After finishing up my business in Vancouver, it was time to drive back down to Seattle. While the drive north took about three hours, I wanted to allot myself a little more time on the drive back, as I wanted to stop along the way to take pictures.
I know. You're surprised.
I left Vancouver about 10:00am, and pointed the Ford Escape south. The drive was uneventful until I got to the border. The crossing at Peace Arch Park was pretty packed. Advisory signs said the back-up was around 70 minutes, but I think it went a little more quickly than that. Not much more, but a little:
|The border entry at Peace Arch Park...|
After getting through the border, I got a text from my buddy Sam, who lives in Yakima, Washington. I wouldn't get to see him, unfortunately, but he wanted to give me a travel tip. He advised me to take Chukanut Drive at exit 250. The photo ops, he assured me, were spectacular.
I took his advice and, almost before I knew it, I was steering off of I-5 and onto surface streets. I made the left turn at 12th Street (like the guy at the AM/PM told me to, and I was on my way. I wasn't sure what I'd find, but I was told that the road followed along the coast overlooking Puget Sound. What I saw was, as Sam said it would be, pretty damned spectacular.
The lighting wasn't the best, as it was pretty overcast for the majority of my drive. I wasn't about to let that stop me, though, and I stopped several times to get some shots that, I'd hoped, would be better than the last:
|A small cove along Chukanut Drive...|
|Overlooking Puget Sound. I think this part is known as Samish Bay...|
The road turned in from the coast, and started to wind its way inland a little bit. In the middle of nowhere was the Oyster Creek Inn. Washingtonians, I guess, like their oysters as, apparently, they have inns and creeks named for them. I didn't go inside (the proprietor gave me a particular look when she saw me taking photos which suggested I might not be welcomed), but did want to get a shot of this restaurant which was ten miles from anywhere:
|The Oyster Creek Inn...|
After driving through the rugged terrain of the coast, the road seemed to flatten out and the road got straighter. I pulled over in a clearing and saw some train tracks. Hey, everyone likes pictures of train tracks, so I figured "What the Hell?"
Well, as I walked towards the tracks, I found it to be, surprisingly, uninspiring. There wasn't anything wrong with them, mind you, they were just... railroad tracks. What I saw, though, along the side of the tracks surprised me. Blackberries. Thousands of them, growing wild, right out there in the open. No fences, no "BACK OFF MY BLACKBERRIES" signs; nothing. As far as I could see, there were blackberries. For some reason, all I could think of was "blackberry wine". I don't know why I thought about that, as I'm pretty sure I wouldn't even like it. But, there it was.
And, hey, everyone likes pictures of blackberries, right?
Of course, I love shooting (and this is well chronicled here) old barns. The more dilapidated a barn is, the more I like it. Well, the Pacific Northwest's got 'em. I saw a lot of them off in the distance, but many of them looked like they might be on roads that probably weren't programmed into my GPS (aka "Lola"). Still, I managed to shoot a couple of them:
|I love the over-growth on this one. It may well have been what was holding the entire structure upright...|
|The barn on the right is about as dilapidated as a barn can get without falling over...|
The drive proved to be relaxing, despite how long it tool. I didn't get to my hotel, by Seattle International, until about 3:30pm, but I felt like I'd been driving for, maybe, only two hours. I have to attribute that to my ride, a 2011 Ford Escape. I'd rented an Escape a couple years ago, and swore I would never do it again. However, this was the least expensive vehicle Budget had, so I jumped on it. I'm glad I did; it's a pretty nice ride:
After getting settled into my suite (don't be hatin'), I called my buddy Scott to see if he wanted to meet for some dinner. Scott called another friend, Steve, and they met me at the hotel. We drove down to a little town called Des Moines to have dinner at Anthony's Home Port. I ate too much. I'm pretty sure it was the bowl of what was just about the best clam chowder I've ever had that did me in. Before dining, though, we walked around the restaurant towards the water to check out some of the boats in the marina:
|Some of the MANY boats in the marina...|
Steve and Scott dropped me off at my hotel, and we said our goodbyes. Steve was gracious enough to buy dinner; guess I'll have to pony up next time!
I've got some office work to catch up on tomorrow and, I have to tell you, if you have office work to catch up on, a swanky hotel suite beats the Hell out of just about any office I can imagine. After getting that done, I've got some thing on my agenda that I hope to get done, consisting of, primarily, touristy stuff. I'm hoping the weather holds out (it's been, for the most part, amazing since I've been up here), as I want to hit the Seattle Space Needle, Admiral Hill (for a spectacular view of the city) and Pike Place Market.
I may even take some time to drive over to Renton and pay my respects to Jimi...