When Jill came home, I took off for the Olympic Peninsula for a couple of nights. I had plans to revisit Hoh Rain Forest, but that never happened. I wandered around in my car, stopping to take photos, but not really committing to anything. It bothered me at first, but I realized I was on one of those strange vacations that happen right after I complete a house sit. With no one to care for but myself, I let life happen, but I don't try very hard to direct things.
I have what I think is a pretty unexceptional fear of not knowing how to do everything and looking stupid. I'm sure there are people out there who don't suffer from it, but in my experience, everyone has at least some version of it. It's a perfectionist thing, the Achilles heel of people like me. This trip is my recovery, in a way.
As I've gotten farther along the road, the trip itself is becoming my life and I find less and less reasons to have a case of jellylegs. Normally, I have low-level fear of things like going into a shop I've never been in before or trying a new restaurant - daily, simple, silly things. I've largely gotten past that out here in the world, where I have to just do things and not worry or run home with my tail between my legs. All that being said, I was a little surprised to be scared of driving my car onto a ferry. I wasn't scared of having my car on a boat over water, I was scared of picking the wrong lane at the ferry terminal and looking like an idiot in front of everyone. I kid you not.
I've been on ferries a ton of times and I love them. I had not, however, been the driver. I'm pretty sure that the combination of watching ferries move past Jill's house multiple times a day, walking almost to the terminal with Finn, and negotiating the long, impatient lines of commuters waiting to board every day fueled this completely irrational and weird response. It sounds ridiculous, and I felt ridiculous. After everything I've experienced, this is what freaks me out?
Suffice to say, I took a deep breath, drove up to one of the booths, paid for my ticket, and was directed to the right line. I followed directions and was on my merry way to Sequim. The next day, I hopped on another ferry to Anacortes and did it all again, barely making it because I'd neglected to make a reservation. What a colossal waste of energy all of that worry was! Still, it was a good reminder of how far I've come. I've been watching those little fears pop up ever since and they're practically non-existent again.
I drove all the way out to Neah Bay and Cape Flattery in one colossally long day, going up through the Olympic National Forest and coming back down along the water. Clouds were stuck in the tops of the trees, turning the water an icy blue-black. Logging trucks blazed past, impatient with my slow progress, grudgingly grateful when I pulled over to let them pass.
Port Townsend is jammed full of Victorian era homes and art galleries, and I'd love to go back and spend some quality time there some day. Many of the brick buildings on the main shopping street still have old, painted advertisements, which have been carefully preserved. The wind was blowing so hard that I couldn't see from all the tears in my eyes and my hair whipping around, but I found a good spot for breakfast and hunkered down for a while before walking around downtown.
Deception Pass Bridge was one of my favorite stops along the way. I spent an hour or so walking the length of it and wandering on some of the steep goat trails underneath. The water was so green that I couldn't stop staring at it, especially he way it contrasted with the purple-brown rocks and the evergreens clinging to every available surface. I have far more photos of the bridge and water than is necessary, but it felt magnetic and I finally had to back away slowly, remembering that I had places to be.
I slept like a rock for 3 nights, hours of walking lulling me to sleep early, the promise of a new place to explore each morning launching me out of bed more quickly than usual. Eventually, I started back toward Seattle, planning to stay with Jill for a night before making the big right hand turn toward home. First, though, I was most definitely making a stop in the Skagit Valley to see acres and acres of tulips.