Thursday, August 3, 2017

Anacortes Before the Smoke and Banging

July 28-31, 2017
Anacortes, Washington

Friday is another clear-blue-sky day and perfect for the 80 mile drive north to Anacortes. We pull into the Swinomish Casino RV Park around noon and get set up in our level gravel site, backed up to a huge green grass area with lovely views of Mount Baker. 



Anacortes can be an expensive place to stay, and I'm very happy with our $32/night for FHUs with 30 amp and good water pressure. We're right next to the hotel which is very quiet as it buffers the Hwy 20 noise. We received an email last week letting us know there was casino construction that might be noisy, but we don't hear it during our visit. 

However, our last two days we do get a lot of noise from another source.....

Friday afternoon we explore the little town and enjoy a late lunch at Calico Cupboard, a sweet diner with a unique menu.


Brussel Sprout Hash - divine!!
Surrounded on three sides by water, Anacortes on Fidalgo Island is a beautiful area with lush forests, rocky shores, large marinas, and a surprising amount of agriculture and farms. Saturday we check out a couple scenic points (we used to be better at not doing these on weekends). The weather is nice but warming up again.


Comparing Mill Row in 1925 to the current view from Cap Sante. Once home to numerous mills, the last one succumbed to fire in 1992, leaving a very active marina.

Views from Cap Sante.


Colorful Madronne trees surround the scenic point.
The 2 mile straight-up-check-your-transmission-and-brakes road to the Mount Erie look-out takes us through a thick forest.
Erie Lake in the forefront with Burrows Bay in the background.

West over Fidalgo Island
It's not for everyone, but we like parks with trains nearby. Our current site includes a pivoting railroad bridge on the Anacortes Channel behind us. Several times a day, dozens of tanker cars pass by to and from the refinery. 

Parallel to the shore, the turned bridge allows boats to pass.

It pivots to allow trains to cross.
Sunday is supposed to be overcast, and we head to the Skagit River hoping to find a good fishing spot. The spot we find is amazing, but the sun comes out and temps rise so no fish :-(

The Baker River joins the Skagit River at the base of the Northern Cascade Mountains.
Sun diamonds sparkle in the ripples.

I love the clear water.
We want to come back to this area and spend more time exploring the river and the Northern Cascades. There are only a couple small RV parks in the area, and very few services. It is incredibly beautiful.

We haven't cleaned out the basement bins in over 18 months so Monday is the day. Tossing out a handful of things we haven't used (flimsy tripod, door mat, etc) and a bag of trash, we (Bill) reorganize and reload everything. It feels good to have extra room we aren't using!

More room with that storage unit on top :-)))))
After a morning of work we spend the afternoon in Washington Park on the Rosario Strait, appreciating more of the spectacular Pacific Northwest. 

It is humbling to stop and recognize what a blessed life we are living. Last year at this time we were being amazed by the natural and spiritual beauty of Devils Tower in Wyoming, and here we are at the San Juan Islands in a drastically different environment being just as amazed.

Winter storms must be impressive here.

Rocky fingers play subtle music on the bay.

This beautiful wooden boat reminds me of a small Chinese Junk.
The Washington Park Scenic Loop meanders through a forest with peeks of the surrounding water.
Single parking spots provide opportunities to view the rocky shores.



In our two years on the road we have been exceptionally lucky to miss most extreme temps, bad storms, and fires. With 100 fires burning in British Columbia our luck runs out on Tuesday as the smoke begins to move in. 

And then the railroad construction begins on Wednesday.......




24 comments:

  1. Is there ever a totally perfect campsite? Hope the wind changes and blows the smoke out again!

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    1. Our site on the Gulf Coast is probably the closest we've come :-) Fingers crossed for clearing soon!

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  2. Beautiful! How nice you got a few days of peace before it was shattered!

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  3. Beautiful photos Jodee! So happy you had a few quiet and clear days. Your header photo is amazing!

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  4. We certainly do living an exciting, beauty filled life on the road:) We really enjoyed our short visit to the islands. So beautiful!! Love that view of Erie Lake!!!

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    1. Minus the smoke, we'd love to spend a lot more time in the area - Lopez was a real highlight.

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  5. "we (Bill) reorganize and reload everything"
    Our friends refer to that as the singular "we". :)

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    1. Yep! It's my most favorite "we" :-)))))

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  6. Gorgeous pictures! Love the trains too. Safe travels to your next destination.

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    1. We've enjoyed the trains in several places, and this one was really fun with the turning bridge!

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  7. Interesting Madrone bark. Sort of looks like southern Crepe Myrtle. LOL that you actually like parks with trains. Guess you must sleep like rocks, lucky you. WOW is that gorgeous fishing scenery. So sorry about the sun and no fish combo. So sorry to hear about the fires. It’s just so sad. So is the heat nearly everywhere but apparently Maine and Washington State. We are both so blessed.

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    1. The Madrone is bright red on the hillsides. Unfortunately the heat caught up with us with 92 degrees on the Hood Canal, although not as bad as so many other places!

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  8. If you have the time and interest, i highly recommend an orca viewing tour out of Anacortes. I did the 5-6hr tour with Island Adventures.....a gorgeous trip thru the San Juans, passing lighthouses, sea lions, ferries, farms, and of course orcas. Usually minke whales too.

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    1. we almost did the tour, but when the smoke moved in we knew we'd have to wait until next time. Seeing whales is such a powerful experience!

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  9. We were smoked out on Wednesday and Thursday, but the wind shifted yesterday....and now it is clear. There is hope, Jodee!

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    1. That is encouraging, thanks! We're supposed to see clearing on Monday here in Brinnon (Hood Canal) although the heat will continue :(

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  10. The Skagit River is one of my favorites, along with the Madison in Yellowstone. There are a couple of campgrounds we've enjoyed along the river, though maybe not in the area you were. One is in the North Cascades NP and the other is Rasar State Park. That's a family favorite and we filmed a zombie movie there. (Won 3rd place in the film festival!) There is a little private cove along that river called Chouter Beach. I'll never spill the beans on that location! :)

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    1. Great! I'll keep this for our return. It is a beautiful area, even the small amount we saw. How special to have your own cove :-)

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  11. I agree that it is a wonderful life. There's so much beauty and just like the so famous quote, life isn't meant to be lived in one place. I loved your blog!

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    1. We think that being able to see so many places is the best!

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  12. Your caption "rocky fingers play subtle music on the bay" -- that is inspired! I appreciate your philosophical musings (along with your wonderful sense of humor, of course!!). I'm glad you experienced the remarkable beauty of this area before the heat and smoke moved in. It's moved on now, but so have you. :-(( Truly, I hope you'll come back -- maybe next year?

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  13. Hard to believe it's been two years already and you've seen so much. All of you in the PNW are making me homesick. I'm still hoping for a quick fall trip north after my season is over mid-October. Being I'm still catching up, I hope you got away from the smoke, heat, and noise.

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