In 1967 my father bought a Pontiac Catalina and a dingy old travel trailer and took his girlfriend, my brother and me on a road trip. Over the next 8 weeks we drove 13,498 miles, visited 51 parks, and saw wonders like geysers, redwoods, grizzlies, and the Summer of Love in San Francisco. The trip made an indelible impression, cementing my appreciation for the natural world and the American landscape. This summer Pamela and I hope to repeat the experience for our family.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Thurday, July 22

7:45 Dave and Pamela get up early and leave our room at the Port Angeles Inn in Port Angeles, WA so we can get the oil changed in the Honda and do some laundry. Pamela gets out at a truly depressing laundromat in a seedy part of Port Angeles (not sure there's another other part). Dave proceeds to Jiffy Lube.

10:20 Check out of the Port Angeles Inn. We liked this motel, and not just because it had two twin beds and we didn't have to listen to the kids shouting "You crossed the line!" It had an incredible view of Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.

10:30 Get coffee at Bella Rose Coffee House. It was a popular hangout. Lark and Linden bought a cool coffee mug made by a Washington potter.

10:50 Arrive Olympic National Park visitors center.

11:18 Leave visitor center after getting patch, map, and postcard. Linden purchased a buffalo tooth and bead necklace from a native American gentleman selling them in the center.

12:05 Reached top of Hurricane Ridge. Found snow and celebrated Christmas in July by eating red and green Skittles and singing "This year let's have Christmas in July."

12:20 Picnicked while viewing Olympic Mountains. The highest summit, Mt. Olympus, remained in clouds, but otherwise it was a spectacular day. Fought off aggressive gray jays and hordes of chipmunks who wanted to share our picnic. Jokingly said another nearby party must have been a funeral because everybody was wearing black (jeans and tee shirts). As we left we realized it really was a funeral. Or more probably a wake. An an excellent place to have one, I must say.

2:11 Stuck in another National Park traffic jam.

3:00 Hiked to Sol Duc Falls through rain-forest like habitat (not technically rain forest because this area only gets 80 inches of rain a year, not the 200 further west on the peninsula). We feel like hobbits hiking amoung the big trees.

3:55 Decide to proceed around the peninsula and try to find a motel somewhere rather than backtrack around the peninsula. This decision takes much discussion since we are heading into an empty quarter and may wind up being on the road for many hours.

5:00 Entered Forks, WA. Bizarre combination of a down and out logging town, native Americans, all interspersed with hordes of teenagers wandering around looking for signs of vampires made famous through the "Twilight" series of novels.

5:15 After failing to find any place that sells little food items (that is, cookies), we stop at a supermarket and clean out a group of people having a bake sale. We talk with them for a while about the strange Twilight phenomenon. They laugh because the town just decided to tear down the high school and build a new one, just when thousands of people want to come to town to look at the high school.

5:50 Pass many areas along roadside that have been heavily logged.

6:00 Stop to view Pacific Ocean beach. Beautiful and desolate. No people in sight.

6:30 Stopped in Quinalt at the Rain Forest Resort Inn, a pleasant if slightly shabby motel with a fabulous view looking over Lake Quinalt. Luckily Pamela was able to snag a reservation here using her smart phone (known as her "gamemom" to the people of the back seat.

7:00 Walk across street to Salmon House Restaurant. Have a pretty good meal of salmon and trout while Lark and Linden use the breaks between courses to run wildly across the big lawn between the restaurant and the lake.

9:00 Back in motel room, Pamela and Lark engage in some personal hygiene while we listen to Jane Eyre.

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