From the lovely town of Humptulips, I made my way up to the Olympic National Park in the northwest of WA. After riding all day exploring more of the scenic byways of the Northwest, I have come to associate the area with the following things:
1) Logging. There are logging trucks everywhere – laden with huge trees (32 by my count on the one I was stuck behind for quite some time). As a result, there is an elaborate network of super fun logging roads (often dirt or gravel) throughout the area – to allow those trucks access to bring those pretty little trees down. And.. plenty of red woodchips that fall off of those trees riding in the back of those trucks, littering the road. And scaring the shit out of those of us on two wheels. Oh, and there are huge swaths of empty forest as a result too. I’m not knocking the industry – there are a lllooootttt of trees up here. And it looks like they’re doing it sustainably (lots of signs calling out when they were harvested last, replanted, thinned etc).
2) Espresso shacks. I’m not talking Starbucks, people. It seems you can’t turn around without seeing a little mom and pop shack on wheels selling espresso and other overcast-weather-induced-depression-lifting concoctions, with names like Java Joe’s or The Crack Shack. Okay, I made that last one up but that’s what I’d name mine if I had one. Anyway, these things are everywhere and are mobile. If the spot isn’t hopping, they can just pull it down to a better one that is.
3) Teeny ma and pa motels calling out “Free Wi-Fi!” on their signs out front (the ones with the removable letters – like McDonald’s). I don’t know why I find this interesting but they ALL seem to do it now. Just that these places are all so often outdated and kinda not so nice looking. And now they’re all offering this same high tech (and yes, simple and cheap) service. Definitely compelling for travelers these days.
Back to the Olympics. It’s amazing. And it contains a rainforest (Hoh Rainforest). Which I slept in, surrounded by moss and other moisture loving creatures (huge slugs on the tree next to my tent). A beautiful spot next to a babbling creek made for muy bueno sleeping..
Next day, I made my way up to the Makah Indian Reservation and Neah Bay, the northwesternmost point in the Lower 48 (as the Alaskans like to call us). That’s where I took this photo. If you look real hard, you might be able to see Victoria, BC. Or not.
On the way out of the reservation, I tried to do a u-turn in the middle of another logging road and “layed the bike down” (that’s nice motorcyclist speak for I dropped it). I have so much stuff on the back that instead of laying on its side, it rolled over almost upside down, like a turtle, resting on the very fragile turn signal and smashing it into a bunch of pieces. Yay!! Anyway, in addition to 547 previously useless pieces of gear, I happen to have the all-powerful duct tape. Which did the trick to get it back together to keep me legal. That makes three unfortunate incidents in 48 hours (speeding ticket, turn signal and.. $468 repair bill at the BMW dealer in Portland – in case I forgot to mention that one). Yay again! Let’s hope 3 is the magic number..