Having found myself approaching early retirement felt that despite having been a wife, mother & nurse I was rapidly being dismissed from society. This sense of growing invisibility was shocking & prompted the need to take stock. A chance meeting let to the opportunity of having a song written for me by Danny Wright (an up & coming pop/punk artist from the UK).
Collaborating with Danny Wright was fun as despite the age difference we share a similar taste in music. Ostensibly Drive (4 Denise) is about a road trip but the metaphor relates to approaching the ‘sunset years’ but not in a passive way. The song is a regular playlist favourite on my various travels bringing me joy and encouragement to face what happens next. In sharing it here I hope it may make those who listen feel as inspired as I do to take up & accomplish what ever challenges they may face.
Flying Icelandic Air meant a quick pit stop in Iceland in both directions so on the return we decided to extend this for a couple of days. My road trip buddy had visited before & was soon in procession of a nippy little car that took us to our accommodation in downtown Reyjavik.
The quaint hostel provided an excellent base from which to explore both the city & local attractions. Iceland is an extraordinary country that’s landscape is both remote & captivating. Our visit was in the Autumn so the snow had yet to fall but the weather on arrival was certainly hostile compared to the warm balmy days in the USA. However we had warm clothes & waterproofs so we ventured off to see what the Island could offer.
Journey to the centre of the earth??
Having journeyed to what felt like the centre of the earth down a tunnel we left the rain behind us. First up was a short trek up the side of a redundant volcano to look inside the crater. Curious geological scenery & a touch of blue sky makes for a memorable stop even if the wind threatened to blow us over the edge. If we had brought our swim wear we could have had a dip in the numerous hot springs that were near by as others seemed to be.
We opted to return to base & get ready to venture out for a meal which ended up being an expensive form of Icelandic ‘tapas’. I won’t list the dishes for fear of causing offence to some but the food was exquisite.
Next day we headed towards the rain to visit Reynisfjara to take a look at the black sand & unusual rock cliffs. The waves were being whipped up by the wind & we were on constant alert for the ‘sneaker waves’. This potentially fatal phenomena has caught many a visitor out so huge warnings signs greet you in the car park. I think they should make the You Tube clip of one of the few people to survive a mandatory part of the visit as there were many who seemed oblivious to the dangers. The name ‘sneaker’ gives a clue to the fact that the waves can creep up & sweep the unsuspecting from the shore. Having survived we still ad to endure the by now pounding rain so on reaching the car decided a warm drink and indoor visit to be preferable. This is how we ended up in the Skogasfn Folk Museum.
If you like history then definitely put this on the list of things to do. It gives an insight into Icelandic history & culture. We spent a few hours looking at the various curiosities housed there until making our way back via Hvolsvollur for tea.
Not fancying a church service we opted to kill time before checking in at the airport we decided to squander the last few krona on a visit to Hio Islenzka Reoasafn museum.
All in all it was a unique glimpse into a beautiful largely unspoilt landscape where the people are hospitable & their traditional food delicious. It is a grievously expensive place as most has to be imported but well worth the effort. I would like to return some day & explore more as we only touched the surface in our short stay. However returning to the UK would not see us knitting slippers or carving something we had the next road trip schedule to map out!
From Astoria we went in search of Ruby Beach but ended up on a small misty cove where the weird rock formations and sea sounds conspired to make the place feel very spooky. This was pertinent because we were nearing ‘vampire & werewolf ‘ territory. I may have been one of the small number of people who visit Forks having never watched or read the Twilight Trilogy!
I have now rectified this certainly looking back the location was a good fit for the stories. We drove through & noted a couple of the places used for the films.
One thing you can say about the Olympic National Forest is that there are a lot of trees! Indeed there are a number of fine specimens that have laid claim to fame for their height & girth. Mother Nature is surely at her best when you happen upon breathtaking views which we did on numerous occasions during this trip. However for me there was something spellbinding about the large trees whose age was great & who would have been around at the same time as many great points in human history. If only the trees could share their stories.
From Forks we headed for a lovely campsite nestled in the trees beside the water where if the weather was clear you could see the Canadian coastline. We were due to catch the ferry that would take us back towards Everett avoiding the need to navigate our way through Seattle. Sadly we didn’t have time to explore the city so it’s on the list for a look another day.
We stayed overnight in a functional rv park to do the honours and get Bertha ready for return. We glumly drove the mile or so back to the depot to hand her back. We had driven over 3000 miles and had gained insight into some things American but it was time to head for home…….
well maybe after a quick stop in Iceland on the way back.