Today our agenda was to take us to Eugene, Oregon, but before heading south, we took a leisurely drive up toward Olympic National Park for a pleasant scenic ride along the waterways of the Puget Sound. The day began at 8:20 and 72 degrees, but before the day was over, the temps had climbed to 102…not what we expected in the northwest. But also, unlike the northwest, we had another beautiful day of clear skies and bright sunshine. No complaining here.
Our first stop was in a place called Gig's Harbor. And it reminded me a lot of the Maine coast…places like Boothbay Harbor, but bigger and more densely populated. The marinas had rows and rows of pleasure boats sitting idle on this gorgeous Saturday morning. The houses were stacked very close together, often 3 and 4 deep, along the shore, each one trying to steal a view of the water and the mountains on the other side. We found a vacant lot right on the waterfront, with Mt. Rainier looking back at us. In fact, this incredible mountain always seemed to be peaking at us over the horizon whenever I looked to the east. So, what appeared to be a lot barely large enough for a small house, turned out to be 2 lots for sale. And each was $559K. Hard to believe, but what a view!
We passed through Kitsap, a large town with restaurants and malls, a navy base and a naval shipyard. And I thought, what a great spot to choose, with access to the Pacific Ocean but oh so very secluded and out of harm’s way.
Around 10:30 we were again in stop-and-go traffic and we though, this is going to be a very long day. As it turned out, after 20 minutes of barely moving, we were waiting to cross a drawbridge like one I have never seen…it actually had three separate draws on it…it was a long bridge crossing one of the fingers of this vast waterway. As we waited in traffic, not knowing it was only temporary, Steve told me about a conversation he had with the desk clerk (is this sounding familiar?) He asked her about the Seattle traffic and if there were bad traffic times and good. She said no, it is always like that. She said she lives only 6 miles from work but it takes her 30 minutes to get there, every day.
After we made the turn onto another scenic highway that would take us south, we drove through the Olympic National Forest. The road hugged the side of the bay for miles and the views were spectacular. We stopped at one park where there were many people digging in the mudflats, presumably for some sort of mollusk, perhaps clams or mussels. And again, there she was in the background…the regal mountain that she is, glaciated much of the way down its sides, with heavy, bright white strands resting in the crevices between ridges, reaching for the ground but never getting there.
We passed up seeing two capitols today…Salem and Olympia. We usually like to visit them if we are passing through, however time was an issue and priorities always dictate scenery over everything else. So we headed south on the highway through flat farmland hemmed on both sides by mountain ranges…growing vegetables, fruit trees and who knows what. Maybe kale, since we are nearing California, and they seem to like that sort of stuff. Just kidding, Jim.
We landed in Eugene around 4:45 and checked into another upgraded room. Thanks, La Quinta. Tomorrow, Redding, California.