Pacific Northwest '12, Page 4 <Previous Page | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Next Page>


September 17 – Monday – Orcas Island

We have breakfast in the Dream House.  The cereal is extra special today because it’s topped with the peach from the happy market in Eastsound – Delicious!
We pack up and head down the road for a day of hiking in Moran State Park on this picture perfect day – a day for me to take lots of pictures.

It takes a while to figure out the day use fee and the lay of the land.  We pick a hike to Mt. Constitution (elevation 2,400) – just our kind of hike – 8 miles with 2,000 foot elevation gain. 

We park at Mt. Lake and begin our steep hike up to Little Summit through mossy covered forest.  We don’t stop at Little Summit, but trek onward until we reach Mt. Constitution.  The trail goes upward through your basic forest – with glimpses of the lakes below.

Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike

It was a letdown to find Mt. Constitution next to a large parking lot.  We knew we could drive straight to the top, but felt one must earn the view by first trudging onward and upward (and sweating a lot).  A highlight was meeting a man with a t-shirt that said "I'm not the man I ought to be, but...Thank God I'm not the man I used to be." We had our lunch at a picnic table with others who merely drove to the top.   After lunch we climb the 5 story watch tower – the crowning jewel on Mt. Constitution – built by the CCC. 

Mt. Constitution
Mt. Constitution
Mt. Constitution
Mt. Constitution

The tower was designed to look like a Cossacks castle from Eastern Europe. I learn more about Moran Park from the displays in the watch tower.  Robert Moran was a poor Russian kid who started in New York and then came to Seattle to start a wagon repair shop which he built into a huge shipbuilding company.  His brothers came to help with the booming operation.  At one time Moran was even elected mayor of Seattle.  At age 47, he was a physical and mental mess.  Doctors didn’t give him much time to live.  He brought up lots of land on Orcas to retire here.  He ended up living to 87. 

In 1920, he gave 3,000 acres to the state for a park.  It took him 10 years to get the state to accept the generous offer.  He was truly a good guy and used his own money to develop the roads, build the buildings and even make the entrance signs.  Thank you Mr. Moran!

The park was a CCC camp from 1933 – 1942.  CCC was one of FDR’s stimulus packages to put the nation back to work --- and take a poor farm boy (like my Dad) and give him some skills and show him that he could earn a living.  CCC built over 20 structures in Moran Park (including the watchtower on top of Mt. Constitution).  The CCC boys starting coming here in 1933.  The first group refused to get off the ferry saying the U.S. was sending them to a foreign country.  They changed their minds when they saw the cute town girls who came to welcome them.  Another later group from Michigan was thrilled to be going out west – little did they know the harsh winter conditions were probably worse than what Michigan had to offer.  I love to learn about the CCC because it reminds me of my Dad.  The boys worked hard and played hard.  They had boxing matches, baseball tournaments, and even dances with an 8-piece orchestra.
 
We took the loop trail back to the car, a steep downhill trail skirting the shores of the lake – beautiful.  On that hike, Bill made his wishes known – If either of us died and the other remarries, we must promise to draw up a pre-nup to protect our nest egg for the kids – that is, unless either of us finds a very rich mate.

Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike
Mt. Constitution Hike

We havenít hiked enough today so we stop to do a half mile trail to Cascade Falls. I love the sounds as much as the waterfalls.

Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls

Our day’s outing on Orcas is over so we head back to our beautiful house that belongs in a magazine to enjoy a beer on the deck.

We manage to make a little pasta, pick some fresh lettuce from the garden and have a candle light dinner with a little wine. This place is magic.

After the dishes are washed, we park ourselves on the couch to watch the news, Bill Maher and “Water for Elephants.”  The book was good, but the movie gets thumbs down – waste of time.  I manage to waste more time staying up late playing solitaire on my Kindle.  What is wrong with me? 
    
September 18 – Tuesday – Day with Don and Janice

Another breakfast of Cheerios topped with a precious peach before we drive to the Orcas ferry landing to catch the 10:40 boat to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.  Another beautiful day in the quaint little town of Orcas – and the ferry ride makes it even more spectacular. 

Orcas Village
Orcas Village
Orcas Village
Orcas Village
Orcas Village
Orcas Village
Orcas Village
Orcas Village
Ferry to Friday Harbor
Ferry to Friday Harbor
Ferry to Friday Harbor
Ferry to Friday Harbor

Don and Janice meet us at the ferry dock.  Friday Harbor is an adorable place.  We stop to get me some nuts to tide me though until lunch. 

Don takes charge and shows us his wonderful island – on the most wonderful of days.  Thank you whoever made this all possible.

In his abridged tour guide ways, Don shares with us the following:   

  • Roche Harbor with its grand hotel and garden when I snap a photo of Don and Janice under the “a’dieu” sign
  • Lime Kilns that burnt the tires to extract the lime from the rock to make cement
  • Alpaca Farm with very expensive gift shop selling alpaca knitted sweaters
  • Lavender Farm
  • English Camp
  • Wine tasting somewhere
  • Driftwood – American Camp during the Pig War (I don’t recall the interesting story – maybe it wasn’t that interesting after all)
  • Mt. Dallas
  • Cattle Park where they gathered the cows to cart away.
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island

By this time I am very hungry and begging Don to stop for lunch.  Finally, I get my wish and share a sandwich with Bill at the park. 

We walk down the boat docks looking for the friendly one eyed seal named Pop-eye – but he’s nowhere to be found. We do meet Sock eye, a little Havanese like Molly – only much better groomed.  Makes me miss Molly, the mutt – with a classy attitude.

San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island
San Juan Island

I talk to Janice most of the time – a very surreal time.  She is missing San Diego and her good friend and ex-boss is having colon cancer operation today.  Makes me sad to see Janice sad.

We say good bye and catch the 5:40 ferry back to Orcas.  We arrive at 6:55, after 2 island ferry stops.

Ferry Back to Orcas
Ferry Back to Orcas
Goodbye to Don and Janice
Goodbye to Don and Janice
Ferry Back to Orcas
Ferry Back to Orcas
Ferry Back to Orcas
Ferry Back to Orcas

Once our tires hit Orcas, we drive directly to Fire Smokehouse and Grill for some of that tasty BBQ in Eastsound.  On the way, we work ourselves up into a frenzy carrying on and on about that mouthwatering BBQ – best in the world.  Warning:  One should never go back.  Tonight was a totally different experience.  The bun was a plain old soggy hamburger bun. There were fewer fries and they were cold.  (Don’t ever do that to fries.)  But worst of all, the joint was filled with about 20 or more Bevis and Buttheads playing Trivial Pursuits – a regular Tuesday night event at FIRE.  Their conversations consisted of the F-word and jokes about meth.  Between the in-breeding and the influx of meth, this is a sad sack place.  The “Bill and Nancy” team didn’t know any answers in the Cartoon Category – but we ruled in Geography.  In fact we were outraged that they announced the capitol of Turkey was Istanbul – It’s Ankara for God’s sake.  We could not wait to pay our check and get the heck out of there.

We drive into the dark woods to our little house.  I love the night smells and solitude (even more precious after a night of “Bevis and Buttheads”).  I immediately go for the TV remote and push buttons like a crazy woman only to get snow on the scene. No doubt about it, I screwed it up royally.  Bill tries to fix my mess – but no dice.  We call Amy, but she couldn’t talk.  Zion is stumped on her English homework.

In spite of all the wonder and beauty of the island, I go to bed feeling a little down.  Guess that’s to be expected.  Hope I didn’t break the TV!    

September 19 – Wednesday – Last Day on Orcas Island

We wake up to windows that once only held picturesque scenes, but now are socked in with a thick, heavy fog.  (The word “Pea Soup” springs to mind.)  It is still peaceful and beautiful and calming.  We take our time with coffee and breakfast – a new experience for us.  I catch up on my emails while Bill tries to undo the damage I did to the TV.  He makes calls to Nadine (the owner) and other various service companies, seeking answers.  Finally, a press of a magic button on the remote and voilà, the scenes of snow are gone and the TV is back.  I’m not touching that remote EVER again! 

About 10 am, we head out to do some Island hopping, hoping the fog would lift – and it did.

First stop is the peaceful hamlet of Doe Bay.  Quaint little cabins look out over the bay.  Doe Bay is known for hot tubs, a quaint General Store and restaurant (which is closed on Wednesday – that would be today!).  Pretty much everything in Doe Bay was shut down on that misty morning.

We drive down to Obstruction Pass State Park.  Nothing strikes our fancy so we drive on with no sense of the place.

Orcas Island Pea Soup
Orcas Island Pea Soup
Obstruction Pass State Park
Obstruction Pass State Park

We stop in Olga with its well-known art gallery and restaurant. The place was once a strawberry packinghouse.  Now it’s filled with eclectic art from a coop of local talented artists.  I like the place – but everything is too pricey for my blood.

Olga
Olga
Olga
Olga

Our 4th stop is Rosario, the Moran family mansion, built by Robert Moran.  We learned about him when we visited the watchtower on Mt. Constitution.  We tour the Moran Family mansion, which was built like a ship.  Everything was solid and on a grand scale. The music room was awesome with stained glass windows.  All the rooms were elegant with lots of built-in’s.  The bathrooms are classy.

Rosario
Rosario
Rosario
Rosario
Rosario
Rosario
Rosario
Rosario
Rosario
Rosario
Rosario
Rosario

Review time:  Moran was a “Horace Greely” type who came from New York with only ten cents in his pocket.  He worked hard and learned engineering / machinery skills and that started a wagon repair shop that became a ship building empire.  He was once the mayor of Seattle.  Along the way, he married a domestic and brought his whole family out from New York to build the business.  His 3 brothers became part of the operation.  They all looked so stern in the photos – This was serious business.  At 47, the doctors gave him a few years to live so he retired to Orcas and built the mansion for his family.

We saw the photos of his Moran’s manufacturing company – reminded me of my days in aerospace with Rohr.  There were buildings for draftsmen and engineers; and buildings for production and assembly.  One case displayed scenes from the christening and launching of the USS Nebraska.  3500 attended the celebration – where’d they put all those people?  The ship went on to do battle in WWI.  Soon after another ship, USS Washington, was started, but never got beyond the model phase because its technology became obsolete.  Keeping up with technology and change is a problem in any business – past, present or future – especially future. 

I enjoyed the room of photos depicting the land, the mountains, lakes, Indians -- all taken during Moran’s time. 

In the basement of the mansion was a large pool.  It’s now a hot spot for upscale tourists seeking massages and other such decadent pleasures.  A beautiful bar is where the living room once was.  I love this old place.

We drive to Eastsound to lunch at Island Skillet.  I order a huge ham and cheese grilled sandwiches with chips.  (A heart victim should not be eating this!)  Bill orders the saner chili.  After lunch, we waddle around the art shops in Eastsound – plenty of them.  We buy a carved eagle box for Everett (in honor of Oksana and to honor his upcoming 70th birthday).

We learn what a friendly, helpful place this is.  I mention to a woman in the antique store that I’m looking for a baby quilt (for Thyme and Adria’s baby).  The townsfolk jump into action.  The antique lady directed me to the bank saying the tellers will know who makes quilts.  The bank teller jumps into action making calls to knitting club members and finally comes up with the name “Mary Gardner.”  I call only to learn that Mary won’t be home until tomorrow when we’ll be long gone from Orcas.  However, from this experience, I get a glimpse into community spirit and helping each other out.

We leave the bank in Eastsound and drive to Orcas Pottery.  There are lovely little cabins down by the water displaying colorful pottery.  A footpath through the garden takes you by picnic table after picnic table loaded with pottery.  An old sailboat displays the “Sale” pottery items.  It is a fun, whimsical place – but the style of pottery is not for me.  It’s too shiny, too organic, too gloppy and too pricey.  Orcas Pottery is well known and has been run by 3 generations of the same family.  However, one of the sisters opened up Right Pottery down the road – She happened to marry Mr. Wright and broke off to start her own pottery legacy. 

Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery
Orcas Pottery

We follow the GPS to Deer Harbor Road and Wildrose Lane to find the Turtleback Mountain Reserve.  GPS is a champ on Orcas Island.  Even the littlest of dirt roads are all covered – Thank goodness.

The scenery knocks our socks off.  We just sit back and ogle and let the GPS takes us wherever.

We start the hike in the Turtleback Mountain Preserve to Ship’s Peak, about 3 miles from Westsound trailhead.  We hike 3 miles with a 1,000 foot elevation gain, with the highest point about 931 feet.  We walk through forests with views of the bay below.  Bill almost steps on a black snake crossing the road.  Thought this isn’t the place for snakes.  We got close to a woodpecker, but I came up short – no picture to prove our close encounter.

Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve

We arrive at Ship’s Peak and the payoff is grand.  Down below are views of charming farms connected by country roads.  Farther down is Mt. Constitution and its’ smaller buddies and beyond that is the bay with boat docks and then still farther is the water with a multitude of small islands sprinkled in.  Man-oh-Man!

Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Turtleback Mountain Preserve

Our last and final stop of the day is back to the market in Eastsound to get some grub.  The Island Market had the best pre-made pizza with black olives, mozzarella and feta cheese, artichokes and so on – with the Greek theme.  We drive back to our little house on Winter’s Pond.  We enjoy a beer, pick some fresh greens for our salad, start the wash, and watch the news.  (Mitt is really blowing it left and right – or is it right and right?)

We dive into the delightful pizza in candle light.  Life is very good here.
  
September 20 – Thursday – Ferry from Orcas Island to Port Angeles

We have a leisurely breakfast, pack and say good-bye to our little dream house.  We stop in Eastsound at the Island Skillet to get some coffee and kill some time.  I tell the waitress that we only wanted coffee and a cinnamon thing before we catch the ferry in Orcas Village.  She directed us to go down to the ferry dock, park the car in line and walk to the old hotel for the best pastries on the island...and we did.  I am now used to the kindness of people on the island – except for the Bevis and Buttheads gang at the BBQ place.

At the old hotel, we found a newspaper to read and a fun gift shop to explore silly gifts, such as Orcas poop. 

Orcas Village
Orcas Village
Orcas Village
Orcas Village
Orcas Village
Orcas Village
Orcas Village
Orcas Village

Our ferry was late to Anacortes.  I caught up in my journal.  Hope we don’t miss the next ferry connection to Coupeville.  Such is life on the waterways. 

We arrive in Anacortes with about an hour to make a 45 – 50 minute drive.  Pressure is on because no mistakes are allowed.  We struggle to reconcile the difference between the Goggle map Bill printed out and what the GPS is telling us.  As the navigator, I decide to put my faith in the GPS when it came to conflicting information.  My choices were correct and everything turned out just fine.  Of course, we always deal with more tension when there’s a plane or boat to catch.  We end up in line for the ferry to Coupeville with time to spare.  We had lunch in the car – cold pizza left over from the night before with 7-Up, Fritos and chocolate candy.  GROSS!

We loaded on the ferry to Port Townsend and even got a senior discount refund – there is something nice about the golden years.  We arrive in Port Townsend about 4:00 and decide to explore the town before driving on to our final destination, Port Angeles.

Port Townsend is cool.  It was named a national historic treasure in 1976.  It was a booming city in the 1880’s with the promise of the railroad hooking up with the rest of the country in this very place.  Well, that didn’t happen so the once glorious, thriving town did a nose dive into decay.  The town always had two sections -- the harbor filled with saloons and brothels while the fancy folks built their Victorian houses up on the bluffs.  We explore both the waterfront (with its hint of historical decadence) and then climb up the 200 steps to check out the respectable section – streets lined with lovely houses with an occasional church thrown in on a corner lot.  We see the Rothschild house (1868), now a museum – but closed for the day.  We passed by the town bell tower, built in 1890 and used for over 50 years to alert the volunteer fire department. We head back down the steps to town to check out a few more shops.  We pass by the coolest coffee houses and cafes – and even an old theatre called “The Rose.”  I could smell the fresh popcorn for blocks. 

Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend

Still on a mission to find a cool baby present for Thyme and Adria’s unborn baby, we stumble into a crafty baby shop with handmade things called “Seams to Last.”  We talk with Michelle, the owner, and buy a blanket she had just made.  We now have a treasure to take back.  Customers come into the store, select a fabric from the many bolts and Michelle turns out a masterpiece for them.  It was a fun experience going back to the time when one made their own clothes.  I snap a photo of Michelle posing with the blanket she made right outside her store. 

Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Port Townsend

Back in the car, we follow the GPS and find our way to Port Angeles.  Port Angeles, unlike its neighbor Port Townsend, is a little rough around the edges … but has great potential.

Our motel, the All View Motel, with no view whatsoever, is just our style – 1950’s, family run, clean and cheap.  However, I must admit, it took a little attitude adjustment going from our 2 story country house in Orcas Island to a tattered, small room where everything squeaks – the bed, the faucet -- you name it.  This place needs some WD 40 big time.  The owner was a sweet guy, trying to earn an honest living for his family.  He made some bad choices in life, but found Jesus and his path to real happiness. (“Jesus Rocks” decorate the small garden to remind us of the glory of God.)  He was very helpful and recommended some places to eat. 

All View Motel, Port Angeles
All View Motel, Port Angeles
All View Motel, Port Angeles
All View Motel, Port Angeles
All View Motel, Port Angeles
All View Motel, Port Angeles
All View Motel, Port Angeles
All View Motel, Port Angeles

We clean up and drive to the Garden Café for dinner.  Betty, the waitress from Shanghai, is delightful and the food is suburb – salad, fresh salmon, veggies, garlic mashed potatoes with a blackberry cobbler topped with ice cream.  We are so full and so happy we don’t mind going back to our squeaky room.

We try to find something on TV to watch.  With a selection of over 100 channels, there was nothing until I stumbled onto “Hoop Dreams,” a favorite movie of mine, but I fell asleep and didn’t see much of it.

 


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