June 2023 – Tour to Olympic Peninsula, Write-Up and Photos

June 2023 – Tour to Olympic Peninsula, Write-Up and Photos

Text and photos: Carl Foleen

Our day stated relatively early for retired folks, we were excited to be joining the trip, since I had indicated our participation as soon as I learned that Doug Jackson from the Seattle Jaguar Club (SJC) had proposed the drive-out in the early months of this year. We couldn’t sleep past 0530, so we took advantage of the early hours to finish packing, then enjoying our lattes and also checking the weather along the route for the weekend. “Weather Underground” encouraged us to make some minor adjustments to our attire, and sunscreen suddenly became a necessity rather than an option.

“The Plan” was to leave about 0900 hours, but that – of course – was merely a guideline, not a hard-and-fast departure time. Further proof that “the best laid plans…etc.” is as true now as it was before those words were first written. Repeated trips in and out of the driver’s seat (and back through the previously locked back door to the house) to chase down one more item accidently left in the house (or due to faulty memory necessitating a double-check of the last known resting place of the current item) delayed us by a good twenty minutes or so. Finally all was secure, instructions were left for the house sitter regarding the care and feeding of our two new kittens, and we were off (by no more than usual). 

Since the meeting place and start point for the drive was the Shilo Inn in Ocean Shores, Washington there were several routing options that presented themselves for our first leg of the journey. I-5 was our return route, so to avoid repetition a drive up Washington SR-4, SR 401, and US 101 was one scenic route, but an equally scenic alternative was US 26 to the Vernonia Junction, then Oregon SR 47 to SR 202 into Astoria. From there the Astoria-Megler bridge to meet US 101 in Washington and then a leisurely drive to Ocean Shores. There is something to be said for a route where there is no traffic to contend with for several miles at a time, and having “I Get Around”, “Sharp Dressed Man”, and “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress” coming through the car’s stereo just added to a wonderful drive. 

Lunch was going to be another enroute necessity, so the C&C Classic Diner in Raymond, Washington was selected. The food and service was good, it was not too crowded, and the prices were reasonable. 

Back on the road again, we miraculously found a lovely ice blue Jaguar XK-R (belonging to SJC’s Kurt & Cheryl Jacobson) behind us in the early “rush hour” traffic in Aberdeen, Washington. What are the odds? Clara and I eventually followed their car the last few miles into Ocean Shores and the Shilo Inn parking lot. 

Clara and I braced ourselves as we opened the door to our room for the night, since our observations of other Shilo Inns caused us to brace ourselves for almost anything. The room (and the entire facility, actually) was long overdue for an overhaul, but it would be serviceable. 

We had learned that we were supposed to receive and email on Thursday that gave us the entire itinerary including meeting times for dinner (and the assembly points), plus the drive instructions and map. (I double-checked my email accounts and had no luck finding the message.) Fortunately it was easy to find out that the first group dinner would be near the Shilo at the Galway Pub. (Oh goody! Guinness on the horizon!!) At this point, the group numbered about twelve people. JOCO members Al and Naomi Jasso had also signed up for this event, and we encountered them as we were heading out to drive to the restaurant. I was sorry to decline Al’s kind offer to chauffeur us to dinner, but I needed about a half-tank of fuel from the drive up, and wanted to sleep in in the morning. Al allowed as how refueling tonight made much more sense than having to scramble around tomorrow. 

Dinner was festive, with many traditional Irish and British favorites on the menu to select from. The jocularity at dinner was great fun and conducive to the atmosphere of an Irish setting. (The Guinness certainly made its contribution.) Clara and I took some good-natured ribbing from Doug Jackson about being Oregonians. I had to remind him that we had skirted the border checkpoint by not taking I-5 into Washington, but rather the unguarded passage across the river from Astoria. We were back in our motel rooms by 2200 hours, and it was fairly easy to fall asleep after our early start to the day.

On the morrow, the driver’s meeting was at 0900 hours, and Doug handed out a printed itinerary and map to everyone. Group photos were taken and we proceeded out of Ocean Shores to US 101 and begin our northern trek toward Port Angeles where our next overnight stay would be. 

The sights are absolutely beautiful (and occasionally breathtaking) along the coast and through the forest, our pace – leisurely. Our first stop was at a relatively new self-contained vacation home development called Seabrook. There are a wide variety of housing options for those that want a vacation home in a rather large community that contains stores, restaurants, boutique shops, and even has a “farmer’s market” of vendors for part of the year. No housing is right at the shore line (the area is somewhat elevated from sea level on some bluffs overlooking the ocean), but the fortunate residents are within a reasonable walking distance of the beaches and there are some inspiring views in some areas.

Our next stop was at the Lake Quinault Lodge for a much needed coffee break and “rest stop” (at least for some of the group). The view was spectacular, the lodge is absolutely charming, and we encountered a dining room staff member who was going to provide free coffee to those that requested it since the dining room was not yet open. I thought that five bucks was a tad stiff for sixteen ounces of coffee, but neither was I willing to impose on this very kind server, so I did pay for our coffee (I am not sure what the other tour members elected to do). There is a rain gauge at the lodge (see the photo of the “totem pole” on the outside of the lodge facing the lake), which records the annual rainfall at the lodge’s location in one foot increments. It appears that the new “high water mark” is above sixteen feet. WOW! 

On the road again, we drove to the equally beautiful Kalalock Lodge. It is similarly rustic and as beautiful as our first stop, just with an entirely different floor plan. The menu is rather heavily weighted toward fresh fish and sea food (not too surprising for this region). Interestingly, this facility is now cashless, so your green backs are nearly useless unless you have exact change). Plastic reigns supreme here. The service was good, and our orders arrived rather quickly considering the size of our group, the growing number of other guests, and the somewhat limited number of serving staff on shift. 

Leaving the lodge, we stopped on the opposite shoulder of the highway for a last look at the ocean at an area named Ruby Beach. There was a beautiful view here, and a few photos captured the moment and the line of Jaguars on this portion of the trip. Continuing on, we encountered a local resident who is also an SJC member who has a light blue XK 120 FHC, but the car was being temperamental, so they had to turn for home before it became a traffic hazard further down the road.

The tour arrived at the Red Lion Inn in Port Angeles at about 1630 hours. The motel sits right on the shoreline, and within just a few steps of the Black Ball Ferry’s dock. The Red Lion’s restaurant & bar is called “48 North” and the food was, once again, very good, as was the service with the prices quite reasonable given the post-covid inflation curve. The group had now grown from eight to ten cars (and twenty participants) with the addition of some folks that had other commitments during the day on Saturday. It was fun to see a cruise ship, the Black Ball ferry, a cargo ship, and an ocean-going barge all pass by our vantage point during the evening and early morning hours.

Once again meeting in the parking lot, we were joined by the eleventh car for the last part of our tour. An original 1961 E-type drophead coupe (or roadster if you prefer) that has its original factory hardtop, and has been in the same family’s ownership since new. The family purchased the car new in San Francisco, and it was then driven to its home in Medford, Oregon. It now resides with the daughter (and her husband) in Sequim, Washington. All ten of the other tour cars followed this beautiful car to their rental house overlooking the Dungeness Spit. Here we enjoyed coffee and donuts before the tour took us along the west side of Hood Canal where the group would stop for lunch at the Hama Hama Oyster Saloon before participants headed toward their respective domiciles in Washington and Oregon.

This was all-around fantastic event, and a drive chock-full of spectacular scenery enjoyed by a wonderful group of Jaguar enthusiasts. It is to be hoped that once the Hurricane Ridge facility is rebuilt, we will be able to reprise this tour (perhaps in the opposite direction?) to “fill in” the one major scenic point we had to miss this time.

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