My Solo Wanderings of the West

kennyj

Explorer
It was hours after dark by the time I finally arrived at Wenatchee so I went to a Walmart for the night. The next day was beautiful with clear blue, and smoke free skies; here’s the van at my lovely wooded Walmart campsite. :)




From Wenatchee I headed west again on route 2, over Stevens Pass toward Skykomish. On the way I stopped at Deception Falls, which actually runs right under the highway.




Near Skykomish I stopped at a ranger station; they told me there would be good camping on the roads nearby along the Beckler River. I spent a good while exploring the many old logging roads in the area where I saw this great view of a distant snow-topped range.




I found a good campsite, not far from these power transmission lines. It was rather eerie to hear those lines crackling and sizzling.




I rode into Skykomish to look around. There’s not much there, but it’s a pretty historic place for the Great Northern Railway. The laying of tracks from the east and west was completed and the track joined not far from Skykomish in 1893. The old station is now a museum and visitor center.




Here’s the old Skykomish Hotel, now closed and boarded up.




Local train enthusiasts have built this model railroad in the area next to the station.


 

SDSteve

New member
I've said it before, but thanks again for the report Kenny. I know how hard these things are to keep up, but it is really awesome for us working folks. Safe Travels!
 

Waltzing Matilda

Adventurer
Amazing images of the fires/smoke and impact on communities. Last summer I drove thru similar scenes in Northern California. These fires are devastating- saw a small one starting in San Diego as I drove down Palomar mountain this afternoon. Fortunately it was quickly contained.

Glad you are able to enjoy these beautiful areas safely. Thank you for posting.
 

upndown

Adventurer
Tanks again for letting me tag along! Even if it is from sitting in my living room. Very sad to hear of lives lost to Wildfires! A story I know all too well.

Interested? I check daily for updates.:coffee: as usual, great pics. Stay safe Kenny!
 
This is my favorite trip report on Expo! In fact, this report has inspired me to sell my Tacoma and buy a van to take off in for a while.

I am having difficulty in deciding if I want to spend the extra money on an AWD Chevy/GMC 1500 or get by with a Ford E series with a rear locker. A full on 4WD van or conversion is outside of my budget. An Astro is too small for the wife and I.

I looked quickly back through your thread and couldn't find if your Astro was AWD or not. Either way, do you feel that AWD is needed in most of your journey? I took a long trip last year in the Tacoma and only put it in 4WD twice while messing around in Moab. I think that the money would be better spent on staying gone longer.

I am sure the updates are a pain to keep up with but every time I get on here and see new posts I get excited. Please continue to do them when you can. Thanks!


Joe
 

Buddha.

Lurker
OP's van is 2wd. I don't think he would say 4wd is necessary.


Great thread OP, I've been following it for a while now.
 

gt500

New member
Glad to see a new post! I've been following from the beginning. Best thread going right now. If you end up in the Zion NP area as you mentioned, send me a message. I love showing people around. If I can be of assistance let me know.
 

Sleam

Explorer
Yep, I agree that this is one favourite thread! I love the simplicity and daily travels and photos. I hope you keep on. I'd miss you. Where are you now? You're welcome in NM too. I've been looking into Astro AWD for me and the dogs, planning on leaving April 2016 in some vehicle or another. If needed, we'll go in the 4Runner and just make sure we don't go where it rains.
Safe travels, s
 

kennyj

Explorer
Wow, so many great comments! Thank you all so much! I would like to reply but I'm on my phone so I will be back to do that later. I do have an update to post so I am going to attempt that from the phone. :Wow1:
 

kennyj

Explorer
My long detour took me through the busy west end of route 2, north on Interstate 5 from Everett to Mt Vernon, then 20 to Sedro-Woolley and 9 north to Deming, where I enjoyed visiting family for a few days.
One day I drove into Bellingham to look around. After working my way through downtown I headed for the waterfront. I liked this view of the marina with Mt. Baker in the distance.




Along the waterfront footpath I saw these workout machines.




Looking across Bellingham Bay, with Fairhaven in the distance.




I went to the REI store in Bellingham; nearby I saw this sign. It’s a strange sight for someone from the midwest!




At the south end of Bellingham Bay. Nearby was the landing for the Alaskan ferry of the Alaskan Marine Highway.




After my visit at Deming I was going to go explore around the south side of Mt. Baker; Shreiber’s Meadow and Baker Lake. I revisited the town of Concrete and went north toward Baker Lake.




Unfortunately I ran into wildfire smoke again. The visibility and air quality was so bad that I knew I couldn’t enjoy the area so I turned around to head west.

 

kennyj

Explorer
Rather than drive south through the whole Seattle metro area I chose to take 20 to Whidbey Island to the Port Townsend Ferry, and continue through the Olympic Peninsula.




After a 30 minute crossing the town of Port Townsend comes into view.




The ferry approaches the landing with pedestrian passengers ready to jump off.




I spent a few hours exploring old Port Townsend. It’s an interesting old coastal town and once an old Naval port.
It’s probably obvious I like to take photos of marinas and boats; pictures like this remind of jigsaw puzzles.:ylsmoke:




Near the waterfront were a number of boat-building shops.




From Port Townsend I drove 101 to Port Angeles, then up into the Olympic National Park. This is the Heart of the Hills campground, looking very rain-foresty. I was looking forward to re-visiting Hurricane Ridge about a vertical mile above Port Angeles.

 

kennyj

Explorer
It stormed hard all night; in the morning everything was covered in downed pine needles and branches. The wind continued to blow hard and tall trees swayed hard while occasionally in the forest I could hear a tree crack and fall. Very early in the morning I woke to the sound of chain saws, park crews were cutting up trees down across the campground road.




I was one of the last remaining campers when a Park Ranger came by and suggested with the high winds and falling trees that it was not safe to stay; the high winds were forecast to get even stronger.
 Leaving the now closed campground.




The road was littered with downed branches and at one point the line of cars waited for crews to cut up downed tress in the road. The reports were of wind gusts in excess of 60 mph.




The blustery view from Hurricane Ridge Road with treetops bending in the wind.




I had planned to continue from Port Angeles following the coast around the Peninsula but the forecast after this storm was for days of rainy, cloudy weather. Since I had never seen the east side of the Peninsula I decided to backtrack on 101 to the east then south. Roads everywhere were covered with debris from the storm.




Highway 101 south on the east side of the Peninsula roughly follows Hood Canal with numerous Forest roads turning west up into the mountains.




I spent the next 4 days exploring and camping up those roads...

 
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