Returning to Seattle

Now our vacation was reachung an end, and so was our roadtrip.  No more days of very long drives, but we still had a few experiences coming.

Stopped for "speeding"

From Hall of Mosses in Hoh RainforestWe left Tumwater and headed west for the Pacific Ocean on Washington State Road 8 to the town of Elma. From here we continued along U.S. Highway 12 through the Chevalis river valley to the city of Aberdeen, located on a bay called Grays Harbor. On our way from Olympia to Aberdeen we passed through fascinating landscapes of mountains, forests and rivers. We passed the nuclear power plant Satsop Nuclear Power Plant, which has in fact never been in operation. Aberdeen is associated with several well-known musicians such as Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, both from the band Nirvana, Dale Grover from The Melvins, Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Brothers and Kurt Vanderhoof of Metal Church. Also, a well-known football player, a wrestler and a Nobel physics laureate are from Aberdeen. Very well done of a town with less than 17,000 inhabitants.

From Aberdeen we continued north on U.S. Route 101, which we had previously used down in California. The road leads around the Olympic Peninsula, and on the first part of the way we passed towns like New London, and Humptulips! The word may sound a little dirty, but got nothing to do with actual "humping", nor has it anything to do with tulips. It derives from a Native American word that is likely to be interpreted as "the cool zone". Not far north of Humptulips you get to Amanda Park, and thus you are inside one of the many small Indian reservations, that are plentiful along Washington's Pacific coast. In this case the Quinault Reservation. From Amanda Park a small road leads into the southernmost of the three temperate rain forests located on the Olympic Peninsula, the Quinault Rainforest. From Amanda Park 101 heads due west to the Pacific Ocean, and when you get to the coast, you are in Queets, the next of the three rainforests. We stopped at neither, but continued north along the coast.

13 miles north of Queets 101 turns east and away from the coast, and another 12 miles or so further on, you come to a small side road. It leads into the Hoh Rainforest located inside the Olympic National Park, and this we would like to visit. The entrance to the national park is located almost 20 miles from the main road and here we got to use our annual pass for the second to last time. Inside the park there was a speed limit of 35 miles, but I didn't notice and thought that, as in many other national parks the speed limit was 45. And I belived that until we were stopped by a park ranger. He would like to see my license and the registration papers - and would like to know if the car was rented, which we could confirm. Then he went back to his own car and spoke with someone on the radio, presumably to find out whether the car was stolen or something like that. When he returned, I was seriously rebuked with an accompanying explanation, that there could be animals and/or young children on the road and further on at the Visitor Center, the speed limit would be down to 5 mph. In addition, he had measured me at 48, not 45! However we were then allowed continue without further retaliation, and for the rest of the way, I was rather below the speed limit than above - even then it down to 5.

Frm La PushWhen we had parked the car, we visited the park's Visitor Center, and then we went for a walk on one of the trails through the rainforest, The Hall of Mosses, where there is ac tually lots of moss-covered trees, but also other interesting things, such as trees that grows on trees or have grown on trees, so they are now forming a straight line. Furthermore the rainforest has some very tall trees, although they are not as tall as the redwoods in California, but we passed some 270 feet tall sitka spruces (which typically do not grow to more than 120 feet in Denmark). Other trees reaching the same height are western hemlock and Douglas fir. When we got back to the parking lot we discussed whether we should take the other path in the area but gave up on it, as there were other places, that we wanted to see that day. We therefore went back to the car and returned to the highway, this time without violating the speed limit.

We continued to the small town of Forks , where we would stay for the night. We got a room at the hotel that we had booked from home although it was only 1 pm. After having dragged in our baggage, we left again. This time we headed for the Quileute Indian Reservation, right on the Pacific cost. Here we saw both the village of La Push, but also the waterfront and beach known as First Beach. Further south is the Second Beach and Third Beach which we didn't visit. Instead we drove north to Rialto Beach, which is a bit more wild than First Beach. Rialto Beach is located directly on the Pacific Ocean, while First Beach is inside a relatively closed bay. La Push and the Quileute indians play a certain part in the Twilight-saga and the corresponding film series. It is among the Indians that one finds shapeshifters, people who can take the form of wolves. On the way back we shiwed Tina the sign indicating the border between shapeshifters and and vampires who live inside Forks (in books and movies that is - we didn't see as much as one single vampire). When we got back to town we drove around and showed Tina the  Twilight stuff  - like the guy selling "Twilight firewood" - she also had to suffer the curse of the vampires.

Up in the mountains

Olympic Mointains viewed from Hurricane RidgeWhen we left Forks, Tina was behind the wheel once more after a few days break after the events in San Francisco. We continued north on U.S. 101 and turned east as the road did the same. When we left Forks the weather was dark, cloudy and humid, and we talked about skipping the Olympic Mountains, but as soon as we turned east, the clouds disappeared, the sun came out and the humidity disappeared. We passed Crescent Lake without stopping there and continued to Port Angeles. Here we left the main road and entered the mountains to one of Olympic National Park's other sites, Hurricane Ridge, which Tim and I had visited the year before. For the last time on this trip I could show my annual pass which I perhaps will need again in October. (I didn't however, as all the national parks were closed during my later visit.)

When we reached the top we walked around and admired the view for a while, and it was nice. Though not quite as pretty as last year, as it was was both warmer and more hazy this time, although we only was about one hour later than the previous year. The animals had also disappeared - only a single black-tailed deer remained. When we had worn out most of the view, we headed down from the mountains the same way as we had entered. Once we were down at sealevel or there about, we continued around the Olympic Peninsula along U.S. 101, and this time we managed to hit the right ferry over to the "mainland". Last year, Tim and I turned too early and the ferry we took across the Puget Sound, landed us 20 to 30 miles north of Seattle. This time, however, we found the Bainbridge Island, which had also been the target of last year.

The ferry from Bainbridge Island lands right in the center of Seattle, so it was easy to get from here to our hotel north of the city center. We got a room right away, and for the first time since we took of from SeaTac Airport three weeks earlier, we emptied the car completely and dumped whatever we didn't need anymore, like the air mattress that Tina had been using. Everything else was carried up to the room to be repeacked before the flight home. It's amazing what a mess of brochures, maps, souvenirs and such, that you can create on the backseat of a car in just three weeks! When everything was brought to the room, we relaxed until dinner time approached. Then we walked from the hotel to a small square, known for the statue of indian chief, Noah Sealth, after whom the city is named. The square, which was about 500 yards from our hotel, is called Tilicum Place and around it you find several eateries, including the very cozy 5 Points Cafe where Tim and I had dined last year - and so did the three of us. The food is pretty good and the beer is good too. The café's slogan is : "Alcoholics Alcoholics serving since 1929."

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