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Oregon/Washington 2007 – Part 2

I’m throwing short out the window. Who cares if ramble? And if you do care….don’t read my blog. I kinda like to ramble, and I’m really just writing these blogs for me, to remember what happens…kinda like a diary and you are the privileged one that gets to snoop into my private thoughts. Kinda fun. I’ve now typed kinda three times, in just a few sentences….guess that’s the word of the day. Yesterday’s word was delightful….everything was delightful, but I will tell you about yesterday later. This blog is for today first and maybe if I haven’t fallen asleep I’ll tell you about yesterday.


Day 7 (Thursday July 5):
If Zach and Jenn ever approach you with a great idea, my suggestion would be to question it and then say no. I’m only partially kidding on this, most of the time we’ve got great ideas that really work and sometimes we’ve got great “on paper” ideas, or really, each of our ideas could be good, but when you combine them together and one person doesn’t say the others idea is stupid, we end up almost regretting it. Here’s the story.

We woke this morning around 8AM. DeDe and Greg (the people we were staying with, and the main reason we came all the way up to the northern corner of Washington) have the most amazing shower I’ve ever seen. As I tell you about it, you’ll be like, “That is crazy, I wouldn’t enjoy a shower like that” and I have to admit, I thought Zach was crazy when he told me about it and said I’d like it, but I more than liked it, I loved it and now want one in my own backyard. The Showerhouse is located about 500 feet behind the house. Therefore, you have to get together all your stuff, get your shoes on and walk outside, greet the dogs and walk around to the door of the showerhouse. Once inside, your in a building the size of most bathrooms with a tub, sink and toilet, except the far wall is stainless steel (or maybe it’s tin, I don’t know), about the bathtub width out from that wall is wooden wall with a door to the shower stall. The rest of the building is a cabinet with lotions, towels and soaps, a chair and a bunch of hooks to hang towels and clothes on. There is a mirror, but it was hung a little high for me. The floors are all wood, except in the stall where it is a slope of cement with stones to the drain. While in the shower you can look up through the skylight to the beautiful sky above. It’s really quite an amazing place to take a shower and until you experience it, I don’t know if you can quite understand it. Anyway, my whole point in telling you this, is that yesterday we took a shower and there was no way I was leaving without taking another shower. So, that’s how we started our day. Then we packed up and headed to Olympic National Park……the furthest west point of it, which is right on the coast, to a little place called Ozette.

Zach had gone to Ozette last time he was up here and wanted me to experience it, but I’m a firm believer that his memory was a little failing. I drove the whole two hours as Zach worked on his math homework. I don’t know how Zach got any work done, but it was just about the funnest road I’ve ever driven on. It was curvy and up and downy and we went in and out of fog, through forests and within feet of the ocean. It was a blast. I was in a terrific mood as we got to the Ozette Ocean Trails. Now, don’t let their name confuse you. The two Trails lead to the ocean, but not along the ocean, but I get ahead of myself.

We got our gear out. Socks, check (at least for me.) Water shoes, check, check. Jackets, check, check. Camelbacks, check, check. Camera, check. Snacks, check. Yep, we were ready to go. It was chilly and even though it’s know 12:30 in the afternoon, the whole mountain is still covered in fog. I stop at the restroom and we head out. We casually read over the signs at the head of the trail where we learn that there are two trails that lead down to the ocean, one is 3.1 miles and the other is 3.0 miles. Once you get down there, you can walk the beach between the two trails and take the other trail back up and basically make a circle. The beach miles are 3.1 miles. Well, as we are walking along (and we choose the 3.1 mile trail to start) I begin thinking…’s 3.1 miles down and 3.1 miles back on the same trail for a total of 6.2 miles, and how boring is that…..for only 3 more miles I can walk three miles of beach, something I’ve never done. So, I tell, Zach, what’s 9.2 miles compared to 6.2? Let’s just walk the loop. He said something like, that will take a long time, but I was like….naw….if we walk at a brisk pace, we’ll be done in three hours. Haha! Wanna take a guess how long it took us?

The beginning of the hike is amazing. We are walking on boardwalks, through an amazing rainforest. The ferns and other underbrush are thick and lush and green. The trees are big and stand tall. A few of the trees look like they have giant (3-4 inch) snails attached to them, but they are really mushrooms or fungis. It’s amazing. The hike, because of the boardwalks, is not hard. It is fairly flat with steps to get up the big hills. The older boards are covered in moss and in some places the boards bounce a bit. It’s fun. I’m laughing and smiling, even when my ankle starts to hurt. Zach insists I at least get to the beach, and I’m like “Don’t worry! I have no problem, pushing my ankle to the limit, but that limit typically means I can’t walk.” I laugh it off and we continue on. We come to a clearing, well, a section where the trees are missing. It looks almost prairie like, but so thick you have no option to step off the boardwalk. As we get closer to the end, I’m quite chatty. I determine that I’m a very impatient person. I can’t wait to get to the beach. I’m not tired or sore, but I want the trail to be done with. We talk about names for babies. I tell Zach my new “greenhouse” plans to keep my herbs alive over the winter. Finally we come to the beach.

It’s beautiful! The water has to go around Ozette Island, so it’s coming towards the beach from both the north and the south. The beach is littered with trees – hugest leafless trees. Suddenly, I have to go poop. I’m sure this falls under the TMI category, but it’s my diary. About two weeks ago, I had my first pooping outdoors experience. We were hiking at the sand dunes and I had to go bad. My sister had to help me find leaves and I found a spot, dug up a rock, pooped, wiped with the leaves and then covered it all back up. I was soooooooooo proud of myself. This time I came prepared, I had a little pack of TP in my backpack, but except for the beach, this place is so lush, no place to push into and dig a hole. I finally find a good tree and go, dig a hole and use some bark to push it in with, and then cover it all up. All the while a pack of crows are staring at me and laughing. Well, that’s what Zach said they were doing. We take a break and lay on the wood. Zach eats a snack and we decided to move on. We begin walking down the beach. Funny thing, neither one of us brought a watch or clock of any sort, so we have no clue what time it is throughout this whole day. We meet a guy are some point and just clarify with him that we are walking the right direction on the beach. He confirmed, but said, it was too late in the day to head that way because the tide was coming in. But then he said that the areas that wouldn’t be beach passable had trails that went around them, so we continued on that way. The beach is rocky, there is no trail, we are in the sun, and the beach keeps going. We don’t know how long we have to walk and are hoping the trail is marked, but nothing else is marked, so we are getting concerned that we won’t be able to find it and the tide is coming in, but yet, inside, I’m still happy. Zach is sore and very unhappy. We keeps saying how much he hates this beach. The next people we run into is a small family of three looking at these rocks. The dad is super excited to be searching the giant rocks for Indian carvings. We have to wait for photos to be taken and ask them how close the trail to go back is – “Oh, it’s just around that rock there.” We were amazed. That was really close. Yay!! We get around the rock and head up the mountain, only to realize that it was way too steep to be the real trail. I decided it was probably first an animal trail and then stupid humans trying to take a short cut, made it more defined. Oh, and I forgot, by this time, we’ve seen a raccoon, that I managed to scare off with the camera, but he was happy enough to pose for me first. Anyway, we continue along the beach. Now we are both getting annoyed. We realize we are crunching as we walk, and upon closer inspection, we see we are walking on super tiny snails. And in the water are crabs and hermit crabs. They are so fun. But then I realize the tide is moving in. It’s super scary. I already have an ocean complex and now the waves are rushing toward us and taking the beach, the only way we have to get home. We pass another lady and ask her how far it is, she points it out, and says it’s about 2 ½ miles away. There is no way I believe her estimation. We’ve walked way over a ½ mile, I figure we have a ¾ of a mile to a mile left, and we continue on. At some point we pass a sea lion, washed up on the beach being eaten by flies. It was pretty gross, but I still took a picture. Man sea lions are huge!

Shortly after we met the lady, we run into a part of the beach that is impassable. We notice back by the forest is a rope leading up the mountain and assume this is one of the “Caution” parts of the trail. It is steep. No way to climb it without using the rope, and so I grab it and head up. I get about half way and the rope is tied off. I yell to Zach that he can start up and I start on the rest rope. We get to the top for one of the most amazing views of the ocean. Probably a lot of it is the fact that I just climb a mountain with rope and didn’t freak out about it at all. But you know the saying….what goes up, must come down……luckily the other side had more tree roots that kinda acted like steps and we just had to use the ropes for balance. Again we continue on. We are walking and you have to remember the entire beach is lined with trees. The only way to get to the forest is to climb all these fallen trees. The further south we go, the thicker they get. We had almost passed the sign when I noticed it stuck high in the trees and black and red X. We climbed all the trees and there was a trial, but it said closed for revegetation. We decided not to listen and started down the trail. Shortly before we found the trail I’d began singing old praise and worship songs to demonstrate to Zach how I used to keep my brain occupied when I walked or did anything alone. I continued my serenade for quite a while, but luckily stopped before we ran into anyone. Soon we were back on the familiar boardwalks and then people were passing us. I asked one for the time and he told me 5:30. Wow….so far, we’d had a 4 hour adventure and we still weren’t close to the car. Now, my hip is acting up. Zach keeps walking to stop, but I can’t or I can’t get going again. Finally, Zach leads and I trail really far behind. And now my feet start hurting!!!! It’s like my body isn’t used to walking 9 miles in a day. WTF?! Without much flair, we finally make it back to the head of the trail where I take pictures of everything that we didn’t read before we went on our little hike. Total round trip was 6 hours.

Then we decided we are going to go get crab. We get to this place and it looks closed, but it turns out they are only using one side of the restaurant and there is no one to take our number, when she finally does, she doesn’t take our name. It was a bit crazy and in the end, after our bathroom breaks, we leave to go to a faster place – Taco Bell.

Taco Bell was a whole other fiasco. Let’s just say, we were there for an hour (and no most of that time was not eating) and while we leaving, two people asked for their money back because they were too slow. It was so bad it was funny.

I’m now sitting in the car. It’s about 11 and we are driving to Seattle. I haven’t figured out really why. Maybe we will get Starbucks in the morning and then head to Portland to visit my old friend from high school. We are hoping to find a Sheraton (they had great beds) to rest our aching bones, because they really ache!

Anyway, I need to navigate, so adios! More later.

Oregon/Washington 2007 – Part 1

Well, hello!

We are driving down the road as I type and just saw a very interesting sign. It said “Drive Safely. [Digital box =1] days since last serious collision.” I wish I would have had my camera out, instead of my laptop. That would have been funny. I’ve decided my best friend, Susie, had a great idea when we traveled to New Hampshire – She just takes photos of funny signs….well, actually, pretty much any sign, but it’s fun. Different parts of the country are just different in the signs they post. I will try to do a better job of documenting signs on my way back. And now I’ve been rambling again. I had it in my head that I wouldn’t do that this time. I wonder if my ramblingness is a direct results of always writing papers that had to be a certain length, which to me usually meant long and now I have a hard time doing short. Here’s an overview and you can choose to read the rest or not.

Day 1 (Friday June 29): We worked all day. Came home carted dogs to my parents. Packed car. Picked up Ron. Wanted to leave: 7:00PM, actual time of departure: 10:00PM. Went to Walmart and KFC on our way out of town.

Day 2 (Saturday June 30): Zach drove all night, until about 5 or 6AM – I slept the whole time. I drove Utah. Ron drove 3 hours of Nevada. I drove the rest of Nevada and until Susanville, CA about 6 or 7 hours. Pretty impressive for me. Then Zach drove the rest of the way to Medford….about 3 hours. We made the trip in something like 21 hours. When we got to Grandma’s house (Zach’s grandma) Zach and I went on a walk, the night was delightful. There was a nice cool breeze, the humidity was perfect. And then we went back, took a shower and promptly fell asleep.Day 3 (Sunday July 1): We woke late and were slow, but it’s vacation, so that is what you are suppose to do! We ate at Elmer’s, then spent a lot of the day looking for a clip to attach to my lens cap so I don’t lose it. We also got Zach’s hair cut, as I didn’t have time to cut it before we left Colorado. By the time we got back home, Grandma was in the process of cooking a very yummy dinner…..Ribs. I’d never had homemade ribs and they were delightful. Later that evening we went and hung out with Zach’s cousin Tyler, his wife Kim and their son, Mason. Mason is eight and just had his tonsils out, but he is a great kid. I really enjoyed our time there.

Day 4 (Monday July 2): We left Medford a little late due to Grandma cooking breakfast and telling us how to be safe and not to take roads we don’t know and don’t trust anyone, etc… Zach isn’t 30 and I’m still a child. It was a bit frustrating. But then we were off. We decided to drive over to the coast instead of taking I-5 up to Seattle, which turned into a three hour trip to the coast and meandering at usually 45MPH through tiny little towns. It was nice and fun, but man, slow as slow can be. We did eat at the slowest A&W ever, but it was really good and we saw the world’s largest Sea Lion Cave – pretty amazing. Could have stayed there all day, but they were closing up. We decided to try to get to Tillamook, so we could visit the cheese factory the next day, but when we got there all the hotels were way expensive, so we decided we needed to use our camping gear, but Zach was sure it would be a pain to find a spot and get setup in the dark. (It’s about 10:30 by now), but we found a nice campsite called Barview right and the beach in Oregon. Within 30 minutes we were fast asleep. Our new two person tent is so easy to put up. We steaked it down in sand, which was quite comfortable.Day 5 (Tuesday July 3, today): We slept in again. Camping close to tree, in the mountains and on the beach has proven to be the best “Jenn-proof” camping place. The temperatures didn’t drop too cold at night (I slept on top of the sleeping bag) and because of the overcastness we slept until 9AM! I’m normally up at 7 when camping so the tent doesn’t become hot on me. Anyway, we decided to go back to I-5, because the coast was taking way too long. We drove most of the day, but we stopped to take some photos of Mt. St. Helen’s. Washington is not quite as lush as Oregon, but where we our now (Port Angeles) is beautiful, to the North is the Straight of something (the ocean) and to the South are the snow covered Olympic Mountains. Quite beautiful and you can see all the way to Canada. We are staying at this place and there are only three houses on the road. The guy who owns most of the land seems to pot old cards and machinery to watch it grow. It’s pretty funny! I’ll post some pictures later.

Adios for now. I think I kept those pretty short, well at least for me.