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Friday, August 11, 2006

The Corner of the Country






Location, location, location. Those are famous words in the world of real estate. They are also famous words in the world of vacation. As I mentioned previously I chose Seattle as our get-away spot for 2006 because it was the farthest we could get from our home without leaving the "lower 48." I was wrong. I realized it on our first evening here. The farthest point from our little cottage on Sanders Street is ... Neah Bay, Washington. I knew immediately that I must go there. I checked mapquest.com. I punched it into my gps. I grabbed my bride and we slid into our rented Jeep Liberty and headed west. I navigated the city of Seattle with little diffficulty. "Sophie" the gps queen guided my turns. We boarded the Edmonds/Kingston ferry and crossed Puget Sound. As our wheels found pavement again we began our journey in earnest.

Little did we know.

It is only 167 miles from our hotel in Renton, Washington to the spot know as "Cape Flattery Viewpoint." Back in Illinois that would take about 2.5 hours to traverse. But this is Washington. And that is the Olympic Pennisula. Those are the Olympic Mountains. That, my friend, changes everything. How does 4 hours and 25 minutes sound? Unless ... you have to wait for the ferry. And of course we did. Our little jaunt to the corner of the country yesterday took something over 12 hours. That included a quick lunch in Sequim. The rest was driving. Up, over, around, switching back and crossing over. It was a stunningly beautiful ride that my bottom side will never forget. And when we arrived at Neah Bay on the reservation of the Makah Indian nation we were already intoxicated by the views.

And then came the walk. Nothing major. Only about 3/4 of a mile. Down. Through a rain forest. A wet rain forest. The Mukah's trained some carpenter's and they made some boardwalks over the wettest places. One woman walking behind me slid on a wet and exposed tree root. She laughed and pulled herself up, her husband worrying over her. I made sure to stop and point out all of the slippery spots to her as I passed over them. Debbie and I eventually out ran them and arrived at the very north western tip of our country all alone.

Wow. I had never seen the Pacific Ocean. It looks like the Atlantic only backward. And there are these HUGE rocks jutting up out of the sea. The best I can tell their only job is to stand there and be breath taking. The water roared in from the west. To the northwest you could see the mountains towering on Canada's Vancouver Island. It is August and they are still snow capped. We stood and stared at the view. There is actually this wooden viewing deck but it didn't look like fun because there was about 10 feet of open ground between the deck and the edge of the cliff that was the actual tip of America. So we did what any self respecting American would do. We skipped the deck. I went straight to the edge. Heights have never bothered me. Depth do. When I got to the edge I realized that my cavalier attitude toward heights revealed my terror of depths because straight down about 100 feet below were mammoth waves crashing against the cliff we stood on. You can actually FEEL the cliff shudder occasionally due to the sea caves located below. I retreated a couple of feet. And then I had a craving.

I wanted to take the corner of America home with me. I got down on my knees. I stretched. I reached. I did everything but lay down and finally I wrapped my hand over the edge of America and I grabbed the last stone that hung out over the ocean. It is only about 1/8th of an inch by 1/8th of an inch. But I got it. I got it! And now I own it! And It's coming back to mid-America with me! It will be on display in my office in a couple of weeks. Stop by and see what I risked my life for!

Our return drive was long but satisfying. We got back to the ferry across Puget Sound 55 minutes before it was to leave. Debbie sat in the Jeep while I walked back a few blocks and found an open late night bakery where I purchased 2 cinnamon rolls just before they closed. A fitting end to a magnificant day.

The top left edge of the country. I got it.

Score!

2 comments:

Seehomeblog said...

In the Pacific Northwest it is all about location, location, location. We trust you will treasure the rock from the western most point of the lower 48, especially having risked your life and park regulations. As to the Pacific being "backwards" from the Atlantic, with humor we take opposition. Maybe it is the Atlantic which is backwards. Here in the NW we have proof of "blessed be the tides that grind". It is wonderful you were able to visit such a glorious part of our country.

Ron said...

park regulations????? uh oh.