Thursday, August 12, 2010

July 27th - Moving On


As of today, I have no agenda.  I don't have to be back at work till August 9th, and I just might stay gone until the 8th.  OK, probably not, but I like the idea of having a choice.  I haven't taken two weeks off from work since my Air Force days - unless you count times when I was unemployed and those were certainly no vacation.

Mary Anna told me about Forks and La Push, Washington.  Anyone with a teen daughter, or anyone who knows a teen daughter knows about Forks and La Push.  Of course I didn't. As it turns out, Forks and La Push Beach are the setting for the Twilight series of books and films. My niece Elyssa and my daughter in-law Jenny are major Twilight fans.  Elyssa lived with us full time from about six weeks till she was almost four years old.  She's the daughter we never had.  Jenny is the light of Cam's life, the mother of my grand daughter, and in some ways is the daughter we do have now.  I had thought of skipping the Washington leg of the coastal 101 highway and planned to hit the coast in Oregon.  But for a few more miles, I could be Elyssa's hero for maybe one more day and maybe improve my father in-law image as well.  So I headed out from Mary Anna's place in Oak Harbor to the Coupeville ferry terminal, crossed to Port Townsend, and headed west on the famous 101.

The east to west terrain across the top of Washington wasn't much to look at.  At least the weather was nice.  Forks was everything one would expect from a town that was completely unknown and was suddenly thrust into international fame.  Everything about the place had some Twilight reference.  There were a dozen Twilight souvenir stores within a few blocks of each other.  You could even get your photo taken with an Edward look alike.  I really had no idea who Edward was or what the "Team Edward/Team Jacob titles meant.  Honestly, I'm still not totally clear on it.  As I understand it, one is a vampire and the other is a werewolf and both are hot for some chick named Bella.  Judging from the life-size cardboard stand-ups, Bella is hot.  Makes me wonder why no regular guys fell for her.  I really don't get the fascination with these two "monsters".  When I was a kid, vampires were mean, ugly, ruthless creatures who only went out at night and wound up with a stake in their heart in the end.  They weren't pasty, sensitive, girly boys with hair that looked as if someone spent hours trying to make it look like they spent no time on it at all.  Barnabas Collins was a man's vampire.  As for the werewolf, when I think of a teen werewolf, I think of Michael J. Fox.  I suppose it's a generational thing.  La Push was the next stop on the Twilight sight seeing side trip.  Apparently, the beach at La Push is in many of the movies' scenes.  If that's the case, La Push really missed the cashing-in-on-publicity boat.  It was basically a poor native American community with a few beach cabins and some signs at a bar with references that only a Twilight fan could relate.

I'd had so much Twilight that I was beginning to sparkle (get it?), so it was time to head south.  Highway 101 turned south and drifted toward the west coast of Washington.  The scenery was fantastic.  The road would wind so close to the water that I could actually feel the temperature change and it was so clear that I could see Hester's shadow in the sand beneath the light rippling waves on the water's surface.

I know at the beginning I said I had no agenda.  Well, I lied.  I had an unofficial agenda in my head for covering a given amount of miles in a given amount of time.  Truth is, I had quickly given up on maintaining it.  I suppose the only time they can get any construction done in the region is during the summer, so the occasional one-direction-at-a-time stretch of road was to be expected and it didn't annoy me much.  What did annoy me were all the clueless camper trailer drivers who think the left lane is there to provide a better view and who have no sense of consideration for people behind them who are trying to stick to their nonexistent travel agenda.

If I was taken by the scenery, I was equally taken by the temperature.  It was cold out there! Hester's dash thermometer read 45 degrees and all I had was a long sleeve t-shirt. 45 degrees standing still isn't terribly cold.  45 degrees at 60 mph sucks.  Add some moist foggy air and you have a recipe for...for something cold and wet.  I donned my rain jacket at the first gas stop.  My old school leather work gloves were soaked by the humidity.  I found a nice source of intense 96 cubic inch heat between my legs.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  Hester's engine is 96 cubic inches.  I don't have even 9.6 inches of heat.

The stops in Forks and La Push added more time to this leg of my trip than I expected.  Good thing I had no agenda.  I had originally thought of riding to Cannon Beach, Oregon today, but the fog and cold took its toll on me and I decided to stop in Aberdeen, Washington instead.  Aberdeen is one of those towns that makes you wonder just what inspired people to settle there in the first place.  I didn't plan to stick around to find out.  After all, I had an agenda to not follow.  A short nap at "Aberdeen's Finest" motel which featured "color televisions" and "touch dial phones" would set me up for a ride further south into Oregon tomorrow.