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Feeling Sequimish


Sol Duc Hot Springs

When I came through Sequim the first time, after leaving Canada, I took the low road through Dungeness. There I discovered the Three Crabs Restaurant. Following my diet, I had the crab cakes, followed by a bowl of oyster stew and an open-faced crab sandwich.

About an hour and a half later I got an extreme case of the gottagos, which kept me busy all afternoon. I didn't see much of Sequim because I was too busy searching for marginal places to pull over. It was especially embarrassing at the John Wayne Memorial Marina, where I suddenly cut short a conversation with a fella selling a sailboat and literally ran for the head on the hill.

Made it.

I mention this as a possible explanation for missing all the lavender signs the first time around. I was distracted. This time, going west, I saw my first sign in Gardiner, where I stopped at the Expresso Garden and Lavender Pantry.

The Lavender Pantry is sort of a herbiform appendix to the coffee shop. It's not my thing, but you gotta admire the grit of these folks. They use the weed for practically everything: soaps, lotions, jelly, sachet, candles, and other smelly stuff I couldn't figure out.

They'll even put it in your coffee.

I demurred. The only thing I expect from coffee is that it grab me firmly by the throat and shake me till my teeth rattle. During that exercise I don't want it pretending to be candy, or soap, or underarm deodorant. I asked for high octane latte, and got it. There was so much herb in that place, though, that I had to get outside before the stuff tasted normal. Then it was pretty good.

There were several other lavender places, but I'd had my hit for the day. I particularly liked the name of one of them, though: The Purple Haze Lavender Farm.

Sounds like a band from the late Sixties.

What I really needed was a laundromat. Finally found one ("Open 24 Hours") in Sequim across from the Safeway. In the same area, behind the McDonald's and a considerable step up, was the Sawade Thai Restaurant. I've gotten to where I start salivating whenever I see the word Thai. It almost always means good food.

And basil beats lavender any day.

The drive from Port Angeles to Lake Crescent was as beautiful as always, but I passed up Hurricane Ridge this time. It was socked in and looked like rain way up there. So, in late afternoon, I turned into Fairholm, a National Park campground at the west end of the lake. One of my favorite places, a real rain forest campground. Of course, they'd closed down all the sites but a handful, and these weren't the best ones, down by the lake. The little store that served breakfast on the deck was closed too.

This is getting way too commonplace. I feel like I'm being emphatically told to fly south for the winter, before Bob season starts. Anxious about the morrow, I let off the trailer and drove on up to Sol Duc, 12 miles in the twilight.

Whew. They're still open for another two weeks. And I had forgotten they had a campground.

Today I soaked in 106 degree mineral water most of the afternoon, had surprisingly complete semi-english conversations with German and Japanese tourists, ate hamburgers and ice cream, and generally acted like I didn't have a care in the world.

The secret behind that, which I've never told anyone till now, is just this: with the help of beer and short term memory loss, I really don't have a care in the world.

That's the best way to keep secrets. Out in plain sight.


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