Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Finding Treats on the Way to the Shores

Sunday, January 30, 2011

OLA: Finding Treats on the Way to the Shores

our little Saturn on the way to the end of the shores
Last week we postponed this trip for the Cranberry Coast. But another sunny day in the cold of a January winter came along and off we went to meet the Pacific Ocean again. This time we passed through the cities of Aberdeen and Hoquiam before getting to Ocean Shores. Once more, we found so many special things! Bill and I may have stumbled upon a career of finding treasures in all the places we go to.

a bird cage in Aberdeen
Downtown Aberdeen, the hub of Grays Harbor has added some twenty bird cages that contain metal replicas of mythical endangered species such as … Then, right where the Chehalis and Wishkah rivers meet, there is the largest compass in the world (40 feet in diameter) called The Compass Rose. It shows both true and magnetic Norths, offering a great vantage point for the shipping commerce passing by.
The Compass Rose in Aberdeen
Then just a block from the Visitors’ Center, inside a muffler shop sits an amazing statue done by the wife of Bob, the owner. It is of Kurt Cobain, the leader of Nirvana, the multi-platinum grunge band that redefined the sound of the nineties. He was born in Hoquaim but moved to Aberdeen. At age 27, just two years after marrying controversial Courtney Love of The Hole and a year after their love child was born, he put a shotgun in his mouth, pulled the trigger, and left a suicide note with the words "I love you." 

Kurt Cobain at a Muffler Shop in Aberdeedn
Bob says that it is because of his gruesome death due to drug addiction that the city has not given the statue a place of honor. But he told us about another amazing statue, this time of a fireman, which his artist wife made for the heroes of 9/11. They hauled it across the country on their truck a month after the tragedy and it sat at the Ground Zero fire station for months before reconstruction work started.

The Hoquiam Castle
The Hoquiam Castle was the next surprise. This beautiful 19th century Victorian-style mansion is listed in National Geographic's America's Great Houses. The building of this stately home overlooking the town of Hoquiam began in 1897, completed in 1900, by lumber baron Robert Lytle who acquired his fortune from his electric saw mill, the first of its kind on the west coast. The castle is now a bed and breakfast and right beside it stands the family home, the beautiful yellow Lytle House.

The Lytle House
Sharkys at Ocean Shores
Not far after these two towns, on a stretch of land on the southern tip of the Olympic peninsula shielding Grays Harbor from the Pacific is Ocean Shores. Westport was not as visible from the Shores that day but we still had fun, especially after almost being eaten by a shark at a gift shop!  And guess what color their fire hydrants are? Yellow! We also found a three-eyed yellow propane tank, yellow roof on a fishing boat relic marooned on the streets, and theme homes decorated with buoys (although not all yellow!).
whoops, the mothballed power plants 
a propane tank in Ocean Shores
On the way back to our Elma campground is an astounding view of) 2 nuclear power plants mothballed at a cost of $2.25 B, Plants 4 & 5 of WPPS (Washington Public Power Supply system. No wonder some call it whoops!  Although we found all these treats on the way to the Shores that sunny winter day, we do not really want to start another career. What we know is that there are millions of treasures in this wonderful world of ours, if we only had the time to look, cruise, and be part of the Z generation! 
a home of buoys in Ocean Shores

Next Stops:  Olympia, Tacoma, and Mt. St. Helens, Washington