Category Archives: Washington state

9/14/2019 Elhwa River Port Angeles, Day 4



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. 

Siren Call

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.

Road Trip: San Francisco to Coupeville, Wa


On the Ferry to Clinton, Wa

We left the Bay Area on 8/11 en-route to Seattle.  I had planned to take five to seven days for the trip up, but we over stayed at home and buzzed up in three days.  We gave up a Shakespeare evening in Ashland, a visit to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum near Portland, a hike in the Columbia River Gorge, a hike at Mt St Helens, and a visit to Crater Lake. That’s OK, we can visit them on the return trip.  Unfortunately hikes to the top of Mt St Helens are by permit only and permits are limited.  This year’s permits are sold out.


Sunset on Penn Cove



Wildlife Safari, Winston Oregon


We did stop at the Wildlife Safari in Oregon which was fun.  It is a self drive through a number of fenced in animal parks.  The park is large with enough room for the animals to roam freely.  The cats and elephants do not roam free.  It’s sad to see them confined as they were though I’m sure they are well cared for.  Food to feed the animals is available along the drive.  This is big fun for families.  The ostriches are not shy at all and will poke their heads into a vehicle in search of a bite.  If you purchase food, save some for later along the drive.

Ellen got to test her new camera and it brought back a flavor of Africa.  We did shoot a lion, with our cameras of course.  This is a wonderful place for families.

San Francisco to Coupeville, Wa


Coupeville at dusk


Ebbey’s landing

We stayed the first night near the Rogue River.  We did not want to drive very far from Rt 5 even though staying on the Rogue River could have been relaxing.  We opted to stay at an RV campground right off Hw 5 at Cypress Grove, Gold Hill Oregon.  This was a wonderful place to camp, if you look past being right off highway 5.  No doubt there are other fine campgrounds inland along 62 or 264.  Cypress Grove was great for dropping off the highway and getting back on the next day.  Ron and Vera do a wonderful job maintaining their campground.  They are fine, friendly people.

The second day we pushed through to Mt St Helens.  Again we wanted to stay close to Hw 5 to put our time and miles into driving north.  We chose Longview North Mt St Helens KOA.  This campground was very pleasant.  It is off the highway a bit and had no road noise.  It’s perched on a hillside with a good view of sunset over the ridges.  There is no view of Mt St Helens, which is unfortunate.  There were plenty of campsites here, probably because there was no view of the mountain.

Joergen, Mercedes, and Winnebago View

We noticed another Winnebago View as we pulled into Longview.  It was not long after we hooked up that we met Joergen, who had just hiked the mountain with a group of friends.  He does this every August.  Joergen worked for Mercedes and had traveled all over South America in sprinter vans.  He said he researched all the campers built on the sprinter chassis looking at accommodations, build quality, and how the coaches age and he felt the View 24J was best overall.  It’s always great to get corroboration, even if it is a bit biased.  Joergen visited us for an hour later in the evening.  He is well traveled and suggested a number of places we could visit in South America and on our trip north.  We both would like to go to Burning Man.  Strangely he will be headed to New England this fall and we will try to hook up with him then.

On the third day we blasted past Seattle, headed to Whidbey Island.  We took the ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton.  We arrived at 12:45 and queued up in the line going down the road to the ferry.  The ticket line went quickly and we boarded the 1PM ferry to Clinton with no delay.

From Clinton the drive to Coupeville wound inland up the spine of the island then turned east to the town.  We found Jerry and Michelle’s home easily with our Rand McNally  GPS.

Penn Cove, Crabs, Clams, and Poachers

IMG_2082 IMG_2081

Dungeness Crabs in a bucket                                     Jerry cleaning a crab

Jerry and Michelle welcomed us with open arms.  We’ve parked “Li’l Beast” on their farm and stayed with them in Coupeville, on Penn Cove. The first day we dropped crab pots and pulled three massive Dungeness crabs from one pot.  They were sweet and very succulent.   We left the pots overnight thinking we’d pick them up the next day.  However, the next day we spent the morning at the local farmer’s market and went clamming  that afternoon.  The steamed clams were as good as any I’ve ever eaten.  With the crab pots still in the water, on Monday Jerry and Michelle went to see a tractor dealer and dropped Ellen and I off in Bellingham to visit with Cindy.  We had a short visit with Cindy over lunch then the four of us went back home.  Michelle, Ellen, and I headed out to recover the crab pots and with luck some crabs.  Sunset was glorious as we motored out on a glassy calm sea.  We found the first float quickly, but could not hook the line.  We tried a number of times before it occurred to us that 1. this was not the crab float, but the yellow float Jerry had attached to the down line and 2. there was no down line to hook!  The float had been cut from the line and the crab pot, float and all, was gone.  We found the second yellow float where the second crab pot should have been and that pot was also gone.  That sucks.  It might be understandable that someone would take a few crab from a pot if they didn’t catch any themselves, but to take the entire pot crabs and all is awful.

We were out during slack high tide.  We must have just missed the poachers because the floats would have drifted far from the site if they were cut  during the flood or ebb tide.   Search the web for crab poachers and you’ll be startled at how endemic this is across the US and Australia.

It’s Tuesday today.  Crabbing is illegal here on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  I hope to coax Jerry into dropping some fake crab pots on Thursday to mess with the poachers.  To do this we will drop a dozen cinder blocks with down line and a crab float with some rather nasty messages attached to the line.  Let the poachers deal with that subterfuge.  Later we might be able to drop crab pots without being poached or worst case we’ll drop crab pots-line-cinder block-line-floats down.  The poachers would be dissuaded by the cinder block and not continue pulling the line to find the crab pot.   I wonder how much work bringing up a cinder block covered with sea weed will be.

So we’re here for a few days longer.  We’ll probably visit Cindy for a while in Bellingham and visit Langley on Whidbey to check that town out.  Cindy said its the town she likes best on the island.

There are many places to visit and things to do on the way back.  We’ll have time, though I overheard Ellen mumbling about a woman’s get-together next Thursday.  This will be interesting.