Mt Shasta, Day 1.
Mango Salad Lunch, Day 2.
Muted Sunset, Day 3.
Barrel Sauna, Toutle River RV Resort, Nice.
Very Hot and Relaxing Last Night, Day 3.
Some Early Morning Rambling, Day 4
“Alexa, play NPR”, is our morning mantra when we’re home. On the road we’ve done without. This morning I thought, “humm, Siri?” and said, “Hey Siri, Play NPR”. Will this work? Seconds later on came NPR. GREAT, our morning ritual survives.
This morning and for the first time this trip, the temperature in Li’l Beast is a cool 64 F. The sky is overcast, the grass is vibrant green. On longer trips we settle into a rhythm of activity in the morning and evening that makes life in a confined space easy. We’ve not hit stride yet; we’re close. We still fumble with what goes where and avoiding clutter. The noisy ‘fridge fan has been quiet for days. I’ve ordered a replacement thermistor that Amazon will ship to a rite-aid in Anacortes. I’ll pick it up there. Amazon has established “Amazon Lockers” worldwide that are places they will ship to for later pickup. I love the way forward thinking companies anticipate and fill needs. I’m freed from Camping World and Walmart for parts on the road. This is ‘UGE. I would have shipped to Anacortes, but Amazon’s delivery date was the day we will leave for Victoria. With a quiet fan we can wait.
This year we’re skipping a Seattle/Whidbey Island visit. To avoid weather in the Rockies, we cannot spend a few days or a week visiting friends. Whidbey Island is quaint and well worth an extended visit. Clamming or crabbing is fun; seafood right out of the ocean? Scrumptious. Perhaps we’ll have similar experiences in the San Juan Islands.
Some days we have a long drive, though I prefer to plan numerous short hops. Today is an intermediate day with about 2:30 drive time. I look forward to exploring Port Angeles and surrounding. The last time we came through we awoke early to catch the ferry for Victoria and spent zero time on the Olympic Peninsula. The allure of the Olympic Discovery Trail was enough for us to schedule a two day stop over before moving on to Victoria and Salish Seaside RV Haven.
A quick note about Salish Seaside RV Haven and reservations in general. We happened to find Salish the last time we visited Victoria. The RV Haven has spectacular views of Victoria over the sea plane landing strip on the ocean there. When we travel in September and October we seldom make reservations ahead of time. Typically camping sites have availability in the fall. Because Salish is so well situated, I made reservations well ahead of time. As it turns out early September is still popular for RV’ers in Washington and the San Juans. Mt St Helens KOA, one of our “go to” sites, was booked. My first choice in Port Angeles had no availability for us; I booked the last site at my 2nd choice! It is clear that there would be no availability at Salish had I waited. With availability so tight, we may be dry camping in the San Juans. I may have call Lake Louise and Glacier National Park well ahead of our arrival or it could be a non-issue later in September. We had not difficulty without reservations in Yellowstone last year. I’m not concerned, though it is more comfortable glamping than stopping at some random roadside pullout (something that’s not possible in national parks).
We’re getting a late start today after lazing about with NPR and “wait wait”, Nespresso, and breakfast. Clearly we’re not in a rush today.
Highway 101, Washington State
Overlooking the Hood Canal
Hood Canal, Washington
We left Toutle River RV Resort at 11:10 AM. We said bye to the Sauna, the River, and CC (our friendly site manager) and headed north on I-5 toward Tacoma and Seattle. A few miles south of Tacoma we veered north west on 101. This brought us to the west side of the hood canal before skirting along the Straits of Juan de Fuca which divides the U.S. and Canada.
At noon we stopped at the Hood Canal Market, Hoodsport Washington to get groceries. The last loaf of French bread and sliced cold cuts from the deli made a good sandwich: roast beef for me, turkey for Ellen. We did get assorted peppers and some frozen veggies to use when we get lazy with dinner and some other staples.
Hama Hama Seafood, Established 1922
Maybe fifteen miles later we cruised by Hama Hama Seafood. “Do you want to stop?”, as we whizzed by. “Oh, I don’t know” “Fresh steamed clams?” I U-turned and we went right back. The fridge was not happy running on propane. I went into the restaurant as Ellen waited for the fridge to purge the propane line and operate normally.
Beer’s To Ya
I walked into the retail shop first “on” mistake (I hate the way that phrase changed in the past 20 years, but that’s a rant for another time). They had a good selection of fresh oysters in a water bath and a few Manila clams. In frustration I walked out and into the outdoor restaurant which was buzzing. I ordered a pound of steamers and an IPA. The IPA came immediately along with number 70 on a stick. Number 70 and I found a seat and watched the race: Ellen vs clams. Ellen won and a pot of steamed clams arrived shortly after. They were good and the first steamed clams we’ve had in 2019. Had we not eaten those sandwiches, we would have ordered oysters and more. We left comfortably sated.
Hama Hama was Packed
Heat on Our Backs was Very Welcome
The drive along the hood canal is a two lane road, one lane in each direction with turnouts for slow traffic. By law a slow driver must turnout when four or more people have been inconvenienced. I turned out a few times for one or two cars, but never felt pushed and usually had nobody behind. The drive is curvaceous, but not uncomfortably so at speeds between 40 and 55 mph. Driving along the Hood Canal is picturesque. I wonder what real estate prices are. It’s not easily accessible from Seattle; the ferry runs to Port Townsend tens of miles to the north.
As we passed the turnoff to Port Townsend, traffic picked up for a while then settled down again. Driving along the north side of the Olympic Peninsula on 101 is not nearly as beautiful as the Hood Canal. The road sits back from the water. We had only seen Port Angeles from the ferry terminal at sunrise. Port Angeles was a surprise. It is industrially commercial and not a wonderful place to visit IMO. We drove through “to see” and were happy to come out the other end and off to Elhwa Dam RV Resort.
Elhwa Dam RV Resort’s Garden
Elhwa Dam RV Resort
The first impression driving into the resort was disappointing. Spaces seem close together and the “resort” seems small, because it is small. I had called ahead and could chose between a narrow full hookup and a water and electric only site. We switched to the water and electric only site and I’m glad we did. We had to use leveling blocks for side to side comfort. Front to back was perfect. We have clear sat reception. A bonus: Elhwa Dam RV Resort has an organic garden that we can pick from. I ate a few strawberries. Ellen found a raspberry. We’ve picked zucchini blossoms, a tomato, and lettuce for dinner.
Too Bad They’re Not Ripe
A Gardening Marvel
The garden features a small solar array that power pumps. Water is pumped from a large fish tank, through 3” PVC Pipes, through a large filter, and back to the fish tank. The fish poo provides fertilizer for the plans. The large 3” pipes are full of water flowing past the plant roots. To fully close the loop the fish would have to live on some part of the plant life. As it is they’re fed goldfish food. It’s a very competently designed system that shows evolution over time.
Picked from Elhwa Dam’s Garden
What’s for Dinner Tonight?
Ellen just roasted a few zucchini blossoms to finish off our vegetarian meal. Though they shriveled up (not being breaded), they were yummy.
With our late arrival, we’ll keep the bikes under wraps and see what tomorrow brings weather wise. The forecast is for rain for the next few days.
Interestingly, this is a trip to Glacier National Park and Yellowstone. Yet, here we are headed to Victoria and the San Juan Islands. We are very fortunate to have both the time and ability to meander as we are. I love visiting Washington State and British Columbia. I love the ocean. The promise of the sea: oysters, clams, crab, and fresh fish. It beckons to us. We shall succumb.