I was surprised at how big Port Angeles was. I certainly wasn't expecting a half dozen car dealerships or the large Walmart. I'd driven Laura and Gilbert down from Vancouver BC in my new Mazda Miata sportscar. Northern Washington is just the best place to drive this time of year. I love the road ways. We'd already explored the winding back country roads on my Harley Electraglide motorcycle years gone by. Now were really enjoying them in the new sportscar. Glorious sunshine after a winter of rain.
The ferry to Port Townsend from Whidby Island lasted less than half an hour but it's advised that one reserve. We didn't either way and got on without difficulties but then it's early season. We loved Port Townsend, Fort Worden and the Point Wilson Light House.
Port Angeles is only an hour drive west on the I20. Great road. People drive up from Seattle and don't have to take the ferry. Which explained the numerous RV parks which looked really inviting. It's about 2 hours from Seattle.
I'd once come to Port Angeles in my 40 foot sailboat, SV GIRI, some 20 years past. I couldn't recognise the town but immediately remembered the well sheltered port. Looking at the harbour I really wanted to sail back here again. We looked across Juan de Fuca Strait at Vancouver Island. I think I could just see the city of Victoria in the distant haze. I recollected all the sailing adventures I'd had starting or returning through the Juan de Fuca Strait. North it becomes the Strait of Georgia and that's where my home sailing is. But Juan de Fuca has been the departure point for heading to Mexico or crossing the Pacific to Hawaii. I fondly remember returns from circumnavigating Vancouver Island or just travelling out to the exquisitely beautiful Barkley Sound and back. There have been storms too and I believe it was to avoid one that I came into Port Angeles that time years ago.
Port Angeles is famous also for the week long month of May, "Esprit Gala". This is an annual cross dressers, transvestite, transgendered convention that has attracted hundreds. The very old and discrete Cornbury Society of Vancouver has been recommending Esprit for many years. It's really quite the institution. Shopping forays, lectures on make up, hair stylists, dinners and even a ball gown event, for those who wish to go formal, is hosted, according to advertisements. Again I'd never have thought of Port Angeles, ostensibly an outdoors coastal logging community, as so sophisticated to host such a cosmopolitan event. Monty Python had done a sketch about loggers in frocks but that was when Benny Hill and his gang were still in the closet. We'd been laughing on the ride here listening to Izzie Edwards the cross dressing English comedian on Sirius Satellite Radio Blue Collar Comedy.
I was impressed looking at all the boutiques downtown. Quite the range of restaurants, foods, ethnic choices, and quaint shops. A couple of prominent lingerie shops too. Two smoke shops which caught both Laura and my eye given the indeceny of tobacco these days. The head shops seems less offensive these days when one considers the obscenity of lung cancer and cigarette addiction.
Looking in the brochures for the region it turned out both Port Townsend and Port Angeles are major centres for all manner of conventions. Both attract alot of eco tourism but a wide range of businesses choose these towns for their meetings. I'm not surprised. The towns have so much to offer and the surrounding environment is so inviting for all manner of outdoor activities. Culture and logging. Who would have guessed. Yet that's surely what Port Angeles is about. Nightclubs and fishing boats too. Everyone was friendly. Gilbert enjoyed the walks and pee breaks.
We didn't have time to stay. It was a destination for a drive. We had to be back in Vancouver that night. I enjoyed the expresso drive through too. The Miata was a joy too. Sirious Radio comedy channel, opera or symphony with just the occasional blue grass driving through the corridors of trees. Beautiful farms, great vistas of forest and water. Cows, horses, sheep and apacas. I loved the drive. Gilbert loved the chances to run on the beach. Laura enjoyed the sunshine and sightseeing.
Looking at the pictures I took. I have some of the spit and harbour. It figures being a sailor. But I've only a couple in the town. Tourism is about seeing what catches your own eye. I happened to enjoy taking a picture of a bumblebee outside the native art pitstop where Gilbert piddled and we enjoy the native art. Nearby there was busy bustling casino.