The portion of my job that allows me to travel began last week. I took the inaugural trip out to Port Angeles for a few days with a coworker of mine. While last minute trips are usually right up my alley, when it’s work related I’d rather have a little bit more time to plan.
I rented a car from the university and sat in the parking garage for 20 minutes trying to figure out how to get the brake off of a Prius. I’m not used to “new” cars. My old Nissan was a 2000, so this new business of a keyless car not only confuses me, but convinces me that I will lock the key fob in the car immediately.
As I sat in the car, trying to figure out how to get it moving, I saw myself losing the key fob and having to call my boss in shame, my picture pasted up in the university car rental place as a person who is no longer allowed to rent the cars there due to complete automotive incompetence. “This is why I can’t have nice things,” I thought to myself.
Then I, of all people, got honked at while trying to figure out how to board a ferry with the damn car. The lane the attendant told me to drive in was blocked off with cones, and I was the first one in line. There was a sign that said to wait until a worker called you but apparently everyone in line behind me disregarded that sign and started lightly tapping their horns.
At this point, as if receiving karmic intervention for just writing a blog insinuating that people do not utilize their horns enough in Seattle, I started laughing in amazement. Then I turned around and yelled out my window to the woman in line behind me, who seemed equally as clueless. So I succumbed to peer pressure and started toward the ferry with my car, greeted by someone as soon as I was actually on board the ship itself.
We ended up finding a little apartment in Port Angeles that was above a restaurant to rent out for two days. I was a little skeptical at first, wondering how weird it would be to stay in a complete stranger’s place. It’s not like I haven’t stayed in my fair share of hostels and other sketchy places in my time on the road. But now in my old(er) age, I tend to be more hesitant to do things that I would have jumped right on board with a few years ago.
We were greeted instantly by the restaurant owner and his dog, Miley, which I immediately took as a good sign. Then the owner gave us the grand tour, of the restaurant and the apartment above. The apartment was adorable and was tucked away between the water and the mountains.
It had so much character, I immediately fell in love with it and wished it was back in Seattle for me to live in. Plus it was decorated with wine themed pictures and had a whole vase filled with corks, so I basically could have been living there and no one would have questioned it.
Our landlord for the weekend sealed his fate as my new best friend when he gave us two bottles of wine from the restaurant for our two day stay. I could get really used to crashing in this little apartment.
We worked 12 hour days and every time we would stop in the apartment to regroup or do some paperwork, Miley would run up to the car door and welcome us back. I absolutely loved it.
There were plenty of challenges along the way, like when our GPS stopped working (along with my directionally challenged brain) and when after a long day of work we struggled to get the old skeleton key that opened up our apartment to work. But we figured it all out, and at the end of the day, we always were able to sit at the table with a glass of wine taking in the scenery.
It was an interesting feeling. I love living in big cities. There is an energy that exists in the hustle and bustle that I wouldn’t trade for anything. But there was something about this quiet little town that I loved.
I went to grab some breakfast in a little cafe and the woman who runs the shop started chatting to me about how she wishes she could open up a bakery. There were three little old men sitting in there (at 7am no less) drinking coffee, gossiping, and reading the paper. They greeted me as if I was an old friend as soon as I walked in.
There was a familiarity that everyone had with one another. I thought maybe this is the type of town writers go to to hunker down and really focus on their work for a while, getting their lunch from the same diners, hobnobbing with the locals, and glimpsing a slice of life from this little seaside town. It wasn’t a place I saw myself moving to, but it certainly was refreshing to get out of the city for a bit and see what else the state has to offer for a few days.