On Tuesday afternoon, I received a call from Mariah at Wilder Honda letting me know the CV-axel had arrived, the repair was completed, and Ellie was ready to be picked up.
After five days of exploring Olympic National Park in Ansel, the black Honda Insight on loan from the dealership, it was time to get back on track.
I transferred my gear from Ansel back into Ellie, paid the $800 repair bill and got back on the road.
The breakdown put me a little behind schedule. I made the best of my extra time by exploring Olympic National Park in more depth but it was time to move on from Olympic and get down to Mount Rainer National Park.
My first full day in Quinault was probably going to be my last. Wilder Honda in Port Angeles is expecting to have Ellie fixed up by tomorrow so I wanted to spend the day hiking through the forests that border Lake Quinault.
I made morning coffee, then stopped by the Ranger Station to nail down a hiking plan. I walked next door to the Quinault Lodge, hoping to get a beer before starting my hike. It wasn't open because it wasn't even 11 AM.
I returned to my campsite to get my backpack with a granola bar, bear spray, rain shell, sweater, and first aid kit. I also brought half a Nalgene bottle of sweet tea.
I woke up early, but this morning I didn't go back to sleep after my morning walk. I was moving to Falls Creek near Lake Quinault for the next three days.
Lake Quinalut is on the south end of Olympic National Park, about 4 hours away. I made reservations months ago on Recreation.gov but considered canceling while Ellie was still out of commission with a broken rear axle. I decided to make the drive to Quinault in Ansel. I wasn't doing Ellie any good in Port Angeles anyway.
I got my tent packed, hammock stuffed, and the campsite tidied. After organizing my things in Ansel, I was back on the road.
From the Elwa Valley, I continued on US Highway 101 toward Crescent Lake. By accident, I pulled into the East Beach area of Crescent Lake. I soon found myself on a small piece of lake shore with only a few people on the beach.
It was beautiful. I walked around and took several pictures.
I wanted to get in the water so I rolled up my pants and walked out into the shallow beach still wearing my flip-flops. The water was cold and my senses sharpened as the water started lapping against my ankles..
I stopped to enjoy the moment: people laughing, kids splashing around in the water, one boat yelling out to another another of...
I was driving through Port Angeles on US Highway 101 and noticed a fenced area with several Vanagon Westfalias on display. There must have been 6 or 7, all with their pop-tops raised.
I pulled in and asked a girl in the office if I could have look around. She gave me the okay, and I spent the next 30 minutes checking out their Westies.
The small lot was packed tightly, with just enough room between each vehicle to walk through. I've definitely never seen that many Vanagon Westfalias in one place. Westies made up almost half their inventory!
I just love these vehicles, particularly the vie...
I woke up and took a short walk, then passed on breakfast in favor of getting into Port Angeles to get the repairs moving forward.
There had been road closures on the two-lane road into Port Angeles, but the roads were open and I made it to the dealership a few minutes early. Ellie was already outside and the service department garage door were open for business.
Mariah wasn't there so I talked to her co-worker and got the options. It was the driver's side rear CV axel that failed. Replacing it with Honda Parts would be twelve-hundred bucks. An aftermarket part was available for half of that, installed. So, I went with the aftermarket op...
I left the Honda service department determined go with the flow. Ellie was down but hopefully in good hands. Mariah, the Wilder Honda service advisor, offered me a loaner car for $25 per day. I took it.
I moved the bare necessities into my new loaner. For at least a couple of days, I'll be driving a hybrid Honda Insight.
My first concern was getting a tent, because now I'll be without my camper top. I found Brown's Outdoors, a local gear shop in downtown Port Angeles and decided to buy a Marmot Tungsten 2. It's a two-man tent that looked more like a three-man when compared to the tents I take backpacking. With a tent in hand...
After three days in North Cascade National Park, it was time to move on. I could have done more, but I felt well-rested and ready for the next phase of my adventure.
I left through the west side of The Park on State Route-20, passing through the towns of Marblemount and Concrete. There were several little restaurants that looked quaint and inviting. I didn't stop because there was some uncertainty a few hours down the road.
I continued through Sedro-Woolley and Burlington, following SR-20 south from Hidalgo Island toward Oak Harbor.
As I continued south, Deception Pass took me completely by surprise. I snapped a picture as the bridge...