Thursday, December 4, 2014

Northern Exposure

Leslie and I have just returned from a mad dash up to Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula.

I have very few pictures to show of the excursion, unfortunately it turned out it wasn't a picture taking type of trip, although it was sublimely postcard beautiful indeed. No time and a lot of focus elsewhere.

Sometimes the best shots are maybe the ones you keep in your mind's eye anyway. What the hell do I know? Pictures couldn't have done this one justice.

I am incredibly busy, will give a short synopsis. First day the traffic on the five was a thanksgiving parking lot all day long, Stop and go, emphasis on the stop.

We decided to check out Bravo Farms again, at the intersection of the 5 and 41, big mistake, they couldn't handle the holiday rush, took forever, food not so good this time.

 I ordered a brisket tamale, which was dry and pretty inedible, the coke machine spewed cherry coke from every port, they were out of the great fried cheese curds. After an hour waiting for the food I realized I had made a big mistake stopping for grub.

An overdone septadoyenne in round glasses, unfortunately probably tribal, decided to complain about her meal for twenty minutes or so, oblivious or maybe just not giving a shit about our icy stares as the rest of us waited impatiently in line. Some people just dig being assholes and making everybody else suffer. I had written pretty glowingly about the place recently, just goest to show you have to try a place a few times before you know you can really count on it.

We finally made it up past Sacramento, getting dark now, the traffic sloughed off a bit after the 580. We drove for a couple hours, stopped for dinner in a town that I don't have to name, in a county most known these days for growing herbal remedies. Soon as we got out of the van we were hit with a wafting cloud of pungent marijuana smoke and we started laughing to ourselves. The cavernous restaurant was filled with an interesting mix of aging hippie, redneck and logger and even a few hybrid strains in between. Lots of tattoos and fluorescent hair on the distaff princesses.

© Leslie Sommers 2014
We ended up staying nearbye in Anderson, at the GAIA resort, highly rated on either yelp or hotwire, don't remember now. Nestled under the watchful eye of Mt. Shasta, it was a very nice room and we had two swans living outside our door to boot. Nice tempered swans even.

I haven't been in the area for a long time, found myself wishing I had time to sightsee. I want to explore Lassen again. My brother, father and I took a fishing trip up here many eons ago, a hot summer in the Shasta Trinity. No time to smell the roses this trip, with a critical time schedule and a major weather front coming in as well.

We walked over to the Sacramento River with our coffee in the morning, steeling ourselves for what was to be a long day driving to Washington.  Not a lot to report, we stopped off at a great health food store I remembered from decades ago in Eugene, Sundance. Leslie was in heaven, buying wonderful curries and teas and making herself a delicious salad.. I sampled some of the famous local goat and cow cheese, Fraga Farms herbed chevre, a local grass pastured cheddar de vaché.

We pulled into Olympia in the dark, found a decent place to crash. Cold weather now, we are feeling frosty in the morning. Went to the New Moon Cooperative Cafe for breakfast. A young idealistic hippie sort of place, I cracked a joke about preferring noncooperative restaurants that didn't go over too well with the doey eyed server. We were all young once, weren't we?

I had a beautifully prepared forest mushroom and gruyere omelet and Leslie had something great as well. Good find.

Made our way up to our destination near Port Townshend.  Worked our asses off for a day and got a tremendous amount accomplished, everybody grabbing an oar.

Snow covered the cliff on the beautiful japanese themed estate and the difference in the weather in two weeks time was remarkable. Our hosts were wonderful. The culmination of a year's work, I hope to make everybody very happy. This trip was the tangible start. I am grateful.

Had dinner that night at a place called Scampi, about half the normal socal price for incredible alaskan cod.

We let out early the next day, the serious work trip leaving us with no extra time to dawdle. Instead of getting back on the Kingston - Edmonds ferry we decided to take the icy 101 around the peninsula back to Olympia. It is shorter and we could skip Seattle traffic, which is terrible.

I am so happy we took this trip. Breathtaking. Giant conifers flocked with snow, frozen waterfalls, The Olympic is one of the five most beautiful places I have ever been. RIGHT NOW!

I wish I had a picture worthy of showing you but I don't. Must return another winter and explore. Stunning and special, it has certain aesthetic charms that simply don't exist anywhere else that I know of. Icy roads, dangerous, but the payoff was large.

We stopped in Hoodsfort to grab a coffee on the way out the Hood Canal. Stopped at the excellent Hoodsport Coffee. I ordered a strudel and coffee and then somehow we started talking about ice cream and I guess the folks in Olympia fancy that their ice cream is the best anywhere and suddenly we were trying special pumpkin praline and double fudge rocky road and a serious peach melba. Amazing stuff. Proprietor looked a lot like my old friend Shawn Mayes.

Drove through Skohomish, a Salish tribal center and caught a view of a bald eagle on a log post.

We stopped and I got a few barely adequate shots of the raptor. Made it back through, won't belabor it, received a weird phone call en route from my mother telling us to prepare for anything. Cryptic. I understand a bit more now and will try to come back and explain soon.

We drove all day yesterday in the pouring rain, California getting a well deserved drink. I drive pretty well until dark and then I am worthless. Cataract operation tuesday, first one anyway. Got home around 10:30, pitstopped at Zankou in Pasadena for armenian chicken and the best shwarama I have ever tasted.

Today Leslie rescued our dog and cat and I unloaded the bounty. Hope I can recharge a bit but don't think I will have time. Cardiologist tomorrow for an ekg clearance. Nice to be home. Might be leaving again very shortly...


Sanoguy said...

Welcome home! Sounds like a great trip. May your surgery go easy and well! Take good care!

Stanley said...

Leslie looks very much in charge.