April 9, 2020

Week 17: Crossing the Cascades

Trotting across Long Beach…

(All photos by author).

Coming to the U.S. Northwest was strangely like coming home.

The past week of our travels saw us slow down a bit, as we crossed from the central part of Washington to its Pacific coast. You could almost smell the flannel in the air as we journeyed to the Mecca that is all things Grunge. Heck, we cued up some Soundgarden just for the occasion, and couldn’t resist pointing out certain crucial landmarks. Hey, did you know that Courtney Love “went to school in Olympia?” (at least, she says so in the song). And hey, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana were actually from the coastal logging town of Aberdeen…

We also took some of the down time to catch up on writing and visiting friends. I nearly never turn down a window of free time near a stable wifi connection to crank something out… pass it up, and you’ll regret it down the road. It’s the new cyber rule of travel, where “wifi willing” becomes the prayer and beseechment of many a vagabond writer.

Spectacular Mount Rainier.

After a thrilling pass over the Cascades, we stayed at the Best Western Hotel near the Tacoma Dome. Ironically, I stayed at the same hotel 20 years ago whilst TDY to nearby McChord AFB. Ya just never know where you’ll find yourself, decades down the road.

A ferry on Puget Sound.

After a brief 3-day jaunt to visit friends in nearby Port Orchard, we hit the coast again in the small town of Raymond. We based out of the Pitchwood Alehouse and Inn while exploring the town and the nearby sister city South Bend, Washington. In fact, we were close enough that I jogged to South Bend and back via the bike path that connects the two ‘burgs each day! We rocked out both evenings that we were there, enjoying the indie folk rock sounds of the Mulligan Brothers at the 101 Public House restaurant in South Bend on the first night, and then Lone Madrone at the Ale House back in Raymond on the second evening.

The Mulligan Brothers rock the 101 Public House.

Our current base of operations sees us exploring the Long Beach peninsula in the southern corner of the state near the Oregon border. You could actually see into Oregon, our next state of exploration, as we overlooked the Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment (which actually does not disappoint!) from the Lewis and Clark Interpretive center. Heck, the optics geek in us was impressed at the giant Fresnel lens from the nearby lighthouse now on display in the center.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.

Just up the road, don’t miss the International Kite Museum, complete with a one-of-a-kind display of military kites. Did you know that kites were used for everything from flack protection to aerial target practice? And just down the road, you can slake your thirst at the North Jetty Brewery, complete with 13$ growler refills.

A “flak kite” at the International Kite Museum.

We also came across a great little dinner stop next to the Sou’Wester, the rambling retro RV park that we’re staying at. The Depot next door features some fine fare and vino and is just steps away from the beach.

Don’t miss these gems and more on your Long Beach adventures!



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