I have a fondness for getting the fuck out of town. As much as I love Portland, I also like to leave it. Not having had a car for some time now, doing that had been kinda hard, unless I wrangled some car owner into taking me along with them when they got the fuck out of town.

At any rate, now that I am once again a CAR OWNER I decided to take one of my most favorite girls  Hilary (Hodie being always and forever my first-most-favorite girl) out of town for a driving tour of the Olympic Peninsula and Parts Yonder.

We went on what turned out to be an ACHINGLY lovely fall day. While headed north on I-5 we felt our day was blessed by a higher source; namely Jesus.

I have never really understood this particular monument to Our Lord and Savior. He’s sort of looming over the freeway. He looks kinda menacing, and vaguely bizarre perched atop that rust-colored plinth and surrounded by some other figure I can’t quite make out, and what looks like one of those death-cages for motorcycle stunts. I’ve never claimed to be particularly religious, but I would TOTALLY go to the church that sponsored a looming-motorcycle riding Jesus. That’s even better than the Buddy Christ!

We followed 5 north to Olympia and then 101 beside the Hood Canal and out around Port Angeles. The weather was stunningly beautiful. Mild and blue. I assured Hilary that this kind of weather was nigh on unprecedented for the rainiest part of the continental US. She replied that all of her firsts with me have been kind of amazing, so this is pretty much par for the course. To defend her point, she cites the 7 person lap dance of doom, and I am forced to agree with her.

My original plan had been to take her to Seattle and show her the sights. She’s from Maryland originally, so there is much tour-guidery I can impose upon her. Upon further reflection, I realized that

  1. I wanted to go back to the Olympic Hot Springs almost as much as I wanted to go on breathing
  2. Hilary would totally be in to that
  3. We could sleep in the back of my dandy new station wagon

and then there was no stopping me. So we drove for about 5 hours, but it seemed like less. As we talked about the strange statuary (see above) scattered all around the state, commented repeatedly upon the unusually glorious weather, talked about my new album of comedy country songs and it’s likely title “Prison Cheese” and featuring the breakout gospel smash “Jeusu: King of the Rodeo” the time just flew.

That being said, when we DID finally get there, we were DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED to discover that the hot springs were broken. Or, more precisely, the road to get to the hot springs were broken. Thanks a LOT Obama and your FUCKING STIMULUS DOLLARS!!! The old road was perfectly passable, except for where the tree roots had mangled the blacktop. SHEESH!

To soothe our disappointed souls and buttcheeks, we got out and looked at the view. It wasn’t so bad.

We were also consoled slightly by the fact that the typical cost of entry to the park was $15 but for some magical reason, it was a “FREE” day. I’m not sure if it was just the generosity of the semi-elderly park ranger or if there was actually a legitimate reason for it being free that day, he never bothered to explain. So we parked ourselves next to the water and engaged in various pagan rituals. We had some leftover river-float-rum-n-coke (Thanks Drew!!) and had a very relaxing evening.

It was only as the sun went down and I was a little too river-float-rum-and-coke-tastic to drive that I realized I had not really made any arrangements to camp. No reservations, no permit. Just kinda, showed up. Now, it happened that there were virtually NO OTHER PEOPLE in the park. It was probably due to the fact that most people, like me, assumed that it would pour down rain that weekend. Like it does 287 other days of the year. We had, so far had more sunshine than I have EVER seen on the peninsula, so I was feeling pretty smug, all things considered. But being that we were kinda stuck, and the park was mostly empty we decided on the following strategy: if a park ranger comes by, play dumb and mention that the guy at the booth said it was free and that we were just shocked to discover this did not include camping. Practicing my innocently confused look was exhausting.

We eventually crawled into the back of the car and hunkered down on the futon. It was quite cozy. It got a whole lot MORE cozy when, perhaps you can see this coming, IT STARTED TO RAIN!! Shocking, I know. And this was no gentle, atmospherically pleasing fall drizzle. This was pretty much a deluge. In the morning when it let up enough for Hilary to finally climb out of the car for a whiz, a neighboring camper came by and asked if we got wet. She assured him we were quite snug sleeping in the car, with it’s solid roof and windows. He and his companion meanwhile, woke up to a familiar, if unwelcome, sight for most campers in the glorious Pacific Northwest: Tent Lake. And people give me shit for my “futon in the back of the car” strategy. Suckers!

We woke up and headed back toward the mainland for our Seattle tour. However, when we stopped for gas on Bainbridge Island, Colgate decided he needed to rest longer than we wanted to stop. He effected this rest break by just failing to start. As we were some 200+ miles away from home, this was kinda stressful. After about 20 minutes of cooling down, he fired right up. I guess I’ll have to treat my new car a little more like an old pony; rest breaks after long trips.

From there we got on the ferry, which Hilary described as “The most luxurious form of public transportation in the universe” I also enjoy the ferry, but was charmed by her complete awe.

“It’s so clean!”

“This is really fancy!”

“These seats are really comfortable!”

“You can get BOOZE!!”

She liked it way more than this photo would imply

She liked it way more than this photo would imply

We landed in downtown Seattle but I was so nervous about Colgate’s intermittent ignition problems that I elected to just barrel back to Portland. Which, we did. Good times.