Entire Route So Far
Today was kind of a weird day. Somehow, it was simultaneously slow and fast. Even though he’s on PTO, Chatchai had some sort of training session he absolutely had to attend between noon and one, and that screwed everything up. My standard M.O. when traveling is to make it all up as I go along, and that’s fine when you don’t have any place you have to be. Generally I don’t even know where I will spend the night until an hour or two before I arrive. But when you have somewhere you need to be at a specific time, and public transit is involved, invariably it all seems to go pear-shaped.
We got up rather later today than yesterday, broke camp and cleared out around 8 AM. My tent is pretty damp from spending last night in the rain forest, so I need to find some sunny, dry place to let it air out for a bit or else it will get moldy, and we can’t have that. We did some back of the envelope calculations and decided that, if we made our way to Kingston, we should be just in time to catch the 10:25 ferry to Edmonds, thus avoiding Seattle and a 105 mile drive down around the bottom of Puget Sound. The crossing would take half an hour and we’d get to the other side with plenty of time to find our way to a shopping region on the north side of Seattle, where Chatchai could find a McDonald’s (they don’t sponsor this blog, I promise) and I could find a Best Buy. As you’ll recall, I’ve been wanting a dash cam.
Well, things went wrong almost at once. US 101, a ten lane wide thoroughfare back in Palo Alto, is a sleepy, twisty two lane road in western Washington. And, on this particular morning, it was shut down for repairs. We had to wait at the end of a long line of cars for about 20 minutes before they let us through. After that, it was a simple matter of passing several logging trucks on winding mountain roads and we were back on track, but running way behind.
We pulled in at the back of the line to the ferry at 10:10 AM, and made our way up to the ticket booth. The website said $15, so of course it was actually $18.75. Just before we got to the booth, some jerk cut in front of us, and as it happened he was the very last car to be let on to the 10:25 ferry. Truly, there is no justice in this world. I hope he gets a flat tire.
Anyway, there we were with 50 minutes to kill, since the next ferry didn’t depart till 11:15. Chatchai suggested we walk back into town to the Mc — uh, to some restaurant. This was accomplished. It was a sunny morning and the walk was about half a mile up hill. No sooner had we got there than it occurred to me that the ferry would depart at 11:15, meaning it would start loading earlier, and that as I was at the head of the line, I’d be expected to load first. Now I was gonna be that guy. I asked Chatchai to place my order for me, and made a vital side trip to the facilities. Emerging a few minutes later, I grabbed my drink, asked Chatchai to get the food and follow later, and race-walked back down to the port. In the event I needn’t have hurried; Chatchai sauntered up with some cold french fries about 10 minutes after my own arrival, and we had time to eat them before loading started.
We were compensated for the delay by having the best seat in the house for the crossing. We were right in the front of the bow and enjoyed the views of ocean and birds. About halfway across, our path was crossed at right angles by a large container ship, the Maersk Umlaut, riding low in the water from its load of Chinesium. These container ships really are amazing. They are nothing more than a floating platform for containers, all stacked four rows high on deck, with only the wheelhouse peeking out above. It’s a wonder they don’t capsize.
Upon docking on the Edmonds side, we were the first car off the boat and made a hasty exit before the deluge could be unleashed. If you’ll recall, Chatchai needed to be at his unnamed restaurant for the wifi by noon, and in fact I dropped him off at 11:58. While he was busy with training, I went across the street to Best Buy and purchased a new dash cam and a 2 TB hard drive to keep all the movies on. I’m reasonably satisfied with the quality of images it takes. After the trip, maybe I’ll do something with them. I did read online that the only SD card you’re really not supposed to use with dash cams is the SanDisk Ultra. Guess which kind of SD card I have? It was also at this time that I discovered Seattle has an 11%+ sales tax. Ouch.
After my Best Buy excursion, Chatchai and I argued about where to go next, and finally decided on Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island. We wanted to go to the San Juan Islands, but the ferry was going to cost $200 and… well, you know. I’ve been there before, anyway. Along the way to Deception Pass, we stopped at the North Face outlet store and I bought some new pants and a new jacket. Now, it is to be hoped, I won’t freeze to death in Alaska.
Deception Pass seemed like a nice enough place, but it really couldn’t live up to the interest promised by its name. It did have a nice bridge that the state of Washington was happy to let you park at the end of for $10. Judging from the number of people milling about either side of the bridge taking photos, Washington makes a lot of money from that parking lot. I elected not to part with $10 to take some photos off a bridge. Instead, I elected to park illegally on the side of the road and stealthily use the bathroom facilities, which were quite satisfactory.
Next we went to a little park in downtown Bellingham featuring a couple of waterfalls and a cool old WPA stone bridge. It was pleasant, quiet and shady, and the bridge was attractive. It was hard not to notice there were also a considerable number of scantily-clad college students running around, if you’re into that sort of thing. I presume they were ostensibly there for swimming, but I didn’t see anyone actually in the water.
After all that, the day degraded into the prosaic preparations necessary for an imminent departure. We went to Target, where I purchased washcloths and a towel, plus some soap and shampoo, so that I can perform the requisite ablutions in camp. We were going to go to a highly recommended fish and chips shop for dinner, but discovered to our dismay that it closes daily at 5 PM. How is this even possible? The mind reels. So we settled for a Red Robin instead. Service was slow but the burger wasn’t bad.
Chatchai is catching a flight out of Bellingham at 8:30 tomorrow morning, so we’re staying in a cheap motel near the airport. Internet wasn’t included, but I sprung for the extra $5 and discovered that uploads were fast. I was able to get my back catalog of photos uploaded, and you will find them linked from this blog. I also got my first shower in four days, and now I feel squeaky clean. I’ll take another shower before heading out in the morning, because the way I travel, showering is catch as catch can.
Tomorrow, after Chatchai takes his leave, the trip enters a new phase. With luck, I’ll be across the Canadian border by 9 AM, all on my own and completely without a plan. I don’t know the laws about sleeping on Crown Land. I don’t know what to see in Vancouver. I have no idea where I can stay. I don’t even know what route I will take to Alaska. I’m making this all up as I go. I wish I could tell you it was the desire to be swept off on some romantic adventure of mystery and chance, but mostly it’s just laziness and lack of preparation.
Entire Route So Far