Click on any image to see a larger version.
Preface to this travel account
This travel account is far more candid than many such travelogues. We are candid about the good, bad and the ugly aspects of our other adventures elsewhere on this site, but it may be particularly noticeable in this account because our experiences on this trip were especially mixed. We had high points of the trip which were wonderful experiences, but the trip had challenges and annoyances we could have done without. All of our accounts of our travels are candid including the ones that went marvelously like our trip to Europe last year. Instead of implying that "we had a great vacation" whether we did or didn't, we believe it's important to be candid so those considering a trip to the same area get accurate information.
Since we were traveling by air, Seattle was the obvious first stop on our journey. We did the tourist thing and took the ride up the Space Needle which provides a grand 360 degree view of both the city and Puget Sound. From the top of the Space Needle, we could also see the glacier-capped mountains of the Olympic Peninsula beckoning us to the west--where we would be heading the next morning.
Heading out to the Olympic Peninsula
Watching the 2000 election returns had given me a glimmer that Washington State is strongly divided between Seattle and everything else. But I did not realize just how strong the divide was. Perhaps most surprising to the visitor is that the hospitality industry in Washington State is composed of rather inhospitable establishments.
Many areas of the state, including privately owned parts of the Olympic Peninsula, are heavily logged. The inhabitants are militant in their pro-logging stance even as it's quite apparent that most the logging towns are shrinking due to lack of work in the logging industry. Unlike Oregon to the south where a vanity strip of trees is left along the highway to hide the clearcuts, the clearcuts in Washington State come all the way to the road. There are a great many of them on the Olympic Peninsula. Adding to the shock factor for those of us unaccustomed to such sights, next to some of the clearcuts (the ones where the old growth trees have long since been clearcut) there are signs stating the year in which that area was last clearcut, and the year when it will be clearcut again.