Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Whidbey Island, WA

Hello from the Oak Harbor Wal-Mart where I'm camped for the night.  After the somewhat limited-services on the Olympic Peninsula, I'm glad to be in a place where I can obtain reasonably-priced provisions and a much-needed haircut.  Plus, it's laundry time again.  But let me tell the tale properly in chronological fashion.

Port Townsend

We arrive in Port Townsend from Sequim yesterday and set up camp at the county fairgrounds.

At $17 per night for water, electric, hot showers, and a dump station, it's a bargain.  Jim, Gayle, Debbie and I arrive to find Karen and granddaughter Hailey already camped nearby. Karen, blog-author of The Back Porch View, part-times in her glammed-up vintage trailer.

She's installed a kitty-door so the cats have safe access to the great outdoors.  Furnished with beds, litter box, and toys, you can tell they love it.

I spend the remainder of the day exploring the photogenic waterfront village and its many shops.

I stop in my tracks, startled to see this window display of one of our favorite wines.

However, fetching as Port Townsend is, the stream of traffic, long lines, and general congestion of the holiday crowds grows old quickly.  Three straight months of dealing with hordes (yeah, tourists like me) is beginning to take its toll.

Now, when do the kiddies go back to school again?  Real school.  Not sailing school.

The result is, I am ready to move on.  Sorry, Port Townsend.  It's not you, it's me.

This morning, I bid so-long-for-now to my travel companions and press on to Whidbey Island.  

By sea!

Sheer dumb luck places the GDB on the bow of the ferry for the 35-minute crossing.

I can't tell you how strange it feels to be behind the wheel just feet away from the churning waters of Puget Sound.  The GDB under full sail!

"Okay, Rookie .... park that thang".

Ebey Landing National Historical Reserve

After disembarking and driving a few miles along the coast, I feel as though I've been transported to the British Isles.  The rural atmosphere is exactly what I need as an antidote for the crush of tourists.

I stop just a few miles from the ferry landing to visit Ebey (pronounced E-Bee) Landing National Historic Reserve.  Ebey is a settlement dating from the 1850's whose 19,000 acres have been preserved intact. It remains rural agricultural land that could make you quit your day job and take up farming.

Thanks to our National Park service, we can all enjoy this unique place.  Otherwise, it would be either an enclave for the wealthy or a golf resort (sorry, honey!).

I'm not expecting to be overwhelmed.  But I am in an instant.  The views of the bay, the mountains, and the meadows draw me closer.  Without planning, I find a gem of a footpath and hike virtually alone for over an hour.

The only drawback is the overcast sky obscuring the mountain views.

The deserted ribbon of beach below

Walking back to the GDB, I stop in to the tucked-away NP office on the historical cemetery grounds in order to stamp my NP passport book.  I ask about the weather forecast because I want to return and do the complete bluff hike under perfect conditions.

The helpful lady staffing the office tells me that trying to predict the weather on Whidbey Island is a wasted effort.  The island has its own micro-climate (amazingly, it receives only 18 inches of rain per year).  And while it may be full-sun on the eastern edge, it can be completely overcast on the west side.

I initially considered Oak Harbor as a convenient way-point on the road to Anacortes, but now I want to stay longer and try my luck with the hiking weather over the next few days.  Here's why: when the day is fine on the bluff overlooking Puget Sound, you can see the Cascades, the Olympics, and Mount Rainier.

Yes please!


  1. You were right around the corner from where I lived when you were at Ft Ebey. I lived a few roads northing on San Juan Drive. I use to watch many sunsets at Ft Ebey. It's good that you are going to back to see more when the sun is out and the fog or clouds are gone. Take a short trip nearby to Ft Casey and see another lighthouse.

    1. It's been such good weather practically the entire trip, it may be asking too much for full sun tomorrow. It's not looking good anyway but at least there is no rain in the forecast. What a beautiful place to live!

  2. Looks like a nice area. Hope to see it with sun. Have you told John you want to retire there yet?


    1. Ha! I'm still working up the courage to tell him I can retire but he can't.

  3. Woops! Does John read your blog? ;->

    Virtual hugs,


    1. LOL! He indeed saw the conversation above. Now he knows. ;-}

  4. Hope the weather plays nice for you I want to see what it all looks like too.


Let's chat !