Washington

Crossed back into the US at Sumas WA on the way to Glacier and Mt Baker. There are some great hiking trails around Mt Baker but all of the campgrounds in the National Park were full with no private campgrounds anywhere around the outside of the park. Took the Mt Baker highway almost to the end, getting a few glimpses of Mt Baker along the way, then turned around and drove back out. I ended up at a KOA near Burlington by the 5 freeway. I’ve been spoiled in Canada and Alaska just being able to show up anywhere and find a camping spot. It’s nearing the end of summer and I guess everyone is out for that last camping trip before school starts.

Next day I jump on the 5 and battle traffic for hours all the way from north of Seattle, thru Tacoma, and down to Olympia. It takes some getting used to; for the last three weeks I’ve hardly seen a stop light.There are some terrible drivers here, three times somebody driving along in the far left lane suddenly realized that their exit was passing and just cut across three lanes of traffic and onto the very end of the exit. Then when I stopped for lunch south of Seattle somebody sitting in the left turn lane decided that they really needed to make a right turn, when the light changed they floored it across the two thru lanes and the right turn lane to make the right.

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With a sigh of relief I exit the 5 going west toward the coast. My plan is to take the 101 highway all the way down the coast to California, which looks like it will take some work finding last minute places to stay along the way. For today I stop at a little county campground near Montesano WA about 20 miles inland. There are a couple of women at the next campsite, one from Kodiak AK the other from Brazil, old friends out camping for the weekend. They invite me to join them at their camp fire. They have a cooler full of Rainier beer and they are worried it will get warm before they can finish it off. I pitch in and help out but despite our best efforts there are still a couple of warm ones at the end of the night.

Next morning I leave for the coast, but the 101 in Washington does not follow the coast very closely.Can’t see much of the ocean until I get to the Columbia River (border between WA and OR). The bridge over the Columbia River:

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This spot on the WA side of the river is where Lewis and Clark ended their famous expedition. They were quite excited that they had finally made it to the ocean, I wonder how long that lasted before somebody pointed out that now they had to paddle all the way back? They camped here for a couple of weeks then switched to the other side of the river and built a fort, where they spent the winter before starting the return trip.

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