Civilisation! ?

1 May

Wednesday

We woke to a pleasant morning and the view was just as calm and peaceful as last evening. After some basic chores to keep us spic and span we began our day’s journey towards Port Townsend. We had a ferry crossing booked from the Port to Kingstone for Thursday morning, and intended to stay overnight at the Port Marina RV Campground.

Our thirty mile trip included another milestone, haRVey clocked up 6000 miles which we celebrated with a drum roll beat out on the dashboard!

The Campground is at the far end of the town main street and driving through we were intrigued by the old buildings lining the side of the road, they were described as Victorian but the style to us looked more Edwardian. Brick and plaster built with three and more stories they were very different to those we have seen in the last 3 months and gave an unusual feel to the town.

We chose a site at the campground with a side view of the inlet which the ferry sails from, and to the front, across the mouth of the Admiralty Inlet. In the distance from the forward view we could see the snow capped Cascade Mountains shining in the sun, looking rearward were the snow capped Olympic Mountains, down at sea level we were enjoying around 15 degrees C. Having had lunch we walked into town to investigate further the buildings and shops housed in them.

This was our first proper shopping town in ages and we were very taken by the varied and interesting stores from Ladies and Gents Outfitters through Art and Craft stores to jewellery and wine. Not a national multiple in sight. I was very pleased when I found an arcade containing a bead shop, a yarn store and also a children’s clothing shop with lovely items hand made by the owner and others. Upstairs was a fly fishing shop and a book store devoted to writers and writing! We browsed a while and chatted to the staff, weekdays are apparently their quiet time at present and we made the most of it.

We investigated via the internet later and found that many of these shops were started by “hippies” attracted to the area in the 1970s, now grown up and trying to making sure the town kept its unique feel. We also read there is an uptown area with a park and other buildings which sound well worth exploring – a place on the list to revisit definitely.

The grand buildings which housed the stores, all seem to date from the late 1800’s and are very well preserved, several had advertising paintings on the side which if they were not original were well disguised reproductions. “Genuine BULL DURHAM – smoking tobacco, best for 3 generations” in letters 6ft tall decorated the upper floor of one; and would not have been allowed today! Some of the buildings were painted and a blue and cream iced cake design took my eye with its curved double bays to two sides, whilst Robert had more interest in a red building with a second story of arched windows and decorative coving around the roof line. It housed the local brewery but I dissuaded him from going in today as it looked like a ‘men only’ bar! (see pics in Web Album – top right)

There are, as in most places, a few areas not as well kempt, but overall we felt this was a place well worth a visit and not getting a lot of mention in the local tourist information pamphlets.

We had a great afternoon browsing around and then walked back to the campground which is very well placed for access to the shops but lies within an area of small attractive units housing a café and restaurant alongside the marina.

The evening was spent watching the tide roll in and the ferry trundle back and forth on its forty five minute journey. Other larger boats navigated the deeper water with tugs and a few small sail boats wandered up and down in the light wind and we hoped for it to be as calm when we cross!

Thursday

The day of the big trip! We were taking haRVey on a ferry, and not a very big one at that! The early morning cloud had cleared by the time we lined up at the dockside and a beautiful blue sky let the sunshine light up the snowy Olympic Mountains behind us and the Cascades in the direction we were going, we had even, early on when the atmosphere was clear spotted Mount Rainer about 70 miles away. Whilst in line haRVey was again getting his usual public attention, and a fellow passenger came over to chat remarking on his attractiveness. We can’t work out what it is about his paintwork that appeals but he does get lots of comments – often being called “pretty”, which, as we consider him very masculine, is maybe not so good!

The ferry seems to be very punctual and arrived about forty minutes before our departure time, unloaded its passengers from the other side and ten minuets before sailing time we were beginning to embark. As we drove on there was a small moment of panic when I thought Robert was a little close to a wall on the right and was about to knock the wing mirror, but a small deviation to the left corrected that and we were parked up with no more than an inch to spare to allow the door to open fully, spot on you might say!

We locked haRVey and went to the passenger area, an external deck and covered internal comfy seating area provide ample room for passengers. We opted to stand outside in the sunshine to catch the view. This proved to be a good move as part way across first we spotted seals and then porpoises, there dorsal fin just showing as they swam in there characteristic leaping manner. Disembarking was just as easy as the embarkation and we were quickly on the road, but as it was by now lunchtime when we spotted a parking area overlooking the water we stopped.

Whilst eating lunch in ‘the conservatory’ I realised this was going to be our last view of the ocean for some time other than glimpses whilst travelling. We have always been drawn to the sea but will have very fond memories of our beach walks, rock hunting and beautiful sunsets on the Pacific Coast.

Highway 20 took us through an area of farmsteads and woodland, the occupied spaces being well spread out. Deception Passage had intrigued us on the map and unfortunately we were not aware of the viewing point until we were on it so could not stop on the bridge to look at the narrow gorge some 50ft below with the ocean on both sides and heaving with currents. Something to note for the next time we pass this way.

Our intermittent ability to connect to the internet has led us to look for a more permanent source for connection and after a fair bit of research we had identified a fairly cost effective way with Verizon and a ? . We needed to go into a Verizon store and had found there was one en route at Burlington. I also needed to buy some Clinique which I could do in Macey’s there, so a detour to civilisation was called for.
We found the shopping centre quite easily and purchased my Clinique moisturiser (it costs in $ the same as £) then moved on to Verizon. The small shop had three young men in attendance with so much testosterone flying between them it was difficult to dodge the verbal one-up-manship going on and get the information we needed. Unfortunately, after 30 minutes, we came away thinking they had given us little more information than we had been able to glean ourselves from the web. We may try again elsewhere when we have recovered.

The day was going well before our Verizon encounter but seemed to go downhill from there, I rang the KOA where we wanted to stay overnight to check site availability and got a recorded message on both numbers saying ‘sites can now be booked on the internet’ – not very helpful, we also wanted to find the Fred Meyers we had used when going south, to purchase gas as we now were eligible for a 10c per gallon price reduction. We knew exactly where the store was, but they seemed to have moved it….. it took us about half an hour of driving around the Bellis Fair estate before we ‘happened’ upon it!

Gas topped up ( it was more expensive per gallon in the first place, so ended up no cheaper than the last time we topped up, which was just to stop haRVey’s tummy grumbling until we got cheap gas at Fred Meyers!) we set off to find the KOA.

The roads had been busy since we left the I5 and we were both getting a bit fed up of civilisation, so as we were heading for the countryside, even without any road directions I think we both thought we were going the correct way. As Robert turned right I spotted a steep hill and a 20mph corner sign which rang alarm bells, the road on my map was dead straight. We stopped and luckily there was a farm with a gravel yard/driveway and a man in a truck available for directions. He happily let us turn around and set us on the right road for Lynden, even so we still saw no road numbers and found the KOA more by luck than judgement.

The campground is very park like, laid out with large ponds and mature trees in a manicured grassy setting, they have a crazy golf and swimming pool (empty at present) as well as the usual facilities. We took site 11 overlooking one of the ponds and were pleased to be settled for the night away from so called civilisation.

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