Alexander Supertramp And The Great Northwest – Part 2 ~ Washington

“Cutting Chase”

When Tammy and I began the process of plotting out the course of this journey back in mid-July, our plan went something like this. Take the fastest route possible from Denver to Portland, spend a day or two exploring the Columbia River Country before zipping on to the Seattle area for two nights to visit a long lost Cousin and an old college friend, two visits that were long overdue. From Seattle we would go to Vancouver Island for three or four nights, then proceed up the Adventure Coast of British Columbia to the end of the road at Bella Coola.  Grizzly Bears eating Salmon or Bust!  Our route back to Colorado would likely be through Jasper and Banff, Alberta. All in all, we had ambitious plans for our 20 day sojourn.

You already know that the wild fires diverted us straight to the coast of Oregon. The best laid plans oft go awry don’t they? After breaking camp at the Kathy Bates rabbit sanctuary, we headed north on 101, anticipating a leisurely coastal drive with lots of stopping. As we progressed however, we began to realize that we had become a little too numb in our coastal euphoria. Dinner had been planned and prepared at the home of our host in Kingston, Wa., and we were anxious to get there. We were trying to fit a seven hour drive into six hours and we kept moving at full pace across the Astoria Bridge into Washington State and then on up the wooded Olympic Peninsula.

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“Good Conversation”

gamble bay sunset blog

Gamble Bay Sunset

We arrived at the home of Bruce and Laura at dusk and right away we felt welcomed by their Family and Friends. We ate, drank and visited around a warm fire in the back yard until well after midnight on that perfect late August evening. We were mesmerized by the tranquility of their waterfront property on Gamble Bay and we had our own private campsite in paradise, a level spot for Alexander Supertramp, our tiny condo on wheels. Not surprisingly, we decided we wanted to stay forever but would be lucky enough just to spend one more night there.  As the voice on the GPS says, we found ourselves “recalculating”.

stars over gamble bay blog

Stars Over Gamble Bay

The next morning, Tammy and I walked on to the Shelton to Bremerton Ferry for the 30 minute trip the mainland.  We would meet my Cousin Danny for lunch.  Born less than a month apart, Dan and I were very close growing up. It had been roughly 25 years since we last met and there was a lot to catch up on. I think we were both a bit shocked how much our lives have changed since we last were together, and it felt awkward to say goodbye again so quickly. Somehow, the visit with Dan, just as with my old college friend Laura was a wake up call. It comes with the realization that we aren’t close to a lot of people in this life and we can’t afford to delay the re-connects that really matter.

gamble bay touch and go

Gamble Bay Touch ‘N Go

After catching the afternoon ferry back to Shelton, Bruce handed us life jackets and rowed us out to the “Aksala” (Alaska spelled backward). He paddled vigorously I might add, as the transfer boat was leaking at a fairly steady pace. Bruce and Laura have had many adventures aboard the Aksala, up and down the coast from Alaska to Mexico.  Aboard the Aksala we set out on a private evening sail up Gamble Bay to the edge of the Straight Of Juan De Fuca. It was really special to vicariously experience the life of marine navigation, watching Bruce play the role of the Captain, and Laura the Skipper. That short evening cruise was a bucket list moment for me and I still smile inside when I re-live it in my minds eye.

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“Alaska Backward”

Visit Laura and Bruce, Check! Visit Danny, Check! The next morning, we drove to the north tip of the Peninsula, where we were first in line for the Ferry to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

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Leaving Washington State

Alexander Supertramp And The Great Northwest – Part 1 ~ Colorado to Oregon

Pacific Beach, Oregon

Pacific Beach, Oregon

The concept of the sabbatical is intriguing to me. I suppose in its truest form, every seventh year would be a year of rest and rejuvenation. If you ponder the roots of the notion you will find that they sprout from the Sabbath of the Bible. Imagine what it would be like to let go of our dominant concerns for an entire year in the interest of having new experiences, in the interest of finding a new and better way to approach life. Unfortunately, most of us have been conditioned by our culture to be pacified by occasional vacations, short slots of time that must earn their way onto our busy calendars. Too often, the vacation becomes nothing more than a temporary diversion from the status quo, mere entertainment which is quickly forgotten once we return to our old routines.

Fly By

Fly By

The modern classic “Into the Wild” by John Krakauer tells the story of a young man named Chris Mccandless who’s short life was filled with adventure. Chris lived as though life was one long Sabbatical, even taking a leave of absence from his own identity as he adopted the alias and persona of Alexander Supertramp. His story has long resonated in my own lust for adventure. Recently, my wife and I purchased a truck and pop up camper with the intention of using it to venture into our own metaphorical wilderness. We began planning what would become a 20 day odyssey through the Pacific Northwest. We just returned from a 5000 mile journey that included eight states plus British Columbia and Alberta. Along the way, we dubbed our new rig “Alexander Supertramp”.

hey good lookin blog

Hey Good Lookin’

We left Colorado on August 12th, symbolic I suppose in that it was the one year anniversary of my Father’s death. I wore his wrist watch every mile of the way if to somehow take him with us. For those who might be completely oblivious, much of the Northwest is on fire this summer as the result of extreme draught. On our second day out, the interstate highway was closed from Boise, Idaho to the Washington State line. Our planned route through Portland was dashed and we detoured directly to the Oregon Coast with the intentions of being able to breath again, it worked.

pacific beach cliffs blog

Pacific Beach Cliff

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Soaring

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Time To Play

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People Watching

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Bringing In The Dory

We were almost giddy upon our arrival at Pacific Beach, Oregon. The Air was fresh and cool and humid and we spent the afternoon exploring the dunes and cliffs along the spectacular shoreline. The campground was filled with hundreds of wild rabbits and the hostess oddly reminded me of the actress Kathy Bates. Our closest neighbors talked long into the night about somewhat personal family matters, making Tammy and I flies on the wall as we tried not to listen from our bunk, just a few short feet away. We awoke to the sounds of the Dory boats revving their engines as they prepared to embark for a day of fishing and we smiled as we learned how to set up and break down camp, something we would be doing a lot of in the coming days.