August 4th - 7th
John & Sissy standing on the shoreline of Sinclair Inlet in Port Orchard, Washington with Bremerton in the background. We´d just finished picking blackberries so Sissy could bake a pie for dessert
A sunset sky from our campground on the shores of the Hood Canal in Hoodsport, Washington
John and fellow campers digging for clams on the beach at low tide
A view of Gig Harbor, Washington from the deck of Anthony's
John and Sissy at Anthony's in Gig Harbor
The ride north to the Seattle area on Sunday morning was going to be easy and quick because it was only about 150 miles away. After packing up and fueling the truck, it was north on I5 under threatening skies. No fear, this was Washington where it supposedly rained all the time. Whelp, it did rain, but only for a short while. Then, it was sunny and a warm 70 degrees the remainder of the drive.
People told us to stay on the western side of the Hood Canal because Seattle was having its annual Seafest celebration, and campgrounds would probably be full up all week. We took the advise and headed up Highway 101 at Shelton arriving at the Rest-A-While RV Park around lunchtime. The park, with waterfront campsites right on the canal, was just what the doctor ordered; clean, full hook-ups, level sites and friendly employees. We unhooked in record time, and then it was off in the truck (sprinkles here and there) to Port Orchard where John used to live back in the late 60´s.
We followed the Hood Canal shoreline down Highway 101 on the western side and then up the eastern side on Route 106 until reaching Port Orchard. Finding John´s old homestead was a breeze (we only made 1 wrong turn), and we stopped for pics of the neighborhood and the Bremerton Naval Shipyard across Sinclair Inlet. After cruising the hillside neighborhood for a while, John took Sissy to the place where he used to pick up his morning papers for delivery. The old fishing pier had been torn down, but the town replaced it with a new and better one. We walked onto the pier and watched the Bremerton/Seattle ferry arrive at the docks. We also talked with a 22 year old, x-sailor (John) who had been fishing all day (no luck). He was getting ready to pick some blackberries just off the pier to bring home to his family. After finding out how good the berries tasted, we picked our own for Sissy to make a pie for dessert. But first, to the local grocery store it was because we were getting short on essentials.
Back at the campground, we contacted Kyrra (Sissy´s friend) but she was sick and couldn´t see a doctor until Monday. John also contacted his friend Barry, and made arrangements with him to hook-up on Tuesday afternoon. So, Monday we had all to ourselves. We decided to go fishing all day, and that´s exactly what we did after renewing our fishing licenses at the RV park office in the morning. We packed up all of our stuff (we thought) and headed out of town to the Lake Cushman State Park first. It was about a half hour drive (we made another wrong turn) but upon arrival discovered we were the only ones there. We chatted with the park ranger about fishing in the lake, and then headed back to the truck to get our fishing gear. Whoops! John forgot to pack the fishing poles. Sissy packed her stuff and even prepared lunch, but the poles were John´s responsibility and he completely forgot them. I guess it was the excitement of being able to go fishing with his lovely wife all day long.
We tried our luck for a while (none) and then the clouds began rolling in over the Olympic Mountains blocking the sun out completely. A chilly wind was next, and then it was time to move to another fishing spot. We tried the Hoodsport Fishing Pier (free) next and then moved on to the Portlach State Park (there are many state and national parks in this area). You guessed it, we had absolutely no luck all day. We even went to a river on the Skokomish Indian Reservation where at least 50 people were fishing while wading in the middle of the river. Nobody was having any success, so we decided to head back to the campground for freshening up and taking a drive to Seattle. We headed out on a new route towards Bremerton and the ferry thinking it would be faster getting there. You guessed it again, we drove faster but ended up consuming over an hour. We decided instead, to head back to the campground for the rest of the day. Besides, Sissy wasn´t feeling well and needed a nap. She crashed in the truck on the drive back, and immediately flopped onto the bed once reaching the camper.
Tuesday morning began very early for two reasons. First, we hit the sack early the night before and second, because John was taking a bike ride in the morning before digging for clams at 0930. Clams were allowed to be taken from the shoreline at low tide on only 1 day. And, if John had anything to say about it, he was going digging! But first, it was time for his bike ride at about 0700. The sun had risen (it was above the clouds and we couldn´t see it) so it was off on Highway 101 he went. Not long thereafter (about an hour) he returned shivering as he walked in the trailer door. "I´m freezing" he spouted as he quickly shed his leathers and cranked up the heater. The plan was for him to ride all the way to Gorst, but he only made is as far as Belfair before turning around.
"Hurry up Sissy" it´s almost time to go dig for clams. Of course, she didn´t want to dig herself, but she was more than willing to take pics of the many campers participating in the activity. Sissy took many pics of John and others getting completely smelly and dirty while digging. The limit was 40 clams each, and John was able to get 36 before deciding to quit. In the bucket they went; one at a time and sometimes while still squirting the salt water out. "These are going to be good" he said, but Sissy wasn´t planning on eating any. John was though, and he even thought about cooking clam chowder on Wednesday. The experts told us to leave them in the bucket overnight and to change the salt water every so often so the clams could purge themselves of dirt and mud.
Ok, ok, ok ... after all that work it was time for a quick nap before taking showers and heading out to Gig Harbor. John's friend Barry and his wife Mary had invited us to their home and then out to dinner in their home town. But first, fuel for the truck was on the agenda. We headed out of Hoodsport and toward Port Orchard. We located a Texaco station in Belfair that had diesel fuel, so we pulled over and topped off the tank. Then it was southbound to Gig Harbor.
Barry's directions were perfect! We arrived at their home at about 1630, and socialized on the deck sipping wine and eating cheese and crackers. Their daughter Holly (age 7) was a doll baby! Barry, a former co-worker with John, had moved to the Pacific Northwest after changing occupations. Holly had rehearsal for a local play in town, so off we went to bring her there before dinner. At the rehearsal site we met Barry and Mary's other daughter (Alicia - a real doll baby) and then it was time for dinner at Anthony's in Gig Harbor. John had his mind made up ... it was going to be salmon from the Pacific Ocean. Sissy settled for crab cakes, but she said they weren't as good as his salmon. Sissy really wanted her 6th bite of John's meal, but since it was the last bite, she said "No, you eat it!" Then, after it was gone, she about cried. John, of course, was just being nice by offering her the last bite ... he wasn't really going to give it to her anyway. In any event, Sissy now discovered that she loves salmon.
After dinner and a few pics, it was back to Barry and Mary's home for a little chit chat before heading back home. It was getting late and we really wanted an early start to Seattle in the morning. And, because we were going to take many pics of Seattle, we decided to end this page here and created a new one for Seattle. We arrived back at the campground about 2230 and immediately hit the sack!
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