We Need a Break!
This has not been our easiest summer. We are doing a major addition to out house which involves one room and a fairly good sized shop. That project along with landscaping the lot the addition sits on has been relentless. The heat wave has been endless and the smoke from the seasonal fires this year has been quite intense. We decided it was time to get away and decided to celebrate Liz’s birthday on the road.
We chose Anacortes, WA as our destination thinking we could explore the San Juan Islands with day trips from an RV park. In reality due to booking issues, we ended up at the KOA near Burlington, (details HERE,) which worked out just fine.
Day 1: Anacortes –
Today we took the e-bikes into town and rode the Tommy Thompson Trail and then explored Anacortes. We stopped at Zaza Turkish Coffee for a treat. The shop is owned by a fellow named Leo and we had an interesting visit with him. Leo came to the USA seeking what he called The American Dream. He is very happy and excited about what he has accomplished with his business. It was amusing to us the way he kept suggesting we try this and that from his product line. We enjoyed the experience.
We had a good time exploring Anacortes and refreshing our memories of what this area has to offer.
Day 2 – Guemes Island More Anacortes
We took the ferry to Guemes Island today. We drove to the very small parking lot at the ferry landing and took our e-bikes on the 5 minute ferry ride to this small island. We visited Guemes Island a few years back on scooters. The island is very quiet and peaceful, particularly the North end where if has the feel of not being caught up in the pretentious lifestyle you see in ocean front environments. We stopped frequently to explore beaches and side roads. We came across the “Island Labyrinth atnd took a few minutes to investigate it. Throughout the island we came across multiple ‘honor system’ sales stands where people put out items for sale. You take an item and leave money in a locked box.
The roads on the island basically are set up like a cross with the main road running north and south and mid-island a road crosses it leading the the east and west sides of the island with many spur roads branching out. We rode to the north end of the island, then looped back on the west side, stopping to explore and investigate things along the way. One of the stops was at Kelly’s Point which is maintained by the Skagit Land Trust, an organization that was started by 3 individuals and now consists of over 400 volunteers. This organization maintains and protects over 46 miles of important coastline areas.
Overall we were quite impressed with this quiet little island and the community spirit that keeps in feeling so peaceful. The traffic is minimal and makes for very enjoyable cycling.
After exploring the island, we returned to Anacortes and drove around checking things out a bit. We discovered Little Cranberry Lake, which is a part of the ACFL (Anacortes Community Forest Land.) The AFCL has set aside areas within the city that are protected forest lands. The hiking around the lake feels like you are in the mountains somewhere miles away from any city. We met a couple on the trail that told us about the trail maps that are available of these areas. We were amazed at the number of trails that spur off the trail we walked. The map shows all the trails and they are all clearly identified by signage on the trails.
After our walkabout, we drove to the top of Mt. Erie for some views of the San Juan Islands. We have been up there before and it was fun to do that again, the views are pretty amazing. There are sport climbing routes that are accessible from the parking lot.
We finished up the day meeting Liz’s sister Cathy for dinner. Cathy lives on Whidbey Island and drove up to take Liz to dinner for her birthday. We had a great visit and wonderful dinner.
Day 3 – Orcas Island
Another ferry ride today, this time to Orcas Island. We had planned to go to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island today for Liz’s birthday. Turns out the ferry routes do not work quite the way we thought and we needed to rethink the day because, as we discovered, we would not have gotten to Friday Harbor until 1:00.
The ferry ride to Orcas Island takes just over an hour. We locked the bikes up and went into the cabin where we obtained some information and a ma of the island. When we left the ferry we proceeded to ride north to Eastsound Village. We investigated the village a bit and grabbed some lunch at Mijitas, a fun little Mexican restaurant.
After a bite to eat, we rode to Moran State Park. Well, we got to the state park and rode to what we thought would be a nice little lake. Not so much! That lake was like Lake Washington on a weekend. Cars parked all up and down the road and people everywhere. We decided we had had enough of the island and headed back to the ferry. The cycling on Orcas Island was not really an enjoyable experience. The traffic is crazy and there is no shoulder at all for most of what we rode. It was actually pretty disappointing.
We arrived back at the ferry a bit early so we had to wait an hour and half for the boat. We again locked the bikes up and went up to the cabin, the wind was quite chilly. By the time we got back to Anacortes we were pretty tired and cold, so we headed back to the rv park. We were not really hungry, so we didn’t stop for dinner, however, we did stop and grab some treats, since it was Liz’s birthday.
Day 4 – La Conner
We started out for what we thought would be a day in Anacortes. As we were driving that direction, we decided to go check out the Thousand Trails campground at La Conner. We would have liked to stay there on this trip but reservations were full by the time we made the decision to do this little getaway. The campground looked pretty decent and we will likely plan a trip in the future staying there.
After checking out the campground we decided to go to see the Roosengard Tulip Farm. Of course there were no tulips to be seen in August. but there were gardens of dahlias and zinnias, along with lots of sunflowers. We walked the grounds and snapped a few pics. While we were there, we chatted with a group of three elderly ladies. they told us they were “going to the pub” after this for some fish and chips. The told us the “pub in La Conner had the best fish and chips!!” They were pretty excited about it, so we thought maybe we should go check it out.
Well…Not exactly what we thought were “the best fish and chips.” Anyway, we tried, HaHa…
After those great fish and chips, we got ice cream cones and walked around the downtown area. We stopped at a little gallery and picked up some yard art items for our new back yard, that little project that we will be returning to after this little getaway.
We really enjoyed La Conner and it i on our list of places to come back and spend some more time. In fact, we did not make it to Anacortes at all today. La Conner has a very laid back feel to it, and the rural roads surrounding the area have great shoulders with moderate traffic. It feel like an ideal area for tandem riding.
It was a fun week and it was great to take a little break from the projects at home. Exploring the Anacortes area is always fun and it is certain that we will be back in the future for some