Caught by Smoke



After being chased around by fires for three weeks, the smoke finally caught up with me. Remember, I had no real destination or itinerary for this trip. Each day, I looked at the weather, reached out to my community, and scoured the local area for opportunities. The winds shifted from the east, so now all the smoke from Eastern British Columbia was headed toward me.

Looking at all the air quality maps, the Olympic Peninsula held the best opportunity for clean air. I wanted to maximize my time out of doors, communing with and taking photographs of nature. Massive amounts of wildfire smoke seriously crimp my style, lol. One has two options to get to the islands from Seattle: take the ferry or go around. I’m learning to use the onboard navigation in the Rivian religiously, as it helps me manage my state of charge and the available fast chargers in the area. This time, however, I needed help figuring out why the Rivians didn’t want to cross Puget Sound on a boat. It’s not like I’m asking the truck to swim.

One of the things I appreciate most about the Rivian community is that we are all trailblazers at some level, willing to help each other out. With a quick post over at Rivian Stories, the moderator of the entire forum reached out to let me know there was a setting deep in the navigation to “avoid ferries.” That did it! Thanks, Jimmy!

With the truck on board for my journey, I had to purchase a ticket online at Washington State Ferries. I had to report at 930 and drive onto the boat. These boats are massive! My 7000-pound electric truck wasn’t even a drop in the bucket compared to what these boats can carry. Cars just flowed onto the ferry – we headed to Bainbridge Island.

Given that the air was filled with smoke, I didn’t want to spend much time out on the deck as there wasn’t much to see other than a few quick photographs. These boats have full amenities: indoor seating, concession stand, and restrooms. I decided to get breakfast on the ship. As I was checking out, I ran into a father/son duo. He was about my age; his kid must’ve been around eight. His son fell in love with some popcorn on the boat and said, “Daddy, daddy, can we get some popcorn?”

I could see and hear the sigh in his voice – we had to go down to the car to get my wallet. Knowing that meant multiple hallways, stairwells, twists, and turns, I replied, “Sure! Cashier, do you mind adding on a popcorn?” His son instantly lit up and smiled. The father mentioned, “Make sure you say thank you. :)” It was one of the serendipitous moments when you knew the right thing to do. We were both traveling. Traveling with kids is hard, and sometimes the world needs to step up and meet you where you’re at – much like it has done for me on this trip. I’m unsure where they were headed or coming from, but it was nice to meet for a moment.

The main focus for today is Crescent Lake, a blog post in and of itself.

I found a place to stay using Google Hotel search. Google recommended the Emerald Valley Inn. Looked great online.

It looked great online and from the YouTube Videos, but a summer’s worth of camping did a number on the lawn, lol.

As I go along, I’m learning to make the most of the Rivian as I camp. Having onboard power opens up several creature comforts I never would’ve thought of traveling on the motorcycle. The $50 blowup bed truly is fantastic. I plug it into the truck, turn on the switch, and 30 seconds later, I’ve got a bed.

I should have accounted for that. I couldn’t quickly get the bed inside the tent. Note to self: bring an extension cord so I can blow up the bed inside the tent, ha!

This is a summertime trip, but it got cold last night. Temperatures dipped to near 40°. Combined with the relatively damp climate of the Olympic Peninsula – I was freezing the entire night. The window on my 10-year-old tent fell off while I was setting up, and all of the heat I had in my tent went with it.

Morning called early, and the ends of the earth were coming to say hello!



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