Port Angeles’ City Pier and the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Wednesday, September 18

It’s a beautiful day in Port Angeles.  The sun is shining.  I want to get the Perfect Tow Vehicle out of the trees at Heart of the Hills Campground.  The solar panel needs sun!

“C’mon, guys!  Let’s go visit City Pier.”

Hollywood Beach is next to the pier.

Bridget, Spike, and I leave our footprints and paw prints in the sand.  It’s a short beach and it looks like the perfect place for people to sit on a log to contemplate life . . .

1-P1070368. . .  or maybe to dream of sailing to far away shores.

1-P1070370A huge ship is docked at the pier.

1-P1070371We walk the length of the ship and come upon a young man lowering a narrow ramp. He wears the red vest of an employee.

1-P1070374“Where does this ship go?”  I ask.

“Cruises Puget Sound for a week,” he replies.  “Seven nights.”

I start to walk away, stop and comment, “Nice work if you can get it.”

“Yeah, it ain’t bad,” he responds, smiling.

1-P1070375It’s still early.  Where shall we go today?  The Washington atlas is in the PTV.  I’ll choose a destination for a day trip . . .  We stop so I can snap a photo of another boat.

1-P1070372This walk will set up the crew for a long nap while I drive.  Here comes another boat . . . wearing a lot of tires.

1-P1070385On the way to the PTV, the crew and I pass an octopus in the parking lot.

1-P1070376I go back to the Marine Life Center at the pier.  A lady docent sits outside by the open door.

“Hello.  May I go inside?” I ask.

“Certainly!  Come on in,” she responds.  I’m the only visitor at the moment.  The docent takes me from one big tank to another, pointing out the various live creatures and explaining how they eat, move, and protect themselves.

1-P1070381There’s a live webcam screen that looks like a large television screen mounted on a wall.  The camera is under the pier.  The docent explains that what I’m looking at are barnacles feeding on plankton.  “That’s something you rarely get a chance to see,” she says proudly.

1-P1070378She shows me the sensors along the shell of a big scallop that signals when it should open or close.

We look at an octopus curled up in the corner of another tank.

“The octopus is an intelligent creature It will bond with a human very easily.  They can even learn commands.”

I notice a hermit crab peeking out of a shell in the same tank.

“That’s supper for the octopus.  He must not be hungry right now.”

1-P1070380The sea anenomes are about the size of a dinner plate.  I ask for permission to take these photos and the lady docent replies, “Oh, go ahead.  They don’t care.”  This makes me laugh.

I learn that the lady is a native of Oklahoma.

“You’re from Oklahoma and you’re an expert on marine life.”

“I came out here twenty years ago and fell in love with it,” she explains.

Salt River Recreation Area

I take Highway 101 west and pick up Highway 112.  The drive is mostly through forest with occasional homes along the road.  It’s another Discovery Pass area.  That’s okay.  I only want to see it, walk a little with the crew, and take a few photos.

The campground is positioned on a slope to allow every camper a few of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, although some may have to put their camp chair on top of their picnic table.

1-P1070388 - CopyI park in the day use area.  The sign says there’s no fee.  Hmm . . . I wonder if it’s okay to stay longer than fifteen minutes.

Bridget and Spike always wake up when we enter a campground.  They jump out of the PTV and I grab their leases.  It’s easy to guess why there’s a campground here.

1-P1070395 - CopyA high wooden fence, as well as cable, keep people from falling off the cliff onto the rocks and waves below.

1-P1070402A couple sets up a tripod for their cannon-like camera.  I ask if they’ve seen any seals and they say no.  They’re looking at birds.

1-P1070390 - CopyThe crew and I follow the fence.  New vistas appear.

1-P1070401I look across the strait to Vancouver Island.  Francois and Jean live over there in the town of Sooke.  (You may remember I met this friendly couple when we both camped near Barstow, California last year.)

1-P1070396 - CopyThe water here has that lovely green hue I saw in the Tieton River.  Someone … Was it Jimmy?  Les? … explained that the green comes from glacial “rock flour.”  The glacier grinds up rock, shaving off tiny particles of rock and minerals.  The refraction of light in these particles gives the green hue.

1-P1070398Bridget and Spike are unaware of what lies several feet below the fence trail.  They’re involved in sniffing the messages of previous canine hikers.

1-P1070399 Before leaving I drive us up another road, leave Bridget and Spike in the PTV, and walk by myself down a steep trail.  A lovely cove with sandy beach comes into view.  I take photos but the light is wrong and they don’t come out well.

On the way out of Salt Creek Rec Area, I slow for a pedestrian.

1-P1070409I pass the campground again.  Gee, that’s togetherness  . . .

1-P1070405In Port Angeles I buy a chicken fajita pita at a drive-through.  I munch on it as I drive up to our campsite in Olympic National Park.  Of course, I give a few bites of chicken to Bridget and Spike along the way.

While in line at the park toll booth, I sense a commotion behind me.  I turn around and see Spike with his head stuck in the Jack-in-the-Box bag!  He’s whipping his head this way and that . . .  “Hey, why’s it so dark all of a sudden!”  What a silly boy!

1-P1070418With Spike, it’s always something . . .



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39 Responses to Port Angeles’ City Pier and the Strait of Juan de Fuca

  1. jean/southaven, ms says:

    Great pictures and info. I especially like the reason the water is green. Beautiful water, but I bet it is COLD water. Keep up the good life. So proud you are getting to live your dream.

  2. EmilyO of KS (Almost there to NM) says:

    I learned something today. Thanks Sue. I’ve always loved that “green/blue” color. Am missing that part of the country.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Emily,

      See? This blog isn’t all nonsense and travelogue! You can learn about glaciers and marine creatures and why the water is green!

  3. kgdan says:

    I was sorta hoping you would be inclined to drive out to Neah Bay where you could reach the farthest nw tip of continental USA and the Makah Reservation. College summers I worked for Wa. Dept. Natural Resources as fire lookout on 40′ tower in this area which had a panoramic view of the straits and the Pacific. Beautiful country.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, kgdan,

      What makes you think I won’t go there? I wasn’t going to drive all the way out to Neah Bay in mid-afternoon. I don’t like to cram a lot into one day. After a while, the wonder is lost.

      Stick with me! 🙂

  4. PNW Alison says:

    Poor Spike, RVSue waited to help him until after she took a picture!

    Regarding Salt Creek, I’m afraid you missed one of the best parts!
    There is a day use area at the SE corner of the park. Go left *before* entering at the main gate. There is a short trail that leads down to the lovely sandy cove you saw from above. Best to go at low tide otherwise access is a bit tricky.

    Once down there you’re protected from wind, and the sand makes for nice walking, or you can sit on logs. The shallow creek meanders out through the sand and there are perfect soaking places for the Spikester. Miss B might even like the sun warmed water too!

    Salt Creek is a Clallam County park, no discover pass required.

    If you pass through Joyce WA on the way out, you must stop at the general store. It’s a true original! they just don’t make ‘me like that anymore.

    • PNW Alison says:

      Oops SouthWEST corner of the park

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I figured someone would point out that beach. LOL! I saw it from above and debated whether to drive down there for a beach walk. It was getting cold and the crew and I had done enough for one day.

      Sometimes I don’t want Spike to soak when the water and air are cold. He would do it and then shiver. He doesn’t have much foresight. 🙂

      The Discover Pass is needed for the campground, according to the signs.

      • PNW alison says:

        No discover pass at salt creek? I guess Clallam County Parks are now partnering with the State.
        So once again my information proves to be incorrect. Been awhile since I’ve been on the peninsula (I seem to like going to British Columbia these days). So perhaps I’m out of date; take my suggestions with a grain of salt.

  5. cathy S says:

    Hi Sue, when you were outside Barstow did you camp in Owl Canyon? We were there in early March. Woke up to snow one morning. A beautiful place, but oh what a terrible road to get there. Total washboard! Still, worth it. Barstow….notsomuch.

  6. Pauline says:

    That area of the country is beautiful!!! The water looks cold but what wonderful views. Great job as always with your pictures. Love you.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Pauline. For someone who has never been to this part of the country, there’s something to ooh and aah about all over the place! Love you, too.

  7. POOR Spikey!!! See what troubles those good smells cause??? Beautiful photos today too! The Ferio Marine Life Center looks like a good place to spend an afternoon! Very interesting! I love places like this!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The Marine Life Center was very interesting. The tanks were huge and the creatures were big specimens. The purple sea urchins are the size of small cantaloupes. You can touch them and they hold on to your finger with their soft “spines.”

  8. Steve says:

    I still recommend a trip to Whidbey Island if possible since you are so close. Take the Port Townsend ferry to Coupeville. Travel north to Ft Ebby park, see the lighthouse and you would be just around the corner of my old neighborhood…..then travel north on Hwy 20 to Deception Pass bridge….you’re close, don’t leave until you visit the island. LOL

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Steve,

      I have to move on. I’m sorry we won’t be visiting your old neighborhood. We can’t do everything. I could stay here for months and not do all I’d like to do.

      I was going to do that ferry, but it seemed like too much for us at this point. I’ll save that ferry trip and Deception Pass bridge for another trip. I’ve heard it’s a fascinating area to see.

      • Steve says:

        I understand. There is definitely a lot to see in that area. I lived there for 10 years and still did not see everything I wanted.

        Spike and the Jack In the Box bag is an all-time classic photo!!! lol

  9. kgdan says:

    Did I see from an earlier post that you are carrying a portable kayak? Hubby asking about that. Can you tell us more about it?

  10. wheelingit says:

    Loving all your posts on this area. Hoping to make it up there next year.

  11. DeAnne in TN says:

    I came home one day and Melvin was wearing a Lay’s Potato Chip bag on his head. No telling how long it had been there. He was only about 9-10 weeks old and was running into the couch and wall. It was so pitiful, so cute and so funny all at the same time.

  12. AZ Jim says:

    That boat with all the tires is a tug of some time. If you look past it across the water you’ll see the US Coast Guard station and boat. I am an ex “coastie” but I was never stationed above San Francisco. Nice pics once again Sue….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks. Now that you tell me, Jim, it does look like a tug.

      • Alan Rabe says:

        Not a tug. It is a Pilot boat. Ships are not allowed to enter ports with their own piloting. Each port has its own pilots, they know every little shoal and sand bar or submerged islands. They go out and meet the ships, board them, and pilot them in. Also any ship that moves from point to point in a harbor has to use Pilots. The company I work for does the software and hardware support for the VA. Pilots. They do the Hampton Roads area harbor, Even Navy ships have to use them.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Interesting work you do, Alan!

          • Alan Rabe says:

            The Pilots is a side contract for us. Our main work is route distribution. We write the software for the Hand held computers that snack food companies use for their delivery to stores. I mainly do database design and write the office accounting and inventory control software.

  13. Ladybug says:

    Obviously, you’re not feeding Spike well enough.


  14. Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

    Finally got caught up on your blog after my continued spotty internet connections. I have been enjoying the photos and adventures. I won’t have consistent internet until I get to AZ. blah… I am hoping to start packing the RV tomorrow… leaving in the next week or two or so…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Connie,

      It’s nice to see you here again. Have fun packing! I can’t believe it’s time to start thinking about heading south.

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        Not that much fun packing in the middle of still unpacking from the move to MN. I have finished 125 boxes, but there are still about 25 to go… and I’m running out of space. Good thing I have very little furniture so I have space for all these boxes. These days I head south in the first part of October. I don’t like getting up to temps in the 40s and 50s as it is now for the first and last walk of the day. 🙂

  15. Gayle says:

    Beautiful water & aquarium photos. Especially love the octopus on the boulder. Safe travels Sue to you & the crew.

  16. Dee says:

    Hi Sue! I enjoy reading your blog. I am thinking about buying an rv or camper. How hard is it to back a trailer like yours? Do you like it better than an rv? I am 71 and am wondering which would be best for me. I live in Westport,wa ,I guess you just drove past our area. Bye ! Dee

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dee,

      Nice to hear from you!

      I’ve never owned an rv (Class A,B,C etc.). All I’ve ever camped with is my BLT. I don’t find it hard at all to back up my trailer. I can practically set it on a dime now. I had someone give me directions the first time I backed into a campsite and then I’ve been doing it on my own with no trouble ever since. I’m not saying this to brag. I’m pointing out that it is not a big hurdle to jump over as many may think.

      My advice? Choose your rig according to the style of living, travel, and camping you plan on doing. Don’t take a trailer off your list because of backing up or hitching up. That’s almost like not buying a car because you might have to back it up.

      I notice women tend to want Class Cs. Many women own them and love them. One word of caution though… If you get tired of driving your home wherever you go and opt for a little car to tow behind it, now you’ve got two engines, two transmissions, TEN tires to maintain and replace … It can be expensive.

      Hope this is helpful. Keep in mind I’m a diehard trailer person! I’m definitely biased!

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