For the second time in two days I say goodbye to Darin’s family and start driving again. Today in the direction of Olympic National Park. I head West first back to my favorite road, Highway 101. I stop by one of the beaches, but after Secret Beach earlier this week the beach here fails to impress me a lot. I’ve noticed that I’m dealing with what I would call nature satisfaction. I remember that from my first trip in America. After having seen the most beautiful places the last couple of weeks it’s just harder to be impressed by new nature. It’s still great, but that wow-effect can wear off. At some point you can just get used to beautiful nature. Having that written and being aware of this fact, I enjoy the rest of the ride. Especially when the road goes by a big mountain lake.
At the beach I discover that I can’t find my favorite vest. For a moment I think it’s a bummer and then I have to laugh. This means I probably have to go back to Olympia another time this evening. Fortunately they told me this morning that I could come back any time, so I know I’ll be welcome. I drive further to Olympia National Park. The roads in this area are in quite bad condition, but that allows to view the scenery, because you have to stop a couple of times for roadwork. Inside the National Park the roads are good again. The road in Olympic National Park is beautiful and climbing all the way to the top of a mountain. Just like yesterday unfortunately it’s very cloudy at the top of the mountain. I’m glad to see that a little lower the clouds are gone and so I’m able to see the view and take some pictures. I decide to stay at the visitor center at the top for a while and order clams chowder, a local soup with clams, very nice. I take some time to continue reading in my book, something I didn’t came to in the last days being surrounded with great company. I enjoy reading for a while and then drive back down. There is a nice surprise on my way down, a couple of little bears next to the road. I already saw one briefly on my way to the top, but this time there are two small ones and a big one. It’s challenging to take good pictures of them from the car, but I don’t think it would be a good idea to go outside. It’s great to finally see some bears and be able to take pictures of them. Both Mount Raineer and Olympic are beautiful National Parks, but you best visit them on clear days, so you’ll have a nice view from the top of the mountains.
I drive back to Olympia where the family is waiting on me with open arms and dinner ready. I hear the youngest boy say “I am glad that Edwin came back” and so am I. It wasn’t the plan to stay here this long, but I sure like it. After dinner we do some groceries and one of girls bakes chocolate cookies and we play board games in the evening until bedtime. Olympia is actually a great starting point to visit the National Parks in Washington, because both Mt Raineer and Olympic are just a few hours driving away. Darin recommended me to take the ferry to Seattle, so that’s the plan for tomorrow. I’ll do my best not to forget anything then and finally continue my journey, because it’s still quite a long way to go from here and I’ve got about two weeks left. What a great journey this is and what a wonderful people I meet along the way.