Sunday morning, after the apple pressing festivities of the day before, we saw Mark off to work and then joined Katie and her friend Sarah for breakfast (thanks for the b’fast tacos, Katie) before heading down the road. We really had a great time at Mark & Katie’s and hope to stop by again, maybe next summer, to see the progress they’ve made.
Our first stop on Sunday was a brief visit with my second cousin, Jeff, who I haven’t seen in 45 years. He lives in Bellingham with his three grown kids. I plugged his address into Dora’s brain and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t an almost straight shot from Mark & Katie’s. I was a little concerned that he might not recognize me with a beard. However, I needn’t have worried as Jeff’s beard was at least as long as mine and I recognized him just fine. We had a nice, albeit short, visit. Got to meet all three kids and hear about what he’s been up to the last 45 years and what he’s looking towards in the future.
After our visit, we headed over to Anacortes. We’d originally planned to park at a private residence that our friend Samantha had arranged, and then ride our bikes to the ferry terminal and head over to San Juan Island where Samantha (Sam) lives. However, once we got to Anacortes, we decided to alter the plan a bit. Anacortes is very hilly and a bike ride from almost anywhere to the ferry wasn’t going to be much fun. We also had a bunch of dirty laundry that needed doing so we decided, instead, to get a spot at the Lighthouse RV Park, only 1.3 walking miles from the ferry terminal. This way we were able to get showers in and do our laundry before heading across to the island. This wasn’t the cheapest route we could have taken as we’d probably have parked at Sam’s friends’ place for nothing. But we’d have felt obligated to get them a gift for their generosity. Maybe a bottle of decent hooch which, in Washington, can be a considerable investment. Yeah, privatization really saved the people money that time! Anyway, we probably spent at least twice what we would have if we’d not stayed in an RV park but we just didn’t care. This was more convenient.
Not having any great desire to get up early on Monday, we opted to skip the first few ferries and catch the 11:55 AM instead. After our usual leisurely morning, we loaded our packs and started the trek to the ferry terminal. The hike was mostly uphill and was a great way to get the blood pumping. I suppose I should have taken some pictures on the ferry ride but, having done it so many times, it just didn’t seem blog-worthy. Soon enough, we disembarked at Friday Harbor where we were met by Sam (who I graduated from high school with some 45 years ago, but have seen many times since).
We had a great visit. We did a couple of hikes, got a tour of the island, or much of it, checked out Sam’s boyfriend’s house, fed his chickens (he’s in Alaska at the moment), helped her mother with a few things, ate, drank, and talked and talked and talked.
We hiked to a place that the island kids got to “watch the sunset”.
The same hike also took us to the lighthouse over Haro Strait (I think). Unfortunately, we missed them being open by about a minute and so, couldn’t go inside.
We continued on and went by the remains of the old lime kilns. I don’t remember what I read about extracting lime from the rocks on the island but, I know it took very high temperatures. In fact, the island was almost completely deforested to feed the kiln fires. The first photo is a refurbished kiln and the next few are the remains of an unrefurbished one.
For dinner the first night, Sam made a salad with all kinds of good stuff in it. Lulu flattened a bunch of boneless chicken breasts and thighs, Sam spread pesto on them, and I cooked them. Then we sliced them into strips and added them to the salad. The end product was definitely more than the sum of its parts.
On Tuesday, we did a lot of the same kind of stuff as Monday. However, Tuesday’s hike was a wee bit more taxing. This time we climbed a trail up to a lookout that allowed us to see Canada to the west of San Juan Island. The first part of the hike took us to a graveyard that housed the remains of some British soldiers (marines?) who died during the time that the British and the Americans both occupied the island. These guys mostly died of drowning although for a couple of them there was no known cause listed.
During our climb to the graveyard, we were subjected to smoke from a controlled burn. The Forest Service uses these burns to promote the growth of the Garry Oak, native to San Juan Island.
We descended the trail for a short piece and then started uphill to the lookout. This was not a very long hike but it was pretty grueling just the same. Not sure what the elevation gain was but I do know that it all happened in a pretty short distance. It just kept going up and up. Steeply. We were really glad not to be wearing packs. But, the view from the top was worth the sweat.
After we’d enjoyed the view,caught our breath and started to get chilly as the cool breeze hit our sweaty shirts, we headed back down. We stopped at the British encampment at Garrison Bay. Garrison Bay can be seen from the lookout in the photo above.
The British had a very tidy camp at Garrison Bay. We didn’t hike to the American camp but Sam tells us that it was pretty ramshackle in comparison to the Brits. The British camp was neat and tidy and protected from the weather. However, it was in a low-lying bowl. The American camp was wild and rough and out in the wind, but the Yanks could see forever. Different strokes.
Once we’d had enough sight-seeing, we headed back to town, got some supplies and then went back to Sam’s. We still had cooked pesto-coated chicken left so Lulu turned it into Fettucini Chicken Alfredo. Sam added a salad and I made micheladas. Once again, we suffered not one whit. Lulu and Sam turned some of the apples we’d picked into an apple crisp, but we were all too full to eat any. Instead, it made a great breakfast Wednesday morning before we went to board the ferry. Sam has so much experience with the ferry that she takes it all in stride. Left to our own devices, we’d have been at the dock a half hour early and been the first walk-ons to board. Sam, however, made sure were the last two to board, just like she would have been if she’d been going to the mainland. She always manages to get us there in time so I guess I shouldn’t stress but I do. But, as I said, we got on in time to get a seat as it pulled away from shore.
We decided not to leave Anacortes once we got back to the RV park. I tried, unsuccesfully, to get hold of someone to change out the shut-off valve on our propane tank. We also did laundry and, later, caught the bus downtown where we stopped into a few antique stores. The best store, and the one that hasn’t changed, is Anacortes Hardware and Marine. This place is a gem. The front is filled with mostly new hardware, tools, marine hardware, etc. If you need a left-handed M4 carriage bolt made out of black iron, they probably have it. You’ll need some help finding it but that’s not a problem since the guys working there have worked there forever and know where everything is.
The back two rooms are the real treasure. They are filled with all sorts of used stuff, mostly marine and mostly from big boats. Big old boats. So much fun to look through, even when you really don’t need anything.
Anyone need a really nice pine coffin?
Except for this place, Anacortes is a disappointment. Like so many tourist towns, it’s been gentrified to the point of being just too too precious. Try to find a tavern that serves regular draft beer (not a craft brew) and a bowl of chowder. One that Popeye or Bluto would feel at home in. Good luck. If it’s here it’s a well guarded secret. You can find all the fancy-pants IPAs, Stouts, Porters, etc that you could ever hope to. Some are even “crafted” locally. You can also find any number of places to eat overpriced, gluten-free, local cuisine. But regular old fare at regular old prices in a regular old tavern, not so much. Oh well, guess we’d better try to avoid the tourist-trap towns on our trip.
The trip so far:
Mark & Katie’s (Bellingham) to Anacortes: 58 miles
Total since leaving Silverton: 870 miles
Average speed: 46 miles/day
Note: the mileages in the last blog entry were wrong. It should have said:
Total since leaving Silverton (17 days ago): 812 miles
Average speed: 47.8 miles/day