Haveya ever heard that story about the ‘best laid plans of mice and men’? Well it definitely applied to us on Thursday.
We were underway for our planned 310 mile transit from Jefferson OR to Elwha WA about 0845…150 miles straight up I-5 was the plan then onto the Olympic Peninsula via WA-3, WA-16, and WA-104 to US-101 that we would take over to Elwha just west of Port Angeles. Everything was going swimmingly…we stopped at the last Pilot for lunch and bathroom break just south of Olympia WA and then continued on our plan. Got off onto WA-16 and headed north-northwest…and then it happened. About 10 miles before we got on WA-3 temporarily then onto 104 to get across the Hood Canal Bridge…there aren’t a lot of bridges in the Olympic Peninsula…the GPS told us the road was closed and recommended an alternate route because WA-104 was closed. A quick check with the WA DoT site indicated there was an unscheduled bridge opening at the Hood Canal Bridge…don’t know if it was one of the Ohio class SSBN submarines going out to sea or something else headed out from the Hood Canal but in any event the bridge was closed and was expected to be closed for another 90 minutes. We checked the GPS and our alternate route was only an hour and 10 minutes delay…and we figured that the backup on 104 to the bridge would be even worse in the 20 minutes we still had to go. So…instead of exiting WA-16 at WA-3 north for the 8 or 10 miles to 104…we headed onto WA-3 south and went within about 10 miles of where we had stopped for lunch 2 hours before, got onto 101 which then proceeds up the west side of the Hood Canal. It’s a windy, curvy, narrow road right along the side of the canal and was really a pain to drive on with the rig.
We soldiered on and finally got to our destination Elwha Dam RV Park just west of Port Angeles about 1630 and checked in. We knew that we would have one night in site 9 which is a pull through but is shaded so there’s no satellite visibility before moving up the next day to site 47…whose previous occupant was supposed to leave on Friday morning. Fortunately…he had moved out early and the site was empty. Unfortunately…we didn’t figure this out until we had already pulled into site 9 and got power on and our jacks down…and at that point were not about to try and move. We just treated it like an overnight stop…we had water onboard already so put on power, put the slides out, and lowered the front jacks…didn’t even unhitch Big Red. We had some BBQ pork and stuffed potato skin soup for dinner.
Next morning we moved over to site 47 and got fully setup for our 10 remaining days at Elwha. After lunch…we had a shower and headed out. Connie got her nails done, we visited the Olympic National Park visitor center in town and watched the movie, and then went over to Smuggler’s Landing for dinner. Dinner consisted of several glasses of Kilt Lifter Wee Heavy Scotch Ale from Pike Brewing Company…along with some Dungeness crab and Chipotle dip with tortilla chips…then we had a pomegranate ice bar for dessert when we got home.
Saturday we did laundry and then headed off to Blue Mountain for a short hike…Blue Mountain is in the Northeast corner of the park but getting there requires a 9 mile drive on a gravel road right on the edge of the cliff…you go from sea level to about 6,500 feet elevation over those 9 miles. Most of the road was just a single lane barely wide enough for one vehicle…passing the 6 other folks going down from the peak required some careful positioning of both vehicles on the slightly wider portions of the road. Once we got to the top…we took the half mile hike up to the peak and it was actually pretty decent even though it was at altitude…we’re getting used to the higher elevation as well as getting into better hiking shape.
Here’s the overall elevation map of the park…the snow covered peak in the middle is Mount Olympus (gee…I wonder if Zeus is there)…which we’ll be hopefully seeing in a couple of days. Port Angeles and Elwha are on the southern coast of the Strait of Juan de Fuca just between the f in “of” and the F in “Fuca” in the picture, right south of the couple of islands offshore. Blue Mountain where we hiked is one of the peaks on the first row south of the strait.
A Roosevelt Elk and Mountain Lion…two of the local fauna we might see…these two specimens are stuffed in the visitor center. The bird on the right side of the trunk just in front of the Elk is a Pileated Woodpecker…that’s the same kind as Woody Woodpecker…but that particular specimen has obviously seen better days…it’s looking pretty rough.
Once we got to the summit of Blue Mountain…we got some nice shots there. The first three are 3 120 degree pano shots taken from the top of the mountain. The first one starts looking almost directly north…Port Angeles is right over the hill and the view goes clockwise through the 3 shots to arrive back at looking north.
Looking north…Port Angeles in the foreground and BC Canada in the background across the strait…it’s about a dozen miles wide here.
A couple more shots from the summit.
After our hike…we made the 9 mile trek back down the gravel road and headed home. Sat outside for awhile with a brew and then Neil cooked dinner…chicken carne asada on the barbie sliced and served in tortillas with a side of black beans, rice, and corn seasoned with some duck fat, Andouille sausage and green chili’s. Pretty darned yummy.
While he was cooking…Connie gathered some more blackberries from the walking paths around the park…we’ll make some Blackberry Crisp out of them tomorrow.
Interesting stuff from the net…just a couple today because I’m tired.
Alaskan warning sign.
Saddest book ever.
I would hate to have to use this bathroom after a hard night of drinking.