Despite two previous years in which we explored the west coast, we had yet to visit the Olympic Peninsula. With our Key West friends Dave and Rebecca extending an open invitation to visit their home town of Sequim, this would be the year. We had several spare days before our reservation at Whidbey Island Naval Base, so we headed south and west around the bay to the coast. The plan was to spend a few days in Sequim, then take the ferry from nearby Port Townsend to Coupeville on the island.
As usual, our late planning complicated the search for accommodations; the state and municipal parks were mostly full (and pricey!) Though Dave and Rebecca were fine with us parking the rig in the street across from their seaside home, they also pointed us towards a couple of unofficial RV park options in their neighborhood: several members of the local landed gentry have installed power and water pedestals on the open portions of their lots and rent them out for RV use.
This is apparently rather contentious with regard to city approval and zoning, but so far they remain available if you can live without sewage hook ups for the duration of your stay. Be forewarned: this is an expensive area and the property owners have high expectations. We negotiated the $50 per day asking price down to $40 for our three days at one site, while another owner we talked to would not even quote as a price until we had… met some undetermined criteria? I don’t even know what he was waiting for. The whole conversation felt like we were all engaged in some vaguely illegal activity and he was scoping us out to make sure we weren’t undercover feds or wearing a wire.
I know that sounds somewhere between paranoid and contrived, but in my defense Rosemarie tends to leave the TV on true crime shows as background noise most of our waking hours. In her defense we typically only have access to “Over The Air” channels, which are a cultural wasteland, with Dateline and 48 Hours reruns being the top quality among the limited options.
Though official RV sites at any of the nearby public campgrounds might have been, if not more affordable, perhaps more attractive, none of them were within walking distance of Dave and Rebecca’s, the primary reason for our being here. They were phenomenal hosts, and Dave should be receiving some sort of stipend from the local chamber of commerce for his enthusiastic guided tours that border on sales pitches for the city. Once in real estate, always in real estate, I suppose!
Sequim is located roughly in the center of The Blue Hole, an area of very low rainfall less than 40 miles from a n actual rain forest. The Olympic Mountain Range creates a weather shadow: Pacific moisture blows inland and is pushed upward to 7,000′ during a 70-mile journey across the mountains, where it cools, condenses, and drops all the moisture as snow and rain (over 100 inches a year), while across the mountains Sequim receives only 16 inches. This makes for a beautiful, mostly rain free and relatively warm climate in a larger region known for precisely the opposite.
Rosemarie loved the area; it was all she could do to refrain from going down the local real estate rabbit hole looking at property during our short visit. The town is a bit small (not even one craft brewery!) but it has decent restaurants, the usual midsized to big chain stores and an excellent weekend market. The main draw, however, is the fantastic coast and near coast setting.
Dave and Rebecca hosted a Fourth of July party at their place, which we were quite glad to attend since that is also our anniversary date. Their house is positioned such that you can see down the coast for miles and appreciate all the private fireworks being lit off at many other shoreline homes.
We were having such a good time in Sequim that on our second day we moved our reservations for Whidbey Island back a day, giving us one more on the peninsula. For this last night we moved the rig in front of Dave and Rebecca’s, across the street where there was nothing but a fence and fields. Though it would have felt intrusive and odd for the full stay, one night of dry camping on their lightly travelled road was just fine, and free to boot.
We generally love the Pacific Northwest, particularly the coast from Norther California up through Oregon and Washington, but Sequim was particularly wonderful. We look forward to visiting the area again, perhaps during the coming summer as we work our way north.
Next up: Back to Whidbey Island.