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Friday, January 10, 2014

POST 1210; JANUARY 10, 2014; PORT ANGELES, WASHINGTON



As pleasant as it is to sleep inside our MPV (Mazda Van), it requires me to become a contorsionist to get out.  The back door handle has broken, requiring me to clamber over the front seats to exit through the front door.  There is little enough room between the front seats to twist and contort my body.  Found the best approach is to lie on my back, feet toward the front of the vehicle, and slither between the 8" space into the drivers seat.  One advantage is that I am becoming a bit more flexible, which cannot hurt these old bones and sinews.



Set out before sun up to walk US 20 the 17 miles to Port Angeles, only to find that the DOT (Department of Transportation), State of Washington, has seen fit to make US 20 a divided highway...and have the audacity to identify it as a freeway...no walking on the freeway.  It is no more a freeway than I am Santa Clause.  The entire roadway is NOT limited access.  At best, it is simply a divided roadway, accessible in the entire US of A to all modes of movement, including walking.

In any event, I returned to our MPV and drove to Port Angeles, where we parked.  Then walked back East on US 20 (no longer called a freeway) to Sequim.

It is considerably warmer.  No appreciable wind.  Still overcast and heavy humidity in the air.  Started out with a heavy body, putting a strain on the ole' body.  Stopped at a convenience store to purchase one of those magical "5 - hour" bottles of energy.  Those things really do work.  Within 5 minutes, my heaviness vanished and I breezed through the next 3 hours of walking.


Came across this rendering of the Olympic Peninsula (finally found how to spell it).  We are presently in the large town (small city) of Port Angeles, Washington, on the Southern Shore of the Straits of Juan de Fuca as it enters from the Pacific Ocean into the SALISH Sea (Puget Sound).  To reach the Columbia River at the Oregon border, we will nearly circumnavigate the Olympic Mountains.

Historic Note:  My Mother's family were part of the California 49'ers Gold Rush back in the mid 1800s.  They invested their new wealth in land in what is today Port Angeles...speculating that the cross-USA railroad would terminate at Port Angeles.  To their disappointment, the railroad stopped at Seattle, some 100 miles to the East.  Not to be totally wiped out, some members opened new gold mines in the Cascade Mountains adjacent to the Canadian border, where many family members worked the sites.  Mother's Brother, Leo, was one of the prospectors.  Leo promised to take me to the claims, but he never did.



The above is the fabled "18 - Wheeler" which roars past my shoulder 12 inches away as I walk the by-ways of America's roadways.  It was one of these rigs - including 60 foot long trailer - in which I learned to drive.  My first "solo" was when I was 12.  Got my license - driving such a rig loaded with lumber from the small logging town of Republic - near Spokane, Washington, - when I was 14.  Dad was a good liar...and I aced both the written and driving (including backing up) tests.

As youngsters, my siblings and I were implicitly trusted is nearly all things.  Such trust has served me well...as it still does as we thrust our way through this challenging life.  Why, I soloed my first airplane after only 45 minutes of ground and in-the-air instruction...also at 12 years of age.

To this date, I have yet to put my first scratch on bicycle, car, truck, airplane, or yacht.  To do so would be a horrific failure on my part.



Walking US 20 this morning, I came upon this tray of 6-inch Herring.  Scandinavians would pickle these guys and make din din out of them.  Folks from Port Angeles use them for quite a different purpose.  They are heavily salted to firm up the flesh...then attached to a fishing line, using two hooks imputing a slight bend into the herring body to make the "fish bait" limp through the water as would an injured herring.  The entire purpose to to entice...the Pacific Salmon...to strike the herring bait.  Local Port Angeles salt waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca abound year round with salmon...at this time of year - Winter - one can catch "Blackmouth" aka "King" Salmon upwards to 25 or so pounds.

At other times of the year, different species of salmon, along with Ling Cod, Halibut, and even the occasional shark will find the above herring bait enticing.


Two years ago, Jerry opened the above "old time bait shop" in Port Angeles.  Offering a wide range of fishing equipment, Jerry's $100,000.00 inventory is certain to contain at least one special lure to complete a successful fishing trip.  One need only fish from the shore...for certain types of Salmon (Steelhead, for example), or boat a few yards off shore to catch the fabled Salmon.



Some successful Port Angeles fisherman.

Yes, I too am a Salmon fisherman...for my entire life, beginning as a "babe in arms" of a few weeks old, when I, lying inside an Apple Box, was taken by row boat into the waters of the Puget Sound (SALISH SEA) back during the mid 1930's days of the Great Depression.  Truth be told though, I could not hold a candle to little brother, Jim...now there was a fisherman !!!   When no one was catching fish, Jim ALWAYS came home with the Salmon...regretfully, Jim passed away back in 2008...and I converse with him almost daily...after all, he and I shared the same bed for my first 10 years.   Often I have said I spent more years in bed with Jim that did his three wives !



Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, is a stone throw across the Straits of Juan de Fuca from Port Angeles.  Travel overseas is but a short boat ride from where I set in yet another Safeway Supermarket in Port Angeles, producing today's offering.  I have many times visited Victoria...and old-time English City well worth the time to visit.









On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks play the New Orleans Saints NFL Football team.

The town of Port Angeles is all a gaga over the Seahawks.  Every business marquee is promoting the Hawks.  Without question, Port Angeles is promoting the Seahawks more than any other town I have walked through.

Seems the Seahawks have historically supported local Port Angeles high school athletics...and the town does not forget.



Gasoline, Guns, Coffee, Besanies (Hats), Beer, and Seahawks go together in Port Angeles.



...as does the national newspaper USA TODAY, who have placed the Seahawks "12th MAN" on the front page.



Now, here is something new.  NISSAN has produced a vehicle which has been evolved into a mini-camper.  This vehicle, sporting a single bed, a small stove, and porta-pottie, is advertised at $70,000.00...

OH, MY !


No Washington town would be complete without a EXPRESSO on each corner.  Port Angeles, too.



A local private home with a rather good model of a sail boat welcoming guests to the front door.

* * * * * * * * * *

I have not walked this afternoon.  It is now 1500 hours (3:00 pm).  A massive weather front is about to come down upon this area; i.e., out of the Pacific Ocean, slamming into the Olympic Peninsula with up to 4 inches of rain and heavy winds purported to last for at least the next 24 hours.

I have elected to stay put in Port Angeles to weather this storm.

The next town, world - famous Forks - is some 40 miles distant...too far for me to walk in one day.  So, may stay two nights in Port Angeles, walking the interesting streets and marinas to be found here.  Also, there is the nearby Ski Resort, Hurricane Ridge, only a short drive from down town.  If the road is clear of snow, may take a drive up to the resort...for the magnificent views into the center (the Olympic Mountains form a "circle" with a wide mountain VALLEY in the center) of the wilds of the Olympic Mountain Rain Forest...which features a herd of some of the world's largest ELK...featured in film by Walt Disney some years ago...and which I, some years ago, had the pleasure to hunt.

Yes, I have been a life-time hunter...until I was personally attacked by a three-point deer, which nearly killed me...but that is another story...


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