Ed and Lorraine went to bed so quickly and quietly last night that I fell asleep on the couch. I had slept for most of the movie and I liked the silence and lighting of the room. I woke up at 3am, went to bed, and was up at 4:30 – we all were. For one reason or another we couldn’t sleep anymore. I get anxious on trips and I knew today would be a long day – I just didn’t know it would work out so well.
Ed makes steel-cut oats with apricots for breakfast and we all heat up a cinnamon roll too. Then Ed and I set out to the garage to inspect (and replace because of all the work to inspect) the timing belt. It felt good to get a little grease on my hands – it reminded me of looking pretty and feeling important when helping Caleb. I had a wrench in one hand and the manual in the other. We would have to disassemble the front of the bike.
Ed thought he was forgetting something and called a friend for help, but upon scrutinizing the manual he realized he had to do more work than he had planned. I would have loved to stay longer – he did have the next three days off, but Lorraine came out to deliver fruit for the road and let me know that he was hers for the next few days as soon as the bike was fixed. With that, I packed up my strawberries and cherries, read the map some, and drove away at 11:45 knowing I should’ve left sooner.
This time I will take the ferry in Coupeville to Port Townsend. This will allow me to take a part of Hwy 101 that I have yet to do. There are still other parts undriven – Port Angeles to Discovery Bay and maybe parts in Los Angeles. I bought my ticket, $12.70, and loading started ten minutes later. This ride was so much fun – no coat needed. I had 30 minutes to explore the ferry decks – from the floor filled with cars, to the mezzanine level, to the sun deck in all its wet and non-skid painted glory.
Port Townsend’s architecture seen from the water was enough, and sadly there was only one couple dressed in time period appropriate attire, but I wanted to see it up close. While driving through town, looking for parking, I see stairs. I park in a shopping center nearby and make my way over. This place is literal or maybe just more drastic, but you can take the Terrace Steps to get from Uptown to Downtown and thanks to Steve Corra’s spirit it is now a place where people can read, workout, rest, and travel from sea to bluff.
In New York there is the parking lane, the delivery lane, and the cab lane with room in-between for moving cars to pass. Here the cars park on the side, there are no cabs, and the delivery trucks park in the middle of the road so that cars may pass on either side of them – I like it. I make my way to Uptown and to the Bell Tower built in 1890 to call volunteer firefighters to their posts. It was used for more than 50 years, is the only known tower of its kind, and the view is still great overlooking the bay.
Past the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (oldest Episcopal building in WA and oldest church bldg. in the port – organized in 1860), and past the Bet Shira parish offering soup and bread on Wednesdays from noon to two, and I find myself in Uptown Port Townsend at 1:30 pm on a Tuesday. There is plenty to do, but a market with my last name, only spelled differently – Aldrich, draws my attention.
Inside there is a Recipe for the Hulk: Flintstone vitamins, Pepsi blue, lemonade, Tabasco, onions, broccoli, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, green gelatin, chocolate milk, and Slim Fast. Please leave the link to your video in the comment section of your attempt at ingesting this meal. I think it would take a strong person to swallow this mess, but only a kid could be so creative – and I thought what my siblings mixed for me out of the fridge or the combos my friends put together in the school cafeteria growing up was bad – I was mistaken.
The market has a memorial wall from a time they burnt down – mostly poems from kids about missing the candy and smell of coffee. There are shelves of groceries and a deli downstairs. Upstairs is a sushi restaurant and store with wine, chocolate, t-shirts, and Asian food. I buy a medium-sized shirt and a fig bar. On my way to Downtown I will pass a dog rest stop. It’s a small house (size of a bird feeder) with treats in it and a bowl of water.
I stop in at the Spice & Tea Exchange. They have a wall dedicated to salts, sugars, and mixed-on-site spices. They also sell tea, mints, and salt blocks (kind of like the ones I’m used to cattle licking on the farm), but you can cook with this and salt your food at the same time. ‘Instead of salt on food – this is food on salt!’ Upstairs is an art gallery with paintings for sale from local artists.
My next visit would be to the Wine Seller where I would get to try some ice wine. It was too sweet, at least for the moment, but perhaps it’s like a light adult liquid fudge that I could enjoy another time when I have a sweet tooth. I take a look around at the different chocolates, cheeses, wines, and beers brewed in Washington. Upstairs is some art, corks, and CDs to drink to. I buy a bottle of Elysian Men’s Room red ale and a birthday cake chocolate bar made by Seattle Chocolates.
As much as I would love to stay and see more – this town has me buying things and I have a semi-schedule to keep. My next stop would be the private plot of sand known as Holiday Beach. I pulled over to get a picture of the dock on the water with the sun and wasn’t going to approach any further when I saw the posted sign, but then I saw the bald eagle too. I don’t see them often so I attempted a photo. He was at the other end of the dock and when I stepped foot on it he moved so I let him be and got back in the car.
Through the town of Hoodsport at 4pm and in need of some coffee. I stop at the Busy Bean and try their peanut butter mocha – 12 ounces of warm goodness. They have a list of 46 flavors for coffee, tea, cider, soda, and smoothies. I might have to grow a coffee addiction so that I may stop at more of these roadside stands and try more of what they have to offer. The hot beverage offered a nice contradiction to some of the cold rain, but nothing to damper my escapades. The rain didn’t last long.
I felt I had been on Hwy 5 too long – anytime is too long on a road trip, but sometimes highways are the only connection or a way to help you skip seeing a lot and get you closer to where you need to be in a shorter period of time. I got off in Chehalis with the intent of keeping to the road that runs parallel to the highway. I knew I was lost the second time I crossed the highway. I found the Claquato Church (oldest standing bldg. in WA built in 1857 with a louvered belfry and crown steeple) and its outhouse.
Port-a-potties are my fear – like others are scared of spiders and heights and the plague, but outhouses I find quaint and historical. I wondered back there and opened the men side and went to the women side. Something touched my leg, there was a spider nearby, and I was holding the door open to a hole in the ground – I freaked, jumped back, and concluded my visit to the church. There is a list of 22 homes, hotels, and shops to visit in the pioneer village. I will be saving them for next time.
On to the other side of the highway and through Napavine where I will pass a tractor graveyard. I turn around, pull over, and get out with my large camera around my neck. Then I notice the guy sitting amongst them staring at his phone screen and then looking up at me, ‘You’re not from around here, are ya?’ Nope, I’m from San Diego and I’ve seen cars and boats in a junkyard before, but not this many tractors. He lets me know that one side of the yard is just for parts.
He also tells me that he went to San Diego once. I tell him I’m heading back home from being on the road for 2 weeks and he says that he’s still young and wants to see places. When he tells me he is 18 it took a lot for me to not call him a baby. Now I better understand the perspective of my elders – I can see the youth and possibilities. When I tell my neighbor this story (he’s in his 60s), he tells me that people in their 50s are still babies to him – I suppose some things never change.
I found the Jackson Court House State Park off the 12 and at the next intersection must’ve seemed quite lost. I had my map up and was looking straight, left, right, and again to try to find my direction. A truck pulled up beside me – go straight and turn right at the stop sign. I’m sure I would’ve turned left somewhere and been lost even longer. I wish I could’ve thanked him more. I would drive through the town of Vader twice – small place, before stopping in a shop and asking if the road before town was the right one.
Back on the 5, past the lumber yard in Longview, and I’m soon in Astoria, OR. I stop somewhere along the water where there is a public and private dock. Down the public one (with the obstructed view) and I see two guys on the private side. I’m halfway over the rail when I get caught. I plead and he agrees to say that he knows me – awesome! I wouldn’t have done all that had I known there would be a special viewing tower further down the street, but now I’ve got the view from multiple angles – thanks random guy.
There are theaters, shops, and restaurants – like most small towns, but I notice that Oregon loves books, coffee, and bicycles too. I feel smarter and healthier and more energized just driving their streets knowing how happy the people are to live here near forests on the beach – one of the ideal spots on Earth. The daylight has given me a false sense of time and I call Wendy to let her know that I will be arriving tonight.
I’m met with sheets of rain while driving on the 30 and the 101. While stopped somewhere for a picture a local tells me they call it the Washington Mist (it missed WA and hit OR). I’m not going to complain. I was still able to enjoy my ride, the view, and the rainbow above Manzanita – the town I would be spending the night in. The sun was far from set when I got to Wendy’s house, but I had more fun reminiscing about our days as roommates and meeting her daughter, Andrea, who is 2.5 years old.
Rescuers Down Under was on the TV but quickly became background noise as Andi showed me her bucket hat, we did a floor puzzle, and then I bounced her in a mini lawn chair while sitting on the floor. She is tiny, smart, and full of curiosity. She is loved and spoiled and I’m happy to see Wendy so happy. I knew she would make a great mom seeing her with Kristina’s kids – another one of our roommates that had a boy and twin girls – that’s when we all started finding our own places.
We sit outside to chat some while we let Andi fall asleep at 10 pm with a nightlight that plays music and spins shapes on the ceiling. We will sit up on the couch and talk through the night, me drinking a root beer to keep me going, until I yawn for the last time. It is good to catch up and I don’t want the night to end, even though Wendy has to be up in the morning to go to work. I’m grateful that she’s just as excited as I am about our visit.