Meanwhile, as we’ve been traveling cross country from the west coast, we’ve had many wonderful experiences which I do not want to forget. It’s crazy how everything runs together if I don’t write it down! In early fall, as we made our way from Lopez Island back to our hometown of Ashland, we made several stops in Washington—one familiar and much-loved place, and several that were new to us.
Port Townsend, WA
We love Port Townsend. For those of you who have been traveling along with us for a while, this comes as no surprise. This quirky, beautiful, interesting little town has long been on our short-list of places that we would consider living someday. If only the winters weren’t quite so gray, long, and chilly…
But summer and fall are gorgeous. Our stay this time was made even better by a visit from our friends Henry and Loretta, whom we first met in Florida at the beginning of our full-time travels and have connected with several times since, most notably on a visit to Cedar Mesa, Utah, where we got ridiculously lost on several hikes. (Our fault.)
We did many of our favorite things in Port Townsend—the delightful Saturday farmers’ market, an afternoon at Finnriver Farm and Cidery, strolling the historic and interesting downtown, and for something new, a long hike on Glass Beach searching for beach glass, which we had been wanting to do for years. I have no idea what I’m going to do with the glass we found, but there’s something irresistible about the search. And it’s so relaxing—except for the crick you get in your neck from looking down.
(Click on any photo for a larger view)
Camping At The Marina In Port Townsend
Our favorite place to stay in Port Townsend has always been Fort Worden State Park. It’s a popular spot, and there were no sites available when I tried to make reservations months in advance. We ended up at Port Hudson Marina. It’s walking distance to town, Verizon is great, some of the sites have waterfront views, the bathhouse is nice, and there’s a laundry. Despite the fact that the sites are packed in like sardines, we would stay there again because it’s so much fun to walk along the picturesque harbor and into the lovely historic downtown.
Just 40 miles south of Port Townsend lies Dosewallips State Park, a sprawling park that encompasses both fresh and saltwater habitats. Our last visit here was almost 10 years ago, and we had wonderful memories of walking out onto the mudflats, digging clams, and harvesting oysters. Unfortunately, the tides didn’t cooperate while we were there this time and we ended up buying our oysters and clams for a feast back at camp. It was just as delicious, just not as exciting.
Although we missed out on the shellfish harvesting, abundant wildlife of the feathered and furred variety gave us an outstanding show. When the salmon return upriver to their spawning grounds in the fall, the eagles and otters have easy pickings. There’s a resident herd of Roosevelt elk, too—we heard a telltale bugling sound our first evening, and looked out the window to see a herd of two dozen elk gathered in the campground. Late September is a great time to be in this area for wildlife sightings.
Hama Hama Oyster Farm
Hama Hama Oyster Farm and Saloon, a fifth-generation oyster farm about 15 miles down the road from Dosewallips on the banks of the Hood Canal, is the place to stop for fresh oysters and all things seafood. That’s where we bought our oysters and clams for a seafood feast at camp.
When we left the campground heading south, we stopped again to buy crab cakes. Pro tip: The parking lot is enormous, with a view of the Hood Canal. We pulled our trailer in, bought a few crab cakes at the farm store, sauteed them in our rig, and fixed a salad. It was a quick, tasty lunch (and if you buy the crabcakes and fix them yourself, they’re half the price of ordering them at the saloon).
We had never heard of Montesano, but when our friends Riley and Karen said “Hey! You’re not far from us!” we made plans to stop for a couple of days. We first met in Santa Fe the first year of our full-time travels, and have met up a couple of times since in our circuitous journeys.
We went to the local farmers’ market, they introduced us to their favorite seafood market and wine shop, we shared tasty dinners at each other’s rigs, and we had time to catch up on the adventures we’ve each had since we were last together. Very fun. The small Friend’s Landing campground near Montesano is lovely, with lakefront sites, a beautiful 1.7-mile trail around the lake, water and electric hookups, a clean bathhouse, and good Verizon.
Ocean City & Grayland Beach State Parks, WA
We set our sights next on exploring the region of Gray’s Harbor, on the southwestern Washington coast. We spent several nights in two oceanside state campgrounds, Ocean City State Park and Grayland Beach State Park. Both are spacious and lushly green with easy access to long sandy beaches.
We walked the beaches, explored the working waterfronts and bought seafood from local purveyors, visited the cute little Gray’s Harbor lighthouse, and drove backroads lined with cranberry bogs where the cranberry harvest was in full swing.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear my dad calling my name. I’ll be back in a few days with the next post in my attempt to get caught up before we leave here at the end of March.
So much fun to catch up with your coastal doings. I will go read about last year with your parents again, as well. Want to be sure and be ready for good conversations!
Sue, we are really looking forward to finally meeting up with you and Mo today! How great that we’re all in north Florida at the same time. :-)
I like your pictures in collage form. We loved that area when I worked in Bremerton for 3 months. You gave us some great new places to visit. Hoping for a good peaceful visit in Florida.
We love Port Townsend and could definitely see living there, except during those long, cold, damp, dreary winters.
Enjoy your time in FL and hope all goes smoothly at your parents!
If only the winters in Port Townsend weren’t quite so long! Let us know when you find the perfect place. :-)
I appreciate your good wishes, Gayle. So far, so good!
Thanks so much, Debbie. I like the photos in collage form, too, because I can squeeze a bunch in without it taking up a lot of space. And then anyone who is interested can click on any photo to enlarge it.
Your posts continue to inspire me to visit the PNW. Looks and sounds like a great place to visit. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy your time in FL with family … fingers crossed!
Ingrid, you are going to love the Pacific Northwest, the scenery, the birds, everything! We’re happy to be here in Florida with my folks, and are hoping we can get everything done we need to do while enjoying time with them.
I read your March 2018 post about your parents for the first time today. It’s a lovely tribute to them and a refreshingly honest summary of the challenges of dealing with aging parents. I think you reach exactly the right conclusion: you can’t put your entire life on hold just because your presence would be nice for them to have. (We learned this lesson the hard way, doing it all wrong with Ken’s mom.) This is your time to experience and appreciate the diversity of the country. At least Apalachicola is a pretty great place to spend time in the winter, while visiting your parents at the same time. The local oysters and fish are unbeatable.
I appreciate your thoughtful comment, Shannon. I would really like to know more about your experience with Ken’s mom. We need to meet up and have time for conversation!
I find it challenging to maintain balance while we’re here in Florida with my folks. I want to be with them, to help them, to provide support and companionship—and at the same time, I’m painfully aware that we can’t put our lives on hold. There are no perfect solutions, as you know.
At least they live in a pretty great place, as you said. And yes, YUM, the oysters and shrimp and fish!
We stopped at Hamma Hama on our way north from Seattle 2 years ago- Shelly still gets a faraway look in his eyes whenever he says,,Hama Hama. The weekend we camped in Grayland, we realized just how it got its name —it was total fog during our stay. We did do a nice drive to the cranberry bogs eight oysters and enjoyed walking the coast.
Are you won’t believe it but I am already making reservations for next winter’s trip to Florida and points west along the coast. If you have any suggestions about where we might stay in Louisiana swamps we have stayed and will stay again it Bayou Segnette but any other suggestions would be appreciated-Good birdwatching spots?
Haha, I can understand why Shelly gets that faraway look in his eyes when he thinks of Hama Hama!! Try to stay at Dosewallips sometime during a minus tide and you’ll be able to harvest all of the clams and oysters you can possibly eat!
We love staying in Cajun Country in Louisiana (check out our posts on the area by searching for Cajun Country or Breaux Bridge). Also, we really enjoy Ocean Springs, Mississippi and the Davis Bayou campground at Gulf Islands National Seashore. Check out our posts on that, too. Both are places I feel certain you will enjoy.
Anyone else get excited when they see that there is a new R&C post! Glad to hear you made to FL❣️
Leah, you are such a good friend! Your comment made me smile. :-)
Yay! I’m excited for each new post too, especially since you’re now telling us where you are in real time as an introduction to your post….best of both worlds.
Enjoy the quiet times with your parents along with the good feeling of getting needed things done. Knock that list down to just one or two pages!
Thanks, Sue—you knew that my to-do-list while we’re here with my parents is four pages long, LOL!!
We’re enjoying such sweet times with my folks, and in-between, I’m doing my best to not spin in circles with all that there is take care of here.
Laurie, I’m so glad y’all are in Eastpoint and are having time with your folks. Since we sold “Eye of the Storm “ we don’t get up as often. . We last saw them when we were up over Thanksgiving. We love them and all the incredible memories we’ve had over the years.I hope your time together is special, although I know it will be difficult as well.
I so enjoy reading about your travels! Your pictures are incredible.
Oh, Barb, I’m so happy to hear from you! It makes me sad that your family no longer has the “Eye of the Storm” right down the road from my folks. We cherish our memories of a lifetime shared with you and your family. I hope somehow we’ll get to see you while we’re in Florida.
Thanks so much for your loving comment, I’m glad you’re following along with us in our travels. Love to all of you!
Well, if I wasn’t tired of cacti and tacos before, I certainly am now. All of this is making me want to head toward the coast and eat tons of seafood! Oh, and I want to go to nice farmers markets and collect beach glass for as-yet-undetermined purposes. It all sounds positively delightful!
I am sure you have your hands full these days but I do hope you take some time away every day or two to work on getting this godforsaken blog caught up already. Come on, Laurel. Focus!!
Just kidding. Put the knife down. :)
You take your time and get to it when you get it. Just remember: it’s much less stressful to work on this than to deal with the alternative.
Hugs from Arizona….
hahaha, I’ll get back to you later. Really, I will…but at the moment, I have some stuff that I have to take care of immediately. Hugs to you, too! :-))
Okay, I’m back!! That didn’t take long, only about 24 hours, right? Where was I…Oh yeah, I wanted to say that the desert and tacos sound good to me, but the Gulf beaches and seafood are wonderful, too.
Thanks so much for all of your support with my parental challenges, Laura. You’ve been a great friend through all of this. Even if you are pushing me to get this blog caught up, LOL! (I know you’re kidding.)
What a bunch of lovely stops in one of my favorite areas of the country! I wish I had known about the Glass Beach when I was in Port Townsend, I wonder how I missed that!?!?!
Wishing you much patience with your parents and many moments of solitude to decompress from the stress.
Lisa, thanks so much for your good wishes. Long daily walks are good medicine for me right now.
Next time you’re in Port Townsend check out the hike on Glass Beach. It’s a good five mile hike and you’ll come away with lots of little glass treasures. Then again, you probably aren’t planning on straying far from your beautiful new backyard in Prescott!
You seem to know we will be heading towards Washington this summer for you have laid out a good route and places to stay and enjoy while in PNW, thank you, Laurel! Looking forward to our rendezvous with you and Eric in a few days.
Happy Valentines to both of you!
MonaLiza, we’ll give you lots of good ideas for the Pacific Northwest when we see you! We’re so happy you guys are in the neighborhood. :-)
Hope you had a sweet Valentine’s Day!
We’ll be thinking of you in Florida and family while savoring your stories from the opposite edge of the continent….how can that be? Ah sweet Valentines Day to you both…we learn to love from our family of origin so your start had to have been a good one…can’t think of anyone so loving as you! That includes of course loving friends and family in spite of their differences, good food (with photos no less), wild life especially the birdies, music both the big venue and backyard varieties, and that Whitmanesque love of nature in all its manifestations…again with photos! When i imagine you on the road i see in my mind’s eye the two of you sheltered in front of that blazing rock…on fire with Nature with a capital N! Love you and appreciate you and savor your presence in your creative, thoughtful and delightful blog!
Diana, my dear friend—I appreciate so much your loving support and friendship through all these years. We love it when you and John meet up with us in our travels, but even when you’re not here in person I know you’re traveling along with us in spirit. All I have to do is look around at all of the artistic creations decorating our little home and I’m reminded of you and all of the hours we’ve spent together in your studio! (And of course, without you, I could NEVER have completed these projects.) Love you, miss you always!
We certainly enjoyed hanging out with you guys in Washington! It’s still our favorite area to visit made even better getting together with the Raven and Chickadee. That day at Dosewallips…………..wow! Oysters, Clams, wildlife and good friends. It is one of our most memorable days of the year.
Henry, as always, it was a blast spending time with you and Loretta. That was quite a day at Dosewallips, wasn’t it? Even if we didn’t get to harvest our own oysters and clams. Gives us a reason to return!
Hope we’re going to see you guys next week in the Okeefenokee Swamp. We haven’t paddled with the alligators together yet, LOL.
Find a secluded space to scream if you need to. Then things will feel better for a little while. Carry on and hang on! Miss you two.
Thanks for the suggestion, Brenda. I might be doing exactly that in a few more days…
Miss you guys, too. Hope you’re staying cozy on the Oregon coast!
Love that picture of the heron! Looking forward to your next great post. Good luck with you Mom and Dad visit.
Thanks, Nancy. I always love photographing Great Blue Herons, no matter how many times I see them!
Hey! That’s us! We’ve been made famous in your blog! All kidding aside, we always enjoy visiting and sharing with you both and look forward to the next time.
Riley & Karen
We had a great time reconnecting with you two and hearing about your most recent adventures. Thanks again for showing us around the lovely area that you call home for part of the year. Best wine shop ever! :-)
Best of luck in Florida with your parents. I so understand how difficult it can be helping our aging parents. I know you will be very busy!!
Your posts from these areas in WA make me want to return to this area to spend more time. Maybe in a couple years after we get our fill of Boulder City in the summer:)
Pam, we’ve been very busy, indeed—enjoying the time with my folks, and with big long lists of things we hope to accomplish while we’re here. I know you understand.
Maybe when we return to the west coast you’ll be ready to join us for more adventures. We loved our time with you guys on the Olympic Peninsula a couple of years ago!
Thanks for this trip down memory lane … you brought back some lovely times we had exploring Washington back in 1982-83. We love Port Townsend, too. Had hoped to get up there last year, but with so much else going on, we didn’t make it. Our first ever camping experience was at Fort Worden SP … when we first moved to the US … and in our car no less (http://2totravelphaeton.blogspot.com/search?q=Port+Townsend).
Wildlife sightings are always a thrill … there are plenty of deer here at USAFA and seeing them always brings a smile to our lips. The elk herd that visited us in Jasper wasn’t quite as large as the one that visited you, but it was a delight to be able to watch them from the porch of the cabin we were staying in on that trip.
I’m going to go back and read your post on visiting your parents. We go back to Turkey every year to spend time with the family, and though we enjoy spending time with them, it comes with challenges. Not the least of which, for us, is the distance that separates us and the guilt that sometimes brings. On the other hand, we know we can’t put our own lives on hold, so there is a delicate balance that we have to strive to achieve.
Erin, it sounds as though you understand exactly the challenges of living far away from aging parents. Like you, we’re always trying to find the balance between spending time with them and also pursuing our dreams.
I loved your account of your car camping trip to Port Townsend! Thanks for checking in and commenting. :-)
Another timely post as I’m finalizing our Washington plans for the end of this summer!!
You always capture the moods and places that appeal the most to me. Another oyster farm is going on top of the list.
Your parental reference made me laugh – remember to breathe :-)
Jodee, I’m so happy our posts are helping you in your planning! You and Bill will LOVE Dosewallips—the oysters, the birds, the elk, the river—it’s a perfect spot for you guys.
Thankfully I can still find humor in the situation with my parents. Keeps me from going bonkers. :-)
Love the photos of the river otters and the elk crossing the river. How lucky you were to have these sightings! I know we have written this before on your blog posts but we have done very little travelling in the U.S having been more drawn to a global nomadic lifestyle, but you do keep on surfacing interesting and appealing places! So perhaps one day .. although our problem now is when we return to the U.S. each year once or twice, our time is spent visiting family from the West coast to Chicago and that leaves very little time for extra travels as we want to spend the bulk of our time with family. We will add the elk and otters to our bucket list and will get there as long as we live to 120 years old.
Good luck with your parents. I certainly feel the same way as an upcoming trip to mine nears.. it is a mixed bag for sure. Hopefully your parents don’t read your blog haha.
Oh, Peta, I understand your dilemma! Of course, your priority is to be with your family when you return to this country, and it leaves little time for other exploration. I think I would like to live to 120 as well (and be healthy!) so that I could possibly do all that I want to do in this lifetime.
I hope all goes well with your upcoming visit with your parents. And no, my parents no longer read our blog…but I believe they would be okay with what I write. I don’t tell everything! :-)
Fellow RVers, and soon to be part-timers. Found you Blog via the interview on YouTube from RV Texas Y’all. Your blog has a ton+ of useful information. Thanks for sharing your Journey!
So glad you’ve joined us, Clark! We had a blast with Tom and Stacie. They’re great people. Congratulations on becoming part-timers. It’s a wonderful life!
Me, me, I get excited for new posts, too! This one was a trip down memory lane with all the cross-overs to places we’ve been in our old home state. Washington is definitely beautiful!
Yay!!! We love Washington, as you know. We need to do some exploring there with you two, I’m sure there’s more you can show us! :-))
We too love Port Townsend and could see us living there, if not for the gloomy, gray weather. Thanks for the beautiful photos of the area and places around Port Townsend to consider visiting. Good luck visiting your parents. I can only imagine how stressful it can be at times, but I am sure there are also many blessings found along the way. Sending you both big hugs!
LuAnn, perhaps if you and Terry were living in Port Townsend we could be persuaded to live there, too. :-) Thanks for your hugs and good wishes! We’re focusing on our blessings. ox
I’ve had this blog post in my inbox for months, saving it so I could comment on all the familiar spots you visited. When we first bought our Escape 19, we took a wonderful two-week long trip with my dad and stepmom (they were in their Airstream Land Yacht motorhome). They guided us to all of their favorite spots on the Olympic Peninsula (they were living in Kingston, WA, at the time) and we had a wonderful time seeing all the sites and staying in some lovely campgrounds. Point Hudson Marina in Port Townsend is one of those spots. We were there for 3 nights and I loved watching the sunrise over the water, as the fishing boats & ferries cruised by. We also visited Dosewallips (had have returned two more times) where we got to see eagles, spawning salmon and the huge herd of elk. Loved our time there! On another outing, we had a picnic lunch at Lake Sylvia S.P., which isn’t too far from Friends Landing. We hope to get to that area for a few days of camping sometime this spring. Right now, we are inside our cozy RV at the Nehalem Bay S.P. (another favorite spot), listening to the rain fall gently on the roof.