Olympic Penisula – Day 1

Last weekend it was Labor Day and I really wanted to get out of town. I had to spend Friday night fixing up an awful bug in The Project (coming soon to a something somewhere!) but in an awesome bout of planning ahead (which I do all the time) I had Courtney come out to… where I work on the project (oh, you thought you had me there didn’t you?) and we bought Sonja a Dogloo.

Right.

Starting over.

Last weekend it was Labor Day and I really wanted to get out of town. We bought Sonja a Dogloo, set her up with a pile of food and several gallons of water and hit the damn road. Destination… somewhere over west. We had general plans to see the ocean and I sort of wanted to go to Hurricane Ridge because that sounded cool.

We headed up to Edmonds to catch the Edmonds – Kingston ferry to get over towards the peninsula and then started along the path that would lead us to Port Angeles. That’s the entry point to Hurricane Ridge. Once we arrived a few hours later we stopped in at the visitors center and decided it sounded like a good trip to the ridge and hit the road!

Hurricane Ridge isn’t much more than a gift shop at the top of a mountain, but it’s worth every mile. You get stunning, unobstructed views of Mt. Olympus and all it’s brothers to the south and the Straight of San Juan to the north and every kind of beautiful landscape inbetween. Throw in deer and elk and marmots and the occasional weird plant and it’s a really great quick trip. The drive up to, and down from the ridge is really fun too.

We took a short little hike through the woods at Hurricane Ridge. There were longer, more interesting hikes to be had but I was kind of in a hurry. I had an itch to get to the west coast before sunset so before long we hit the road again and I made Courtney carsick the whole way to the Makah Indian Reservation.

I didn’t specificially pick the Makah Indian Reservation as my destination. I just kind of wanted to go to the tip of Washington and watch the waves and the sunset. I like to look at a map, pick a spot and go there. This usually leads me on an adventure and it’s almost always worth it. Courtney may not agree, but in this case I think it was definitely worth it.

We drove about 70 miles of seriously twisty roads before we saw the first sign telling us the rules and regulations that would cover our visit to the reservation. Specifically, if we wanted to visit at all we’d need an annual recreation pass. When I think annual anything that requires money I start thinking of things I probably can’t afford. The Makah tribe thinks of $10. I can afford $10.

To say a bit more; I didn’t really even intend to visit the reservation. I only wanted to drive through it. I figured we’d cruise along the edge there, pass back in to public roads and find a place to pull over and check out the sunset. After inspecting the maps a bit more it became pretty clear that there were no roads out of the reservation and if we wanted to go further we’d miss the sunset.

So, with my year of recreation secured and a map of the reservation in hand we raced the sun to Hobuck beach. We parked in a little campground, donned our flip flops (quickly abandoned for bare feet) and strolled along the beach while the sun closed the day.

It was awesome.

We had hundreds of yards of beach nearly to ourselves. A few people were having a fire up near the dunes and a few guys were surfing in the waves but mostly it was quiet and beautiful. I’d love to go back.

With darkness closing in we realized we had probably better find a place to sleep. I had a general plan to head for Forks, WA since it looked like the largest town nearby and was in the direction I wanted to go the next morning so we headed that way.

Forks was about an hour drive from Hobuck Beach on dark, twisty roads but we arrived without incident. We hadn’t really eaten since breakfast way back in Edmonds so first on the agenda was to find something to eat before everything closed. It was about 10pm at this point. The best we could come up with was a Subway inside a gas station. They were in the process of closing but were kind enough to make us a few sandwiches. We also stocked up on snacks and such for our hunt for a hotel.

The GPS (Garmin Nuvi 350, represent!) told us there were 5 or 6 hotels in Forks and we quickly found out they were all full. Courtney took immense joy in pointing out my poor planning so it was with immense joy of my own that I found us our very own beer soaked, stinking, rotting, falling down, ugly as original sin cabin in a construction site of our very own before too long.

A quick side note, before I tell you about that. In the gas station they had t-shirts that said “I got bitten in Forks!” and “My last twilight”. Vampires, right? Weird.

We found a place called “Bagby’s Town Motel” on the edge of town with it’s vacancy sign a’glowin’. As we pulled in another truck pulled in in front of us and a guy got out and headed for the door. I gave him a “Last place in town, huh?” kind of grin and we both went in. Except instead of standing there waiting for service he threw a key down on the counter and walked out.

This probably should have been my first sign.

Well, actually, the first sign probaby should have been all the creepy dolls all over the lobby.

Actually, the first sign probably should have been that this place had vacancy when no one else in the state did.

In any case, a very nice lady came out and greeted me. She said they only had two rooms left, both smoking rooms, and that they were “crew rooms”. I wasn’t familiar with the term so she explained that when all the lumberjacks went up in the forest for days at a time these were the rooms they came back to. She also described the room as “Old and ugly, but clean.”

Obviously sensing my skepticism she said “You can take a look at the room first if you’d like” and I said that would be great. She handed me a key (which looked very familiar) and began to give me directions.

Normally, when I get directions from the lobby of a hotel to my room it’s something like “Take the elevator up to the 110th floor and then follow the line of diamonds past the champagne and caviar buffet.”

I live pretty large.

This time it was “Head back towards town and take the first right. After that take the next right and look for the cabin marked 4.”

We went and checked out the “room” and it was as awful as you can imagine. The room turned out to be half of a duplex and it was a total dump. The place was basically falling down. Inside the entire place stunk like old cigarettes, older beer and even older desperation. Unfortunately, it was the only game in town so we drove back to the office and paid our $58 just so we had somewhere to sleep.

Which, I might add, is fucking stupid. If I had had the forsight to take a few sleeping bags and pillows we probably would have been just as comfortable pulling off and sleeping in the Explorer. That thing has plenty of room to stretch out.

Anyway, the room sucked. We didn’t even shower in the morning cause the bathroom was so gross. We packed back up, hightailed it out and headed for day two in the Hoh Rainforest and Kalalach beaches.

I’ll have to write about those later though. I’m sleepy.

I also need to write about: Mount St. Helens, Built to Spill and Learning Adulthood.

One thought on “Olympic Penisula – Day 1”

  1. I have a confession. I like Stephanie Meyer and her vampire books. They all take place in Forks, WA. It always sounded like a beautiful place.

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