Port Townsend, Washington – day 1

Left for the USA this morning.   A bit sad to leave Vancouver.   I really love that city and its energy.  I think it may be both Colette and my favorite place we’ve visited so far and there have been many beautiful places along the way.  The high-rise apartments, the intense multi-culturalism, the bus/light-rail/boat transport system, the mountains looming over the city from the north, the skyline … all of it speaks deeply to me.  I can see why Vancouver is often rated among the world’s top cities.

Exiting town was a non-event.  We stopped at a Safeway and bought some apples and a deli sandwich for the road and we were off.   

We’d planed to go east and then re-enter Washington State on highway 9 but in the confusion of exiting town, we forgot that plan and thus retuned as we came; on US Interstate 5.

At the US border, I was curious to see how stringent the security would be.   I was also curious to see if Colette’s reentry would be smooth or fraught with bureaucratic fussing.   It turned out to be a non-issue.   We stopped and I handed over the passports and the fellow asked me a few questions and looked at his computer and we were good to go.   No confiscation of our deli-sandwich as a threat to American security, no interrogation of my foreign national traveling companion, jus a question about what we were doing and how we came to have a dent in the side of our rental car.

Down the road again on cruise-control.   I turned off onto Chuck-A-Nut Drive just south of Bellingham and followed it along the coast.   It’s a beautiful coastal alternative to highway 5.   It was the first road connecting Bellingham to points south.   Prior to that, boats were its only connection.   The road was completed in 1896 and it’s still a wild and beautiful bit of road today.

South … ever south to the outlet stores at the Tulalip Reservation where Colette wanted to revisit several of the stores she’d looked at on the way north.   Once there, I sat in the cafe area and played on the computer and read while she shopped.   It was a nice break from driving for me.   Oh, and there was a big chocolate cookie that I consumed as well (yum!).

She returned happily with several purchases in tow that she’d gotten at prices FAR below what she’d have paid in New Zealand and then we were off again.

During the drive today, we’d been discussing the various options before us with regard to routing and, after some discussion, we decided for various reasons to abandon the idea of going to Port Angeles and crossing to Victoria in BC.   

Instead, we opted to go to Port Townsend and check in for two nights so we can have a quiet and leisurely look about town and to rest a bit.   In fact, we’ve decided, after our experiences thus far, that it makes the best sense to spend two nights at most places where we stop so we have a full day to check things out without having to ‘up sticks’ at mid-day and scurry to the next place.

It’s been many years since I’ve been to Port Townsend but my memories of it were quite positive.   I was hoping I’d remembered well as it is a bit off the beaten track.

It was just after dark when we reached Edmonds and lined up for the ferry crossing to Kingston.   And, it was nearly 7 PM before we reached Port Townsend and checked into the Aladdin Motor Inn.  We got a nice room at the end of the building and looking out over the bay beside Port Townsend.   Colette made us a light meal of melon, granola and yogurt and I have a big can of Australian Fosters and we both fell into bed and we were out like lights.

Port Townsend, at least what we could see if it as we pulled in after dark, was as I remembered it.   A bit like Astoria, Oregon.   Old brick buildings, a slightly funky counter-culture feel to it.   Lot’s of coffee shops, antique stores, books stores and the like.   Obviously, a tourist destination in the nicer months of the year but quite quiet now.


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