Friday, December 8, 2017

Olympic Penninsula, hanging on to August

We made our way from Lopez Island in the San Juan chain to the main land then took another ferry west towards Port Angeles. We ended up having lunch in Sequim.....then headed into the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula.
Our target for the night was a motel in Forks, which brought about a number of comments from friends and relatives....Vampires and all. Lynn and I aren't into this so it was all news to us.
It was a short stay as the next morning Lynn took her walk around town (and around and around as it was kinda small) checking out a few restaurants while I found an interesting mountain bike trail.

I wouldn't recommend it as a destination, but if in the area, why not?
I rode all the way out, but had to walk a fair amount to make the loop back to the trailhead.
One interesting part of the trip was that I couldn't drive to the trailhead due to the dirt road having slid out sometime earlier. On the in I carried my bike over the slide area and biked a couple of miles to the TH. On the way out I took a detour road that had me making a pretty decent climb then a screaming downhill....your choice!

Tree bridge, more later from the opposite end.










Tree bridge again.


I drove back to town, gathered up Lynn and we continued down the road to Oregon. We had to make a few stops along the way.

An ancient Western Red Cedar....only God knows how many years old it is.


Spruce Tree......


Then we stopped at the Quinalt Lodge....where we made some HUGE discoveries.





Sunday, December 3, 2017

San Juan Islands, WA

Oregon in August was the jumping off point for our trip to the San Juan Islands. This was a destination that Lynn has wanted to pull off for years. She did all the planning and execution, I just got to sit back and enjoy. And she did a great job with the planning. A Mariners baseball game before we jumped on a ferry (ok, drove on, borrowed a jeep from Chris and Helen) the next morning in Anacortes, WA for 7 nights. We split time on the 3 major islands, Orcas, San Juan, and Lopez.

Harvest season in eastern WA. Fruit stand where we picked up a few varieties of peaches, apples and a few pears. On our way from Bend to Seattle.

We left Bend, OR and drove up the east side of the Cascades crossing to the west via Snoqualmie Pass. The WA Cascades are rugged.

Mariners baseball, NW sushi vs. MW brats.....Sushi, even if it is prepared at a baseball stadium.
Surprised to find a WI beer here.

Lynn doing her thing on the Ferry while I scoped out Orcas Island in the distance.



The first Island we went to was Orcas. It's the largest of the San Juan Islands and the most rugged and remote with the more natural beauty. Moran State Park and Turtleback Mountain Preserve provides for some nice hiking, mtn. biking and views.





Excellent section of trail....reminded me of Jedi, an upper section at Oak Ridge, OR. Hobbitland!


Yikes! ;-)





We did our whale watch from Orcas. Got lucky with a pod of transient (visiting) whales vs. locals. The locals eat fish while the transients eat seals....interesting. We followed them for a couple of hours.







The view from our deck on Orcas. We stayed at the Kinfish Inn, attached to it is the West Sound Café. Very good food!!



After a couple of days exploring the Orcas Island, me on the back roads and trails with the bike, and Lynn in the many shops and boutiques, we got in line to ferry over to San Juan Island.

Waiting.....
Tillamook Cheese, smoked salmon, a peach from eastern WA, bacon ships. The Miller Lite was replaced with a Rainier Beer when a local came over and offered me one. When we lived in OR in the 70's they had the best commercials.

Look familiar? Who's the Dude sleeping?



Lynn nabbed a really nice room for us in Friday Harbor. Great view, close to everything.
Sea planes, power boats, sail boats and ferries all busy going in and out of the harbor. View from our deck, always something going on.


Hiding below our deck.

Highly recommend visiting the Whale Museum.
While Orcas is more artsy San Juan is pretty much mainstream modern touristy. Good seafood restaurants as well, down at Roche Harbor, which has an interesting history, as well.

I rode out from Friday Harbor on the bike to English Camp to ride some singletrack. It was more like horse trails, but all good. Lynn and I then met for lunch.

We visited a winery, that has a camel. Interesting.

San Juan does have some art, though, if a bit off the wall.

Lime Kiln Park has some nice views as well.



Friday Harbor has a City Park, live music.
Back in the 1850's there was a dispute over the boundary with England in these parts. Due to the wording of the border mentioning a Strait being the border, it was found that there are two Straits. Interesting story that resulted in both the English and the Americans having a show of force on San Juan Island. Eventually, it resulted in what's known as the Pig War.

This was taken from the shore near American Camp. That's Vancouver Island in the background.

There were some interesting folks that were stationed on San Juan before the Civil War.

San Juan has it's own brewery as well.

After 3 nights on San Juan we took off to the final stop, Lopez Island.
Lopez Island seems to be the most laid back of all 3 of the Islands we visited. The pace seemed slower here, there isn't the natural beauty as compared to Orcas and not the "happening scene" for tourists that San Juan is. The harbor was just a boardwalk where the ferry landed and the town we stayed in  (really, the only town) was a 20 minute drive or so, to Lopez Village.
There are more rabbits here than people by far!! Towards dusk they were everywhere.

It was kind of a nice way to end our visit, just sit back and enjoy the quiet. Sunset our first evening.






I biked out to Lopez Hill on the day of the eclipse.




At the local library there was a gathering so I stopped in coming back to town on the bike. They had some glasses we shared to watch the event. Except for the yellowish light and the drop in temp, it wasn't noticeable, even though we were in the 80-85% range.

One of the best experiences we had on the trip was watching the tide come in, called a flood tide, due to it's intensity on Lopez. They claim that the eclipse had something to do with it as well as the normal cycle. It was like watching a river flow, rapids and all!
It was pretty cool watching the seals as well.




A few videos....I called them Sea Lions in the video once or twice, but they are Seals.
Lopez 1
Lopez 2
Lopez 3

Looking east towards Seattle, Mt. Baker.

Looking Southwest towards the Olympic Peninsula, where we're headed next.