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Summer Road Trip 2018, Part 6: North Cascades to Port Angeles

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 came into view, but pulled over to have a better look.

Deception Pass connects the Puget Sound with the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I walked out over the span to get a photo of the Strait from the bridge.

I was headed to the Port Townsend Ferry terminal near the town of Keystone. I was advised to make a reservation but, by that time, there were no reservable spaces available. I would have to get in line for one of the spots held aside for drive-ups.

When I arrived the attendant seemed confident I'd make the next ferry. It was scheduled to depart in 45 minutes. That was a massive relief because the alternative was a much longer route involving multiple ferries.

I parked Ellie in the space available lane and go out to stretch my legs.

The ferry arrived and cars with reservations were loaded first. The process seemed slow so I continued my walk as the loading continued.

It wasn't long before the space available line was moving and we were being directed to our place in the ferry's hold.

Less that an hour later and Ellie was exiting the ferry's hold to the inviting scene of downtown Port Townsend. I stopped to fill up on gas and ice for the final push to Port Angeles.

I arrived in Port Angeles just after 10PM. I'd booked a campsite at the Port Angeles KOA because the reservable campgrounds at Olympic National Park were completely booked up. The KOA was nice and provided me facilities to take a shower and do a little laundry.

When you make reservation at a KOA and you arrive after the office closes, they post a map by the office door with your last name and directions to your campsite. I grabbed the map and continued to my campsite. I arrived just after 10 PM and, by that time, it was too dark to see the campground.

The next morning, I woke up, and was pleasantly surprised with the campground's appearance. It was quaint, with several small cabins and campsites shaded by a canopy of large trees. I made breakfast, loaded up Ellie, did my laundry and took a much needed shower. By noon I was on the road, headed to Olympic National Park.

Before starting out toward the park, I wanted to have a quick look at the town of Port Angeles. I drove through the city center, passing their little downtown, and eventually arriving at a marina on the west end of town.

As I entered the marina, I saw a massive line of cars going the opposite direction that were backing up at the light I just went through. I decided to act fast. I was eager to get into The National Park so I made a hasty u-turn, diving for a spot in line before the line got any longer.

And that's when it happened: CRUNCH!

Ellie's rear driver's side CV axels let out a horrendous sound; like a snapped femur, rolled ankle and ripped tendon all in one brutal failure.

Ellie was still kicking down the road when I reigned her in, bringing her to rest in a parallel parking spot near the entrance to the marina. I rolled Ellie back 20 feet to another terrible, frame-vibrating sound. I roller forward about the same distance. This time, a pair of deep and merciless metallic snapping sounds echoed into the cabin from under the car.

I knew it was serious but Port Angeles seems like a fortunate place to breakdown, especially compared to all possibilities within the last 24 hours.

My focus turned to finding a suitable place to have the damage repaired. As it turns out, Ellie held on long enough to get us to town with a Honda dealership.

I called Wilder Honda, talking to Marriah, my soon to be service advisor. She explained that their department was down a man due to training, and that it would take a few days. She suggested I drop it off and the mechanic would get to it sooner, if possible.

I called Geico roadside assistance, arranged for a tow truck and had Ellie towed to the dealership. Upon arrival, Marriah explained it would be Saturday before someone would be free to have a look.

The tow truck driver unloaded Ellie in the middle of the rear parking lot. Given the timeframe for repair, I had to find a suitable parking spot for Ellie's long-term stay. I found a space on the end of an aisle that almost looked like a campsite. Unfortunately, this might actually be my campsite for the next few days.

Regardless, this is going to have a serious impact on my plans for Olympic National Park.

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