Day 2, PA, gateway to the North

There is snow on the Olympic Ranges, they are not high, but it is starting to get nippy. Leaving Forks the road becomes a 60 mph zone once more and I motor on, trying to get to Swains General Store before closing, which is 8pm.

I cross one river several times, the Sol Duc. They don’t always name the rivers on their bridges, like we do back in Enzed, but Sol Duc must be special because there is a name plate on every bridge. I pass the road to the Sol Duc hot springs on my right, then comes the biggest surprise of the day.

I knew that the main road passed a lake, Lake Crescent, but what I didn’t know is that the road follows the lake for about 11 miles. I am on the safer, right side, because on the other it is just a barrier and you are in a deep, but beautiful lake. This reminds me a little bit of the South Island, the road is tight, patchy in places and gets down to a 30 mph limit a couple of times. There are a couple of logging trucks heading in the direction of Port Angeles 

One guy has pulled over on the left at a “turnaround” i.e. he is on the opposite side going in my direction, to take photos, so I do the same.

A bit chilly.

I drag myself away drive into Port Angeles, on the way passing a massive lumber yard, and the turnoff to Fairchild International Airport. Probably should have gone looked at it – but yes Port Angeles has an international airport.

See Port Angeles is the staging post for people going to Vancouver Island, which is in Canada, not the US. There is a ferry terminal that serves the island and on a clear day you can see Canada.

After fiddling with Google Maps, I pull into Swains’ carpark at 6.15 and the phone rings, it is Dave from Waters West, the local tackle shop, which closes at 6.30.

“Yeah, just buying my license now,” I tell him.

He gives me Curt’s number, my guide for tomorrow and tells me to meet Curt in Forks at 6.30am. I do a double take – I have just been to Forks – I could have stayed there and the drive between “PA” and Forks is an hour ten – across that treacherous lakefront.

After negotiation we decide I can text Curt and sort it out. In the end, I decide to stick with 6.30, but warn him I am still on NZ time so may be late…

My hotel in PA is basic, but it has a stunning view and nice staff, who seem rushed off their feet, and a hot spa pool.

So quick dip in the pool, then dinner at the Kokopelli Grill. A seat at the bar with the million dollar view, Nathaniel in charge. I forget that I have changed into my Nirvana shirt, one of the waiters stops me (“Great shirt man”) and we talk about Cobain and Aberdeen and he says I have to go to Cobain’s Seattle house (where he died) and the POP Museum where there are Cobain guitars.

I have a great night – my Twitter followers will know what I eat, but freshly shucked oysters and Halibut feature. Sadly no Washington wine – the beer list is great – the wines not so.

Tomorrow – Steelheading in the Pacific Northwest.

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