09-30-09 - The Olympic Peninsula Sucks

The Olympic Peninsula is a load of crap. It's touted as this wilderness wonderland, but it's really all pretty boring. Yeah the coast is nice, but if you've seen the Oregon coast or the Northern Cal coast or Big Sur it's pretty much all the same thing. Big rocks and waves crashing, yeah it's starkly beautiful and all, but it's such a kleeshay. Can't you do something more creative, nature? That said, the various beaches are beautiful in comparison with the incredible letdown that is the Hoh Rainforest. Ooo look it's a bunch of trees with slightly more moss than other places. And there's a mob of tourists and no good trails or views. It's ridiculous.

There are some outstanding sights on the OP, but they aren't the nature :

1. Just driving the 101 around. It's usually pretty low traffic and not many cops, so you can really let the car run free. The roads are swervy and hilly enough to be fun but not dangerous and the pavement is pretty solid. It becomes a real treat at twilight as the sun starts to go down. Because of the rolling hills and our northerly latitude (longitude? what-the-fuck-itude?) the sunset lasts for hours and makes the tree-covered hills like spiky sillhouettes against a field of color. The biggest risk is deer.

2. The Satsop "Development Park" (the cancelled nuclear power plant). There are the huge cooling towers that you can get into and they're just gorgeous; it's a magical place, the echo of sound on the inside is eerie. Oddly they are trying to convert the site into an office park for high tech companies (lol, good luck with that goofballs, it's in the middle of butt fuck nowhere) ; the sweet thing is they are leaving the cooling towers in the office park : About visiting it ; NY Times article on it ; Satsop Development Park Property Map

3. Some neat little poor country towns like Blyn, Discovery Bay, or La Push. I like the way these places look like time is not passing at all in them. There's a dog wandering around between houses (is it a stray?) , a boat upside down in the front lawn that could have been there a week or ten years.

4. Aberdeen. This town is just gorgeous if you like sad urban decay and the glories of yesteryear. It was obviously a thriving harbor town around the turn of the century, but now literally the entire downtown is boarded up. There are some great old iron bridges, stone buildings, and a palpable feeling of loss in the air. (Port Angeles has a bit of this too, but Aberdeen shines because it was actually nice before it fell). I keep just passing through and always swear that next time I'll spend more time here.

If you do have to go to the OP for some reason, go to those places and just ignore that national park. If you want to come to WA and see some natural beauty, I recommend North Cascades, perhaps off Mountain Loop Highway or up off Mt Baker Hwy.

Theoretically in season you should be able to get some good Dungeness crab somewhere, but I can't actually figure out what the season is or where to get good ones. What the fuck, that should be a major draw.

The trip was a great joy just for the little random moments together in odd situations, but it did a fucking number on my back. Sitting in my car is really bad for me, and the fucking shitty hotel beds hurt me really bad. It's a few days later now and I'm still suffering from knots and a pinched nerve that's really fucking me up. Oddly backpacking was far better on me than road tripping. Actually just taking my thermarest sleep pad and using that in a hotel room would be better than these awful hotel beds that sag in the middle and have wierd pressure points.


castano said...

Modern sleep pads are fantastic. I bring mine everywhere, it doesn't take almost any space and I'd rather sleep on it than on a sofa or a crappy hotel bed.

cbloom said...

Yup I think I finally realized that. Of course now I have to deal with the awkwardness when I stay over at someone's house.

"here's your bed.."

"thanks, but actually I'll just sleep on my pad here..."

"what my twenty year old ikea futon's not good enough for you?"

"no, it's not"


Aaron said...

"normally your futon would be fine, but I've got a back problem, so I need to use this sleeping pad."

I often take my own sleeping pad (though in my case my sleeping pad is a 2-inch thick king-size ikea "pillowtop" mattress pad (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90156068)). I also routinely take my own ergonomic pillow (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10131374) for sleepovers. Has MH would say, it's Gold.

old rants