Day 2 - Port Angeles -> Seaview

Trip Start Aug 30, 2012
Trip End Sep 15, 2012

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Where I stayed
The Shelburne Inn, Seaview, Long Beach, WA
What I did
Marsh's Free Museum, Long Beach, WA

Flag of United States  , Washington
Saturday, September 1, 2012

 Driven today  = 235 miles
Total = 390 miles

Weather colder this morning but still an azure blue sky. Apparently this quite unusual for this time of year in this area so we can only be thankful. Cold to start with but warmed up through the day. First photo stop of the day was at Lake Crescent, 8 miles long and 600' deep (England's Lake Windermere 11 miles long and 219' deep and Scotland's Loch Ness is 433' but 22.5 miles long) Very peaceful lake and incredibly clear. The colour probably enhanced by the forests of firs and spruces on the hills around.

We drove on along the coastal route and gradually the mountains gave way to more forestation. The area we drove through once a very busy logging area though there is very little of this industry left and the towns here are suffering. Many of the timber plantations have signs to show when they were first harvested and then the following harvests which seem to be 40-50 year cycles. We went through Forks which had a 'Logging Museum' but is now better known because it is the setting of a novel called 'Twilight' which you may know is all about teenage vampires and an incredibly successful movie. The whole town probably now survives on Twilight tourism - cafes, bookshops, stores all advertise 'Twilight' connections. And we even saw some 'Twilight firewood' on sale by the side of the road.

The road turned south and we found the only accessible beaches in the Olympic Park area. We ventured down on to Ruby Beach. We weren't the only ones though. It is a holiday here this weekend (Monday 3 September is Labor Day) and we met people heading down to the beach through the trees with portable barbeques, coal and hampers of food. The guidebook said we would see 'driftwood castles'. But we weren't prepared for the size of the driftwood. The driftwood is the trunks of trees from the forests that have been washed down to the beaches and coves when the rain is particularly heavy or when the snows melt. Some of the trunks were numbered. These show that they were once used in the rafts used by the loggers for transporting timber. We clambered around the timber to see the 'stacks' of rock in the sea and then found a beach house that someone had made from the fossilised trunks lying on the beach. Managed to rig up the timer on the camera to take a picture of us in our new 'house'. 

Headed back to the road for a lunch at a lodge which overlooked the sea and then on down to Seaview. This was a long driving day but the scenery was very changeable. We drove through a logging town called Hoquaim which has a Loggers' Play
Day in September - log rolling, axe throwing - a sort of Highland
games. We went from high mountains to bog land where cranberries are grown.  As we went further south much of the land marshy and wetland.  Oyster fishing towns such as South Bend 'the Oyster capital of the world' in the area of Willapa Bay.

We ended up at Long Beach - 28 miles of uninterrupted sandy beach. This was as far as 2 explorers Lewis and Clark reached when they were commissioned in 1804-6 on an expedition to the transcontinental coast to find a passage across the American continent. They were accompanied by a 15 year old native American Indian called Sacajawea who helped track the route (she features in the movie 'A Night at the Museum') and we found a statue of them in the town. Also plenty of friendly wildlife here - we came across deer at the back of some houses in the dunes.  We stayed at The Shelburne Inn - apparently the oldest continually running hotel in Washington State. It was, by American standards, rather old-fashioned. So no TVs or phones in the room. There was a collection of stained glass in the restaurant windows which the owners had saved from a church in Morecambe 35 years ago when it was being pulled down. Though a bit unsettling sitting in the restaurant beside a glass windows that said 'In memory of Florence May 1902'.  But although the hotel was, as Neil described it, a bit 'creepy' they did have an excellent restaurant where we had good dinner and a huge breakfast menu. Breakfast included things like a 'Chef's Daily Omelette specialising in local mushrooms picked by Inn keeper and friends'. Full menu in the photos below.

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