Day 11, October 21, 1997: Leavenworth to Sequim, WA

As I sit here writing this in Sequim (pronounced SQUIM, no matter how it is spelled) I will not be able to send it out until tomorrow night. Seems that this motel has a digital, not analog, phone system and will not work with my modem. Guess that I'll have to add another question to my pre-registration interrogation from now on: Do you have a non-smoking single available? How much does it cost?. Can I make free 800-number calls from the room? Is your phone system analog?

Didn't go terribly far again today. Not because of any problems but simply because I didn't feel like pushing. Had a rather late start this morning and took a couple of side trips along the way. Tomorrow will probably be a busy one since it is the first time actually "on the edge".

Early on this morning I headed across the heart of the Cascade Range and came across some really spectacular scenery. One picture today is a morning view of the Wenatchee River tumbling down from the east side of the mountains. This scene is also a genetic test: if you can look at it and your casting arm does not give at least a perfunctory twitch, you do not possess the fishing gene. I am not much of a fisherman but to me it just cries out "here there be trouts".

In the other picture is something called Deception Falls. Actually this is the upper falls and it continues falling for some time more below this. To get to the upper falls you have to traverse a walkway which leads to a catwalk suspended under a concrete highway overpass which bridges the torrent. The roaring echo from the falls inside this concrete box is really awesome. I wanted to do some walking down the stream where there are massive moss-covered fallen trees and huge rocks but I still get nervous about parking my car where I can't see it when the computer is sitting in the front seat (although I do my best to camouflage its presence.

The computer and GPS managed to get me through the maze of Seattle suburbs to the Edmonds ferry terminal pretty well, although the shortest route might not have been the best way again today. Luck was with me and the ferry was ready to start loading within minutes of my arrival. I haven't seen a lot of ferry systems, but I understand that many of them are really disasters. The Washington ferries have always impressed me as being really well run and efficient.

I set of on the M.V. Yakima which was about half-filled. The six-mile crossing to Kingston only takes about 20 minutes, just about long enough to go up to the coffee shop and pick up a sandwich (reasonably priced and of pretty good quality as opposed to some ferry fare I've experienced before).

After getting off the ferry, it was only a half-hour to my intended destination -Poulsbo , home of the Sluy's, the best little bakery in the west (IMHO, of course). I picked up my sweeties, princess bars which are a date-filled confection, stashed them in the cooler and did a quick walk-around down town. As usual, there were quite a few tourists about and the town itself seems to have undergone some growth since my last visit but it isn't to the point of being unpleasant. Poulsbo IS one of those ethnocentric tourist traps that I lamented yesterday but aren't nearly so oppressive about it as Leavenworth. And, in their defense, they do have enough Norwegian-descended folks about to support a large Sons of Norway Lodge. In fact, some non-Scandinavians I've spoken to here in the past claim that they continue to feel that they are excluded from the real community's heart.

On the way west toward the Olympic Peninsula (and the edge) I noticed the turnoff to Port Townsend . I have been past here a few times and never bothered to take the detour. Today there were no excuses. Port Townsend proved to be a pleasant place (with the notable exception of the paper plant a few miles out of town - what a stink!) and seems popular with the tourists also. The town was built in Victorian times and still has a large number of historic structures. In fact, both the downtown and uptown districts are on the registry of historic places. On to Sequim...

Sequim is one of those growth disaster zones. It has exploded so quickly as to become unpleasant. What was once a wide spot on the road to Port Angeles is now a mass of traffic, stores, and houses with no sense of planning. I guess that the early land owners probably cleaned up on the growth and are happy with their money wherever they moved off to after they sold out...

Oh well, there will probably be plenty of solitude starting tomorrow morning after I really get onto the edge. Aside from a few long-established touristy areas down the Washington, Oregon, and Northern California coast there isn't much to support population growth and the areas are sufficiently remote and poor that there shouldn't be too much Sequim-ization going on down there.

I have already described one picture for the day. The other is a montage of Upper Deception Falls, the Miata on its first ferry ride, and the Miata parked in front of Sluys Poulsbo Bakery. I can't help it, even after all these years, I'm still infatuated with my little car .

Tomorrow morning I will actually hit my first corner and onto the edge as we continue on the next leg of our 12,000 mile solo tour driving on the edge of the US.


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