My daughter was in Seattle for a conference this past week. She was accompanied by her husband and her dog. I’m a very fortunate person, she and I talk and Facetime all the time. And as they were driving out of Seattle they told me they were driving around the Olympic Mountains via the US 101.
A previous trip’s goal of driving the remainder of U.S. 101 they had not seen, up into Washington, had been thwarted when fires broke out and almost trapped them along the coast west of Portland. They had to be evacuated. Several routes they tried to use for escape ended up being closed due to fires. It was scary.
So on Saturday, April 22nd they completed traveling the last part of U.S. 101. It was the only bit of coast and forest they had not managed to visit since they moved to California in 2017.
We started talking just after they left Seattle and headed toward the 101. I got my maps out and we were on our way. I asked them if they knew about the history of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. They said they didn’t so I told them about the collapse in 1940. I can’t imagine abandoning my dog in a car on a collapsing bridge.
Then after crossing it, traffic moved along traffic, and my daughter and I chatted about her seeing friends from grad school at the conference. But traffic soon slowed and they realized they were waiting in line for a bridge, the Hood Canal Bridge, to reopen. This was to take about an hour but they arrived with only 15 minutes wait time left. I looked it up and told them all about the floating bridge (there are actually many of them in Washington) and how long it takes to open and close. The reason for this rather large opening bridge is the Bangor Trident base for submarine operation in the Pacific. It became a base for such ops in 1977. It is also a Superfund site. Yikes. Apparently before becoming a base it was a naval storage site.
Then once they crossed the Hood Canal Bridge, the population centers decreased and they drove on the 104 until it intersected with the 101.
It wasn’t so very long after this that the phone signal started cutting out. We had been amazed that reception had been so good dipping down from Seattle all the way to Tacoma and then up the 16 to the 3 and then over on the 104 to the 101.
I followed along diligently as the highways changed and we talked about my one time fear of bridges, the names of towns they drove through, and where they had booked lodging for that night and the next.
Hours later they called me from near Astoria, Oregon and I talked about being at Cannon Beach a few years ago with the Hubster, and they said that they were not driving much on Sunday because they wanted to visit Ghost Beach. The fire in ’18 kept then from seeing it then. I think the name is actually The Neskowin Ghost Forest. Winter storms in the winter of ’97-’98 uncovered the stumps and unearthed what is believed to be the 2000 year old remnants of an ancient sitka spruce forest. It is believed that a long ago tsunami or an earthquake destroyed the forest. Stumps were covered by sand from the tides and only seen occasionally, but now at low tide you can see them with waves crashing around them:
I want to visit Neskowin Beach and see the Ghost Forest. They could easily be reburied by the shifting sands of the coastal tides, and now I want to go see them before they are buried again.
T in AtoZ 2023
Sounds like an amazing journey. Much better without the fires.
The fires were so frightening. They won’t go away completely any time soon.