all three stations, waiting for the fastest one to clear.

I edged up closer to the rear of him slowly hoping that he would make his way to one of the ferry workers that take payments.  One by one the customers left a terminal.  The left side, then the right, and a middle.  Until on of the terminals was empty and he quickly drove to that station.  Not necessarily my way of doing things but holding up the line so you can save milliseconds is a “me first and the gimme gimme” move Id say.

vanferryAs we pulled up to the terminal behind Mr Hurrypants we were asked if we had any propane on board the Westfalia.

“Yes, we have a propane tank here on the outside just behind me.”

“Is it closed?” he said as he peered out the window.

“Yes, the valve is turned off.” I replied.  Unsure of what the outcome would be.  I knew there were some sort of regulations about propane but I had no idea what they might be.  This was my first ferry trip wtih the Vanagon.

He dug around some papers on his desk and pulled out a red tag.  The kind with a couple wires made for tying it to something.  He handed it to me and told me to place it on my dash and to keep the valve closed while on board the ferry.

We were told to get in line 3 or 4 and wait for the ferry.

The Ferry Line

We chose lane 3 because simply it was closer to lane 2.  I figured lane 3 would be on the outside on teh left, and it was.  That ferry was loaded how the cars came in, one lane on each side of the ferry.

The side of the parking lot had a vendor selling popcorn, coffee, and other beverages and snacks.  Several shops i nthe immediate vicinity had easy access to quick grab and go kinds of things for those waiting on the ferry.

With the windows rolled down we could feel the smooth cool breeze coming off the sound.  Aside from the gentleman yelling at someone on his cellphone next to us it was calm and uneventful.

The cops ahead were bustling as motorcycles started coming off the incoming ferry.  Motorcycles usually come off first as a stream of cars follow.  The way they load the ferry usually motorcycles are on teh center deck.  Seeing the cars dwindle down means the ferry is just about ready to load.

As the lines of cars went into the ferry our turn came around.  We rolled through the awkward throughway and up into the ferry.  The left upper section on the outside was ours and we sat, waiting for the other lanes of traffic coming in to stop so that could safely make our way up.

Sitting in the Berth

Kingston FerrySitting in the ferry lane waiting the kids reminded me that they had to pee again.  Sports drinks be damned.  The kids wanted to grab empty sports drink bottles and pee in them while on teh ferry line. The other lane of traffic had not yet finished lining up so we had to wait.  The curtains on the Westfalia were fully opened so there was limited privacy.  I told them to wait until we got on the upper deck where the restrooms were.

The lanes of traffic were filling in and drivers began to emerge from their vehicles for the ride across the sound.  One man behind us resembled Yukon Cornelius in dress, albeit a slightly leaner and taller verios in the plaid shirt and skully hat complete with mimicking beard.  His coffee perched snugly in his hand as he texted on his cell phone with the other hand.

Upstairs on the deck we hit the loo.  This bathroom had the old school urinals that were a long trough with water flowing into them when flushed.  We had this setup in Ohio when I worked at a Chevy dealership.  One day a few minutes before noon in preparation for lunch several of us had gathered to dine at the same place.  Myself and a couple others had went to wash our hands when an older gentleman walked up to the trough sink and urinated next to us washing our hands.  He looked around for the flush handle and realized he had gone in the sink.

The ferry ride was pretty smooth and uneventful.  Passengers lay on the benches resting while some plugged their phones up in the outlets onboard.  We walked around the upper deck looking at jellyfish in the water.

The anouncement soon came that we were supposed to head back to our cars and get ready for exiting at Kingston.  The ferry bumped and jostled slightly while the Captain or whomever is in charge of docking did his job.  The gates came down and we began to flow out onto the parking lot filled with people waiting to get over to the Seattle side of the sound.

Bull

IMG_5392Getting off the ferry we somehow managed to be in the lane that ends and merges with the other lane.  The town of Kingston isnt that large so I guess its like that because thats the way it is.  There was an old Rabbit diesel that let us over right after a group of motorcycles went by.

We made our way over.

The bike in front of us had a giant set of steer horns mounted on the handlebars.  In his right rear saddlebag a rifle stock pointed skyward.  Occasionally he would sound his horn that bellowed “mmmmmMMMOOOOOOoooo” and laugh.  They appeared to be in no bigger hurry than we were and stayed in front of us until we reached Port Gamble where they went in and stopped.

Port Gamble looked like time had left it sitting still.  The grass seems to always be the same every time we drive through.  The buildings and setting look reminiscent of something from Mayberry.  Its a quaint little area that we should stop at one day, we always say that but we never have.

Again the sounds of sports drink bottles rustling around and pleas to stop became unbearable.  “Are we there yet” was heard a dozen times, so I pulled into a boat ramp at the foot of the Hood Canal Bridge.

From there to Sequim was uneventful and we plugged along at the pace of traffic, except for uphill.

Sink or Sequim

In Sequim we grabbed some supplies that we had neglected.  We hadnt even camped one night yet on our trip and we had forgotten several things.  A brick of dry ice for the fridge here and a charging cable for the iPad there.

Around Sequim there is a lot of older cars that aren’t very common anymore in most places.  Old 70s Chevy Caprice Classics and 60s Mustangs and similar vintage rides are all over.

We were going to try to find a cast iron skillet so we pulled into a  thrift store.  Sitting in front was a bright white 2 door vinyl top 1978 Coup DeVille.  There were two dogs inside that did not like us.  They were lunging at us and barking viciously as we walked past.  I had wished I had noticed the other entrance to the store, the one that was not near the dogs.

Looking around we didn’t see any suitable cast iron skillets but we kept running into an older man with a prosthetic leg.  We were seemingly, at every turn, getting in his way.  We didn’t mean to do it, or try at all, it just so happened.  Meandering around the store we just kept getting in his way.

When we were leaving the one legged man was pointing his cane at some people and telling them something or another that I couldn’t understand.  Even though I missed the words the sentiment was pretty clear what it was about.  Both groups looked at us drive away in the Vanagon, in a manner that I couldn’t quite tell if they were looking at the van or if they were wondering where hippies might have came from.  Perhaps they don’t see many Vanagons.

Dungeness Spit Recreational Area was next and it was close.  Things were going good.

Dungeness Spit

Dungeness SpitThe Spit is a sliver of sand and grass jutting out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  During high tide theres enough sand to walk.  Lower tides provide nice packed sand and pebble areas that make walking much easier.

From the 101 highway we made our way north onto Kitchen Dick Road to enter the campground.  On the side of the road sat a G20 GMC pop top camper.  We stopped to take a look at it.  Much of it was similar to a late 70s Volkswagen camper.  It appeared to be a hybrid layout of the Westfalia and the other popular model Country Homes.

We picked out a campsite, number 26.  We were a little early so a lot of people hadnt finished packing out yet.  26 was large and clear so we picked that one.  It was close to the road but far enough it didnt matter.  The nice open woods around it made a good place to play hide and seek for the kids.

After we set up camp, which involved opening a few folding chairs, we walked down to the Spit via a trail that was close to the campsite.  The Dungeness Spit Area itself is separate from the campground so there is an additional fee of 3.00 per family of 4.  I didnt have change so they got me for 5 dollars.

A dead seabird of some kind lay dead on the sand in a state of decay.  The 6 year old saw it laying in the sand.  Curious he asked me what had happened.  I had no idea.  We had seen a fledgling seagull that had been trampled by his nest mates into a flat wad while we were on the ferry.  He asked if it had died in the nest.  Somehow I doubted it. I imagine theres a million ways to die for a bird living in the ocean.

We walked back up and made dinner of burned crispy hotdogs and hamburgers that came in a tubelike bag.  Mmmmm.  The curtains went up and we were down for the count.  Except for sportdrink bottle filling time.

Back Into Town

We awoke early in the morning.  Someone had come in later in the evening around ten o clock.  Sounded like the man was sobbing about something while he set up camp.  It was muffled enough to know that the couple was arguing but not loud enough to know what about.

We talked about how many times we had waken up, and about how well we slept, and things of that nature.  Breakfast consisted of wheat bran with raisins and frosted wheat cereal.  As an accoutrement a cereal bar much like a granola bar, but different, was included.  The condensed milk wasn’t enough to go around so I settled with just an oatmeal breakfast bar.

Dawdling around the cliffs watching seagulls swarm us looking for handouts was fun enough that it kept us entertained for 5 or 10 minutes.  Still in the park we spotted a couple deer, a mother and yearling, eating grass at the edge of the blackberry and rose thickets.

There were a couple things we needed to pick up, like a pair of shoes that got demolished.  We headed the few minutes back to Sequim where we figured the closest place would be.  We monkeyed around there for a little bit.  The hobby shop that sells motorized remote control cars was calling the young ones.  Next door was a grocery store with a pharmacy so I went in to get eye drops.  With no real place to go and no one to make use we dillydallied around at our own pace.

A different thrift store, between the two aforementioned, held a trove of old Hardy Boys books from the 30s and 50’s.  It was strange seeing a collection of books from someones childhood obviously saved and connected to each other.  The books were all from the same time period or subjoect.  One from the late 50s was How an Engine Works, and another was Robinson Crusoe.  They all had Jimmy’s name either handwritten in the corner, a sticker in the middle of one of the front pages stating “Jimmy’s Horde.  Please return promptly”, or “To Jimmy on his birthday” along with the date.

We made off with the Hardy Boys books, as hard a decision as it was.  4 or 5 dollars for 6 books wasn’t too bad a deal.  Along with that was a cast iron piggy bank toy of a boy on a horse with a slot in his mouth.  You pulled the horse and boy back like they were jumping an obstacle, placed a coin in his mouth, and depressed a button.  The button made the horse fling forward and drop the coin into the slot in front.  As cool as it was and as good a condition as it was I didn’t want to peel out 20 dollars for it.

When we left it was lunchtime and I figured the kids wanted lunch.  We were a good ways away from our next camping spot and knew there wouldn’t be much so we stopped at a Dairy Queen to eat lunch.  Sitting at one of the tables waiting on his meal was an elderly gentleman and his daughter.  He wore a decent looking suit and carried himself in a professional manner.  He was very quiet and soft spoken and wore a World War II Veteran cap.

Growing up in Georgia there was a good bit more Dairy Queens than there were McDonalds, especially when I was a kid and extraordinarily so outside larger cities.  Back home it was fairly common to see War Veterans wearing their caps and talking.  Of course they were 20 years younger back then but it was a regular sight.

As we finished eating our meal we talked about where we were headed.    Big plans to do much of nothing.  The rainforest in the Hoh first or the rocky beach at Salt Creek.  The elderly gentlemen sitting across from us got up and walked out with the help of his cane.  Im hopeful I even make it to that age, much less be able to go out under my own steam.

Salt Creek  aka The Dog Park

IMG_5421Port Townsend is the largest city on the peninsula.  Sequim follows with a grand total of just under 9000 living breathing residents.  Thats it.  Salt Creek is proof of this.  There’s not much around that I could see.

The campground features an overlook of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and a faint shadow of Canadia across the water.  Canadia is just more fun to say than Canada.  A freight-liner has heading in it looked like, probably from China or some such similar departure.

Salt Creek Campground should be called The Dog Park instead.  Its clear and nice enough but its definitely there for folks with large motor campers and their dogs.  80 percent of the campground is slabs and electrical connections with water hoses.  We found a site that someone had just vacated as the camp host told us we had to camp in the RV section as there was a tent only area for the rest.  Nestled among the giant motorhomes like the short bar displaying cell reception, we pulled our folding chairs out and relaxed while the sun warmed our faces.

We noticed a playground with a real swing set.  The kids were having fun.  Not all playgrounds nowdays have swings.  You can get hurt on swings.  A slack jawed man with a small dog walked him unleashed into the play area.  Another camp host there said “You cant have dogs on the wood chipped play area”.

“No dogs in the kids area?” the man asked.

Almost as on cue the pug looking dog copped a squat and threw out a few turds right there in front of everyone.  Patting his shirt pockets and looking around the man walked back over to where he came and retrieved a poopy bag.

We walked around the trails to the World War 2 era bunkers.  Compared to Fort Flagler and other similar parks they are but a bump in the dirt.  Literally they are not much more than a large lump in the dirt with some giant doors.  Still interesting if you go.

At the steps going down to the Strait a couple 12 year old boys were jumping rocks and trying to see who could avoid the largest waves.  These types of waves are the ones that suck the water out low and far back only to relent with a large crashing wave flying up into the air.

Just offshore, not even 100 yards, two boats had divers down bringing up baskets of something.  I presumed they were shellfish, maybe abalone, as the second guy on the boat stood around most of the time until he feverishly shucked something with a short shiny oyster knife.  When he was done he threw what looked to be shells from bivalves back into the water.

We wanted to get out early in the morning so we went down to sleep early.  We didn’t even pop the top we just all sacked out on the bottom bunk.  That way in the morning we just had to take out the curtains and drive away.  So long suckers.

The Scenic Route 112 West

We arose early from our crowded slumber at the Dog Park.  7 am and we were ready to roll.  The curtains were rolled up and put away, all snaps now intact.

On the way to Salt Creek we saw a garage based upholstery shop that catered to boats.  I had to double back as I didn’t slow down in time to make the first run.  The double lane highway was not easy to enter from a stop going uphill.

I parked in the grass next to a van with a boat hitched to it and walked into the garage.  The room was filled with fabric, cutting tables, and machines.  There was a sign on the desk that said “Im in the house, go knock or ring the front door”.  So I did.

I asked him if he had the snaps for the Volkswagen curtains.  I opened the door and showed him what I needed.  I asked him if I should take on off, and he said he knew exactly which one it was.  For 10 dollars I got 8 screw in replacement snaps and 2 rivet in snaps just in case.  Of course no one had the right change so we all dug around looking for a 2 dollar difference.

We had thought to make breakfast in the morning before leaving but the fire ring we used the night before was only 3 or 4 feet from the motorhome we camped next to.  Im sure they didnt enjoy the smoke bellowing into their popup that hung over our picnic table.  Instead we opted for cereal in the origami fashioned cups that fold flat made by Oricasa.

After eating some bran flakes and raisins we again walked down to the rocks at the Strait.  This time the early morning had brought calm winds and the Strait brought in gently rolling waves instead of giant swells. There were no tow headed kinds falling on the slimy rocks.

Instead of taking  the 112 back the way we came, we otped to go west on the 112.  I figured it was a little shorter.  It was definately more curvy.  The log trucks were going about 200 miles and hour and if I had stopped quickly they surely would have run up my butt.  How they go that fast and not kill anyone I don’t know, loaded or unloaded.


The Hoh Rainforest

Hall of MossesWe made our way to the Olympic National Park at the Hoh Rainforest. We stopped in to get the Parks Passport stamped with the park stamper.  We picked up a couple bookmarks and postcards and hit the Hall of Mosses.

The Hall of Mosses was looking a little pekid.  This is the dry season and the moss looked a little parched.  Even though the park gets something like 166 inches of rain a year, it wasn’t this month.

Back at our campsite overlooking the Hoh river, running a clear grey from glacial silt, we drank some sports drink and hit the bathrooms.  One of us had the idea to go to the river and walk along the rocks. The first time we went int eh afternoon was hot and sunny.  The tadpoles in the pools had gathered around the algae balls growing along the edges.  I assume to get out of the sun and the heat.

The Hoh RiverThe second time we went in the late afternoon as the sun as dipping behind the mountains in the background.  The tadpoles were still there hanging out.  Several people here and there were throwing rocks and walking around.

Something caught my eye in one the the deadfalls on the riverbed.  A small group of Roosevelt elk hopped up and made for the tree line about 100 yards off away from us.  At first they went into he edge vegetation.  Then a bull with his antlers held high in the air started walking toward us.  We started walking away at a brisk pace.  It was a casual walk until the bull elk started raising and lowering his head.  He made a short burst toward us and we started running.

The 6 year old wanted to stop and look to see what was going on.  Somehow he has the superpower of not seeing anything we tell him to look at.  Perhaps that is what started the whole thing.  We had stopped and I was pointing to the elk in the transition area.  I told him don’t ask me questions just run.

There was a couple of older people sunning on a large log while their kids in their teens played around the waters edge.  We passed them without saying anything.  The elk still running towards us and stopping.  Intermittently.  We never quit moving until we made the tree line at our campsite.  Looks like the beginning of the rut.

Back at camp we made dinner.  Argued over gum.  And made ready for bedtime.  The 6 year old was asleep before I got my lower bunk ready.

The Kalaloch D Loop

IMG_5582The morning came as usual, about 7 am.  We decided to turn on the propane and use the stove instead of building a fire.  The valve leaks a little through the stem so you have to unscrew it completely.  The packing for the stem is bad but it doesnt leak turned all the way on.  I have the parts but I havent gotten around to replacing all the valve parts on teh propane tank.  It still has propane in it so instead of letting it leak out I am just using it up.  We made scrambled eggs.

The sun had started coming up and showing through the clear sky.  It looked like a nice day was coming again.  We had been lucky since we didnt look at the weather reports. We drove out the Hoh Rainforest and onto 101 south again.  We stopped at Ruby beach in hopes of an easy beach trip but the steep trail made the kids wary of excercise.

Someone was in teh bathroom for quite awhile at the Ruby beach area, and I have a rule that if it takes more than a coupl eminutes you probably dont want to go in after them anyway.  We drove on down to Beach 4.  The area had more cars but more people had made their way down to the beach it looked like.  The gaping hole in the pit toilets is creepy.  Ive never known anyone to fall in, but that would be the death of me I think.

It didn’t take long to get to the next destination, Kalaloch.  The sign at the campground read “Full”.  I parked next to a large RV from a Canadian rental place and walked to the kiosk.  “Back at ten” a sign claimed, hanging from the window.  It was 9:47.

I waited around for a few minutes and a woman walked up and aske dif that was our Volkswagen.  She said she was driving the RV.  She asked me why there were so many people out during the week.  I told her that Labor Day weekend does that.

“Whats Labor Day weekend?” she asked.

“It’s a long weekend everyone goes camping on before school starts back mostly”.

“I forgot about Labor Day!”, she said  haphazardly.

Kite flying high.I asked her if she was from Canada, and she said no.  Germany.  They had taken a 3 week trip from Portland up through Canada, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons.  This was their last leg of their trip before flying back to Germany from Portland.

The park ranger returned a few minutes after 10 and helped the lady infront of us, who was also looking for a campsite.  He called us up and gave us a short list of sites to check out.

“Make sure you find and occupy your site as soon as you can”, the ranger told us.

Within about 10 minutes the other 10 or 12 sites were taken.  All others had reservations.  We were planning on going south toward Aberdeen tomorrow so one night here is good.  The D loop has great views of the beach and ocean.  We were on the other side of the street from the beach but the sites lined up so that we had a decent view.

The site D34 isn’t so bad.  Unlike many of the other sites not on the beach side, we had shrubs between us and the neighbors so we had a pretty good degree of privacy.  D24 is the one to get, its on the end tucked away right on the cliff overlooking the beach.

We were antsy to get down to the beach, so we did.  We took along one of the telescopic fishing rods and although we didn’t have any sand crabs (I don’t know what else to use here, there’s seemingly no sand crabs).  Salmon eggs is all we had and thats what we took.

We fished for a few minutes to no avail.  A few tugs here and there but no hookups.  Who knows.  Surfperch on the Olympic peninsula is a different story from Southern California.  Lots of driftwood to play on and build forts. Lots of wind to fly kites with.

We ate lunch back at the campsite.  Canned ravioli and junk like that because its fast and easy.  The sun started to come out for the day relieving the grey overcast skies for a while.  Off again down to the beach.

The wind was perfect for the lites.  The three of us all had kites, at first.  The 6 year old tanked his when he let go of the spool holding the string.  Mine I let too much string out too fast and too high and it tanked into the surf 70 yards down.

I went and picked up the floppy sandy mess and laid it on the beach to dry.  I changed the kites out onto the spool from the 9 year old and let it fly.  This one flew better and I soon had the entire spool out of the hand crank.  This one was great, it had a handle for reeling, and the center had a cutout to hold onto.  You could thumb the spool like a good fly reel to control the speed.  It was so high and so far away I was afraid it would list and take out a dozen kites flying way down the beach.

As the day progressed it started to cool and one of the day friends the kids met wanted to make a fire on the beach.  this is one of the few beaches that I see here in Washington that lets you have a fire.  We had trouble finding enough wood down there to make a fire as it had been picked over pretty good but we managed.  Hotdog time!

Around 8 o’clock we headed up tot he amphitheater for the program show of the day.  This one for today was Hermie the Hermit Crab.  The program was for younger kids and what the daily life of a hermit crab might be like.

The show ended at 9 and we headed back,  A white Vanagon had taken the spot next to us.  Big tires big love.  I assume it had a Subaru or similar power plant as the tires were large and the exhaust was tucked away under so I couldn’t see it well.  We had seen a dozen or two Westfalias but this one was teh cooolest.  The big ol spare tire was mounted on the luggage tray area where I carry my firewood.

We had a fun day at the beach and see why Kalaloch is so popular.  No wonder those little birds never want to fly back to their cages.

The High Bridge

imageDriving south on the 101 we stopped at the market at the Kalaloch and got a latte and splurged with a shot of caramel.  Not too bad for the second coffee in a week.  There’s really not much between Forks and Humptulips.  That little market at the campground is about it.  Maybe one or two convenience stores.

We passed several forest service roads and I was tempted to stop off and go through one to see what they were like.  We passed Lake Quinalt and a few more forest service roads.  Then we saw a sign for a forest service road heading to Lake Wynoochee.  I decided to turn in and go down.

The guy behind me driving a dually and pulling a big camper trailer thought it would be funny to drive slow as whale crap even for a Vanagon then speed up and try to cut me off on the passing lane going uphill.  I guess you are going to have that sometimes, but why?  He was tailgating me now at 65, up from his 45 for miles.

The forest service road turn lane was full of dirt and rocks, and obviously didn’t get used much.  It was a rock paved road with lines faded so badly they were almost invisible.  Eight miles into the road I made a turn I shouldnt have that led to Pete’s Trailhead.  We drove for a while.  Enough to make two pee breaks.  I don’t know how far we drove but it was a while.  There were no obvious tracks that were fresh on the road.

I should have stopped to get gas somewhere before entering the National Forest but there wasnt really anywhere to get gas.  The campground store didnt appear to have gas.  I didn’t really check because I didnt see any pumps.  The fuel level was getting low when we made it to the Pete’s trailhead area.  We all used the bathroom, ran around, and looked at the stream running below.  There quickly came upon us a bunch of wasps or hornets flying around so we left in a hurry when they showed up.

I didnt know where the road went in order to keep going further so I opted to turn around as bad as I hated to.  There were some loggers cutting up some downed timber when we made our way back.  When I got to them one was walking to a truck and I asked him where the road went that I just came from.

“I dont know where that road goes”, he said with a half a laugh.

I asked him the best way to get back on the 101 as I was low on gas.

“Go the way you’re headed.  When you hit the high bridge just keep going straight and take the blacktop on to the signs out ahead.  Its about 10 or 15 miles to the highway”, he said with his aluminum hardhat sitting atop his head with sweat beading over his face.

I thanked him and we took off slowly as not to drown him in dust.  After a hundred yards or so past I sped up and I could no longer see anything in the rear view.  Dust had already covered the back glass to where it was hard to see through.  The side views were almost useless with a cloud of dust bellowing from the dry road. The steady sound of tinks in the wheelwells soon got drowned out by whatever drowns out white noise or sounds like that.

We stopped at the high bridge to throw rocks off into the stream below.

“One.  Two.  Three.  Four.  Five.  Six.  About six seconds” The 9 year old called out.

Thats how long it took to hit the water.  I told them that if they fell off the bridge they’d be dead when they hit the ground below. i don’t think anyone would survive that fall to the rocks laying below.  We dropped stones one at a time through the drains in the bridge like a bombardier dropping bottles with razor blades stuck in the neck to scare anyone waiting below.

One of those wasps caught a flying bug midair and wrestled it to the ground.  They balled up and rolled around and soon the wasp was biting chunks off of it on the curb of the highbridge.  The legs were torn off first.  Then pieces of what looked like time shell.  It took about 20 seconds for the wasp beast to eat the bug and fly off.

Lake Silvia State Park

imageWe drove on back the way we came and ht the 101 south to catch an old gas station in Humptulips.  It still had the pumps with the rotating numbers.  The lever on the side that held the pump handle and also turned the pump on.  Most had been decommissioned in the mid 90s maybe.  The only ones that worked were regular and diesel.

We detoured to the state hatchery. The hatchery was about 2 miles east of the store.  It was made up of a bunch of long concrete runs sank into the earth. Above them were a system of nets that had giant concrete weights to keep them tight. Every run had its own water being pumped then at one end and draining out the other. Some were empty and others had varying sizes of fish swarming in them.  The runs with small fish seemed to be the most populated with literally swarms of them. The concrete tanks that had larger fish had fewer at most were about 12 inches. A few Grandaddies lurked in the masses that were probably 20 inches.

Coming out of the hatchery taking a left led us meandering to Pacific beach and we drove out along the beach some. It is probably one of the few places left in America where one can drive not only onto the beach but down it too.  The hard packed beach was littered here and there with groups of cars and trucks barbecuing and enjoying the surf. The wide almost flat beach went for as far as the eye could see in the mist coming from the ocean.

We had planned on being home Friday after lunch time. If we were going to stay on our timeframe we had to leave the beach area and start heading towards Olympia.  The fastest way back was back to the 101 through Aberdeen and we stopped to get a phone charger cable at Walmart. For some reason the one I had would make the Blue Sea USB dual port installed in the European outlet quit working. It’s a sweet little USB charger that has dual output for iPad and iPhone. For whatever reason the cable is bad and the outlet would shut off I guess as protection or whatever reason. My phone was dead for most of the trip because of it.

Lake Silvia State ParkThe fold up map that I keep stowed away in the gutter storage of the Westy had several state parks and lake Sylvia was one of them. It was on my way and it was a good time to stop so we did. Checking in at the Rangers office I was a bit afraid we wouldn’t be able to get a campsite with it being after lunch time. However there were three or four campsites available and we took number 22. It was at the end of the loop but it was one of the most private that was still available.

Tossing out the camp chairs and setting them up to occupy the space hurriedly to get to the lake to fish took us only about one minute. We motored over to the lake, where we can of course use the bathroom again, then headed down to the dam area. The Rangers suggested the dam area because it was the deepest and the holdouts from stocking trout in the spring were more likely to be there.

Of course we didn’t catch anything but we had a few bites. The kids got to practice putting Powerbait on the hook and throwing it in the lake. Little floating balls of Powerbait gently floated across the lake in the breeze. Occasionally and one by one they disappeared below the surface with a ripple ringing outward. We knew the fish were there they just wouldn’t take our offerings.

Seeing how the kids had not taken a bath in a couple days it was time. They were asking to go swimming in the frigid waters of the lake that were roped off and was fed by some unknown stream. Both of them got in the water but shrill screams came quickly.  About ten minutes is all they could take. There would be no Marco Polo played this day.

A family of about 10 came in later right next to us.  It was like being at home.  Yelling, screaming, scolding and infighting amongst siblings was so bad the park ranger came to tell them to keep it down a couple times.  Arguing over S’mores and a great Dane laying in the moms sleeping bag was the big discussion of the evening.

Everyone went to sleep quickly after a long day. Fearing bad traffic for the Labor Day weekend we got up and headed home.

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