Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Olympic National Park

We checked-in here 2 days ago.



South Beach Campground is a $10/night, first-come-first-served overflow area for nearby Kalaloch Campground.  Basically it’s a large gravel parking lot with one serious advantage seen (barely) to the left.  An awe-inspiring view of the Pacific.   



My photos in no way do justice to the view from the GDB living room window.   




The campground has steep short paths to the beach.  



We experience approximately 1 hour of clear skies this morning.  But, hey ..... it’s a rain forest!

Ruby Beach

If you are into diverse ecosystems, this is the place to achieve the trifecta – Coasts, Rain Forests, Mountains.  Tip: bring a 4-season wardrobe.  

Our 2 days here have been occupied with 1) finding just the right spot with a coveted ocean view and 2) strolling the miles of powerful untamed beach.  




Chuck, Carla, Gayle, and Debbie are ambitious enough this morning to attend a ranger-led walk and learn more about the fascinating life of tidal pools.  Gayle got some fabulous photos, so stay tuned for her imminent post on the subject.  

I've wanted to visit Olympic National Park as long as I can remember.  What a thrill it is to finally be here!  I so look forward to experiencing the rest of this immense peninsula.  Tomorrow, I move on and explore a different section of the park - Hoh Rainforest.  After that, I'll rejoin our most excellent caravan again on Thursday at Mora Campground.

To make up for today's gloomy fog-laden photos, I'll leave you with Debbie's 2 boys - Rupert and Elliot - from a former, sunnier locale.  Action photos courtesy of JimTM   






Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ocean Shores, WA

Hello from the Quinault Beach Resort & Casino on the central Washington coast.



I happily reunite with Jim, Gayle, and Debbie - already installed at Camp Lazy Daze.



The casino has a large RV lot 



with easy beach access over trails like this.





Ocean Shores is the self-appointed Kite Capital of the World.  



We are joined by Chuck and Carla, old friends of the trio.  Chuck and Carla also travel in a Lazy Daze and are spending this summer on the road.  We stroll the beach.

Jim, Gayle, Carla


On Saturday, Gayle finds a sensational hike for us – Damon Point - a 4-mile beach loop that circumnavigates this spit of land on Gray’s Harbor.  



The clear blue skies enable us to see far-off Mt. Rainier.  This is the best photo I can manage – can you make out the hulking mountain hovering in the distance (below the clouds and behind the boat?).  



The abundant driftwood offers intriguing sculptures fashioned by Nature, the greatest artist of all.



Part of the land is a designated Wildlife Refuge.  Come here in the winter and you might spot a Snowy Owl!  

The casino is hosting an event this weekend that has caused us no end of amusement. 



Hogs.  As in Harleys.  Think Sturgis-on-the-Sea.  

Web Photo
With a beer garden, live music, tattoo competitions, and a Hangover Breakfast Buffet, we expect rowdy behavior for the next 3 days but it’s surprisingly peaceful.  See Gayle's post regarding the Men's Tattoo Contest.  

In other casino news, Debbie gambles.  And wins!!!



It's been great fun.  The weather has been ideal with clear skies and temps in the 60's.  

After the weekend, we move on to Olympic National Park.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

More Seattle

Monday

After successfully resisting the urge to work, I hop the bus and return to the big city.  

Pioneer Square Station

The weather is to die for.  Well ….. at least to drive 3,500 miles for!  The sun stays out all day and temps top out in the low-70s.  Now THIS is the way to do summer.

I tell myself I want to sample more of the city, but what I really want to sample is the yummy-looking menu here at the Market.




More about that later.

First I head to the Seattle Public Library.  I hear it’s something to see. 



Indeed it is. 




I see things I’ve never seen in a library before – like a Gift Shop.  And decoratively-carved wooden floors throughout.  

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Four stories of the book collection are built on an ingenious series of slanted floors labeled with a continuous run of Dewey Decimal numbers.  



Brilliant.  Why don’t all large libraries do this? And dogs!  I’m not sure if their presence is legal but I see several and I don’t see snooty signs stating Service Animals Only

I notice other things on this 2nd foray into Seattle.  People are so nice!  A young guy waiting near me at the Park and Ride shyly asks if I’m sure I know the right bus to catch.  He wants to prevent me from accidentally ending up at the airport.  (So much for blending in).  

The bus drivers say Welcome Aboard.  On my first ride, I don't have exact change, and the driver waves me on anyway.  Notice the beautiful patterned fabric on the bus seats.  What other city does that? 




In town, people smile and speak.  In heavy city traffic, if a car honks, people turn to look!  NYC it ain’t. 

The tacos are delicious, BTW.  The mole sauce is mucho flavorful.




Wednesday

A day at the park!  



It's the Mariners versus the NY Mets.



Safeco Field is my new favorite big-league ballpark.  It’s no surprise that Seattle does it well, with an eclectic and abundant food selection. 


Of course I did.




And well-considered seating.  I practically hover over home plate.



Unfortunately, it rains hard.  All day long.  I, along with thousands of other fans, arrive soaking wet after the 10-minute walk from the transit station.  I reach my seat 5 minutes before the National Anthem.  



My shoes, socks, and jeans are soaked through.  The fact that I never do dry-out or warm-up doesn’t diminish one single bit the thrill of seeing a tight game.  The Mets win 3-2 after a ninth-inning rally by the home team.  



New York's 41-year-old starting pitcher, Colon, throws a perfect game through the seventh–inning.  I think we might witness history.  But it wasn't to be.  



Another memorable day!  Though I am glad to be back home - warm and dry.  



Monday, July 21, 2014

A Day In Seattle

Saturday


Web Photo

Just as I had hoped, taking the bus into Seattle from my new home in Bellevue proved simple.  



20 minutes and 4 stops after boarding at the South Bellevue Park and Ride, I'm at Pioneer Square.  I head for the waterfront.  

A local gentleman on the bus comments how much people are enjoying the heat wave.  It was 77.  Sorry, folks back home – don’t hate me!


I make my way over to Pike Place Market. 



It's fabulous!  Also crowded.  A local tells me that several cruise ships are in port. 



It's great fun to roam the maze of shops, restaurants, breweries, fish markets, and produce stands that seem to go on and on.





Back on the city streets, I stroll and browse some more.  This is my favorite shop.  



It has everything a map-nerd like me could wish for.  



I find an upscale antique shop stuffed full of treasure.

 

All along this trip I have been scheming about ways to sample the region’s prized Dungeness Crab.  On offer here, is Crab Cocktail.  Perfect!



The counter guy asks if I want cocktail sauce. 

Me: What’s the alternative?
He: Melted butter. 
Me: Uh, yeah.  Put me down for that.



And, yes, it is as delectable as it looks.



In the late afternoon, it was back to Home Depot where I receive permission to park overnight from the nice folks. This is a great location - close to the Park & Ride, and quiet.  I have this view of Bellevue from my living room.

[Note: On Sunday I explore the area on foot and find that the urban Bellevue is made up of corporate offices and high-end retail and residential spaces.  Everything looks new.  A real 21st century urban space.]   



 I'll hang out here for a few more days before making my way back to the coast.