West Route Post Number Nine

“It was an Elan. A delightful little thing famously made of Kleenex and unicorn farts.” ~ Sam Smith

DAY NINE Today was a day of halves…and have nots. Enjoy this mix of two clichés as it will all make sense soon.

I had set up a meeting with Doug Jackson from the Evergreen Lotus Club at the McDonald’s in Hoquiam Washington for 10:00 so I gave myself some extra time by leaving almost 30 minutes early from Astoria. This meant I had extra time, but in my haste to get on the road, I did not have my phone which was still charging in the motel. Still, crossing the Columbia on the Astoria–Megler Bridge (the longest continuous truss bridge in North America 4.1 miles long and over 200 feet above the water) was mighty exciting in my tiny Elan. Luckily the winds were calm and the fog was not a factor until I reached the Washington side of the Columbia. That is a mighty bridge!

The view from Astoria toward Megler across the Columbia River

Upon reaching the other side of the river, the fog closed in and there were no services for over 50 miles. It was gloomy and I was alone on the road. It looked way too much like a Wes Craven movie. I was using the wipers about five seconds out of 30 as it was just enough moisture to dim my view of the road. And since the Elan does not have an intermittent setting, I turned them on an off with a rotary switch just like grandpa used to do. At least they are electric and not vacuum operated like my ’53 Ford where any hill would slow the motion of the wipers and if steep enough, bring them to a complete halt.

It got colder and the visibility worsened as I went north until about Raymond where I turned inland to a dryer less ocean layer where it started to get better. By the time I met Doug, the wipers weren’t needed but the fog and low visibility were still present. Doug had also started early so we met up about 9:30 and he showed me some photos from the West Coast Meet in 2013 where some LOCO folks were present but one of the member’s cars is not in the photo since it was not a Lotus, right Mike? We left Hoquiam after a gas stop and started our journey north. After about 90 minutes and passing towns with names like Moclips (Not a barber colony) and Humptulips (You work with this one, I’ve got nothing) we stopped for lunch at the Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic National Park. Washington leadership has decreed there be no indoor dining there so we got take out from the very nice restaurant and sat out on the deck in the chill. It wasn’t as cold as earlier and the fog had lifted somewhat so it was actually rather pleasant.

After lunch we turned inland and the weather changed dramatically to blue skies and warm sun. I actually unzipped my jacket and took off the leather flying helmet. This then became the other half of the day.

I led Doug up the peninsula to the Makah reservation on which the Northwest point sits, and it was smooth sailing up until the border of the reservation. There, anyone who is not Makah is turned back as a Covid precaution to the families there. I pleaded my case about the four corners, and even had my vaccination card ready, but there was no latitude to the policy. I still technically met my goal which was “I will touch the four furthest points in the Contiguous Continental USA which are reachable by public road” because that is as far as I could get on the public road, but it was very disappointing. In fact instead of Cape Flattery it should switch names with its southern cousin down by the Columbia River and become Cape Disappointment, named for Captain John Meares’ first thwarted voyage to find the Columbia just as mine was thwarted. I also remember the adage that “Flattery will get you nowhere” so that may also apply here.

Checkpoint Charlie No Further!

But the drive out to the stopping point was beautiful and the drive back to Port Angeles was too. When we got to Port Angeles we stopped for a beer and reflected on how different the weather was for each half and how different the results of our planning was for each half. If only we could have talked our way in to the end of the road. Ah well, tomorrow I start the last leg with a ferry ride and friends to make the way go smoother. Even without a cell phone.

Impressions from the ninth day:

• Technology seems to work seamlessly for the tech savvy younger set, but I am an analog man in a digital age and there is no app for that. Now I must go old school since I no longer even have a cell phone.

• I am eager to meet up with the Evergreen Lotus club folks tomorrow but after that, I may take a break and try to solve the phone and tiredness problems together by sleeping in Sunday and then finding a Walmart to buy a “burner” phone as Dave Ellis suggested just to get me home.

Not bad, not bad at all.

• This is a really beautiful part of the country that has mountains, ocean, temperate climate and fun roads. Hmmmm.

About Me

Hi, I’m Ross and I’m a tripoholic. I love driving especially in my old cars and then writing about the adventure that always follows. I’m old enough to know better but that doesn’t stop me. If you like stories of the road, every word true no matter how far fetched it may seem, then grab a beer or a cup of coffee and join me!

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6 thoughts on “West Route Post Number Nine

  1. Ross, sorry you weren’t able to get to your designated northwest point. However the judges (OK, just me) have reviewed the events and concur that you have achieved what you planned to do, so no harm, no foul. As far as my participation in the 2013 WCLM, at least I was there even if Lotusless. With regard to Humptulips, I will refrain from any comment because I know this is a family blog. PS Get the burner cell phone even if people will think you are involved in some sort of criminal activity…

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  2. Your forgotten phone explains why you did not answer when I called you on Friday morning from the golf course and put it on speaker so all of use could say Hi.

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  3. Rest is well deserved. So love the beauty of the great Northwest. Too bad the people who go by the ‘book’ could not understand your plight. But it’s the intention of the heart that was satisfied to the best of your ability. Friends along the way are such an added delight. Great idea for having a ‘cell’ connection for the rest of your trip. Your endless creativity will get you through the next stops on the way home. EnJOY! 🙏

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  4. Ross, apparently you even found a “Steve like” guy way up there in the Northwest, it is a small world I guess.
    Enjoying your travels.

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  5. Hey Ross… it was great spending the day with you on Friday, May 14th. I think we had a good time driving up the western edge of the State of Washington (fairly close to the ocean, once in a while) and I’m glad for you that the weather warmed up some as we continued north. Sorry that I wasn’t able to drive my 1976 Lotus Elite, but as I mentioned, it has a few “issues”, so my stalwart & reliable 1998 Dodge Dakota pick-up truck had to provide “stand-in” duty… and I thought I did a pretty good job of keeping up with your lead!

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