Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Family Gathers

When we arrived on the Olympic Peninsula one of the first local news reports we saw told us there was a fire in the national park.  It had apparently been started by a lightning strike and smouldered away out in the brush for 2 weeks before anyone spotted it.  By the time we arrived it had consumed a couple thousand acres and was continuing to spread because there was no very good way to get to where the fire was.  There were also a number of fires scattered around nearby British Columbia.  All of these fires were far from us and of no immediate concern, but by the end of our first week in  Washington, things were getting pretty smokey.  This wreaks havoc on outdoor photography.  It is somewhat correctable, but I'm no Photoshop wizard and my results are marginal at best.

For example, above is a photo of Mt. Baker taken from the top of Mt. Walker.  Below is the same photo after some modest fiddling.  Better but not great.  Keep this in mind if the pictures seem a little odd.

Ruth and Paul
On the 30th of June, Paul and Ruth Bay arrived at our campground in Chimacum.  Those of you who have been following the blog a long time (yes, both of you) met Paul and Ruth a couple of years ago when we went to Cody, Wyoming.  Ruth is my second-cousin-once-removed, so we are vaguely related.  They live in Renton, near Seattle, so it was just a hop, skip and a 2 hour drive for them to join us here.  We felt kind of bad for them.  Here at Evergreen-Coho RV if you stay a month, like us, they stick you in an empty shareholder's site with lots of space and 50 amp power in hopes they can sucker you into staying long term.  If you are a short term guest they have sites just for you with close packing and only 30 amp service.  Since this is the hottest summer in recent memory here with temps going into the mid-80s, 30 amps was sometimes not enough for comfort.   So we kind of felt bad.  But not enough to trade places with them.

Paul is a retired engineer and Boeing executive.  They bought a used Country Coach a couple of years ago which is Paul's ongoing hobby.  He's much more interested in fiddling with it than living in it.  Pay attention.  This is the kind of person it takes to be an engineer and a Boeing executive.  Paul keeps a list of all the problems in the coach.  Not just the current problems... ALL the problems.  The top of the list shows the problems that have been fixed, how and when they were fixed and what to do if they recur.  It is in blue.  The middle of the list shows problems he is currently working on and what he has tried.  It is in yellow.  The last part of the list shows problems that are low priority and haven't been worked on yet.  It is pink.  It is not enough that he can pull these up whenever he wants and look at them on his laptop.  He has them printed out on actual paper for quick reference, in triplicate I'll wager.  Whenever something gets fixed, he throws away the old lists and prints out new, updated ones.  That's why he was a big executive and why MY motorhome is going to gradually decay into dust.  I don't have any lists.  We had a couple of lights out in our coach and Paul came over and fixed them.  Then he gave us a couple of spare halogen bulbs for future use.  He has 4 dozen of them, just in case, along with 10 of every type of fuse known to man.

The day after they arrived, we took an excursion with them, starting with a drive up to the summit of
the previously mentioned Mt. Walker.  This is a mild peak, only about 2800 ft high, but it is the only mountain facing the Puget Sound with a road to the top.  There is also a foot trail up, but you know I'm not messing with that.  The view from the top is spectacular, or at least it would be if we weren't surrounded by smoke. 
As it was, the view across the sound to Mt. Ranier looked like this.  Seattle is off to the left somewhere, burried in the muck.  This is from the south viewpoint, the photo of Mt. Baker at the top of the page was from the north viewpoint.

More of a creek
After admiring the haze, we went down the hill and drove out the unlikely named Dosewallops River Road until the pavement ran out and then some.  The Dosewallops River is really less a river and more of a nice creek meandering down the peninsula and emptying into the Hood Canal.   At a secret point along the road there is an unmarked trail, known only to a select few that leads to Rocky Falls, a lovely waterfall that looks like this...

Rocky Falls
At the bottom of the falls is a moderately deep pool where a group of the select few (they don't actually look all that select to me) were swimming and jumping off the rocks.  They appeared to be having fun and we would have joined them if we had thought to bring bathing suits.  Oh well.

That evening my sister arrived with Tom, her hubby.  They live in Michigan and have also shown up
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before on the Rainsbow Road.  Like here for example.  Their kids (both in their 20s) stayed in Michigan, not wanting to spend a week surrounded by old fogeys. We met them for dinner at a southern style place that was not one of my best ever restaurant picks and will remain un-named in these pages.  Then the next morning, the six of us packed a picnic lunch and drove over to Port Angeles and up the road to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park.  This is a gorgeous area we have visited before, but with the heat and low rainfall this year, there was less snow than we have ever seen and the smoke, of course, was ever present.  Still, it was a pleasant day, a deer tried to joint us for our picnic and most of the group had a pleasant hike while Tom and I sat in the ranger station and enjoyed the furniture. 
Hurricane Ridge
Manressa Castle
That evening we had reservations at the Manressa Castle.  This was originally built as the home of Port Townsend's first Mayor, Charles Eisenbeis.  It sat empty for 25 years after his death, was turned into a monastery by the Jesuits in 1927 and eventually got fitted out as a hotel in 1968.  It has changed hands a few times since then but seems like a fairly elegant hostelry with rumors of being haunted just for good measure.  We were dismayed when we heard that the proprietor of Laura's bed and breakfast wouldn't have recommended it and concerned when we walked in and found ourselves the only party in the rather largish dining area.  But the food turned out to be pretty good and the ghosts didn't bother us, so we considered this to be a good selection.  Unfortunately, if they don't rustle up some more business it may not be there for you to try when you come to Port Townsend.

1 comment:

  1. I love these stories. Glad you're having fun and enjoying your family time ��