Sunday, August 28, 2011


You may recall that the last two summers I’ve had lots of fun and adventure logging at least one geocache by motorcycle in each county in Idaho and Oregon. Washington was my goal this summer and I wrote a blog last May about my first trip which covered north central WA. I already had many counties along the southern border as result of my trips to OR. I had been delaying my western WA jaunt because daughter, Hallie, who lives in Seattle with husband Nick, had been involved in a remodeling project.

The project was completed and it looked like the weekend of Aug 20th was good especially in view of a favorable weather forecast. I was a little apprehensive because I had rather severely aggravated an old back injury July 24th and was still suffering. Fortunately, bicycling and motorcycling doesn’t seem to bother it all.
I left on the 18th at 6:00 a.m. and got the first cache I needed in Skamania County at noon. The weather was beautiful but I was fighting a terrific headwind most of the first day. From there I worked my way around the perimeter with the goal of logging at least two caches ineach county. I could find only one in Cowlitz but after I got home I discovered that I had already gotten two there last year when I was doing the OR counties. I arrived in Raymond about 7:00 p.m. This is where Kathy’s father lived and taught music as a young man. It’s a beautiful area but the town has seen better days (at least I hope so).

The second day I was on the road again about 6:30 a.m. and it was foggy and a bit cooler. The first cache was at the base of a huge old stump just off the road. The second required an uphill hike of about 3/8 of a mile. I chose this purposely to get warmed up a bit. That morning was spent going up the Olympic Peninsula which is really spectacular. It’s mostly in a rain forest but by 10:00 a.m. the fog had dissipated and it was absolutely spectacular. Near the top of the peninsula I headed east to Port Angeles and that’s when the traffic became really bad. I headed south down to Shelton and then east to Vashon to catch the ferry. I had many problems getting to the ferry as I was trying to get a cache in Kitsap County. There had been a wreck at the exit I needed to get to that cache which caused me all kinds of problems. To make matters worse I must not have put the far northwest part of WA into the detailed map in my GPSr. So for all of those caches and most the following morning I was going without driving instructions. Of course, it was late Friday afternoon and the traffic was horrible. I finally made it to the ferry and things went well from there. It must have been about a 30 or 40 minute ride to Hallie’s and now my GPSr was back on the map. It was about 7:00 p.m. when I got to her place.

Hallie treated me like the King of Idaho. She had made my oat bran muffins, gotten skim milk and did everything she possibly could to make me feel welcome and comfortable. The next morning I headed out again at 6:00 a.m. with the plan that I would go north getting Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties before turning back southwest to meet Hallie and Nick at the ferry at Anacortes. I had a pretty good morning with most of my time spent on a very rural highway with lots of curves and hills going through thick woods (kind of like Arkansas) with a few small towns along the way.

After Whatcom County I headed southwest to the Interstate going as fast as I could as I was running a little late. I made it to Anacortes a little after noon and found Nick and Hallie in the ferry line. Unfortunately the ferry filled and we didn’t make it. I could not believe all the people over there. There was no way we were going to get on that ferry. Kathy and I will go over to the San Juan Islands to get that county at a later date. So we had lunch and got a few caches in the area before Nick and Hallie headed back. I decided to ride down to Oak Harbor and pick up my two caches for Island County. It was bumper to bumper traffic all the way (about 20 miles) but at least it was moving and a beautiful ride. I had to back track to Anacortes to get on the Interstate. That went OK for a while before getting into the worse traffic situation of my whole life. I must have endured two hours of moving about 5 mph for a little ways and then stopping and then resuming again at 5 or 10 mph before stopping again. And, of course, it was hot, especially on the motorcycle. It was after 7:00 p.m. when I got to Hallie’s and they were out so I just lay down on the floor in the hall in front of their condo door completely exhausted. As it turned out they had encountered the same traffic situation but exited downtown in hopes of getting out of it. However, some event was going on down there as well as a Seahawks game so it was just as bad. Seattle is a beautiful city when the sun is out but there is not enough money in the world to entice me to live there.

I was off again at 6:00 a.m. Sun morning heading south. By 11:00 a.m. I had finished the three counties that I needed down that way and I headed east toward home. It was a pretty nice ride especially crossing the Cascades on Highway 12. However, I was a bit tense because I was low on gas and ended up going the farthest I’ve ever gone on a tank of gas on the Triumph. The afternoon was brutally hot and I got home about 7:00 p.m. again. So I had four 13 hour days in a row although I wasn’t on the bike the whole time of course. Anyway, I was pretty tired and my butt needed a rest.

Washington wasn’t quite as much fun as Idaho and Oregon because of the population density and tourism in the western part of the state. Of course, Oregon had its share of that as well in the Portland area and on the coast. I’m glad those states are done and now I’m looking forward to some more wide open spaces such as Montana, Wyoming, Nevada and even Utah.

The first picture is Hidden Cove where I had lunch on the first day. Next is a house typical of the ones on Ellis St. where Vance taught music many years ago. The third one is of beautiful Ruby Beach on the Olympic Peninsula. Fourth is a cache at a guardrail well away from a road. Next is Mt. Rainier seen from the ferry and then a cache called "The Ugliest Car in America". M/W


Hallie said...

It seemed like you had a very demanding schedule. We don't often get company, so it's important to do our very best when we do.

I'm beginning to share your opinion of this gridlocked city, but alas, like a car in rush hour traffic, I'm STUCK!

Kathy said...

You won't be stuck forever. Things will begin to move and so will you. Then you'll say, "I loved that little condo. We had so much fun when we live there. I love Seattle."

Leah said...

Mike: If Kings of long ago had eaten bran muffins and skim milk, they might have had less gout and lived longer.

When I lived in Seattle, two things were overwhelming. First, the intense green everywhere (thanks to the rain). Second, Mt. Rainier is always there! It is in the distance looming over you from its gigantic height, no matter where you are.

Glad your trip was a success. Sad that the traffic was intense.

Chris said...

City traffic makes me insane. Really, I'm so freaked out by it that I think I really do go a bit barmy. I don't know how you do it, Hallie. And Mike, you did all this on a motorcycle???

And on a more amusing note, my word verification is "froom." Makes me think of a motorcycle!! In traffic!!

Yancey said...

You need to add Colorado to your list, Old Man!

Chuck said...

When you do Utah, stay at our place. Your trips sound so interesting, even with the slow traffic.

My word for the day is "tremism". Haven't a clue what it means.