Wrapping Up the Northwest

Yes, I know it’s late, but I’ve been traveling life’s journey these past few weeks. In that vein, before I get started, check out my new website, especially if you like my writing: Shor Success. So that’s what I’ve been doing instead of wrapping up the trip.

Here are my odds and ends, bits and bobs, remnants (that reminds me of carpet ends), miscellany, and/or loose ends:

  • The algorithm for Oregon driving is SL – 5 where SL stands for speed limit.
  • I had forgotten this little bit of trivia, but was reminded when I had to wait and wait and wait (was it the California plate): Oregon and New Jersey are the only two states where you are not allowed to pump your own gas.
  • For those of us who live in places with weather, the roads can be rather bumpy (yes, it’s a metaphor for life). Apparently, West Coast peeps (of which I was one for some time) have no concept of REAL rough road. We saw construction signs warning motorcyclists to be extra cautious and all of us to take care because the road was VERY rough. Um, it was kind of like the time my sister-in-law told me that the street named Ridge near my house in very flat Skokie was the top of a hill and even after squinting I didn’t see it. It’s all in the perspective. Now I see the hill, but I sure didn’t feel the rough road.
  • Signs seen along the way: Bonk and Bonk Investigations and His Junk, Her Treasures (tee hee).
  • Go to Daiso! It’s a Japanese dollar store. So much fun. See pictures above for examples.
  • The Oakland Fire and Parks departments teamed up to pay for goats to eat the very dry grass (also known as kindling) at the top of a hill that serves as a dog park.
  • Some of the campgrounds (and the marina) had coin showers. Really??? I have to pay 25 cents for three minutes to bathe. AND you don’t mention it when I check in. Who walks around with piles of quarters? Or even cash for that matter.
  • What’s a trip to Washington without a totem pole? The day we arrived in Port Townsend, the town was dedicating a new one. Here it is:

Port Townsend Wrap-up

The view along the cleverly named Water Street

I am home and it is 90 degrees. We were slightly delayed on the way in because of thunderstorms in Chicago, but the pilot did a great job despite the wind. What a climate shock I had when we landed since our last day in Port Townsend was about 60 degrees and misty, rainy, or what Mahru calls frizzle–foggy drizzle. Yuck. We were so lucky because we didn’t experience that at all before that. We did get a taste of high winds  (sense a weather pattern?) on the marina our last night. Sleeping up in the penthouse, I felt like the little piggy in the straw house when the big, bad wolf came by. I really thought the tent walls were going to cave in or I would fall asleep and wake up in Oz. Fortunately, neither happened. I fell asleep and woke up to calm.

Circling O’Hare

Sunday night after dinner, we went out for a cocktail, mostly to hang with Bernie’s good friend and housemate, Pinky. We went to a bar with a speakeasy vibe called the In Between, which had really funny cocktail descriptions. Mine, the Wishbone, read: “It’s like a martini & a margarita had a baby and that baby grew up and dropped out of law school.” Tequila, bergamot liqueur. I spent the last day wandering Port Townsend, which didn’t take very long. I did find Steven the perfect souvenir, though: Sasquatch socks!

When I was done exploring, I met up with Mahru and Bijan again. We went to have an afternoon beer at the Old Whiskey Mill, mostly because they have an outdoor patio for Bijan. We didn’t eat there, so I have no comment on the food, but the fish and chips looked good. I feel that there’s a beer theme here, but we really did not do a ton of drinking. In fact, we had one pilsner each and Mahru wanted another. I said I would share some with her. She tried to order one more, but we ended up with two. Ah well. It was vacation so we sat longer and finished another one each (Now that is a crisis!). Here’s what happens when I have two beers:

My curiosity got the better of me (again) and I ended up wandering through the Palace Hotel because there was a sign on the door which said something like “Feel free to wander in and look at our historic rooms.” I left Mahru and the dog outside. I was peeking into all the open rooms and didn’t feel odd about it. There was a group of four people doing the same and they confirmed that the person at the desk had said it was fine. Then I said, “So, people can stay here?” For some reason, I had thought it was just a historical site, like Teddy Roosevelt’s childhood home or something. Perhaps it was the velvet rope at the entrance to one of the roo

A sitting area at the Palace

ms that gave me that impression. They said, “Oh, yes, we are staying here. This is his room.” And they proceeded to enter a very large room complete with kitchen and sitting area (not that I stared too long). OK, but I was allowed to look so I kept going. The rooms are beautifully Victorian with a retrofitted for modern coffee-drinking look. Up to the third floor I went peeking along the way. I poked my head into one room and found, to my chagrin, a couple! They had left their door open as they unpacked. Oops! I apologized, explained that I was one beer over my limit, and ran down a different flight of stairs than the one I had gone up. Mahru and Bijan were two doors down and a little puzzled at my appearance, especially when I busted out laughing. I don’t think there’s a moral to this story, except curiosity can lead to fun stories.

We had pho for dinner and I was excited to find that there was vegetarian pho for me! img_20190701_193537120-1.jpgThe Vietnamese restaurant, PhoFilling, delivers to the Pourhouse (sense a punny pattern here?) bar across the street, so off we went.We almost got blown over getting there, but it was fun hoisting a last beer with Bernie. Life on the road is better when you like the friends of the friend you are traveling with.

Reality hit on our final drive: Two-lane highways that became three-lane highways with lots of traffic. First time  since we left the Bay Area. I flew out of SeaTac, which turns out not to be my favorite. It’s one huge, confusing terminal and the signs for the TSA precheck are not obvious. Come to think of it, neither are the signs for security at all. Once through, the main areas are loud and crowded. I must be getting old, because the buskers (ok, is it me or is there something odd about the buskers being able to get past security?  – Shouldn’t buskers be people who just set up and play music in the subway?) just contributed to the noise bouncing off every surface. Once I headed into the concourse for my gate, it settled down a little. By the way, there is coffee that is not Starbucks there. I thought it would have a monopoly in Seattle, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Final Destination: Port Townsend

At the mouth of the Columbia River

The only slight hitch we had on the trip was a low tire warning, so when we got up and got going, we headed to a gas station. No problem except that, of course, the guy who pumps gas (you aren’t allowed to pump your own in Oregon) thought I was some stupid woman and when I was struggling because the nozzle on the air hose was leaky, he brilliantly asked, “Are you sure the machine is on?” Sigh. No, I am just that stupid.img_20190629_134338000_hdrimg_20190629_133342028_hdr.jpgAnyway, the light went out after I successfully filled the tires despite my being a girl and all and we went to the mouth of the Columbia for a … that’s right … beach walk! On the way to the gas station, we saw a tiny fish-and-chips place called FishMongers that looked locals only and decided to hit it on the way our of town (Hammond). It was well worth it. Not only did we get two combos of tuna, rockfish, and cod, but we had enough food left over to feed three of us for dinner when we got to Port Townsend. Perfect. Then, to top off a beautiful morning, I got to go to a Fred Meyer. Mahru had been raving about them since before we hit Oregon and I finally got to learn why. While she filled up on cheap gas, I wandered what I can only describe as a Target on steroids. That store has everything. No joke. Need some organic blueberries? Check. How about replacement windshield wipers? A new couch? A party dress? Antiseptic? They have it. Wow. It was a little overwhelming on a Saturday, but still amazing.

We got to Washington by crossing the Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia soon thereafter. Here is a quote from Britannica about the bridge: “A two-lane highway steel bridge 28 feet (8.5 meters) wide, it consists of three spans reaching a total length of 21,474 feet (6,545 meters) and including a main span of 1,232 feet (376 meters). It was designed by William A. Bugee and was built to withstand Pacific storms with wind speeds that reach some 150 miles (240 km) per hour and river currents that can hit speeds of 9 miles (14 km) per hour. ” Yes, it was cool. When we got to the official welcome to Washington sign, my camera went a little wonkie and I got this photo:img_20190629_143857038

The Astoria-Megler Bridge

Not sure what that’s about, but, whatever, we were in Washington. From the border to Port Townsend, we still had almost 4 hours of driving on the two-lane 101 through small towns. We started heading east toward Puget Sound and still had remarkable, water views even if they were not of the Pacific.

We made one more quick stop at Potlatch State Park on the Hood Canal. It’s just a little day-use beach area, but the dog could get in a run and we could stretch our legs. Then it was on to Port Townsend to meet Mahru’s friend, Bernadette. She was incredibly hospitable and we had a lovely evening just talking, relaxing, and camping out on the floor of her apartment.

We didn’t really explore Port Townsend until Sunday. It’s a cute, waterfront town with all the requisite touristy stuff: fudge, t-shirts, restaurants, coffee shops, beer, and, if you’re on the West Coast, whale-watching tours. There are also ferries to Whidby Island in the sound. Amazingly, there is great pizza by the slice at Waterfront Pizza and I say this as a New York pizza snob. There was a woman there from Brooklyn and she convinced me to try it. She was right.

Sunday, we spent just wandering around the town, window-shopping. We checked into our campsite at Point Hudson Marina and RV Park and discovered that there are several restaurants down there. We ate at Doc’s Marina Grill. The rockfish tacos were delicious.