Half awake, we meet in the Albertsons parking lot. It’s 6:05 am, still dark. Brian and Christina in Brian’s WRX and James and I in James’s Legacy, we leave for the Edmonds ferry terminal. Ahead of us is a long drive to the northwest corner of mainland USA. The reason for this trip, just because.
Once on the ferry, we climb up to the breezy top deck. The ferry is bearing west towards Kingston, away from the vibrant sunrise. The chill of the fresh, Puget Sound air working in conjunction with the caffeine in my bloodstream wake me from my drowsy state. Fresh open air on the water, great sunrise, coffee, and an adventure ahead, it’s a good morning.
You may be asking, “Where’s the Xterra?” It’s at home, in need of new tires and an alignment. This is a Subaru adventure, let’s just call it a prequel to the Xterra adventures to come. Either way, adventure is adventure.
First stop, Hudson Point Cafe in Port Townsend. We pick a booth where we’ll enjoy a nice breakfast in the quaint port town. Under the glass table top is an old nautical map of the San Juan islands. I LOVE MAPS! Of the breakfast items ordered, the best IMO were the crab cakes that James ordered. It was pretty much eggs Benedict with crab cakes instead of Canadian bacon. Highly recommended. Port Townsend gives off an old-timey, artsy feel as you drive through Water Street flanked with Victorian buildings with small-town shops and art galleries, complete with a company that builds tiny houses. I’ll need to find an opportunity to spend some time here in the future. Maybe I’ll find an old map or two in an antiques shop.
The road to Neah Bay consists of Highway 101 and Highway 112. Though 101 has good views of the Olympic Mountains, it is a bit crowded. On the other hand, there’s much spirited driving fun to be had on Highway 112.
Highway 112 is full of windy bits and it’s a great driving road. Adventure isn’t just about the destination, it’s also about how you get there. An earlier rainstorm had left the road in damp condition but was no match for Subaru’s confidence inspiring symmetric all wheel drive. Love- it’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru.
Our destination in Neah Bay greets us with two large Makah statues, you can’t miss it. Visiting the Makah Museum is a must when in Neah Bay. The museum displays artifacts excavated from the site of Ozette, a Makah village that got buried by a land slide. At the museum, you can also buy the recreation permit required for visiting Cape Flattery.
The Cape Flattery Trail is 1.5 miles round trip and very well maintained. The short hike has a fantasy wonderland feel thanks to the wooden boardwalk and steps made of log cross sections. Ahead of me, I overhear Christina saying something about unicorn blood. I hope it’s a Harry Potter reference.
The water swirls around rocks as it swells with each wave from the Pacific. The rocky features of Cape Flattery juts out of the water and are topped with green foliage. Deep sea caves are carved into the crags, most likely containing a ton of hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. “Whales!” We crowd around the edge of the viewpoint and search the water surface. And there it is, a spout of water followed by a slick back, and ending with the tail. Two gray whales are swimming past right in front of us. Everyone around us are watching silently, with the sound of clicking shutters in the background. I don’t have photographic evidence of this, but some things are better enjoyed without having a camera in the way. (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it :P) Feeling great, we hike back to our cars and begin our long and tiring drive back home as the light turns to darkness.
We end the day at Pasteur’s. There’s nothing quite like a hot bowl of pho on a cold drizzly night at the end of a full day. It was a good day. We saw great scenery and drove some nice roads. It would have been a perfect day only if it wasn’t for just one thing. A near catastrophic failure to pass a truck against oncoming traffic in the dark that I don’t care to retell. Lets just say that James and I won’t be passing any cars in the dark anytime soon, or ever for that matter. Still shaken up from the incident, the what-if’s and alternate outcomes race through our minds. Lucky for us, there is a cure for such anxieties and fears. A cure that quiets our minds and brings us comfort. Pho. Thank God for pho.