Canada 25, 3rd August 2006

I was reluctant to leave my campsite in the morning. Not only was it wonderfully situated, it was free. I've mentioned before, some of my free camping spots are better situated than many paying parks, or hotels. Not always of course. Just now I'm in a Walmart parking lot, the ambience does leave something to be desired. But tucked up in my van, curtains drawn, I can leave the outside world behind and look at the photos of the day, read my emails (about 50 per day) and write my travel reports.

I didn't take this photo out of the van window. I had to drive about 15 miles then walk through another fascinating rain forest. These are the Sol Duc Falls.

In the rain forest the ground cover is so dense that tree seedlings cannot get a start. So they will often germinate on the trunks of fallen trees, or old tree stumps, as in this case. The roots start about 10 feet in the air.

When the old tree stump, or fallen tree, decays, the new tree appears to be raised off the ground. By then of course the new tree is no longer new, it's getting on quite a bit itself.

This is Lake Crescent. Called so because that's it's shape.

This is another waterfall. Marymere Falls.

And this is another view of Lake Crescent.

I continued to Port Angeles and finding the museum closed finally holed up at Walmart. Now, I've been thinking about this new computer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, it's way more advanced than my old one. But since I fixed the $.1.19 plug everything has run perfectly. Well, without problem. Seems to me if $1.19 will fix the problem there is no need to spend $700 so I took the computer back. They repaid me in cash. So for the next few weeks forgive me if I am not too precise about my location..........

I drove up to Hurricane Ridge. Nice views from the top. Well, this first photo is on the way up Whilst nothing like the climb out of the Copper Canyon in Mexico of course, which, climbed 2 km in 14 km road distance, it was steep. This road, to Hurricane Ridge, climbed a touch less than a mile in a road distance of 19 miles, that's pretty steep too although only one third of the Mexican Road. That was almost 10 miles at average gradient of 1 in 7, or 15%.

This is the top.

There are lots of birds up here. Lots of deer too, but I didn't take photos of the deer.

More views.

I had decided to stop again at the same Walmart so I looked for van stuff. I am soon going to need 2 tyres for one side of the double back wheels. I found a supplier with 2 used tyres but he was too expensive. I looked for someone to fix my air conditioning which hasn't worked since I left picked up the van in Texas. I prefer to drive with the windows open so it has been no big deal. The firm that replaced my alternator had told me that I had an old air conditioning system, it would need converting to the modern system, cost about $2,000.

I have been dwelling on this for some time. $2,000 is close to the close to the current value of the van. Without air conditioning the value of the van in Texas would be about zero. So I have been debating selling it in the colder north then flying back to Dallas to catch my flight back to Paris or giving it away in Texas. But I was today told that was not necessary.

I had the oil changed at Walmart. When booking it in they asked the colour, I told them dirty cream. I noticed on the paperwork it was described as tan, but it's not that dirty.

While on Hurricane Ridge I had noticed someone with a big plate of chips (French fries). Now I can't make French fries in the van, so I was tempted. For dinner, I went to Macdonald's and bought 2 cheese baconburgers, with large fries. Unfortunately the fries were just so-so. But they were edible and made a change from fried potatoes.

In the morning I bought a new inverter. I can always take it back if I don't need it! There were minor starting problems with the old inverter. I examined the new mains plug, the one I bought a couple of days ago. Already it was discoloured, I am presuming the plug socket is not making good contact.

Also I don't think the 2nd battery is charging at the maximum possible rate, I've been thinking that since the new alternator was installed. But I'm doing better than Eleanor. She told me today that the second battery on my van in France is not charging at all. Without the second battery she has no lights in the van, and the electric cooler doesn't work, and she leaves tomorrow for a tour around Italy. Oh-oh. Unfortunately I can't fix problems like that when I am in the US.

Then I went looking for the auto repair shop in the next town who had been suggested to look at the air conditioning. They looked to be a very sensible auto shop but this unfortunately had the result that they were jammed out with work, I tried out a couple more shops in the town, then returned to Port Angeles to try some more. No luck. But along the way an expert ventured a guess, the freon was very expensive, if it had all gone it would cost about $250 to replace that, plus maybe $100 for time. That's a whole lot better than $2,000.

I drove down alongside a long stretch of water, it might be called Hoods Canal, but my maps don't give it a name. Something like 60 miles I suppose. No photos because a stretch of water, with a distant shore, is great to look at but rubbish to photo. Especially when the road is lined with trees. You get view, trunk, view, trunk, view, trunk, etc. Rather like an old style film. but nowhere to take a still photo.

Anyway I've hidden my camera. I was taking too many photos.

I stopped again at a Walmart for the night, this time Shelton.

Best regards

David Barker
On the road in the USA

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