Washington Wilderness (and Wackiness)

We left Portland filled with donuts, faint memories of craft beer and shirt taking-off competitions, and a new travel companion:  Nora Edmunds!  We set off for the coast once again, anxious to get back to Route 101 and those vast, never-ending Pacific coast horizons.  Our first day back on the road we drove through beautiful Astoria, Oregon and hurtled across the incredible linkage of bridges that connects the North Western tip of Oregon to Long Beach, Washington.  We camped in Cape of Disappointment (we hope this is a sarcastic name, as its really quite beautiful out there!) National Park that evening and enjoyed our first official round of campfire s’mores.  We continued north throughout the week with the ultimate goal of reaching Olympic National Park in northern Washington by mid-week, parking the bus in the sand and camping on two beaches mere feet from the Pacific Ocean tide.  Early Tuesday evening, we stopped in Copalis Beach and wandered into The Green Lantern Tavern.  We made friends with some wonderful locals, got talking to the new owners of the bar, and even became addicted to a gambling game of sorts.  After spending $8 with no luck, the owners took pity and gave us the price for free:  a box of 48 poptarts was ours for the taking!  Thanks Green Lantern for providing the Locavaux Crew with breakfast for the next two months!  As we journeyed north the next day, we came upon Pacific Beach, Washington, a small fishing town and home to Wacky’s Warehouse.  Wacky’s Warehouse, owned by none other than Mr. Wacky himself, is a hole-in-the-wall oddities store that also features a donated open mic area that is often frequented by locals.  The Locavaux Crew was fortunate enough to hear Mr. Wacky play some songs on the piano and hear about his days as host to a pirate music radio channel straight out of the back of his store.  He also treated us to tales of his own cross-country trip in the 1960s in a renovated postal service truck!  What a life Mr. Wacky has had—we’re pretty sure he’s the perfect “This American Life” material for NPR. Speaking of lives we wish we led, fate led us to a gas station just outside of Olympic National Park in which we met Rhodes, a member of the famous 1960s Hog Farm gang and friend to Ken Kesey!  For those of you who know any member of the Locavaux Crew, you know that we’re incredibly inspired by and big fans of Tom Wolfe’s novel, “The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test,” a journalistic recount of Ken Kesey and his attempt to spread LSD across the United States by means of his gang of friends, The Merry Pranksters, and their beloved bus, Furthur.  Upon meeting Rhodes, we immediately tackled him with questions of his own adventures on Furthur, what type of man Ken Kesey was, if Neil Cassady, the driver of Furthur, was as cool as he seems in the novel, and so on.  Rhodes, if we could have, we would have had you recount tales of Electric Kool Acid Tests for hours on end, but I guess we’ll just have to wait until our next chance encounter.  Georgia sure was proud to get a few compliments from one of the more famous bus passengers of our time.  We made it to Olympic National Park’s Lake Quinault that afternoon and explored a few of the nearby trails into the famous rainforests of northern Washington.  We ended the evening with a drink on the lawn of the beautiful park lodge on Lake Quinault and made it to our campsite, where we made a few new Canadian friends, jammed on the guitar, and made s’mores over an open campfire.


We drove on towards Seattle the next morning, deciding to stop outside of Olympia, the state’s capital, to try and find a little local music and celebrate National IPA Day the right way.  Luckily enough, it didn’t take long until we happened upon Buzz’s Tavern, a small sports bar and home to weekly open mic night.  We enjoyed an incredible selection of talented local drummers, guitarists, vocalists, and bassists, all hosted by the friendly and attentive Scott (who makes his living in the area setting up high quality open mics for all).  Our favorite act?  A family band, consisting of a father and his two children, entitled, “Me and My Dad.”  We even got to interview them following their first Open Mic ever!  And so after a week of beaches, rainforests, Merry Prankster run-ins, IPAs and open mics, the Locavaux Crew was content and ready for the next big weekend stop:  Seattle!