Thursday, August 10, 2017

Across the Water and Under the Haze

August 4-10, 2017
Brinnon, Washington

We've seen a lot of new places, and had a lot of new experiences since we hit the road. But none have made me as anxious as taking our house on the ferry. It's so big! And so's the ferry!!

What if we're late (reservations are required for our size), or we enter at the wrong place (recent ferry experience has proved entrances and exits can be challenging), or we don't fit (even though we've seen large trucks with trailers nearly twice our size getting off a ferry), what if, what if, what if????

Of course it isn't only easy, it's a great ride! We have zero traffic and end up sitting on the side of the road to kill some time so we don't arrive two hours early. The signage is aided by a real human who walks along the line of vehicles to ensure we're all where we're supposed to be. Even though I reserved for five feet under our actual length it's not a problem, and costs $20 less than the estimate. 

In the right line, at the right time. Ferry terminal, Coupeville, Washington.

We're really doing this!
Best of all - we load first and have front row (comfortable) seats for the ride. We don't even go to the passenger deck, just enjoy the views. Nothing to do with wondering if we could find our way back......

Front row.

Sweet view.

30 minutes fly by, and too soon we're pulling into Port Townsend.
That was fun! We can't wait to do it again :-)

Back on solid ground we're in familiar territory, having spent time here our first summer as fulltimers. But it looks very different under the still-smokey skies. 

I'd like to say it clears during our stay, but sadly we're under a thick haze for the whole week. 

Set up at Cove RV Park in Brinnon is easy after we survive the killer speed bumps at the entrance - seriously, these are the worst we've encountered. I have to inch the back-end over them with my foot on the brake to avoid pitching everything we own on the floor - arrrgghhh!

There's nothing in Brinnon, but the Hood Canal is one of the prettiest places we've been, and the rates for FHUs w/30 amp and open skies, make this a good place to spend a week before venturing back to Central Oregon for the madness that we know will be the Solar Eclipse. Every day we're here I say "Remember how beautiful this was without all the smoke and heat?"

Yes, it's also warmer than normal :-( 

Enough whining, let's go see what we can see!

Saturday finds us along the Duckabush River.

Some are more anxious for Fall than others.....

All dressed up for the forest festival.
The drive along the Duckabush River (from the native word do-hi-a-boos meaning reddish face for cliffs in the area) is pretty. When we cross the bridge and start heading up we leave the water behind. 

I don't know why I don't listen to that little voice in my head. The one screaming "Don't go up that narrow, steep, dirt, shelf road with nothing between you and imminent death!!" Because when I don't listen, the universe throws in more excitement like numerous ditches across the tiny path that pitch the Jeep at a 90-degree angle that.......okay, they're not much worse than the speed bumps in the park, but they are on the side of a mountain.....okay the mountain is only 600 feet tall....but, well, I'm not having fun.

Fortunately the only vehicle we pass comes by just as we find a small widening in the "road". Further up I find a larger one and get turned around. As soon as we're facing down again I'm fine. I'm so weird.

The one wide spot in the squirrel track we followed.
Back down where humans belong, we stop at the bridge to watch and listen to the rapids and riffles of the river.

Guess which side I prefer?

At first I think it's a bear :-)  Soon we hear her people splashing under the bridge.

Further down the road we see real wildlife. Sadly these are the first live raccoons we've seen in over a year. Far too many end up as road kill.
Sunday we head north to Sequim for a regrettable grooming appointment that gives us a not-so-fluffy dog. The highlight of the trip is a visit to Purple Haze Lavender Farms. The parking lot is full, but with enough space for everyone to spread out it's possible to spend time just enjoying the beautiful sights and smells.

Not happy with her nearly-nakedness.

The bright yellow helichrysum is harvested for essential oils and healing tinctures.

Rows of sachet and white spike lavender.
Everything lavender is available at the little shop. I come home with more lavender lemonade and a little sachet.
Bill's new glasses need adjusting, and Monday we drive an hour south to Shelton to get that done. So nice when you can walk-in and have something fixed for free with no wait. Small towns are the best.

A quick visit to the fish hatchery confirms what we've been seeing - there aren't (m)any fish in the rivers, and the lakes are surrounded by private property. 

Still, looking for "good spots" along the water gets us out on smokey afternoons, enjoying the scenery below the smoke-line. Tuesday we explore the Dosewallips Recreation area outside Brinnon. The name comes from a native myth about a man named Dos-wail-opsh who was turned into a mountain at the river's source. 

If this was fog I'd be loving it - the stinging smoke, not so much.
Looking down it's much prettier.

Most of the trees are draped in thick moss.
One of the prettiest little towns in the country is Port Townsend, Washington. Although I'm not a shopper anymore, I do love strolling this historic district. Bill and Tessa people-watch while I take my time looking at beautiful pottery and handmade textiles, smelling organic spice and tea blends, thumbing through classics and coloring books, and enjoying the century-old architecture.

Vintage detail.

For the tall and thin.... head!
All this and you can make your own custom blends.

Thursday is a lazy day at home. As much as we love this area, we're tired of the smoke and warmer temps, and ready to move on down the road. 

Friday we'll move inland where the forecast says things are looking better.


  1. I love your front row seat on the ferry! Good job getting on off! You are a brave lady:)

    I am really going to miss the thick, moss covered forest. We move to Eugene on Monday and then to Portland. I have SO loved the last eight weeks in the 60's.

    I agree that Port Townsend is a very cute little town. We enjoyed our visit, as well.

    Poor Tessa:( She doesn't look happy with her new hairdo. Like I say after every haircut, it will grow back! But she is probably more comfortable when the day is warm:)

    1. The ferry really was easy :-)))

      We're in Portland from the 14th to the 17th. Once we get to Albany on the 17th for the eclipse I doubt we'll be able to drive anywhere in the crowds!

      Tessa has never been this short, she can't grow out fast enough! I do hope she's at least cooler.

  2. The last time you were there you must have crossed on the ferry. Did you only travel with your tow car and not the MH? Rufus has a spa day on Sunday. I'd rather deal with the grooming than constant sweeping up dog hair any day! Our Rotties would shed like crazy all year long :-(
    Hopefully you'll get the cooler temps now that you're inland.
    I enjoy lazy days at home too :-)

    1. We traveled to that area on Hwy 101 last time, rather than from the north over the water :-)

      Fingers are crossed for the cooler, less smokey days in the forecast. It's still pretty ugly along the Kamala River today.

  3. lol I loved the ferry! As always gorgeous pictures.

    1. Thanks! We're definitely ferry fans now :)))))

  4. What a fun ferry ride! We haven't done one with the rig yet. Sure wish OR would get a break from all the fires each year! Love the Dosewallups area. We will be back there next year to visit friends. Lots of clamming, oystering and crabbing! When we lived in NY we knew it was finally spring when you saw all the (dead) raccoons on the roads. Sad, but true. Loved your live pics better!

    1. Hope you get clearer weather next year - and more water to keep the rivers up and the dust down (nearly 60 days with no rain). The Hamma Hamma oysters are so good!

  5. A lot of Canadian trees are giving it up for some beautiful sunsets, pray of rain! You might find some good fishing around Dosewallups. Thanks for taking us along.

    1. I'd gladly give up the sunsets for clear skies :-)) No fish in Dosewallips or Duckabush. Hatchery staff says it's too hot and dry. Thanks for coming along!

  6. WOW front row on a ferry! Coveted real estate for sure. So sorry about the fires and about the haze for your entire week. We actually love a county park in Florida but don’t go there any more as they have ridiculously high speed bumps and a ridiculous number of them. Pretty hilarious that they could get Duckabush from do-hi-a-boos. Just LOL at your okay…okay…but well. You tell a great story. Good heavens! What were they thinking, poor Tessa. Is she hiding in shame? Well, it will make her plenty cool and it will grow out. Love the lavender and the water pics. The more rapids the better. Your shots make Port Townsend look unique, just like it is. Well done all around. Hope you get out of the smoke. Not sure I could do it at all since I'd be coughing 24/7.

    1. We finally saw blue skies today and my eyes didn't water non-stop! Hoping for a bit of rain tomorrow. I said the same thing about Duckabush - quite the stretch :-))) I need to find Tessa some quick-grow!!

  7. Tessa's look says it all. Not much for scents but the colors of the lavender are gorgeous. I've always liked Port Townsend. Bummer with all the smoke.

    1. It was great that they had different kinds of lavender I didn't know about.

  8. Finally I get to catch up with you! So glad you enjoyed your ferry journey. We always feel like we're on a small adventure every time we get on the ferry. I'm glad you went to Purple Haze -- it's our favorite lavender farm in Sequim. And I agree with you, PT is one of the prettiest little towns we've found. Tell Tessa she's adorable even if she did get a bit closely shorn. It's a challenge finding hair stylists on the road (or groomers). oxoxo

    1. I also found lemongrass mint olive oil in PT!! Tessa says thanks :-)))

  9. Oh yes...that olive oil and vinegar is addictive! I'm rationing my lime olive oil and lemongrass mint balsamic, knowing that it will be a while before we can get more.