July 30 Loafers

Today was another day of leisure. Peggy walked into La Conner to check out all the touristy shops and antique stores. I dumped the waste tanks.

We both tried to make my ancient Kindle share books with Peggy’s but found ourselves lacking because we were completely unsuccessful. We need some third graders to get this stuff squared away for us.

July 29 Hangin’ at the trailer

Today we were slugs. We did almost no productive labor.

We did hobnob with the folks set up in the space next to us here at La Conner Marina. They have two Saluki dogs. The dogs (not the people) are high-speed runners and look the part. They make greyhounds look tubby. They were also very nice and seemed delighted to let us scratch their backs.

After this strenuous activity, we had some drinks. This retirement can be rugged.

July 28 Camano Island

Nearby Camano Island was our target for today. Peggy tells me that I have been there before but we were halfway through today’s excursion before I recognized anything. It turns out that she was correct and I was merely forgetful.

We started today’s journey with a trip to the La Conner second hand store so Peggy could reluctantly ashcan some of the stuff we have been hauling around for the last five years. She was very strong and dumped the stuff in the box without even a shudder. I was very proud of her.

Then we were off across the Skagit River Valley and massive delta toward Camano Island. It is a beautiful drive with magnificent green forest, the Cascades and farmland below the horizon and beautiful azure skies above. Over the bridge and we were onto the island. The northern end and northeastern edge of the island is pretty heavily developed with many snazzy houses, almost all of them within view of the water. And a terrific view it is! At the northern end, we pulled into a tiny park called Upsalady where we could gaze out over the sound and the single homeless guy comfy on a bench looking north. From this end, Mount Baker, the enormous volcano, can be seen; it is the horizon. We also were delighted to find an adolescent bald eagle nested in a very short tree right in the park. He made quite a few noises at us before he took to the wing and split.

Eventually we moseyed on to the west side of the island and entered a much more rural and splendid environment. Massive firs and cedars grow right down to the waterline and the views into the San Juan Islands offshore are terrific. Lots of the property is privately owned but the lot sizes are much bigger here. We passed many gravel driveways but could see few of the houses hidden in the dense forest. We stopped in at both of the state parks on the island’s west side – Cama Beach Historical State Park and Camano Island State Park – where we bought a Washington Discover Pass that allows access to all state parks for a year. The parks are very nice. We stopped for a bit at Cama and enjoyed the views of the Sound and Whidbey Island across a wide strait. Warm, cloudless, sunny days are rare in this part of the world and Washingtonians had flocked to the area to see it before Ragnarok. We even spotted a guy nearly my age wearing a skimpy pair of Speedos so we left.

We continued our circuit, wandering down to the south end of the island before heading up the east side and back to the bridge returning us to the mainland. Camano Island offers a great journey through a pretty place although the residential section at the north end is not that great unless, of course, you own one of the nice houses overlooking the water.

We took a few pictures. Click the link. https://photos.app.goo.gl/4mEMb4gRomgY5KDm6

July 27 Weekend propane refills

Today we got on the internet early in the day to find a supplier to fill one of our trailer’s propane tanks. It seems that while propane is widely available, it is not so ubiquitous on weekends. We did finally find a place to get propane and it turned out to be a Chevron station about 5 miles north of us. The station is on the Swinomish Reservation.

Peggy and I tag-teamed the 30 pound cylinder out of its cubbyhole in the front of our Barbarian Invader, threw it into the back of Charlotte and headed for the propane sales. When we arrived, we found we were in a man’s heaven. The Chevron gas/diesel/propane station in the complex is flanked by a reservation tobacco outlet, a marijuana dispensary, a beer and liquor store in addition to a big casino, a hotel and an RV park where chronic gamblers can camp and lose money simultaneously. There is a steak house in the casino.

We left with only diesel and propane, both purchased for much cheaper than at off-reservation outlets due to the reservation being sovereign lands without pesky and irritating federal and state taxes. On the way home, we stopped at nearby Black Rock Seafoods where we left not a lot poorer with both breaded and fresh scallops, frozen and breaded clams and some very tasty cod. The fresh scallops didn’t exist for long since they went right into the pan and then our gullets not 30 minutes after getting back to the Invader and carefully inserting the full propane cylinder back into its finger-smashing cabinet. We were lucky – no smashed digits or blood even after the heavy tank was back in place. It’s almost a miracle.

July 26 Bow to La Conner Marina

Today we left Thousand Trails Mount Vernon (actually in Bow) and headed out for the return journey to La Conner. This time we are staying in the La Conner Marina RV Park where we stayed about three weeks ago. Although the La Conner TT campground is visually appealing, there is no WiFi, satellite TV or sewer, which is problematic for stays greater than about 4 or 5 days. We have to pay $30 a day at the marina, but there is WiFi, sewer and satellite TV. The marina is not quite as scenic as the TT park but it is located right in La Conner, a delight for Peggy because she loves to shop and the downtown area offers ample stores for a dedicated browser.

We were assigned to space 10, two spaces from our previous site when we stayed here a while back. Space 11 has very lumpy pavement due to a nearby massive sycamore tree’s roots but we knew the park hosts don’t rent out 11 until the very end. We promptly put our truck in the lumpy site 11 and have not been told to move it. Everybody else needs to park about 50 yards away in a nearby Port parking lot. There are signs, posted by the Port of Skagit, that indicate a permit is required to park in their lot but, in our stays here, we have not seen a parking permit nor any parking enforcement. Even on the 4th of July, there were ample vacant spaces in the lot despite being right on the waterfront and almost directly underneath the spectacular fireworks launched from the marina. This last 4th, it was hard to determine whether the City of La Conner or the Native American civilians across the Swinomish Channel had better explosives.

It seems fireworks are legal in Washington and you can buy them everywhere. Strangely, launching anything that goes up or boom is illegal almost everywhere. I guess if you shoot all your ample supply of legally purchased but illegal to light fireworks very quickly, you won’t get caught because all the proof self-destructed.

We check the weather in our hometown, San Diego, regularly and are just delighted we are here. While our hometown broils in torrid temperatures, the weather here has been terrific with temperatures between 60 and 75 F. It rains a little, once in a while, but mostly the summer weather here is magnificent. I think we have about another month and a half in the Pacific Northwest before moseying back south when it starts to get cold here. The scenery is stunning, there are animals everywhere, there is reasonably priced seafood, marijuana is perfectly legal, Peggy likes the shopping and the weather is wonderful. And they sell fireworks which I certainly enjoy even though when I light them I have to be furtive, no small feat when old and arthritic.

July 25 Last day at Bow

Today was our last full day in Mount Vernon TT but we did not feel compelled to do anything fascinating. We both got in on a phone conversation with our daughter, I disconnected and stowed the water umbilical to the trailer, Peggy squared away some stuff inside our dwelling and got the ancient Singer out for some fabric festivities. I found a formerly full bottle of Jack Daniel’s and made it lighter. It was pretty boring to watch.

July 23 The laundry

Gentle rain woke us this morning. We started the day with a good breakfast, internet surfing on our phones and a bit of TV; anything was better than going to do our laundry. Eventually, reality set in and we trudged out to the truck with reusable plastic shopping bags full of dirty clothes. The laundry here at Mount Vernon TT has an ample facility with six….count ’em…..six washing machines. We (mostly Peggy) were done very quickly. It was still boring.

July 22 Up to Bellingham

It is difficult to find a crummy place to wander in this part of the world. Today we left our campground in Bow, headed west on Bow Hill Road toward WA-11. On the way, we made a quick stop at Samish Bay Creamery where they make and sell a variety of nifty cheeses, all of them with prices beyond the budgets of non-millionaires. All of the products we saw had prices exceeding $20 a pound. We get our extra sharp Tillamook cheese at Costco for around $5 a pound. Our stop at this dairy producer was very brief.

Soon we came to WA-11 in Edison, where we turned north for a gorgeous drive into Whatcom County. The first bit was through pasture lands and everything was emerald green. After about 20 minutes we started climbing along the western side of an enormous forested rock that borders Samish Bay, a huge expanse of shallow water, the exit for the Samish River and a part of the massive strait between the U.S. and Canada. The road became quite narrow and curvy once we were along the western fringe of the rock. There were some residences on the strait side of the road but they seemed to all be built with the garage on top (the roof), next to the road, and the rest of the house built beneath it because the ground is so steep that building further from the road would mean the back porch is about 100 feet above the remainder of the cliff leading down into the sea. That last step would be a big one.

Fairhaven was the first real town we drove into and it is a gorgeous little enclave of old wood houses and brick masonry downtown commercial buildings. It was sort of like going back in time, to a cute little town with seemingly happy folks dwelling in magnificent buildings. It is very pasty white. There don’t seem to be any other humans than white ones and none of them have a tan. From Fairhaven, there is a ferry that can take folks to that portion of Alaska along the inland passage up the coast of British Columbia.

After meandering a bit, we got back on WA-11 for a little ways to Bellingham. This, too, is a beautiful little city with magnificent buildings and folks free of sunburn. We found a what must be the northernmost Trader Joe’s in the U.S. and picked up a variety of their spiffy goods before returning via I-5 south to our beloved fifth wheel trailer in Bow. It wasn’t a long drive today but it was full of stunning scenery, fantastic building architecture and good shopping.

We took a few pix. Click the link. https://photos.app.goo.gl/e251rGDbas2KXHik7

July 21 La Conner to Bow

It was moving day today so we rustled up all our bird feeders, whirly flags, folding chairs and utility umbilicals and prepared to leave the property. Before we could go anywhere else, we made a stop at the three-holer dump station at the campground exit. We have been very frugal with our water this week to avoid filling our modestly-sized waste tanks. Normally, waste gets dumped every four days but we made the week. It took quite a while for everything to leave us.

After this fun, we pulled out onto Snee Oosh Road and headed north to WA-20. Turning east there, we got as far as I-5 where we turned north. Just a few miles up the road, we arrived at Bow. The Thousand Trails Campground is called Mount Vernon but it’s not in Mount Vernon. It’s in Bow.

We found a nice, spacious spot with satellite TV reception, good access and plenty of birds in the surrounding brush. We set up and called it a day even though our entire trip was about 20 miles and maybe 25 minutes. We love nice, quick drives between campgrounds.