Saturday 17 July 2010

Washington State

When I first flew over Washington on my way into Seattle three or four weeks ago, I was amazed at how green it was. My Road Trip (sorry) through the state was cut short - condensed into three days by an eye infection, lack of planning and a propensity to leave mobile phones on toilet roll holders when using public conveniences.

It takes a bit of adjusting to the practicalities of a Road Trip (somehow capitalising it makes me feel less culpable). Obviously, the first job is to actually get somewhere. This prohibits stopping every time you see something you want to take a photo of, taking excessive detours just to tick off boxes, or pulling up in every town you drive through. I have a small guide book which I'm stealing ideas from (well, they cost me $14.99) and the rest is just intuition really.

Washington was fairly easy because I didn't drive through that many towns. Port Angeles? No thanks. Forks? Knives more like. Aberdeen? Ha ha ha. Just keep driving and admire the view. I had a target too - Portland by Thursday, so I knew I couldn't waste too much time. Consequently I aimed to reach the south-westernmost tip of the state by Wednesday night; the quite brilliantly named Cape Disappointment. (So called because the guy who first arrived there incorrectly assumed there wasn't a river there, as promised. There was - the bloody massive Columbia River that requires a four mile long bridge to cross it. Must have been foggy that day).

I stop in a few places along the way, to eat or photograph the local curiosities, like this statue of a running fish (?) in Sekiu, or the world's largest frying pan in Long Beach:

In a small town called Westport, I stop at Brady's Oysters, which is meant to kick ass. I somehow manage to spunk forty bucks on wild smoked chinook salmon that is out of this world, smoked ling (good), a few oysters, some crab and a couple of pounds of pickled herrings that are a particular weakness of mine. I grab a polystyrene eski, fill it with ice, add a six pack of beer and now have a travel fridge in the trunk of the 'stang.

But really, the whole thrill of the RT (abbreviating it makes me feel even less culpable) is what you see behind the wheel. It's not knowing exactly what is round the next corner, bar two yellow lines and some breathtaking views. And it's getting used to the fact that you have to drive past so many places where you really want to stop, and stop at some where you don't. I try and pull over for the viewpoints, but they're normally crap for photos. The only exception so far being this spot on Lake Crescent, where the sun shone through the trees, round about the time that some honest guy was pulling his pants down back in Port Townsend...

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