Friday, September 19, 2008

Olympic Peninsula Adventure

Last Saturday Jason, Maggie and I had quite an unplanned adventure. We woke up that morning without a single idea of what to do. We had breakfast and we were sitting in the living room trying to figure out how to spend the day... when at 9:15 am our phone rang and planned out the entire day for us!

Every summer, Jason's fire department participates in a firefighter exchange with a firefighter academy (university) in Poland. In fact, last June, Jason went to Poland for 17 days to participate in the exchange there! Over the last 4 years, we personally have played host to exchange student, taking them on some sort of adventure, hiking at Mt. St. Helen's, a Husky football game, etc. Well, when we got the phone call on Saturday, we ended up with 2 Polish exchange students who were desperate to see the Pacific Ocean. We loaded up Curvy (for those of you who don't already know... I name EVERYTHING. The car - Honda CRV - is called Curvy), with a cooler of picnic items and headed off to take the guys, Michael and Maceak (pronounced Ma-jick), to Copalis Beach.

The day was glorious... one of those late-summer days that is 85 without a cloud in the sky. That is, until you come within a quarter mile of the Pacific Ocean. Then the temperature drops by 20 degrees and it's socked in by fog. This is what we were looking at as soon as we arrived...

Of course, this didn't stop Mabster from enjoying herself...

and our new friends seems to enjoy the beach a bit too! (Oh... and there IS an ocean behind them, but good luck locating it!)

Did I mention that we were freezing?!? It was a nice day when we got dressed... but we quickly ate and packed up our picnic to get out of there. We quickly made another decision in our adventure! Since Jason and I have never really made the loop around the Olympic Peninsula, and the guys were up for a scenic drive, we decided to go for it.

Our next stop was Lake Quinalt Resort located just south the of the Hoh Rain Forrest. I should mention that this is a true rain forrest and one of the rainest, cloudest places in all of world. They really only get a handful of days that are actually sunny... well, a quarter mile from the beach, and it was again 85 and sunny. This is what we found when we got to the resort!!

See... the sun really was shining that day! You can see the moss that just hangs from all the thick trees in this rainy area.

The resort is absolutely STUNNING - these are the grounds from the hotel down to the beach...

Our new Polish friends enjoying the sun, the beauty and the warmth!

And I would like to take a moment to comment on my daughter's behavior. She's a curious handful, but a really a sweet natured child. She did throw a pretty good tantrum though when we pulled her away from the beach. So we stopped in at a little quaint mercantile across the street from the resort and she was once again happy when presented with a lollipop.

So onward we continued our journey. At this point, we had been in the car for about 4 hours, and there was no turning back. We only could plug along!! But it was my turn to drive, and soon out of Lake Quinalt, I found myself alone with Dave (Dave Matthews kept me company on the CD player!) while I had a sleeping husband and child and two sleeping friends. It was ok, because the drive was stunning. I was so glad I am the only one who enjoyed it!

But some of you may remember my silly addiction to the Twilight books I wrote about back in July. Yeah, well, we went to Forks - where the books take place - and i was extremely excited, not to mention extremely embarrassed, to find the car they are using for the movie! Whoo hoo! I know all my Twilight lovin' gals out there will get a kick out of this. But I did see the Thriftway, Olympic Outfitters and the Dew Drop Inn... if you've read the books... you know what I'm talking about. I didn't really have much more of an opportunity to take pictures in Forks, but I have to say... Nice town! I was really impressed!

Onward we plowed through Port Angeles and into Port Townsend. Jason and I decided to take the guys to a nice little pub there is town we discovered on our last stop-over in Port Townsend. Well, after spending 8 hours in the car, Maggie had no intention in sitting to eat her dinner. So I took her out to run around on the boardwalk and we were treated to a lovely sunset. Oh... these are straight out of the camera shots with no editing! The moonlight shot was a 3 second exposure!!

So now it's dark, it's 8 pm and we are quite away from home... So we got in the car, headed to Bainbridge Island and caught the 10:30 pm ferry from Bainbridge to Seattle. Now our Polish friends hadn't yet had the opportunity to see downtown Seattle. They had only been in town for about 5 days of their 4 week journey, and when they flew into Sea-Tac airport, they were shuttled off, not getting a chance to see the town. So the ferry ride, on this oddly windless, warm and balmy evening was the first they saw of the town. This isn't the best picture... but you photographers will appreciate what I did to get it this way! It is shown straight out of the camera, hand-held, on a boat, moving quite quickly! It was shot at ISO 6400, f2.8 with a 1/15 shutter. Not too shabby... a tad noisy... but not too bad!

So that was our adventure! We dropped the guys back at the fire station around 12:30 am, got ourselves home and fell into bed around 1 am just exhausted! It was such a fun drive though... and I cannot wait to go back up and explore a little more in detail.


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