Fort Ferry bashes birthday bunkers with hurricane views

A birthday weekend treat, courtesy of Mitra/Stefan and Melika/Tom occurred in the midst of our visit with Darius, Christiane and the girls. They had secured a big AirBnB in Port Townsend. Since car seats dominate the backseat of Darius’ Subaru, it was a two-car trip. Because the rental car that Nazy and I were using had no car seats and, accordingly, no children to transport, we left a little before Darius and his family. We made (just barely) the 2PM Ferry. Darius and family arrived in what should have been time for the 3:15 Ferry. Unfortunately, that ferry was full, so they had to wait for the 5:15 Ferry. (We are reliably informed that the little girls were not completely patient as they waited.)
closeup nazy on ferry March 2021

While Darius queued, Nazy and I checked out the house (spectacular!) and Port Townsend (charming, picturesque and closing for the day). We found a place for Darius’ birthday lunch and a take out place
Siren (“A Pub of Distinction") where we ordered, for pickup, a pizza, clam chowder and ‘the best fish and chips in the country’. Although it was very tasty, it would have been even better if they had sent the chowder.

At the house, the little girls, especially Auriane, aged two, who had no memory of ever sleeping outside of her own home, were very reluctant to leave sight of Darius and Christiane. (This situation became really visible when Darius and Christiane dashed out together on a trip to the local grocery store.) Darius was called upon to read a lot of books when he got home.
port hadlock house

We celebrated Darius’ birthday the next day - beginning with a lunch at Doc’s on the Marina. Not only did they have great clam chowder, they actually had not run out of anything on the menu — a situation that later proved to be anomalous.

In preparation for the trip, Darius had talked with a friend about sights to see in Port Townsen. The first, Fort Worden, is one of three forts protecting Puget Sound had been constructed beginning in 1898. It was located within site of a “potential (if unlikely) enemy fortification on Vancouver Island”. Guns, designed to protect the Sound from invasion, were never fired in anger and were removed during World War I and deployed to Europe. Now the Fort is a Park.
darius reading to the girls March 2021
Fort Worden is in a very beautiful part of the Olympic Peninsula and is generally in good shape — with the exception of the gun bunkers.

Darius took Christiane on a romantic tour of the defunct bunkers while Nazy and I watched the napping little girls and the wild deer. The weather was cooperative — cool, but non-rainy.

“Most of the bunkers are locked,” Darius noted. “But I found one that was open and discovered a tunnel that leads to another one. We can just explore, Christiane.”

When Christiane saw the mud in front of the unlocked door, her enthusiasm waned. When she discovered that the tunnels were unlit and, therefore, very dark, she demurred.

dar and christiane at Fort Worden March

Because it was still Darius’ birthday and we had plans for dinner at the BnB. Nazy’s sister Shahrzad arranged takeout from the Silver Water Cafe and Nazy made and decorated a birthday cake. The girls helped blow out the candles.

Dars birthday cake

It was birthday week in Port Townsend. Auriane joined Darius in celebrating. Unlike Darius, she would be celebrating her 2nd birthday and aware that she probably wouldn’t be happy with Darius’ leftover cake, Nazy and Christiane made cupcakes and a round cake for Auriane. Aware that Nazy’s birthday was also close, I could see how this was going.

Auriane likes to draw and color. Although just two, she also recognizes many letters (her favorite is ‘O’.). She likes to read books or, more specifically, likes to have books read to her. ‘Hop on Pop’ is her favorite. And, growing quickly, she likes toys. She especially likes Leandra’s toys. Her favorite is whatever Leandra is using.
blowing out Darius' cake 2021

“Maybe you should get identical toys,” I suggested.

“They have identical sets of crayons, stored in identical boxes,” Christiane explained.

“Great. And?”

“If Leandra is coloring with the orange
crayon, Auriane…”

“… wanted the orange
crayon, too?” I interrupted.

“Auriane wants Leandra’s orange


“When, Dad, will my little girls be old enough for me to reason with them?” Darius asked.

“I’m not sure,” I replied. “
You’ll never be able to reason with them,” I thought.

In planning for the trip, a friend of Dar’s had also strongly recommended a trip to Hurricane Ridge to see…
“… the best view in Washington State, Dad,” Darius explained. “You can see Vancouver. But..”

“But?” I asked.
“It’s a bit of a drive.”

Undaunted, we began (somewhat) early the next day. I was expecting to drive north to see a view across The Puget Sound and was, accordingly a little disappointed when it started to drizzle.

“The drizzle wasn’t bad,” Nazy interrupted, “but the wipers on the non-luxury car that
you chose, were very loud in light rain.”

“Loud?” I replied. “
They sounded like fingernails on a blackboard,” I thought.

everyone at hurricane ridge

The first thing we did (after picking up bagels and coffee) was to turn South. Hurricane Ridge, it turned out, in Olympic National Park and featured mountain, not ocean views. The Vancouver that you could see was Vancouver Island, not Vancouver City. The drizzle ended and the views were spectacular.

We traipsed through the snow and enjoyed the fresh air. Darius suggested a stop at “Salty Girls Seafood” in Sequim on the way home because “they feature Dungeness Crab, Dad.”

“… and the only thing we’re out of is the crab melt,” the waitress explained.

“I’ll have garden salad with the salmon,” Nazy said.

“… and we’re out of the Salmon.”

nazy snowball March 2021

“I’ll have the crab plate,” Darius commented. “With a Sauvignon Blanc”

“… we are out of Sauvignon Blanc.”

“I’ll have the Salad Nicosia,” Nazy said, as she tried again.

“We’re out of tuna, today.”

“I’ll have the crab roll,” I interjected while Nazy thought of her third choice.

“We have that — an excellent choice.”

Eventually, everyone found something that they had and later (much later) the food began to arrive. Everything came except…

“… that guy in the other table got the last crab roll,” the waiter said.

That guy came in after us!” I thought on the drive home. More on our stay in Port Townsend in next week’s issue. In the meantime…

For last week's letter, please click here

Fort Worden Photos
TWL photo April 4 2021

Is it safe to order the ‘famous crab roll’ in the city of Dungeness, Washington? Hint: We were at the Salty Girl Girls Cafe. How about Salmon, Sauvignon Blanc, Crab Melt or Salad Nicosia? Where is the best view in Washington State? Who would bring his wife on a romantic walk through abandoned gun emplacements at a maritime fort? (While surrounded by grazing deer?) How many birthdays were celebrated during a short visit to the great
Northwest? And why might it be risky top drive across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge?

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