Moving back to Washington just in time for summer has proven to be a solid decision. These past few weeks of 75 degree days have been just what I’d been craving during our time in Indonesia. We’ve taken advantage of the pleasant temperatures with lots of dining al fresco and strolls on the beach. But our best outdoor activity thus far has been our days we’ve spent crabbing. My husband Joel grew up coming to the beaches in northwestern Washington so he’s an old hand at this crabbing thing. But the experience was new to me and I learned a lot after a couple of trips out. Here’s what I’ve picked up so far.
Whether you’re driving over the bridge or speeding beneath it in a motor boat, Deception Pass offers amazing views. I had been here once many years ago, but it was just a very quick detour on the way back to Seattle from Orcas Island. I’m so glad I got to go back on this trip and funny enough, I got to go twice. On our RV trip to Port Townsend we went over the pass heading to the Coupeville ferry. We were on a tight schedule due to ferry reservations, so Joel and I just hopped out with Blanche and met his parents in the parking area on the other side of the bridge. With clear, picturesque weather, it was a great day to snap some quick pics from the top.
Our first stop turned out to be super handy because I picked up a brochure about a Deception Pass boat tour which we ended up doing with my parents when they arrived later in the month.
Visit number two was a leisurely one. We had about an hour to kill before we had to board the boat so we took time to explore not only the bridge, but the beaches inside the park. And my mom had plenty of time to do what she does best- pictures! Doesn’t she look happy down there?!
When we arrived there was a thick fog (known euphemistically in the Pacific Northwest as the ‘marine layer’) in the distance that amazingly cleared completely in the hour we spent at the beach before our boat tour. Thanks nature! The newly crystal clear skies gave way to a gorgeous view of Mount Baker from the boat.
The hour-long cruise offered plenty of wildlife. Joel worked on the Victoria Clipper for many years, so after hearing his tales of frequent whale sightings, I was hopeful we’d catch a glimpse of one of the three local and transient Orca pods that frequent the Salish Sea every summer. Unfortunately, the whales weren’t out and about, but we did see lots of birds and some really adorable seals doing their seal thing.
Both trips made me thankful to call the PNW my past and future home. Just after we left the US my in-laws took Joel’s sister and niece on a camping trip to Deception Pass Park. Seeing their photos when we were just getting back to Indonesia (and back to work!) gave me a little post-vacation blues, but in no time at all we’ll be back in Washington with years and years to enjoy this wonderful part of the world.
Sooooooo much has happened in the last week and a half, but most importantly Joel and I tied the knot in Seattle on the Virginia V Steamship. It was a gorgeous day, a whirlwind of friends and family and one damn fine party if I do say so myself. (I planned the whole shindig, so that’s me giving myself a little pat on the back.)
I have a zillion photos of our time in Washington, but on the eve of our flight back to Indonesia my Mac power cord died. I’ve been cripplingly without a computer for half a week- I know #firstworldproblems. I have folder after folder of raw images that I need to review and edit, but we just arrived back home to a new school year and a completely unorganized new house. We have a lot on our plate this month! But I do want to really, really try hard to be a more regular blogger. It might not happen, but at least I have goals right? So hopefully I’ll see you again here soon.
Pacific Northwest!!! There is nothing more perfect on this Earth than a PNW summer. I am so happy that Joel and I got the spend the whole month of July exploring all the little towns around Skagit Valley. Our first excursion was to head up to Port Townsend in Joel’s parent’s RV and stay at Fort Worden for two nights. I’m not a fan of camping, but after this trip I discovered that I am all for RV living. Joel’s parents Tim and Kirsten drove while Joel and I lounged on the bed with Blanche checking out the scenery.
From there house on Camano Island, we drove over Deception Pass to Whidbey Island and ferried over to Port Townsend. It’s a short two hour trip with sweeping Salish Sea views the whole way. We walked around Fort Casey while we waited for the ferry from Whidbey to Port Townsend and I took the opportunity to get some family shots.
We did a little exploring of Port Townsend, of course visiting the Indonesian furniture store, then headed out to Fort Worden to set up our campsite.
Not having previously seen An Officer and a Gentleman (which was filmed at Fort Worden), I wasn’t sure what to expect. The grounds at Fort Worden are vast and beautifully manicured. Joel grew up coming here for family reunions and camping weekends with his folks, but there was still so much more history to learn about the grounds. It was so beautiful I almost regretted planning our city wedding.
Our morning walk options were endless with trails, beaches and forts. On day we took the high road through the fort overlooking the beach, the next day was the low road to the north beach. Blanche and Henry (the dogs) enjoyed each and every path as long as they could follow the family closely.
Joel and I explored the fort area during the afternoon. I’m sure he would have preferred to take me down there at night to scare the shit out of me, but I know him too well and I’m not falling for that. It was spooky enough during the daytime!
My first foray into RVing won me over. As I mentioned I’ve been an anti-camper for many, many years and I’d been told time and time again that I was just camping incorrectly. Now I realize that everyone was right all along- I was camping without an RV which is just wrong in my opinion. A big thank you to my in-laws (because I know they read this!) for showing me the light and taking Joel and I on this awesome vacation. I can’t wait to do it again next summer!
Seasons are a big deal in Seattle. Summers are short and incredibly sweet, winters are long but temperatures are much milder than people imagine. The hardest part of the move to Seattle from North Carolina was not the rain but the darkness. Being so far north, the days get very short in the winter, like 4:00pm-get-your-ass-to-bed-cause-it’s-DARK kinda short. Winters really make you yearn for some sunshine so when Joel came back to the PNW after two years in Jakarta, it was hard to get on board with his worship of grey skies. How could he be sick of something that we Seattleites crave so badly?!
Well it’s taken about six weeks but I’m sick of the damn sun. In Indonesia the sun is very similar to the loud dance music they play in the malls- it’s inescapable! It’s just so damn bright and hot all the time. I’ve always been okay with sun if it comes with beach and yes I know I live in a coastal city on a tropical island, but the beaches in the city are so polluted that the water isn’t somewhere you’d want to swim. It’s pretty depressing.
So I’ve found myself living vicariously through my facebook feed- hiking in a puffy vest, baking holiday bread and prepping for Thanksgiving. I never imagined I would miss a Seattle winter but here I am browsing through typical PNW misty, grey photos feeling like I’m missing out on 40 degree weather.
No post on missing out would be complete if I didn’t mention Blanche. I miss Blanche so bad! Anytime the doorbell rings on a TV show and no one barks I get a little depressed. I know Blanche is in good hands (staying with my friend Melanie in Raleigh) but it doesn’t make the distance any easier. I hope she knows that I’m thinking of her and coming back to smother her in smooches real soon!