T-12 hrs: First $50 tank of gas in 20 years. Road trip scheduled.
T-4 hrs: Portland traffic sucks.
T-3 hrs, 50 min: Washington’s strip of Interstate 5 more scenic than Oregon’s. Kinda miss the nuclear power plant cooling tower, though.
T- 2 hrs, 2 min: Bizarre place names popping up: Skokomish, Humptulips, Cloquallum, Tshletshy. Sounds like an alcoholic narrating Dr. Seuss.
T-1 hr, 57 min: Lobby in any forest ranger station: A. Historical black and white photos of men standing on things they just chopped down; B. Taxidermy exhibit from 1958 featuring rodents, things that eat rodents, and rodents; C. Exhausted folding map that looks like 55-year-old trucker kept it tucked down his crack across three states; C. Entire building stuffy and warm and smelling of manila envelopes.
T-1 hr, 32 min: Highway 101 is waaay prettier the farther north you–Holy crap, madrones!
T-1 hr, 22 min: Ten miles of purring and grinning like idiot as huge Arbutus menziesii roll by.
T-1 hr, 17 min: Second handmade “Women for Trump” sign nailed to tree in ten miles. Lock doors.
T-1 hr, 15 min: Hood Canal in Puget Sound is weird pale tropical blue, like toilet bowl cleaner mixed with milk.
T-55 min: See majestic peaks of the Olympic Mountains across Port Angeles Harbor, suppress urge to cry. Don’t think about Colorado, don’t think about Colorado, don’t think about Colorado….
T-49 min: $25 entrance fee for Olympic National Forest?! [Insert stream of expletives]
T-19 min: Straight to Straight of Juan de Fuca, instead. Same weird blue color with more oceany hues farther out.
T-0: Ediz Hook, farthest north I’ve ever been on the west coast.
T+1 min: Fuck, legs are stiff.
T+5 min: So, that’s Canada.
T+5 min, 17 sec: Wonder if can see any Canadians through binocu…Nope.
T+5 min, 21 sec: Beach empty. Jellyfish?…Nope. Orcas?…Nuh-uh. Pelicans?…No chance. Wait a minute–Arizonans!
T+3 hrs: People from Tuscon are really friendly. Woulda thought the desert heat affected their brains.
T+3 hrs, 4 min: Harbor seal plays in surf, very close. We name him Sammy.
T+3 hrs, 15 min: Face feels little warm, gonna check it out in the rear view mir–SHIT!
T+3 hrs, 15 min, 13 sec: Hope this sunscreen behind the seat’s still good.
(Monster pano #3)T+3 hrs, 32 min: Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
T+3 hrs, 34 min: Trail down to Dungeness Spit hot as hell, face throbbing in time with elevated heart rate, water bottle seems very small.
T+4 hrs, 19 min: Saw this once in Better Homes and Hovels, the Castaway Edition.
T+4 hrs, 31 min, 19 sec: Feeling woozy, losing will to go on.
T+7 hrs: Nonstop NPR on drive home to distract from first degree burns. Democratic National Convention speeches mark first time moved to happy tears during an election year. Experience pride in country.
T+7 hrs, 55 min: Portland traffic closes around vehicle, national pride dwindles, replaced with intense need for something with cheese on it and an Advil, which is still American. The drugs, not the cheese.
T+9 hrs, 7 min: Home. Fuck, legs are stiff.
T+18 hrs: Coffee. Still shocky morning after, like a minor car wreck on the tenth day of the flu. Face now Pantone 187. Resolve not to re-enter society for 72 hours. Self-treat with cheese and You Tube.
T+18 hrs, 35 min: Lower Washington beaches look interesting on map….
- * * * * *
*Caffeinated Owl Chart at the top by the amazing Dave Mottram.
July 26, 2016