I have been experiencing a bit of the writer's block recently, so I decided to hop in my trusty 1977 GMC Motorhome and get out of town for a few days. Somewhere nice and remote where I can write undisturbed by all those invitations to parties and offers of deep, rewarding friendship that don't actually happen but the prospects of which still distract me. I decided the perfect place was a tiny mountain town called Winthrop, and I would drive there first thing in the morning.

Here's how reality unfolded for me:

1. I drive from Seattle to my hometown of Mt Vernon where the RV is parked on a friend's lawn. I discover that the friend's lawn is extremely soft, and the RV is hopelessly mired in the mud lurking under the grass. I spend literally an hour rocking back and forth, wedging things under the tires, spewing mud into the air and tracking it all over my carpets until I'm finally able to find a shovel and dig little slopes behind the tires so I can escape the pits the tires have dug. (sorry, friend's yard...)

2. It's now around noon, but I'm finally on the road to Winthrop! Huzzah! Yet something is puzzling me. Every time I try to put my destination into my phone or GPS, it gives me an insane detour route that brings the trip length from 1 hour to 5 hours. Assuming the GPS is just buggin', I continue on my way. But no. I am a man and the GPS is a machine, and I must learn to submit to its superior wisdom. The major highway that leads through the mountains to Winthrop is CLOSED. Just...closed. Like closed-for-the-season closed. Like just-go-somewhere-else closed. Like fuck-you closed.

3. So...I guess I'm not going to Winthrop. Need to make a plan B. I head West. I had planned on a weekend embedded in the comforting embrace of the deep mountains, but instead I find myself on a ferry over the Puget Sound--the OPPOSITE of being in the mountains. I eventually make my way to Port Gamble, a tiny little blip of civilization in the middle of a lot of open highway. It'll do! I decide to stop there but...hmm...there is literally nowhere to stop. No hotels, no RV parks, not even a couple residential streets on which to park my ass. (which is what I usually do when RV traveling.) It's getting dark now.

4. I keep driving, hoping to have better luck in the next town. I drive 15 minutes to the next town. It has nothing. I turn around, hoping to look a little harder and maybe find a hidden parking spot, but mostly just needing something to eat. All I've eaten all day is approximately 18 crackers. I'm starving. I saw a BBQ restaurant in Port Gamble. I'll go there. I go there. I park in their gravel parking lot. I approach the entrance.

5. There's a hand-written sign on the window that says SOLD OUT.

6. I go in and approach a waitress.
7. "What does sold out mean?"
8. "It means we're sold out."
9. "Of what? Like, the special or something?"
10. "Of food. All the food."
11. "So...this restaurant just doesn't serve food anymore? At 8:00pm on a Friday night?"
12. "Correct."

13. I leave in a huff. I try to pull out of the gravel parking lot. There is soft mud under the gravel. I'm stuck.

15. A few furious minutes later I've managed to free myself from the quicksand parking lot, leaving two deep, squishy ravines running through it. That'll teach this restaurant to run out of the sole reason they exist.

16. Ok ok. I'll go back into the "downtown" area to that place I saw earlier called BISTRO BY NIGHT. It looked pretty hoppin' when I passed it 20 minutes ago--


18. Ok fuck you Port Gamble. I'm parking right here in the middle of your touristy little waterfront street. I will accept your ticket. I will ignore your sheriff's knock on my window. I will sit here and eat my 19th-35th cracker for dinner and write a gripping log of my travails. A travailogue, if you will.

19. But...new personal record for most fails in a single day? It was all worth it.


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