This weekend, Jenna and I did our patriotic duty to keep the national economy going. Sure, some people think that it best serves the country to fly flags and post "GOD BLESS AMERICA" on every surface available. Not us. No sir, we have a different form of patriotism. We practiced the true national religion - capitalism.
Anyway, she had planned a visit to Seattle well before the national tragedy, so we decided to do our part to help the tourism industry by renting a car and purchasing things. Things such as meals and gas and parking and books and parking and a hotel room and various tourist destinations.
For instance - after renting a car whose insurance was equal to the base daily rate, we drove into Seattle for lunch at the Alibi room. After lunch, we visited the very expensive museum called the EMP. Still not satisfied with our glorious capitalism, we drove down to Pioneer Square to visit the Elliot Bay Book Company to scam some free travel advice. Of course, we were still compelled to stimulate the economy by consuming some cookies and beverages at the cafe. Though the entertainment was free -Arthur Bradford and Jonathan Ames read from their books and were very funny - we were still good consumers since I bought a copy of Dogwalker.
A late night breakfast at Denny's followed by a morning breakfast at Allegro set us up for our tour of Western Washington. We even rode the Bainbridge ferry to start the trip, proving that we are equal opportunity travel consumers. As suggested by the great book of Seattle, we headed off to Olympic National Park, stopping in the victorian town of Port Townsend for a hot chocolate. Helping the fast-food industry, we stopped for lunch at Wendy's.
In much of this territory, there was no radio signal to be found. Luckily, we brought along Dogwalker and Jenna read the stories aloud to provide some entertainment. Though most of the stories require a suspension of disbelief within the first couple of sentences, the characters and plots are so vivid and compelling that I almost forgot that they weren't about actual people. Hours after hearing the stories, I'd find myself wondering what ever happened to Catface's sister or to the python babies.
Olympic National park was very beautiful. At the gate, our decision not to camp was reinforced by the flyer warning visitors about the threat of bears. Our first stop took us to the top of Hurricane Ridge, where we made a mini hike along the edge of a crater. We did not spot any wildlife, but the views were breathtaking. Next, we drove along the edge of the park, passing a stunning mountain lake on our way to the Hoh rainforest. Driving back into the park, we stopped to see some giant trees conveniently labeled with signs. Inside the park, we braved the mile long trail taking us through the varied habitats of the Hoh river valley. In the wildlife department, we saw only birds and slugs - no Elk or Bears. The river water was amazingly clear, with grey soil and rocks. Mosses hung from the trees and we marveled at the beauty of the only rainforest in the US.
By the time we returned to the car, it was dark in the woods, making the exit all the more exciting. We decided to drive to Aberdeen to preserve some of the coastal driving for the daylight hours. On the way, we were treated to patches of rain and a mysterious flashing light. As we barrelled on through the night, I nearly collided with a pair of very camoflagued deer. Though one of the animals was hypnotized by the headlights, the second was able to take a few steps out of the way. The ingenuity of the second deer and the stopping power of the Saturn provided time for me to drive between the two targets. After our escape, it occurred to me that I didn't really consider driving off of the road to avoid the deer. This was probably for the best as we were driving on a rather rugged road.
After passing through some very small "towns", we arrived in Aberdeen, the gateway to the ocean. We settled on the Olympic Motel, "Aberdeen's Finest" after visiting the expensive Red Lion Inn, where the night auditor told us "do not, international sign for no, avoid the Travel Lure."
We watched a little bit of the Tribute to Heroes and went to bed to ready ourselves for the next day of costal driving. On Saturday, we drove through evergreen forests maintained by various lumber companies. Though the clear cuts were striking, it was fun to compare the age of the trees with the signs posted along the highway.
We wove our way down the coast to Oregon, passing the same hitchhiker twice. The first time was on the road to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the second was on the bridge over the Columbia River. I felt just a little guilty about this, but at least he got a ride from someone. Though there were many gorgeous views, much of the highway was decidedly un-scenic.
Luckily, we decided to continue on past the first cutoff to Portland. The highway from Seaside to Tilamook was worth the extra drive as we passed tree-lined cliffs rising from the Pacific Ocean. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit the cheese factory in Tilamook for some mint chocolate chip ice cream cones.
We drove around a couple of capes and I climbed down a cliff to stick my feet in the Ocean before we headed to Portland for dinner at the Virginia Cafe. On the way, we composed postcards to our friends and read from Dogwalker.
By the time we made it back to Seattle, we were too tired to party the night away.
We went to breakfast at Jitterbug before heading off to the airport. There, we braved long lines and engaged in our final act of economic stimulation - purchasing some postcards at a newsstand. Due to increased security, I wasn't able to witness the Southwest Airlines boarding pass ritual, so this concludes the story of Jenna and Josh's trip to save the economy.