I feel like a lazy blogger — it’s been over a week since I posted! But I’ve only been a little bit lazy. Mostly I’ve been busy — lots of driving, lots of cooking, lots of socializing. And definitely some playing games and reading when I could have been writing, but the aforementioned driving and socializing left me tired in my quieter hours.

So last Wednesday, R and I left Whidbey Island and drove into Seattle. After a few moments of nervousness headed into the city, I actually felt pretty good about how comfortable it was to drive Serenity on crowded streets. I definitely had a few moments in roundabouts where I flinched, waiting to hear a crunch, but no crunches ever ensued. I think I drove over a curb once, but that was my only driving fail. Yay!

In Seattle, we met up with my friend P, who promptly took me off to the grocery store to buy picnic food and then to a concert: Violent Femmes and Echo and the Bunnymen, outside on the lawn at the zoo. It was perfect weather, warm but not hot, as the day moved into evening. The music was fun, but the people-watching was great. Lots of playful kids, lots of happy adults. My favorite was a woman dressed as if she’d come straight from her corporate job, who knew every word and sang along, with hand gestures where appropriate. Even a week later, thinking about her enthusiasm makes me smile. Contagious joy is the best.

The next day we set off “early” to go to the Olympic Peninsula. I defined early as 8:30 or so, not wishing to be too challenging to R and P, and only later did P say that early was usually more like 5 when she headed to the peninsula. Our day might have been easier if we’d left around then, but so it goes. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful place for a drive.

And more drive. And more drive. Still beautiful, though. Unfortunately, one campground after another was full. We finally found a spot at a Department of Natural Resources place called Bear Creek Campground, mostly because of the luck of our timing. The spot was a disabled access spot, only available to non-disabled campers at 6PM. We drove by it at 6:20 PM, read the sign, and sighed with relief as we pulled in. Fortunately, P had a Washington State Park Discover pass that allowed us to camp there, because it wasn’t the kind of place with a ranger station — only 16 sites and no amenities. But river access, trees, a picnic table, and most importantly, room! It was enough for us.

The next day we left bright and early — not pre-coffee, but pretty close — and headed back to the first campground that we’d checked out, Lake Ozette. We’d checked departure dates the previous day so knew some people were leaving. By getting there at 8, we managed to snag one of their sites. We probably would have been fine if we’d gotten there by 10, too, but I really didn’t want another day of hours of driving. The Olympic Peninsula is undeniably beautiful, but I was starting to feel much too familiar with some of its roads.

At Lake Ozette, we camped. We hiked. We had campfires. We toasted marshmallows. We grilled portobello mushrooms and chicken. We saw deer and snakes and bats. P got stung by something — a bee or a wasp, and was so prepared that she had sting-ease in her backpack! R slept in a hammock, slung between two trees, and I shared Serenity for four nights in a row without feeling cramped. We had no internet or cell service and nobody missed it. Well, okay, that’s not true — I’m pretty sure R was going through withdrawal. But I didn’t miss it.

hike at Lake Ozette

Hiking at Lake Ozette

On Sunday, we went back to Whidbey Island for a night. That was a combination of factors — mostly, I think, R was ready to have a real bed again and we were worried about traffic heading into the city. But we had a lovely peaceful night there and a terrific breakfast the next morning, and then headed back into Seattle.

Yesterday was one last tourist day — we went out for pho, visited REI’s flagship store where I bought my own Discover pass and a national parks pass, too, and traipsed through a greenhouse. We were going to go to the movies (Spiderman) but I got anxious about the heat and the dogs, so instead we came back to P’s house, and I made quinoa bowls for dinner. Today, R leaves for Florida. He’ll be back at school within the week.

It’s been an incredible summer — since the Best Vacation Ever in May, I feel like I’ve been on a whirlwind of travel and visits, seeing people and doing things, and this past Washington week has been a wonderful way to cap it off. But as R goes back to school, it’s also time for me to get back to my writing. Grace has been on absolute hold for the past three weeks: I’ve opened the file once or twice, but haven’t written a word. I’m hoping the time off will prove to have been inspirational. Whether it was or wasn’t, thought, settling back into the discipline of writing every day will feel good.