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July 11, 2006

This morning I woke up and had half a hotdog wrapped in some garlic bread (it was all the neighbors had, but they still offered it and I was still grateful). Following that I dropped by the ranger station to pay for my campsite and ask what I should do at Mt. Rainier. The ranger gave me some suggestions, most of which I followed, and I was off.


My first stop was to walk to a small island called "Island of the Patriarchs" (I think). That was incredibly interesting. It has huge trees - trees on the order of size of Sequoias. The catch: they're not Sequoias, they're Douglas Firs and Cedars! Trees that normally live a couple hundred years that instead have lived for (some of them) over 1,000. The reason is because of their isolation on the island and protection from fire. It was definitely a sight - especially the huge Cedar.


Once I was done seeing the huge trees, I started up towards actual Mt. Rainier. The area up there is beautiful. There is an abundance of amazing flowers. I didn't take too many pictures of them, but I enjoyed walking through the meadows and finally up to a viewpoint where I could see Mt. Rainier and some of its surrounding glaciers. Seeing those giant sheets of ice I could almost imagine them receding over thousands of years and carving some of the great valleys (like Yosemite).

Hiking at an end (I'm still a little tired - I think I'm getting over a slight cold) I dropped by the snack bar and had lunch. Following that I departed for Redmond, WA. I arrived in Redmond fairly early in the day and had the oil in my motorcycle changed. Following that I tried to find Microsoft without any success. At that point it was getting late and I backtracked about 30mi to Saltwater State Park where I setup camp for the evening. When I got my oil changed I asked about getting the rear tire replaced (it's basically bald), but they didn't have one in stock.

July 12, 2006


I awoke to grey, cold, craptastic weather. And so I went back to sleep, planning to lose a day today. I woke up a little later and figured since the weather sucked and I didn't want to drive a lot I should try to get my rear tire replaced. I found another Honda shop (this one was *huge* - apparently the second largest on the West Coast if not the country). They got me taken care of in short order and pointed out that my front tire only had a couple thousand miles left on it as well. Fantastic. Sadly they did not have my front tire in stock. So, I went to a motorcycle tire place and asked them. No luck, but they called another place that had the tire. So, I drove there. The directions they gave me were a bit sketchy and I ended up stopping two times along the way to ask other people for clarifications, but I finally made it. It was, incidentally, another Honda shop. They got me taken care of quickly and by that time it was probably around 5pm.

The weather had improved a little, so I decided that I should stop screwing around and drive to Olympic National Park. So I did, and I got there right before dark. I setup camp in a state park right on the water (it's warmer than being up in the mountain) instead of in the national park and went to sleep. I should mention that Olympic National Park is on a Peninsula in Washington - which is pretty neat in my mind. Sort of reminds me of Michigan ;-).

July 13, 2006


It's morning, and looking at my itinerary I realize that I'm pretty much on schedule still (I decided to skip Puget Sound - though I did drive around the area quite a bit). Seattle and Redmond are very nice areas. My next stop should be Vancouver, but I'm seriously thinking about instead just going to North Cascades National Park. My reasoning is basically that the weather is still a little sketchy, Vancouver is probably going to end up being a large city where I'll have difficulty finding camping, and it involves crossing the border two more times. North Cascades National Park keeps me in the US until I head up to Glacier and Banff, and it shaves a day off of my itinerary (a day which got added earlier in the trip when I went nuts visiting every national park I passed in Utah). Vancouver would probably be a better place to visit with my girlfriend anyway.

So, the plan right now is to explore Olympic National Park for most of the morning and then take off for North Cascades. Wish me luck!

July 14, 2006 1:06 pm


So yesterday's plan went completely awry. Olympic National Park was probably the worst experience that I've had this far in terms of national parks. It was cold and grey, and as I headed up towards Hurricane Ridge it got colder and more damp. So, after driving maybe twenty miles into the park, I gave up. It just wasn't worth freezing to death over. As it turns out, that was probably the best decision that I've made on this trip.


However, before I did that I explored the state park that I camped at the night prior. It's a pretty cool place. It was right on the ocean, and low tide was happening just as I wandered down. So, I explored a small island (accessible during low tide) and I also looked in the small tide pools scattered all over the place. There was a lot of sealife there. I took quite a few pictures. I also rescued a crab from an anemone and fed a snail to another one. That entire time made my visit to the peninsula worthwhile in spite of Olympic.


I departed Olympic National Park and headed to Port Townsend, a nice little town on the edge of the peninsula. At that point I boarded the Keystone Ferry heading back to the mainland (though I had driven all the way into the Peninsula the day prior, taking the ferry would save me the extra 90 miles or so in addition to being just plain fun). As I was staring at a map on the passenger deck of the ferry I realized that I actually had been to Puget Sound (it's an entire area, not just one small place). That was nice, I suppose. Once back on the mainland I took off for North Cascades National Park. I made it there with plenty of sunlight left and stopped at a few spots along the road (US-20 runs through the middle of North Cascades and continues out). I made my way to a campground in the park where I immediately realized that I had run out of cash. So, I continued on to the town of Winthrop. Winthrop is a very nice town with very nice people. They were just getting ready to kick off a blues festival too, so there were tons of people. Nevertheless I got food, gas, and cash and then followed the suggestion of a kind older woman to head north into the National Forest and camp there.

I made my way to a campground about 15mi away (which cost $5 - hurray!) and setup camp. After that I was invited by the best people ever to join them at their campfire. It was a great time - undoubtedly one of the best experiences on this trip. What a night!


After passing out (and I did pass out once I made it to my tent) I slept like a rock until noon. At that point I woke up and had breakfast, thanks again to my newfound friends, and returned to my tent where I am now typing. It's about 1pm. I'm planning to pack up stuff in a bit and try to make it to Glacier National Park today. I don't know if that will actually happen, and it really doesn't matter. Yesterday was awesome, and I have an extra day from skipping Vancouver anyway.

On a final note, there are "Motorcycles Use Extreme Caution" signs all over Washington. They basically exist any time that there's road construction, and they're really quite annoying because most of the time they're completely unwarranted. Just a random side note.

Finally, this is the last journal entry for my first 1GB memory stick. I will be archiving this along with the pictures from the first 44 days of my trip. I can't believe I've been gone so long, it seems like I'm just getting started sometimes. Here's to the future!