I missed a golden opportunity last weekend.
I flew to Seattle, Washington, to travel with Subaru Rally Team USA for the Olympus Rally. Circumstances left my Sunday free of commitments, and I was within range of Olympic National Park by mid-morning. The problem was that I didn't realize just how accessible the park was.
Of course, I didn't ask anyone. I can give you all kinds of excuses why not.
After all, I had a GPS unit that I had dragged all the way from Milwaukee in my suitcase, and I had a phone with GPS on it, although it wasn't working that well (remote area -- no signals). Plus, I had an overview map of the rally roads that showed part of the park, but not, unfortunately, all of it.
I didn't have an accurate view of the entire national park, and that's too bad. A road atlas would have resolved any questions I had. I learned later that Highway 101 circumnavigates the entire park, and that I easily could have seen the other side of the mountains. I was on 101 just south of the park.
As it was, I poked my way into the edge of Olympic National Park, and I stopped to walk a trail through the area's rain forest to see the world's largest spruce tree. They don't grow trees like that in Wisconsin!
I also enjoyed the drive between the miles and miles of conifers as well as some of the turns and hills.
But I could have gone around the entire park! I could have seen it from a closer vantage point than Seattle!
It's an opportunity lost, which I hope to win back again.
I'm going to return to doing what I used to -- always carry a road atlas on my travels!
In the meantime, you might want to check out more information about Olympic National Park. It has a lot to offer.
Plus, as long as you're in the area, Mount Rainier National Park is nearby.
For those of you with smartphones: I recently read that the 2012 Rand McNally Road Atlas has smartphone integration via QR codes. That way, it provides good maps along with video, text, and image enhancements. You might want to investigate it.
-- Ric Hawthorne