Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day Twenty: Wet Western Washington

We headed out early today knowing that we had a long way to go. After trying really hard to pack up our tent quietly so we wouldn't wake up our neighbors (success) we left at 7. It was starting to rain lightly as we left, but luckily we were able to pack up without getting wet. The road out was a little different. It was definitely raining all day. I guess that's what you get in western Washington. It is pretty neat, though, how different the different parts of the state can be. We drove through the mountains and over the Snoqualmie Pass. We had to drive through the low fog through the mountains, so that was a little nerve-wracking. The drivers here definitely don't go the speed limit. Even through all the rain and fog. That's one thing that we'll have to get used to.
We decided to stop off in Tacoma to go to the visitors' center there. Man, those are some crazy roads. Definitely thought I was going to start sliding backwards at the red light. After Tacoma, we went to Olympia's visitors' center and did some house hunting to get a feel for the area. Once you get away from the main street, it is adorable! They have some nice looking communities around the city, like Lacey and Tumwater. I think this is the area that we will be looking in. It is gorgeous! And on clear days, you can look out over the city and see Mt. Rainier in the distance. How cool! We are going to spend some more time out there when we stay in Seattle next week.
After those quick detours, we continued on to the Olympic Peninsula. This is a really neat place. They have rainforests, beaches, old-growth forests, mountains, basically everything close together. Since we are staying in Port Angeles (at the top of the peninsula) we decided to take the slightly longer way around since we wouldn't see it otherwise. There were some small beach towns along the way, like Aberdeen. We passed through the rainforest areas (going to spend some more time there in a few days) and through the miles and miles of forest. This used to be a big logging and timber area, but it has kind of slowed down in recent decades. But you can still see the logging areas. They have signs that tell you when the trees were harvested and replanted and when the next harvest will be. It seems to be every 30-40 years. They are very proud of their sustainability practices. We followed 101 north towards Forks and La Push. We drove through Forks (home of Twilight) and will be going back tomorrow to do a more in-depth visit. After Forks, it's La Push, home of the Quileute Indian Tribe and some pretty cool beaches. (Again, tomorrow) Then after about another hour of nothing, we got to Port Angeles. It's a little tourist town with hotels, motels, and fast food restaurants. We found our campground and put up our tent. I hope it doesn't blow away tonight since the ground was kind of hard to put the stakes into. I think we'll make it though... Till tomorrow!

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