Monday, September 30
The cautious, patient RVSue says, “Wait another day. Let the storm pass completely. Then you can pull out of Kalaloch and drive with clear skies above.”
The take-charge, can-do RVSue says, “What the heck! Go for it! Why sit around looking out the window at the rain all day?”
A little after nine o’clock I fire up the PTV.
It’s raining. Bridget and Spike are happy for us to be on our way. I turn on the heater full-blast and they both leave the back to climb into the passenger seat. They want to lie directly in front of the heat vents to take the chill out of their bones.
“Okay, crew, let’s hit the road!”
I ease us around the campground loop. Oh, no! Gee, I hope this isn’t a bad sign. Right before the juncture of the campground loop road and the short spur to Highway 101 lies a downed tree across the road. I back up to a place where I can turn us around and we leave via the “Do Not Enter” road.
The PTV is low on gas so I stop at Kalaloch Lodge.
The sign on the pump says, “No gas.” We continue southward along the coast and through the forest, stopping at the tiny community of Queets. I buy enough gas at $3.99 a gallon to get us to Hoaquim.
Soon we meet a snow plow driving in the opposite direction. That’s reassuring . . . to have the plow come from where I’m going. The road should be clear ahead.
The weather shifts back and forth between rain with wind and clear with calm.
Mostly the road passes through forest. Occasionally a sign points to beach access. Ah, maybe some other time.
At the twin cities of Hoaquim and Aberdeen I get mixed up trying to find Route 12 going east. I gas up the PTV at $3.69 a gallon, ask for directions, take the crew on a walk-around, and soon we’re back on track, heading eastward across Washington state toward Interstate 5. I have no idea where we will spend the night.
Blue skies up ahead!
Not so fast! As we approach Centralia the sky turns an evil-looking dark grey with rain coming down in sheets. Where the hell did that come from? The wipers jump frantically while I peer through the windshield. We pass a neat little RV park with wall-to-wall RVs. I hesitate for a split-second, but I push on.
Interstate 5 is . . . well . . . Interstate 5.
The great race is on! Who can drive the fastest in the worst conditions! Trucks splash more water on the windshield. SUVs and little cars change lanes as if this is an amusement park on a clear summer’s day. Hoo-boy. I can’t take much more of this. Neon signs of outlet stores beckon through the dark. What the heck is the big hurry? Is there a sale at Dress Barn?
A billboard gives me hope.
“Love’s Travel Stop — Exit 72.” Aha! That’s where we’ll go. If we can make it to Exit 72, we’ll be all set. Let’s see . . . There goes Exit 83 . . . Keep going . . . Keep going. . .
By the time we slide down Exit 72’s ramp toward the waiting parking lot of Love’s, the rain is so heavy I have trouble finding the entrance. Follow that truck! I squeeze us between two of the big boys and turn off the PTV. Whew! We made it!
Bridget and Spike commence yapping.
“Okay! Okay! You can get out! We’re home!”
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