Travel Day North to Burlington
After 51 days at this little piece of Heaven/Hell on Earth, today I leave the South Beach Campground in Olympic National Park. It was never my intent to take almost four months to circumnavigate Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, it just seemed to work out that way. The record heat inland, along with the strange allure of South Beach, combined to keep me on the cool side of things here on the beach much longer than I had planned.
As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.
My original plan, way back in mid-May was to spend a few weeks along the Hood Canal photographing bald eagles, then spend two more weeks hopping around the Olympic Peninsula in a counter clockwise path, staying just a couple nights in three or four spots, and then head east to photograph farmscapes around Palouse. But by mid June the temps inland were already soaring into the 90’s and held there throughout the summer, keeping me cooling my heels along the Pacific coast. I never dreamed I would spend seven weeks boon docking at South Beach.
There really is very little to do or see in the immediate area around the campground. Once you have driven into the rain forest and hiked a few trails and checked out the beaches along Route 101, there just isn’t all that much to explore here. The nearest towns for supplies are Forks, 37 miles north and Aberdeen, 67 miles to the south. Thus, it is kind of a mystery to me why I came to stay here so long. The constant roar of the Pacific right outside my window I guess would be the key component that mesmerized me, hypnotized me, got me to be able to ignore all the considerable negative aspects of this campground. Being able to just hop out the door and walk a nearly deserted beach with the dogs certainly was a very positive part of my stay here.
With a strong Verizon signal here, and no distractions or places to explore, I was able to settle in and spent a great deal of time on reestablishing my photography website, something I had not been able to bring myself to do the first year of my full-time travels. ( Check the site out by clicking on ” Galleries ” in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. I wouldn’t mind some feedback if you do so ! ) Here at South Beach, with no distractions, I was able to jump back into Dreamweaver and begin the long, tedious process of designing pages and then sizing and uploading hundreds of images, sometimes able to put in 8 or 9 hours a day doing so.
A happy coincidence that my last night at South Beach produced the first brilliant sunset of the entire summer. Virtually every sunset from my arrival in July all through the month of August was obscurred by the permanent fog bank over the Pacific. During the first week of September, as the inland temps started to decline a bit, the fog banks burned off in the afternoon and the sunsets were finally visible, but with perfectly clear skies, no clouds, they just weren’t that spectacular. Not so last night !
So on to Burlington, Washington
I left South Beach around 7 AM and headed south on Route 101 to Aberdeen, picked up Route 12 east to Route 8, then 101 until I hit Interstate 5 in Olympia. What a shock to the system after spending seven weeks in isolation on the Pacific coast, driving through the congestion of Olympia/Tacoma/Seattle to Mount Vernon. Except for the deplorable condition of I-5 through Seattle, the 5 hour trip was pretty easy with no significant traffic or construction obstacles. I arrived at the Riverbend RV Park in Mount Vernon around 1 PM and got checked in for two nights at a price of $27/night with my Good Sam discount.
Not a bad place to stay, an older park with tight spacing, full hookups, certainly no great atmosphere, being located right across the street from an enormous WalMart ( certainly convenient though ). I choose the park for it’s central location for exploring the area and it’s proximity to Burlington where I have an appointment to have my Winegard Satellite system replaced, yet again.