Day 3: August 4, 2008
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I was a little disappointed when I crossed the Hood Canal Floating Bridge. With a name like that, I figured it must have some sort of flexible deck but most of it was paved in asphalt and I could detect no vertical movement no matter how hard I bounced in my seat. The bridge is on WA-104 which I reached via WA-3. After about a dozen miles, I made a right turn and headed toward my destination on northbound US-101.

These places are just a few miles apart at the tip of Discovery Bay. I had heard of Fat Smitty's from several sources with the most recent being my daughter-in-law. Kayla and Fletcher had passed by here recently and, although they didn't stop, she did observe that "That looks like the kind of place your dad would stop at." I'm not sure if that was a dig at me, the restaurant, or both. Smitty's was not yet open for the day but Discovery Bay Railroad Park was and provided some good coffee and a brownie. Their menu indicates it's probably a good stop for real meals, too.

I proceeded toward my destination on westbound US-101 then switched to WA-112 west of Port Angeles. I headed even nearer the water with a pass along Crescent Beach. It turns out this is all privately owned but "the county has a deal" and the world is allowed to pass through. I learned that from the friendly fellow at the campground office who also told me of a general store and museum just up the road in Joyce.

The Joyce General Store is a true classic; Everything you could possibly need including the town post office. The museum is housed in the 1915 log depot and has some interesting stuff like the 1915 Republic truck. It also has Margaret. Margaret is a fountain of knowledge including the fact that Port Angeles was patterned after Cincinnati, Ohio. She told me this after learning where I lived then found the supporting passage in a local history book. Some of the streets matched but not all. I need to do some research on Cincinnati streets of the 1800s. She also told me that I had just missed Joyce Daze and what the museum didn't have was the 250 blackberry pies that had lined its shelves on Saturday.

But the main thing Margaret told me was to see Crescent Lake. My choice of WA-112 was basically sound - it's a National Scenic Byway - but the best part was the leg to Neah Bay and I planned to miss that. I had certainly thought about it but it involved three hours of driving plus sightseeing. ("There's a museum there that you'd just have to see.") A better plan, she said, would be to head south from Joyce and reconnect with US-101 at the lake.

The first picture is from the north edge of Crescent Lake where I traced its edge on Beach Road. The others are from US-101 on the southern shore. Thank you Margaret.

This area a few miles south of Forks, is a stand-in for the dozens just like it that I passed. I do not know enough about forestry to know whether the stories behind these fields of old gray stumps are as sad as the fields look so I'll just post some pictures and continue toward my destination on southbound US-101.

I decided I had enough time to take a look at Hoh Rain Forest. Two short trails were available and I chose the shortest (est. 40 minutes). Looking back, I probably would have had time for the other (est. 90 minutes) but the shorter trail was still very cool.

Margaret had given me one other bit of advice. That was to stop at the Big Cedar Tree so when I saw the sign I turned without hesitation. Four miles of one lane gravel road brought me to this truly strange sight. Obviously some effort has been expended here. Wooden steps lead to and around the tree. They aren't actually decaying but they're not exactly well kept, either. There was, in fact, a rather spooky feel to the place. Probably just me and the tree really is impressive. All 178 feet can be seen here.

That US-101 was nearing the ocean became evident with the increasing mist. I stopped at Ruby Beach and immediately knew that this was not a Hasselhoff-Anderson-Bay Watch style beach. In the parking lot, everyone but me had on a sweat shirt or some sort of jacket. I was wearing a short sleeved shirt. A few younger folks were, like me, wearing shorts but they still sported hooded sweat shirts and the ones I saw didn't look all that happy. I walked down the trail just to the first overlook and watched as quite a few people milled about in the mist and driftwood looking, I assume, for treasure of some sort.

I also stopped at a pull-off just a bit down the road and found two men fishing in the surf. There was driftwood on the beach behind them but I guess it had already been picked clean or wasn't enough to bother with.

My day ended at the Quinault River Inn and here are views of and from my room. Next stop was at this completely self serve (Sundays & Mondays) gas station where a credit card serves to pump $4.659 gas. A blessing and a bargain when the low fuel warning is on. An excellent dinner was just down the road at the Salmon House. The last shot is essentially the view from my dinner table although I did walk down to the lake to take the picture.

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