FLIGHT RISK (Olympic Peninsula WA)

I suppose that if you have a travel partner, and you set out on a fairly significant road trip, putting some miles between your destination and home, you should probably return with said partner.

Eddie and I began learning about each other’s ‘travel styles’ (and our own!) on our very first trip to Washington State to see the Rainforest.  I wish that we’d have had the list of questions to consider (see my post called ’20 Questions Before You Plan’ ) before we left, but, hey…this is how lists get made!

On this first trip into the Rainforest, we learned that Eddie hates feeling dirty, snores when he gets too warm, doesn’t like people walking across our campsite in the middle of the night and gets cranky without his Dr. Pepper.

We learned that I can’t stand having dirty feet, a disorganized campsite or mold growing on the bath mats in the showers.

We also learned that I am evidently a bit of a ‘flight risk’.

My father told Eddie when he had asked for my parent’s blessing to marry me, that I was ‘fiercely independent’.  My dad told me later that he was careful with choosing his words because he didn’t want to chase Eddie away (I guess he was weary of working on my car), but what he actually meant was that I would probably never learn to do what I was told, be where I was supposed to be or be able to resist the urge to wander off.  Huh!  Although this has all been news to me, Eddie will tell you that he’s known all along.  My best friend, Laurie from high school sure knew, and I quote another friend who said, “Honey, anyone who has known you for 20 minutes knows that.”

So there we were on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.

The whole state of Washington is so beautiful and there’s so much to see and do!  For our first excursion, however, we decided to concentrate on the Peninsula to see the rainforests and the beaches.  We also made a trek into the sleepy, rainy, town of Forks to see the sights from the ‘Twilight’ movie series that was filmed there.  Eddie will tell you that it ranked at the top of the most ridiculously stupid things to do on vacation.

We ventured into the Hoh Rainforest for few unusually dry days of hiking and photo taking, and felt like we’d just stepped into another world.  We also hiked through the Temperate Forest to the Sol Duc waterfall learning the difference between the rainforest and a temperate forest along the way.  I was disappointed at not seeing the fairies, nymphs and elves that I was sure I’d encounter, but those days spent in these fairytale forests were truly enchanting and I decided that it might just be time to relocate.

Because we live in Colorado, it’s always a treat to spend some time at any beach, and Washington’s beaches are especially endearing as they are so different from most other beaches.  The forests empty right on to the shores giving these special places a particularly lovely, secluded feeling.  We loved Rialto Beach with its black basalt rock coastline (imagine a beach with no sand!) and boulders that resembled molded clay.  We carefully timed a trip out to Hole-In-The-Wall, a lovely seascape covered with sea urchins, starfish and anemones.  Any longer of a stay, however, would have left us out to sea as the tide came in and covered the entire rock!

After Rialto Beach it was then on to First Beach and Second Beach.  First Beach is located at La Push on the Quileute Native American Reservation. It’s trashy there, so we lingered only a few minutes and then moved on.  Just down the road we found Second Beach which is clean and beautiful with lovely teal colored water.  We enjoyed our time there with a picnic lunch on the beach.

To finish up our time on the Olympic Peninsula, we spent a little time in Seattle seeing the Space Needle – which is definitely worth the cost – and Bainbridge Island.  The Puget Sound is lovely at any time of the year but is especially beautiful in the fall!

But first……….

Before we left the Peninsula we enjoyed a day trip to Victoria Island where Eddie and I had the privilege of learning even more about each other.

By this point in the trip I was ready for some art, architecture and people!  As beautiful as the Olympic Peninsula was, there’s a very sparse population there, and Eddie was starting to visit with tree stumps.  We boarded our ship, the Coho, bound for the lovely British….wait….no….Canadian Island of Victoria. It was a grey, rainy trip across the Strait of Juan de Fuca but we were rewarded on the other side by some much-needed sunshine and the smell of street food on the pier.

Our first stop was the very beautiful Parliament building, which was closed, but I didn’t understand why we couldn’t climb the stairs, peek through the windows for a few snapshots, or poke around for a door mistakenly left open to a basement.  Eddie was having none of that.  I made a note that he cares more than I do about knowing the laws in a foreign country.  Good to know.

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Next it was on to the Craigdarough Castle.  I was enjoying feeling like I was back in Europe and had planned to take a leisurely stroll through the shopping district on the way to the Castle.  I was, after all, still (kind of) recovering from knee surgery and was in no hurry.  Eddie, at break-neck speed, dragged me right through any possibility of obtaining the refrigerator magnet that had become my go-to souvenir, and we made it to the castle in record time.  You’d have thought that we were auditioning to be on The Amazing Race.  After much whining about my knee, Eddie informed me that if I want to shop, then I must provide prior warning and notification to stop and browse.  Evidently, Eddie likes to go from point A to point B with no meandering along the way, as he is considerably goal-oriented.  He is also uncomfortable with losing me in a crowd in a foreign country.  Although I found myself perplexed, this was also good to know.

 After we left the Castle we visited both Christ Church and St. Andrews Cathedral.  By this time I was a little frustrated and decided I didn’t need any more information about Eddie’s ‘travel style’.  I immersed myself in these beautiful places of worship, learning all I could about their histories, and set out on a mission to get the best photos possible of the beautifully ornate interiors, and I  traveled down some side streets trying to get these very tall buildings into the frame of my little point-and-shoot camera.  “Look at this!” I announced boldly upon seeing the incredible pipe organ at St. Andrews.  I had finally found my way to the inside of the cathedral and had noticed Eddie kneeling behind a pew.  This is no time to try and make a statement about having to wait for me,  I thought, so instead of opening the door to that argument, I began to recount all the information that I had collected.  I knew I was being completely ignored. “What are you doing?” I asked Eddie as he turned his head to the side giving me a one-eyed glare and quietly said, “I’m praying”.  Oh.

We left quietly having decided that it was time to start heading back to the ship.  We had reservations, so I was not worried one bit.  As we approached the pier, we came across some street vendors selling their trinkets and I got excited!  Although I am not much of a shopper, but I still had not found my customary refrigerator magnet.  We parted ways as Eddie had had enough and I was still not ready to board.  What there was left to see, he was happy to enjoy safely from the deck of the ship.  We had about 45 more minutes before departure, were in full view of the ship, and as I said, we had reservations.  I decided to shop.

The departure horn from the Coho blew just as I was depositing my magnet into my travel bag.  “No! We have another 30 minutes!” I hollered as I bolted down the pier bulldozing a path through the crowd with my elbows.

The rope had already been placed across the loading ramp when I ran up waving a ticket in my hand.  “I have a reservation!” I yelled as I confronted the seriously unimpressed face of the ship’s attendant.  “I thought I had another 30 minutes” I said apologetically.  “Uh huh” was the response I got.  She also informed me that the ship was moving so I needed to be careful if I chose to jump aboard.

Not really wanting to face my dear husband who had been pacing the deck and watching me through the telephoto lens of his camera, I joined his side, put my head on his shoulder and whispered, “I love you”.

Although I was completely prepared for the much deserved scolding I believed I was about to receive, Eddie simply said, “You father warned me”.

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