Friday, September 9, 2016

More From Washington

Howdy Howdy Howdy!

No we have not fallen off the face of the earth.  It seems like much time has passed since our last blogging episode.  It's currently 8 September and I'm going to try to recall our activities dating back to 4 August.  Given the age of my feeble old brain this may be a challenge but I know that you're breathlessly awaiting an update so lets roll.

We left the area of Mt. St. Helens (glorious) and moved on to Port Angeles, Washington.  Hovering over this location is the magnificent Olympic National Park. Looking to the north there is the entrance to Puget Sound with Canada beyond and everything to the south includes the beautiful peaks and dramatic ranges of the Olympic Mountains.  Just being in the shadow of the mountains is mighty nice but a drive to Hurricane Ridge is time extremely well spent.  We spent several hours there oohing and aahing as well as doing some short hikes.  Lets skip my rattling, enjoy the pictures.

Another must do activity of the area is to hike the Dungeness Spit which is the primary focal point of the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.

The hike is 11 miles round trip, 0 elevation gain.  It takes you nearly to the end of the spit.  The rest is off limits to us humanoids. The spit is "one of the world's longest natural sand spits". The hike is a peaceful, soothing event with no distractions other than the gentle surf.  At the end of the hike you arrive at a lighthouse station dating back to the mid 1850's.  All very very nice.  

Another outing included a nice drive west along the Strait of Juan de Fuca out to Cape Flattery.  The cape is located within an Indian community (a little weather worn) but the cape itself is quite nice. In all fairness, we enjoyed numerous locations of similar beauty along the Oregon coast but, nonetheless, it was a worthwhile trip.

One evening we spent a few hours just moseying around town.  They have a very nice, recently renovated waterfront walk.  Great paths, elevated viewpoint towers, lots of historical markers bringing you up to speed on the local history and a restored estuary.

 We did top it off with a DQ treat.  LIG!

The last outing for the Port Angeles area was another western drive to Marymere Falls and Lake Crescent Lodge followed by a brief stop at Sol Duc Hot Springs.

We did a 2 hour hike (rt) to the Falls. Lovely wooded trail with a nice waterfall.

Further down the trail we arrived at the Lake Crescent Lodge.

The hot springs glaringly resembles a cluster of public swimming pools.

I'm sure a pleasant experience but not a notably scenic attraction.

Upon reviewing what I've written I seem to be grumbling a little but really I'm just trying to be accurate. There was nothing regrettable about our time in Port Angeles.  Enough said.

A large part of what we did for the rest of the month was visiting people.    My daughter and her wife live in Burien and we have several snowbird friends from Green Valley that live in greater Seattle. Hello Ken and Theresa!  Hello Beth and Dennis!  We spent 10 days at Camp Murray near Lakewood, Washington. It's an Army National Guard Base or is it Fort?  Our site was immediately adjacent to a lake and there were endless trails for people and dog walking.  Many different days we were back and forth to visit with Aubree and Elizabeth.  They recently bought a home.  My goal was to complete some handyman projects for them.  I may have done some good but with one major setback.  While hanging a cabinet I managed to drive a lag bolt into a wire.  It's an older home with an addition so I'd like to point out that normally the wire shouldn't have been where it was. But it was!  Do they really need power in the kitchen, bath and guest room?  I suppose.  I felt like I knew how to make the repair but Debbie was adamant that I hire an electrician. I don't have a great history with electricity.  The guy did a fine job but I must say the cost was about 4 times what I paid for an electrician to come to our Green Valley home.  I guess that's Seattle. Also during this visit we celebrated Aubree's 32nd birthday. It was luau themed with some truly delightful vegan treats. Happy Birthday Aubree!

The Northwest certainly has some great mountains and that little bump called Mt. Rainier is no exception.  They have wildflowers, waterfalls and wildlife as well as a supreme mountain. I must stop babbling.....see pictures.

We also spent a nice afternoon at Defiance Park.  It's a wonderful peninsula, formally a military location, at the NW tip of Tacoma.  Nice views of Puget Sound, gentle walking trails and the most beautiful display of Dahlia's we've ever seen..

Oh, and this little fellow hanging out by the side of the road.

Maybe the most unique activity of our stay in the area was an evening with Aubree and Elizabeth at Marymoor Park in Redmond. The event was an outdoor concert with The Phases, Pickwick and the headliner, Fitz and the Tantrums.  I think I hear your shouts of approval!  In all honesty I can't tell you that Debbie and I were in anyway familiar with these folks but it was a great evening! I'd say the music is in the Pop, Indie genre  It's all very high energy and it was great fun getting into it with a few thousand others.  Maybe not surprisingly, we were in no way the only white haired (that does actually include Debbie) folks there.  It was quite the eclectic crowd, all very well behaved.  I repeat, great fun!

As we leave greater Seatle, I must point out that there is one horrendous downside to the area.  One word: TRAFFIC!!! I don't care what time of day.  5-6 lanes, going like crazy.  I do prefer something a good bit more laid back.

So we leave southern Seattle and go to the north side for a week in Oak Harbor at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.  We have the good fortune of military privileges and their campgrounds are normally very nice.  This one is in the stellar category.  The campground got a 4 million dollar face lift in 2011. Everything about the campground is pristine. Our site was within 100 yards of the water of Puget Sound with the San Juan Islands in the distance and gorgeous sunsets.

We could have gone nowhere and had a delightful time but there are local attractions, and friends, to see.  Hello Lee and Belinda! So good to see you again! Loved hearing all about your Alaskan adventure.

One of the great local attractions is Deception Pass, Washington's most visited state park. Deception Pass and an impressively high bridge connect Western Washington's mainland with Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands. You can walk across this bridge and enjoy incredible views. Very cool.  Picture time.

We also went whale watching from Anacortes.  A little more than 4 hours on a sizable boat.  We think boat outings are always satisfying.  Mostly it was an hour or more out to larger water, then an hour or more watching a couple Humpback whales regularly showing off, (you'll have to mostly trust us on that one, they were a little too fast for the photographer) and an hour or more ride back to port.  All very nice.

Before I go lets have a Nat Geo moment.  One lazy afternoon, while at our Whidbey Island campsite we had the "pleasure" of watching a Bald Eagle enjoy lunch in a nearby tree.  More accurately we watched him spend significant time just tearing the hell out of another bird that, I guess, he then consumed.  Feathers were falling like snowflakes.  A bit morbid but a boy's gotta eat.

Now it's on to Bellingham.  We have friends there who had mutual friends visiting so we became a gaggle of friends.  Hello Tom and Fannie!  Hello Tommy and Craig!  We did some eating out, a little hiking at Whatcom Falls Park,

 a tour of the Boeing Plant at Everett (no cameras allowed on the actual tour)

and a lot of yakking.  Wonderful to have wonderful friends.

It's now the end end of August and we're leaving the states for a couple weeks in Canada.  Seems like a good place to stop.

Thanks for listening!



  1. Oh my...magnificent pictures! What a trip!!! Did I mention we are jealous??? We went to Greenwood today...does that count for excitement and adventure?!

  2. LOVED having you guys visit! And I enjoyed our projects together, the wire issue was a mini blimp in the fun. Getting ready by candle light was rather fun. :) Let's "Do More"! (Home Depot motto) until next time xoxo

  3. Thanks for spending time with us in wonderful Issaquah WA.