Thursday 14th August 11:00 p.m Port Hadlock, Washington, USA
First I have an apology to make. I'm so sorry Madeleine. I've gone back and made the necessary adjustment in my journal. I'm so sorry that I caused you any embarrassment; you're a very lovely cat. *Madeliene is Cindy and Bruce's cat, who I mistakenly referred to as Madison in a previous journal update*
I woke yesterday morning to the sound of a harp. Maybe I'd died and gone to heaven? Unlikely, I thought. It was actually Anne, downstairs strumming away a couple of early morning tunes. The web journal hadn't been updated for several days, so I was hoping to be able to log on at Anne's home. No-one had told me about the new computer 'worm' that's been crashing computers and crippling networks all over the joint. It's some new funky virus that attacks directly through the cable, without relying on email attatchments or the like. That sounded scary, but it seemed unlikely that it would attack through the phone lines?? so I used a Canadian roaming service and logged on through Anne's phone line. Anne was a little hesitant about the whole deal and asked me three times if I was sure that the dial up would be charged as a local call. Then when I was done, she asked me how long the call had been. I should point out to any potential hosts that I didn't go to all the trouble of setting up this website just so I could travel the world ripping you off by making long distance calls on your phone bills.
Anyway, Anne cooked me a nice breakfast, let me take a photo of her at the harp- as long as I promised not to photograph her face- and dropped me back into town. It was mid morning and the ferry to Port Angeles, Washington didn't leave till three in the afternoon. I dumped my heavy backpack at the tourist information office, and spent the day roaming the streets of Victoria. It was nice to be by myself, and as much as I've loved meeting all the great people on this trip, it was a relief not to be answering questions for a few hours. I was anonymous, or so I thought. It was at the post office, when I was sending my water bottle and Lonely Planet Alaska guidebook back to Mum *she'll think it's a present..until she opens it* when the girl next to me said 'hi'. "Are you going trekking in Alaska?" she asked, gesturing to my guide book.
"No, I've just been. I'm on my way back south, and I'm sending this home since I won't be needing it again."
She said she'd always wanted to see Alaska.
I handed her my card and suggested she might be interested in some of the photos and stories on my journal. Then the surprise came.
"Oh, I've seen this site. I saw it the other night; it's great."
I should have asked her if she'd like to join me for coffee, cause she was very cute, but instead I dumbly wished her a nice day and drank coffee alone. A strange story, but true.
The ferry crossing from Victoria to Port Angeles was short and sweet. The sky was cloudless, and out of the wind it was cozy and warm. We passed a load of whale watching boats, and got a glimpse of some orcas for free! The ferry arrived in Port Angeles just before my host Sheila would be finishing work for the day. If I got through customs quickly enough, Sheila would be able to pick me up from the ferry port on her way home. This was my third entry into the US in the last six weeks, and it went as smoothly as the previous two.
"Where are you staying tonight?"
"Where are you going then?"
"How are you getting there?"
Man stamps passport. I thank man. I walk into the United States.
Sheila was just about done for the day when I phoned. She picked me up and we drove a few blocks to a Mexican restaurant where her husband Gary was waiting to meet us. Gary shouted me dinner and introduced me to a tasty beer called Black Beaut Porter *probably misspelt 'beaut'*. Sheila and Gary have hosted several guests from Global Freeloaders and in fact are expecting a visit from another 'freeloader' this weekend. They're a very interesting couple. Some years ago, they took a short vacation to Mexico. They both fell in love with the place and have returned every year since, branching further and further off the beaten path on each visit. Also, Gary loved to talk about his adventure in Spain. I hadn't heard about it, but apparently there's a 1000 kilometre walk across Spain, which is known as the Camino. He spent a month walking across the country, spending the nights in little towns along the way. It's a sort of religious pilgrimage, but you don't need to be religious to join in; thousands of people walk the route every year. It's something I'd love to do, but I'm not really sure if it will fit into my plans on this trip. Maybe next time...
Gary's currently teaching himself Spanish, and I recommended the book that I'm using- 'Spanish In Ten Minutes A Day'. Just as I was espousing the value of the stickers and flashcards that come with the book, Gary smiled and drew a bundle of flashcards from his pocket. He was already using the same book! Back at home, the three of us sat up late laughing and swapping stories, accompanied by their niece Rachael who arrived just as Sheila's chocolate chip cookies emerged from the oven. Nice timing, Rachael!
Sheila got away to work before I woke this morning, and Gary was heading out fairly early too. I grabbed a bowl of cereal and hit the road, bound for Port Hadlock. Hitching wasn't real impressive today either; kind of 'patchy'. It took three and a half hours and four separate lifts just to make what would be normally a one hour trip to Port Hadlock. My host Kim was outside her house with her two year old granddaughter Arielle. This is quite a unique little household, as I discovered. There are four generations of women living in this home. Kim lives there with her mother Doris, her daughter Amy and of course the small but irrepressible Arielle, who began bossing me around the second she met me!
"Stand down here on the step. Now throw the ball to me." She's cute but demanding.. and very articulate.
Kim's father Bill also lives here, but spends a lot of his time visiting his buddies, where the oestregen levels are a little lower!
Kim took me for a drive all round the region, to old military forts and marinas full of sparkling white yachts, and into Port Townsend for a walk around and a slice of delicious pizza at 'Waterfront Pizza'. Port Townsend was an interesting town, with a lot of beautiful old buildings, largely built in the late 1800's. It's apparently one of the best preserved examples of a Victorian town in the country, and the charm wasn't lost on me, or on the tourists who patronize the plethora of antique shops and craft stores.
It was a very warm day again, and all that walking had made me thirsty. In the evening, Kim and I walked to the local tavern for some refreshment. Doris saved me some dinner, which I appreciated when we got home about 9:00 p.m. Bill had returned from his day out, but was in bed already. Kim gave up her bed for me in the detatched 'studio' and slept on the sofa. The only catch was that the studio is Kim's smoking space, since there's no smoking in the house. Now I shouldn't be one to complain, since I've been known to puff on a cigarette myself once in a while, but I have a bit of a fetish for fresh air when I sleep. At home I always leave the bedroom windows open at night, even in winter. I opened a window, and the fresh air was a welcome relief. I slept like a log.
Kim has emailed me since to say that my journal update motivated her to quit smoking!