Airstreaming to Alaska – Chapter 7: The Strait of Juan de Fuca

Posted July 13, 2022 – Narrated by Carmen
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Airstreaming to Alaska
“Wisdom accepts that all things have two sides.”

Captain Kirk or Jean Luke Picard? Vienna Sausages or Spam? Alligator or Bear attack? Lively debate eases the frustration of road closures, detours and delays due to flooding and wildfires as we journey to Alaska.

It’s a silly mental exercise, but the conversation shortens the drive and relaxes Pico. Disney World or a hot air balloon ride? The Loneliest Highway or Route 66? The Odd Couple or The Mary Tyler Moore Show?

Respect your opponent – no falsities or absurdities – hold your position even if assigned by coin toss. Next topic is winner’s choice. Our minds work in opposition, so the game is about discovery not entrenching differences. There are no wrong answers, but some are better than others.

The Strait of Juan de Fuca

The Strait of Juan de Fuca was fake news, its existence shrouded in mystery for 200 years. Of course, it was there the whole time but when Captain James Cook arrived between the 47º N and 48º N parallels and failed to see it he basically said: “I’m here. It’s not. Therefore it doesn’t exist.” Captain Bligh had a similar response. Then, on a rare sunny day, Captain Vancouver arrived, the fog lifted and voila, the name Juan de Fuca would forever be an excuse for 5th graders to snicker in history class.

Juan de Fuca, or Ioannis Phokas (1536-1602) the intrepid Greek explorer and navigator was perhaps the first European the indigenous people of the area had ever encountered. That miraculous fog shrouding the Strait gave the locals two-hundred additional years of normalcy before westward expansion could show up and tell them what they were missing.

The cloud-veiled waterway, created by a tectonic plate, runs between fair and scenic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, (North Shore) and the stunning, mountainous Olympic Peninsula, located in the northwestern part of Washington State (South Shore)

The tribal people who live along these shorelines do not think of The Strait as a line of division. It’s more like the aisle of a grocery store …

… or a dinner table spread for family who live on both sides.


Each with unique eco-systems and all the fish in the Salish Sea between them, the two sides of the Strait of Juan de Fuca complete each other like best friends. I think of The Olympic National Forest as the Rhoda Morgenstern side: a gloomy badass, earthy and beautiful …

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and British Columbia – the most woman-friendly city in North America – is the Mary Richards side – a sunny overachiever, buoyant and equally beautiful.

Victoria, British Columbia


Shortly after crossing the Oregon border, we pulled off in Olympia. The Washington Land Yacht Harbor Airstream Park was our home-sweet-home and central base of operations for a brief two-day tour.

Of course it rained the entire time but, by then, we’d grown gills.

Yeah, baby! It’s the water!


With help from Washington’s senior friendly tax policies, Olympia is a popular retirement haven for active seniors. After a quick look-see we understand the attraction.

The Port Plaza,

the Farmer’s Market, where I was reminded of all the things this nomadic life cannot support like playing in a girl band …


making ceramics (or even owning them) …


having my own apple tree …


and a vegetable garden.


After viewing the public art

visiting the warm, dog-friendly breweries …

and tucking into some excellent meals in eateries that suit our price range …

we realized that Olympia deserved more research. Hopefully, the charming Airstream park will welcome us again someday.

As we pulled out of Olympia, the skies cleared and the cloud-blanketed Olympic Mountain Range offered a peek-a-boo view from the bridge.

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Within a couple of hours we were in beautiful

Port Angeles

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Port Angeles is built on top of Tse-whit-zen, the village of the The Strong People.

The village is incredibly scenic.

When we could pull our eyes away from the mountains and the Strait, we were bedazzled with the impressive public art collection.

Salt Creek

About thirty minutes up the mountain, we found our campsite at Salt Creek in Clallam County on The Olympic Peninsula, now on record as our Most Beautiful Site Ever.

We had two views. One from the trees on the cliff where we were parked …

and another from the shoreline below.

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Tidepooling is the primary fascination at Salt Creek Recreation Area.

Every square inch of this county park is pristine.

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The hike to Salt Creek was a daily activity.

The park once served as a fort in World War 2. If you like the sound of your own voice, the bunker is the place to belt out that song in your heart. It’s like your own personal Carnegie Hall in the Wilderness.

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The Striped Peak Trail is exquisite and worth every mosquito bite.

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Camping in the Salt Creek Recreation Area is in two sections. Spaces with partial hook-ups are in a tightly packed clearing. We preferred the dry-camping area with large secluded spaces beneath the tree canopy.

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Under the trees with overcast skies, our solar was useless, but generators were allowed. Hot, coin-op showers are provided. It’s a twenty-minute drive to town, so we made the most of our meals at home with fresh local ingredients.

Market days always included a visit to Barhop Brewing for a dog-friendly happy hour, a functional cell signal, and house-sponsored WiFi.

The Olympic Discovery Bike Trail

The Olympic Discovery Bike Trail from Port Angeles to Sequim was a highlight.

Lake Crescent Lodge

Luckily, Lake Crescent Lodge opened on the last full day of our stay. The kitchen served a satisfying hot breakfast.

The hearty meal fortified our hike to Marymere Falls.

Then, back home for one last sunset at Salt Creek.

The next morning we would be on our way across the Strait.

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Of course, we pulled out in the rain …

as we bid farewell to our mountain home in the Olympic National Forest …

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and also to the hospitable seaside village of Port Angeles …

where we boarded the ferry …

to visit our neighbors on the north side of the table in Victoria, British Columbia.

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A farewell drive through gorgeous Port Angeles

Chapters in the “Airstreaming to Alaska” series

  • Chapter 1 – San Diego to Malibu
    • Sun Outdoors San Diego Bay – Chula Vista, California
    • Malibu Beach RV Resort – Malibu, California
  • Chapter 2 – Malibu to Morro Bay
    • Morro Bay State Park – Morro Bay, California
  • Chapter 3 – Morro Bay to Santa Cruz
    • Santa Cruz Harbor RV Park – Santa Cruz, California
  • Chapter 4 – Santa Cruz to San Francisco
    • San Francisco RV Park – Pacifica, California
  • Chapter 5 – San Francisco to Eureka
    • Vinnie’s Northbay Airstream Repair – Wilton, California
    • High Water Brewery (Harvest Host location) – Lodi, California
    • Harmony Wynelands (Harvest Host location) – Lodi, California
    • Van Ruiten Family Vineyards (Harvest Host location) – Lodi, California
    • Four Fools Winery (Harvest Host location) – Rodeo, California
    • Lawson’s Landing – Dillon Beach, California
    • Mia Bea Wines (Harvest Host location) – Redwood Valley, California
    • Johnny’s at the  Beach – Eureka, California
  • Chapter 6 – The Oregon Coast
    • Harris Beach State Park – Brookings, Oregon
    • Bay Point Landing Resort – Coos Bay, Oregon
    • Blue Herron French Cheese (Harvest Host location) – Tillimook, Oregon
    • Seaside RV Resort – Seaside, Oregon
  • Chapter 7 – The Strait of Juan de Fuca
    • Washington Land Yacht Harbor Airstream Park – Olympia, Washington
    • Salt Creek Recreation Area – Port Angeles, Washington
  • Chapter 8 – Victoria, British Columbia
    • Weir’s Beach RV Resort – Victoria, British Columbia
  • Chapter 9 – Victoria to Mackenzie
    • Riverside RV Resort – Whistler, British Columbia
    • Big Bar Rest Area – Clinton, British Columbia
    • Walmart Parking Lot – Prince George, British Columbia
    • Alexander MacKenzie Landing – Mackenzie, British Columbia
  • Chapter 10 – The Alaska Highway
    • Northern Lights RV Park – Dawson Creek, British Columbia
    • Former Prophet River State Park – Peace River, British Columbia
    • Hay Lake – Fort Liard, Northwest Territories
    • Northern Rockies Lodge and RV Park – Muncho Lake, British Columbia
    • Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park – Liard River, British Columbia
  • Chapter 11 – Yukon
    • Watson Lake Visitors Center Parking Lot – Watson Lake, Yukon
    • Teslin Rest Area – Teslin, Yukon
    • Norsemen RV Park – Atlin, British Columbia
    • Hot Springs Campground – Whitehorse, Yukon
    • Real Canadian Superstore Parking Lot, Whitehorse, Yukon
    • Gold Rush Campground – Dawson City, Yukon
  • Chapter 12 – Top of the World Highway to Chicken, Alaska
    • Downtown Chicken Cafe and Saloon
  • Chapter 13 – Tok to Valdez
    • Tundra RV Park – Tok, Alaska
    • Gulkana River Rest Stop – Gulkana, Alaska
    • Bear Paw RV Park – Valdez, Alaska
  • Chapter 14 – Glacier View to Anchorage
    • Grand View Cafe and RV Park – Glacier View, Alaska
    • Alaska Raceway Park (Harvest Host location) – Palmer, Alaska
    • Ship Creek RV Park – Anchorage, Alaska
  • Chapter 15 – Kenai Peninsula
    • Heritage RV Park – Homer Spit, Alaska
    • Marathon RV Campground – Seward, Alaska
  • Chapter 16 – Whittier to Talkeetna
    • Williwaw Campground – Whittier, Alaska
    • Talkeenta Camper Park – Talkeetna, Alaska
  • Chapter 17 – Denali
    • Riley Creek Campground – Denali National Park, Alaska
  • Chapter 18 – North Pole to Chena Hot Springs
    • Riverview RV Park – North Pole, Alaska
    • Chena Hot Springs Campground – Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Chapter 19 – Tok to Haines
    • Fast Eddy’s Restaurant Parking Lot – Tok, Alaska
    • Gravel Turnout – Beaver Creek, Yukon
    • Gravel Turnout – Destruction Bay, Yukon
    • Haines Hitch-UP RV Park – Haines, Alaska
  • Chapter 20 – South to the Lower 48
    • Gravel Turnout – Haines Junction, Yukon
    • Teslin Rest Area – Teslin, Yukon
    • Jade City Parking Lot – Jade City, British Columbia
    • Mehan Lake Rest Area – Bell II, British Columbia
    • Fort Telkwa Riverfront RV Park – Telkwa, British Columbia
    • Walmart Parking Lot – Prince George, British Columbia
    • 100 Mile House Municipal Campground – 100 Mile House, British Columbia
    • Mt. Paul Golf Course (Harvest Host location) – Kamloops, British Columbia
    • Crowsnest Vineyards (Harvest Host location) – Cawston, British Columbia
  • Final Chapter – Lessons Learned
    • Philosophy
    • Preparation
    • Planning
    • Mileposts (the book)
    • Roads
    • Weather
    • Camping
    • Cash and Currency
    • Clothing
    • Food
    • Wildlife
    • Bugs
    • Fuel
    • Dump Stations and Potable Water
    • Pets
    • Internet Connectivity
    • Hiking
    • Cycling
    • Kayaking
    • Damage
    • Dangers
    • Canada Border Crossing
    • US Border Crossing
    • General Observations
    • Serendipity
    • Final Thoughts
    • Our Camp Sites

If you want to see our exact route, click here.

*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.