Washington – Days 1-5: America’s Rainforest, A Magical Mountain, and the not so Rainy City

My first full day in Washington I took a number of detours on my way to the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park. The first detour was for the World’s Largest Sitka Spruce tree. I just couldn’t miss that. I thought I’d seen big trees before, but this one had to have been at least 30’ around. Now, that’s a BIG tree.

World's Largest Sitka Spruce Tree, Washington.

World’s Largest Sitka Spruce Tree, Washington.

I also stopped to see a large cedar tree, which was equally impressive. I then went to Ruby Beach. My host the night before said every time he tried to go to the Hoh Rainforest he only ever made it as far as Ruby Beach.  There were SO MANY people there! I parked right by the entrance and had to walk a solid five minutes down the rest of the road to get to the path to the beach. The path to the beach itself was a solid seven or so minutes downhill with thick bushes on either side. It was kind of neat; all the bushes surrounding the trail completely concealed the beach, so when I finally got there it was like, oh hey, look a beach! Though the bushes were so think that later I found it surprisingly difficult to find my way back to the trailhead.

Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, WA.

Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, WA.

My trip doesn’t feel like vacation; to me it’s just me living my life. That being said, I completely missed that it was Memorial Day weekend, and that as such EVERYONE would be out and about. (Which totally explains why Ruby Beach was so packed…) So, by the time I finally made it to the Hoh Rainforest I had to wait to get into the park for a solid thirty or so minutes because they were only letting cars in when cars came out because there literally weren’t enough parking spaces. No worries though I eventually made it in.

Prior to this trip, and in fact, until relatively recently, I had no idea we had a rainforest in the United States. Actually, we have a couple. The rainforest wasn’t what I’d expected, but it was still pretty neat. It was much cooler than I would’ve thought, though it was still humid and sticky feeling, just in a cold, damp sort of way so that was interesting. I took the Spruce Nature Trail and it had some pretty incredible views.

Spruce Nature Trail, Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park, WA.

Spruce Nature Trail, Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park, WA.

After the Rainforest my mom’s cousin Bekah (my second cousin?) took me out to dinner on the peninsula across from Seattle. That night we had a chill night and stayed in and watched How to Be Single with Rebel Wilson, which is a surprisingly good movie.

The following day Bekah took me to Mt. Rainier National Park. We went all the way up to where there was still snow on the ground on Mt. Rainier, but decided not to hike in the snow, so went back to a lower altitude to hike. We ended up doing the Trail of Shadows/Rampart Ridge loop. The hike was super fun and the views were excellent.

View of Mt. Rainier from Rampart Ridge trail, Mt. Rainier National Park, WA.

View of Mt. Rainier from Rampart Ridge trail, Mt. Rainier National Park, WA.

I swear that mountain is so beautiful it looks like it’s been Photoshopped. After our adventure at Mt. Rainier I packed and reorganized my stuff a bit and then Bekah’s friend came over and we had pizza and watched Melissa McCarthy in the movie Spy. It had just enough twists to make me go, wait, what?!

The next day I made it to Seattle and checked out the original Starbucks and went to Pike Place Market. In Pike Place Market made friends with a guy named David in one of the bookstores. He was awesome and told me how to find the Gum Wall.

Kind of gross, but also kind of cool, Gum Wall, Seattle, WA.

Kind of gross, but also kind of cool, Gum Wall, Seattle, WA.

I wandered around some more and sampled some Beecher’s cheese and though it was expensive decided to do both the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum and the Space Needle. I waited to do the after seven combo though so the price would be cheaper.

I’ve seen Chihuly’s work elsewhere on my trip, so it was fun to get to see an entire museum of his work. I especially liked the Ikebana and flair boats:

Ikebana and flair boats, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, WA.

Ikebana and flair boats, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, WA.

I almost didn’t go up the Space Needle because it’s so expensive, but it was TOTALLY WORTH IT! Wow! It was such a beautiful day that the views were spectacular. I could’ve stayed up there for hours. I got hungry though, so eventually I left to go find some food.

View of Seattle from the Space Needle, Seattle, WA.

View of Seattle from the Space Needle, Seattle, WA.

As it happens, my Couchsurfing host in Seattle was a cannabis farmer. He didn’t smoke though, which I found ironic. Some people were going to a dispensary and I figured, hey, what the heck, I should check it out, right?

So I tagged along. I was actually pretty impressed. They hardcore checked IDs. The guy almost didn’t let me in because he was convinced my Arkansas license was a fake. It’s not. Eventually, he did let me in though. Inside it sort of reminded me of a combination of a comic book store and a liquor store. A comic book store because everyone who worked there seemed really excited and knowledgeable and liquor store because everything was behind the counter on shelves. Oh, and did I mention they had a menu? Yep. It told you the names of different types and what percentages of each strand they were and gave you descriptions for the edibles. It was kind of cool.

The sun rises so early so far north! I had no idea. I woke up at 5:15 a.m. the next morning as the sun peeked in at me through the window. I checked my phone and learned it wouldn’t set until 9:00 p.m. What?! So. Much. Daylight.

I drove to my great-aunt’s house and had lunch and dropped off my stuff so I could take Charlie (my car) to get detailed. I had a Groupon for $75, but since I was selling him I let the guy talk me in to adding on a few additional services for an extra $225. Yikes. But I really needed him to be in tip-top shape to sell him…

SEVEN hours later, Charlie looked like a new man. And as an extra bonus, Omar, the guy who detailed him, offered to come by my aunt’s house after he finished working and fix the annoying clicking sound that Charlie used to make when the air or heat was all the way on. Woo!

Charlie all clean and fancy and ready to sell on his last day of our road trip together.

Charlie all clean and fancy and ready to sell on his last day of our road trip together.

Later that night Omar came over and fixed Charlie and the following day Charlie and I finished up some last minute errands. We went to the Post Office and Goodwill. We stopped by Jiffy Lube and got a top off on oil and then drove across town to show him to his potential new owner. That first guy was a bust, but the next girl became Charlie’s new first lady. She seemed pretty nice, and I came out $2,500 richer (less the $300 it cost to have him detailed).

Now, all that remains of Charlie is his license plate. Which I intend to take with me to Alaska and Hawaii in his honor. My little travel companion did me well. We survived 48 states, 31,521 miles, and countless hours together. For 10 nights Charlie kept me warm and safe when I had nowhere else to go. And the worst thing that happened to him on the road, aside from all the bugs committing suicide on his face, and my neglecting to give him a bath, was a couple of nails in his tires, which, fortunately, were easy fixes. It’s hard to believe our time together is over. But, we did it!

Before I head to Alaska and hangout with my new (rental) car friend, I’m taking a few days off to go visit Alex in Houston and Austin for his birthday. I shall not be blogging about it. Sorry, not sorry.

One thought on “Washington – Days 1-5: America’s Rainforest, A Magical Mountain, and the not so Rainy City

  1. Jennifer White

    What is the dealio?!?! I can’t ever see your pics on my phone!!! Ugh! Only one pic in the whole blog showed up. Please tell me it’s not due to my location…LA…Lower Arkansas!!!! LoL ??

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