More Trees – Day 93

More Trees

Day 93 – July 2, 2003 – Wednesday

This was one of the least eventful days on the road thus far. Western Washington simply isn’t an action-packed area. Mainly trees. Literally. There is little in this area but the big Olympic National Park, and about all it has is trees and more trees. The day’s travels took me from the trees in Port Angeles to the trees in Tacoma, Washington — beside the trees on Highway 101 most of the way.

Dan McGrath of EZ-103 in Palm Springs called this morning for our regular 7:11 am Wednesday radio show. We talked about Cape Flattery, the Kinetic Sculpture Race, and Marionberry Pie.

I met Erin, Cassie, and Anika at the Red Lion Hotel. Nice ladies. Erin and I met by phone when I made the reservation.

Port Angeles is a pretty place. The city has extremely well done murals all around town. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada is just a short ferry ride across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, so there is a lot of water traffic to and from Canada. Darrell and I met at a gas station in Port Angeles. He is of Indian descent.

From Port Angeles, I drove up into the mountains of Olympic National Park to Hurricane Ridge. This had been highly-touted for its panoramic views. The view was spectacular…but you can see just so many mountains covered with trees. After 93 days of sightseeing, I’m afraid trees just don’t do much for me. I would much prefer a giant chicken or something like the world’s largest albino armadillo.

I did finally buy the annual pass to the National Parks. I SHOULD have known to do this when I hit the first park, as I have long since spent the $50 cost of the pass. The pass is good for 13 months. It is a must-have on a trip like this. I never realized there were 380 national parks, that the national parks have so much to offer, and that many places are national parks that I never thought of as “parks.” Ranger Betty was happy to take my Amex for the $50. She wouldn’t give me a dime’s worth of credit for all the parks I’ve already seen, so I didn’t give her any beads.

There are a number of paths that one can hike in and around Hurricane Ridge, but the terrain is very steep, and after yesterday’s hike down and up in the rainforest at Cape Flattery, I didn’t even consider more hiking today. Boz and I aren’t big outdoorspeople — not into hiking and camping. We prefer staying in hotels and driving near the sights and then enjoying a leisurely walk to see them. We probably wouldn’t be happy living in Washington or Oregon where the rugged outdoors provides so much of the available recreation. I did get a few wonderful photos at Hurricane Ridge.

I visited the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim. I chose to visit because my understanding was that this was a refuge for animals that had been used for entertainment purposes. I was anxious to support such a noble cause — taking care of animals cast off from carnival sideshows and the like.

Rather than finding animals running wild, I saw animals pinned up in spaces that I felt were way too small, and many were continually shaking their heads — almost crazily — to try to dislodge the ever-present flies. It took five attempts to take a photo of an exotic deer as it was continually trying to shake the flies off. I couldn’t pass through one gate where an elk was shaking its huge antlered head like it was crazy; I was afraid it would bash the car. Most of the animals had been “trained” similar to Pavlov’s dog; when they saw a new car, they automatically came up looking for food. I don’t know if other wild animal parks are like this as I have never been to one before. I just don’t believe any animal should be mistreated, and I feel pinning an animal up in a small space is mistreatment. Monkey Jungle in Florida was very well done, but in my opinion, these folks at Olympic Game Farm have way too many animals in way too small a space.

It turns out the Beebe family, owners of the Olympic Game Farm, used to train animals to be in the movies — big difference from being folks who take in animals that were cast-offs from carnivals as I had heard.

I left Sequim in a bad mood, though I did enjoy seeing the lavender fields.

Port Townsend, Washington perked me right up, though. I detoured off 101 to see this beautiful waterfront town, and I thoroughly enjoyed walking around and seeing the area. The downtown is filled with wonderful 1880’s era brick buildings, and every building is occupied with a business (unlike most downtowns we’ve seen) — mainly tourist-oriented restaurants and shops. I had a delicious Meatloaf Sandwich at the Port Townsend Pie Co., and the Cherry Pie was excellent. It was made with local organically-grown cherries, and Jeani (the pie lady) told me that a little vinegar is her secret to a really light crust. Marionberry Pie is her biggest seller, and for a brief time each year, she makes a Watermelon Concord Grape Pie that she says is spectacular.

I saw the World’s Largest Orca Whale on a Trailer in Port Townsend. As they say in the biz, slow news day.

I met “Dimples” and Tara at a gas station as I was leaving Port Townsend. Tara asked about Mardi Gras.

The rest of the day was spent driving the rest of the way to Tacoma. Check your road atlas, and you’ll see the drive is along the big bay that dips down into Washington state. Except for an Indian reservation with perhaps 100 fireworks stands, there was little to see but trees and water. I’ve got to ask someone what the deal is with all these fireworks stands at the Indian reservations. Perhaps the Indians have an exclusive on fireworks in Washington.

As I was pulling into the parking lot of the Comfort Inn in Tacoma, I was thinking that today certainly wasn’t one of the best days. Then I walked in the hotel and met Fatima, Desiree, and Krystin of the Comfort Inn. Delightful ladies and funny. We exchanged stories for a half hour or more. Desiree suggests the Western State Mental Hospital as the most unique place to see in Tacoma, so I will plan to go there tomorrow. Fatima suggested the plant that makes the Almond Rocha candies. Krystin was just chewing on ice and rolling her eyes at all the suggestions, but she did endorse the mental hospital visit. Desiree says some famous people have been there and some strange things have happened there. I’m not sure if Krystin thinks the mental hospital will make an interesting place for me to see…or whether she figures it’s a place where I belong.

I have been disappointed lately that there was no great revelation at the end of each day when I asked myself what we had learned today. I learned some geography, I guess. I confirmed that it is good to pay $50 for an annual national park pass at the start of a trip Round America, but Day 93 of 148 days should be better late than never. I was reminded how much it bothers us to see animals in questionable conditions. I was reminded that I do love great pie. I was reminded that something can happen when you least expect it to brighten your day.

Random Comments:

We met two folks from the area today “virtually.” They saw the PT Cruiser on the road and emailed to say hi. Crystal Maden and Phil Shoemaker. We get these from time to time, and it’s always an extra treat to meet people this way.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this website. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest, and the full itinerary is shown.


More Information on the Sights Visited Today:
Port Angeles Washington — Olympic National Park — Hurricane Ridge — Olympic Game Farm — Sequim Washington — Port Townsend Washington — Port Townsend Pie Co — Tacoma Washington