First order of business was to get up and over the Astoria Bridge. Crossing
this thing always reminds me of going up on a roller coaster, first
the long slow climb, then a sharp turn to the left, then down, down,
down you drop to the bottom. If the wind is blowing, it becomes
even more exciting. Today, no wind.
Today we'll be traveling familiar roads. Hwy 101 north takes you
through heavily wooded hillsides on your right with coastal marshes
on your left. The deep undergrowth seems to get thicker the further
north you go. I comment to Linda that Washington is just Oregon
on steroids. If you like Oregon, you'll love Washington. Back here,
away from Seattle traffic, you easily understand why they call it
the Emerald State.
Highway 101 takes you through several little towns, Ilwaco being
one of the first. The highway runs right past a small river where
there was a fisherman in a "fold-a-boat" trying his luck.
This is some pretty country to live in (photos 1,2,3). As
we passed though first one small town and then another, I noticed
that most of them were getting dressed up for the Fourth of July
weekend. We see fireworks stands for the first time. One such stand
was located in a large commercial size tent with tables stacked
with fireworks of all types. Who's buying these things in this little
town? Most of these little towns have put out small flags or at
least red, white, and blue lamp post decorations. It seems that
"Independence" Day is taken more seriously out here where
independence itself seems a more common character trait. Then again,
maybe I'm making too much of simple decorations.
As we enter Raymond, we start to see lots and lots of steel sculptures
on both sides of the road. These run the gamut from fish, deer,
bears, kids and whole families. They seem to be everywhere (photos
4,5,6). We decide to stop at the local information center and
ask about them. They direct us to "Ugly Ed's" a store
that sells new and used items and who are apparently the largest
dealer of these steel sculptures in town (photo 7). They
were the idea of someone in the Chamber of Commerce and a local
artist makes them for any merchant to sell. Apparently the town's
people have received them with mixed emotions. By the way, we met
Ugly Ed himself. He told us he asked his three-year-old grand daughter
if she wanted to play and she responded that he was ugly. There
you have it folks, out of the mouth of babes a store is named.
The good thing about riding back roads is that often you are on
the road by yourself. You have mile after mile of casual riding
with nothing to do but enjoy the scenery. The bad side is that if
you get behind a trailer, or worse, several cars, trucks, and trailers,
you are pretty much stuck for several, often many miles. Such was
the case as we got on Hwy 3 towards Bremerton. A travel trailer
was holding us all back and would not get over. Just about the time
I'm thinking dangerous thoughts, Linda tells me to pull over at
a Mc Donald's in Belfair so we can get something to drink and to
hopefully let this guy get way ahead of us. It was a nice diversion.
Wouldn't you know it, when we get back on the road, not a half a
mile ahead was the first passing lanes we had seen in ten miles.
As we're heading up Hwy 3, which has now turned to freeway, we
pass an older gentleman, with a gray beard and hair, black, three-quarters
helmet, shorts and shoes, and that's about it. When we came up from
behind, I at first thought he was naked. With temps in the 60's,
I figure he must be native to these parts. He was riding an Aspenglade
Goldwing. He smiled and waved as we passed in our riding jackets,
full helmets, boots, and long pants. Hey, to each his own. My first
thought was that I just hope the boy stays upright. My second was
that at a certain age, most of us look better with clothes on. My
last thought was, "This is what I have to look forward to when
I get really old."
As about 2:10 we pull into Brian, Tami, and Chris'. I've included
a last picture of the sunset over the Olympic Mountains out their
front window, close up (photo 8). Another good day.
Today's Route: IS101N to Raymond, SR 107 to Elma, SR
8 to SR108 to SR 3 to SR 305 to Poulsbo.