October 8, 2018
Only day one into this epic trip and I’m thoroughly delighted. Now that we were properly fed and caffeinated, we made our way to Olympia, our first official “The Grahams went there,” stop. Since there were no full details about exactly what my grandparents did in Olympia, we flowed and made it up as we went. We found ourselves at Heritage Park, between the Washington State Capitol, Capitol Lake and downtown. Near the waterfront, there was a mural on the side of a wall that spells out Olympia. The letters were made in the shape of people – like the Wiz, where the munchkins peeled off the graffiti wall. All I could think of was the song, “He’s the Wiz…”
Thomas was looking for action shots from and asked me to run through the dancing fountain which is filmed in slow mo. I won’t lie - I felt like a kid again, I felt like I was double dutching with hesitant yet measured steps. The spouts were in the shape of a semicircle, where they would shoot out synchronized for the film. We visited the city briefly and things seemed foreign when we prepared to cross the street. Pedestrians at crosswalks are to hit the button creating a series of events; warning light on posts will flash to notify drivers to stop and they actually did. Being from the east coast, I am not used to drivers actually stopping, mid driving to let people walk across. I like this place.
We meandered around the walkway that faces the Capital, peaking over the surface of the water and the hill. For a Monday, it was quiet with a handful of people here and there. The desolation was an even match for the grey skies. There was not much else to do and with measured time, I felt we adequately captured what was required.
In Washington, marijuana is legal. We enter a dispensary and this is a first for me. There was a lineup in the queue, pre-rolled joints, beverages, sweet edibles, and plenty of stuff I haven’t seen before. That is all I have to say about that…
The next stop was Olympic National Park. We made a group decision that we would make a run for the park, after leaving Olympia around 4:30 pm. Thomas suggested that it could be dark by the time we got there considering the GPS said it was 1hr 30 mins or so away. We decided to try – what else are we going to do? The route we took didn’t seem like it was taking us to the main entrance after driving what felt like endlessly. The road we were now on wasn’t as smooth, or wide as the one we had been on. After renewing the GPS, we realized that perhaps it was in fact leading us astray. The road was marked with pots of muddy brown water. When we made the 360-degree turn to head back, it made sense to park the van and get out to take pictures of the fog and water and the high cliff side. We took a few different shots – Boney Rats (nephew read a trivia card one day and misread Bonnie Raitt) and the Smokey Wonders. Earlier I had mentioned that my Aunt Benita asked what was the name of our crew and how she made it sound like we were a posse. The 3 of us took a “hard thing” crew pic to manifest this idea now in our head, which was well worth the quick set up of a camera on a small tripod in the wet street, with a few takes. Of course, a car appeared out of nowhere from the other side as we were set up in the middle of the street.
We made another pit stop on the way out at the Olympic National Forest sign and took more pics. Somehow I found myself on the traffic/entrance barricade arms, per Thomas’ request. He spotted me as I boosted myself up. Sarah fixed my body positioning. Quite the photo shoot. Never been asked to lounge on a small beam before. Well only when I was a kid in gymnastics, over 35 years ago. Back then, I was only a fraction of my size.
As the evening was creeping closer, the crew ruled to leave and get food. The drive felt unnecessarily long because of the rain. Finally, we made it to Shelton because Denny’s was our only option for real food before we couldn’t take the hunger pains any longer. Salad for me because my body needed it. Around our table we shared laughs and stories, leaving with heavier eyes when we left an even longer drive back with more rain and fog and darkness. We all barely shuffled back into the house. When the world is yours to explore, it often leads to a late night.