Thursday, August 30, 2012

DAY 9- La Conner and Camano Island

I decided to get an earlier start for the day.  I drove north along WA-20 to the north end of Whigby Island and then went through a bit of the Fidalgo Island.  The east on to through the Swinomish Reservation to a road called Best Road.  I drove south to a town area on the “mainland” area of Washington State.
Photos- The very picturesque La Conner.

La Conner is a township area that overlooks the water between the “mainland” and Whigby Island.  The Swinomish Channel runs past it and there’s a pink steel colored bridge that runs over the channel area.  La Conner is a very picturesque area with a great deal of art galleries, shops of all sorts, Inns, Bed & Breakfasts, and restaurants. 
Photo- Boats parked at a dock along the Swanomish Channel.

I arrived about 10am and 80% of the shops and stores didn’t open until 11am-ish.  In fact, I kind of had to laugh because there were three different businesses that listed their hours as 11am-ish to 6pm-ish.  I guess business hours are not set in stone or it’s a very laid back quality of life in the area for the business owners.  It was a bit of a culture shock for one set to certain hours and time tables; which I’m trying to break myself of.

I walked along and took photos.  I found a cute corner bookstore called “The Next Chapter” where I enjoyed a fresh piece of sour cream coffee cake and a mocha latte and perused through books while I waited for 11am-ish to arrive.  I, then, visited several of the shops and galleries.  I especially enjoyed a shop called “Caravan Gallery” where they had jewelry from all over the world and they were having 20% off everything in the store through to the weekend.  They had some wonderful things and were very reasonably priced and 20% off.  OMG!   I had to limit myself.
Photo- Fun names for some of the shops in La Conner.

Another couple shops that I enjoyed were a Lavender Shop that had lavender items that were made on the San Juan Islands and The Artist’s Remarque which had a wide selection of art items in their galleries.  I slowly went through the shops talking for a bit here and there with shop clerks just enjoying the day.  There were some really cute looking Inns and Bed & Breakfasts on the main area and just off of it too.  They were places with some fun names like Nasty Jack’s Antiques, Go Outside (an outfitters store), and Plum Ugly (a fish tackle shop).  It was rather fun just going along to see what was the name of the next shop. 
Photo- A dog waiting for his owner to have lunch.

Photo- The entrance to the Seeds Bistro & Bar where I had lunch.

I worked my way back to where I parked my car and it was about lunch time.  I spotted a place for lunch called Seed Bistro & Bar.  As I walked up to the door I spotted a golden lab tied up and waiting outside for its owner that was, I’m sure, eating inside.  Seed Bistro & Bar had an organic type of fare.  I had a wonderful curry lentil soup with a half a free range rosemary roasted chicken sandwich.  I couldn’t help but have a piece of a blackberry peach pie with homemade vanilla ice cream.  I got there just in time before the lunch “rush” hour.  The place filled up and there was a bit of a wait.
Photo- The Rainbow Bridge from a dock along the Swanomish Channel.

Photo- A quick shot from the car while on the bridge.

After lunch, I drove over the pink colored Rainbow Bridge.  It went over to the other side of the Swinomish Channel which goes onto the Swinomish Reservation.  It was rather striking how the different sides were.  The La Conner side was cute and picturesque but the reservation side had few businesses other than a Chevron Gas station and a lumber yard that was loading trucks.  The houses on the reservation side were run down and quite junky.  It was strange going from one side to the other.
Photo- A Camano Island beach area that I could see from above.

Next, I drove further inland and south over to the highway that led over to the Camano Island.  I was curious about the other Island that’s about a 1/3 of the size of Whigby Island and is nestled between the “mainland” and Whigby Island.  I drove along on Camano Island along several different roads.  There were quite a few private beaches and lanes on the Island.  I was rather disappointed that there really wasn’t that much to see.  I did manage to stop a couple times and take pictures off to the side of the road.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DAY 8- Anacortes, Mushrooms, & Bee Stings

It’s hard to believe that it has been 7 days since I’ve driven out of Salt Lake City in the wee hours of the morning.    I kind of dragged my feet and didn’t start out until about 10AM when the skies finally looked like they were starting to clear up.  Then I jumped in the car and headed north to an island that is directly north of Whigby that goes by the name of Fidalgo.  The large town area on it is called Anacortes.
Photos- Colorful cut outs of people on buildings in Anacortes.

Anacortes’s Main Street area is very picturesque.  There are cut outs of people painted on the sides of corner buildings and different large unwindowed store front areas.  I think a great deal of these people were historical figures.  There was a great deal of flower pots hanging and sitting along the side walk areas along Main Street.  All of these things combined with architecture and colorful paint colors made it a lively and fun area for me to walk through visiting shops and galleries. 
Photos- Flowers hanging and potted along the Main Street area of Anacortes.

I stopped for lunch at a cute little restaurant called the Calico Cupboard. I ordered a Harvest Butternut Bisque Soup and ½ sandwich.  I managed to get about 3 spoonfuls into the soup when I discovered that it had mushrooms in it.  I’m allergic to mushrooms.  But I couldn’t help but think why they would put mushrooms in a Butternut Bisque soup.  So I grabbed the server told her and she offered to bring me another soup.  I had her bring a mushroom-free clam chowder, and a glass of water.  I thought I would see if I can wash what I may have ingested out of my system.  I never did get the bad headache or lost my cookies; so either, I didn’t ingest enough or I did manage to wash it out of my system.

Next I went for a drive around Anacortes.  I looked first for the Arts on the Ave.  There are larger sculptures that are placed throughout the city.  They have a map of where to find them.  It was a little bit like going on a treasure hunt and locating the different pieces.  There’s a website that they put on the map I found… It was rather fun.

Then, I drove around looking at the coastline and found a Washington Park.  I’m unsure if it was a city, county, or state park, but it had a day use area, a boat dock, and camping sites.  While going through the park, I discovered a Loop Drive at the park.  I drove the Loop that had a black top road that was just barely wide enough for my car.  It was a wonderful scenic route that went along the coast area but had you nested in among a forested area. 
Photo- The view I was enjoying before the bee stung me.

It was amazing and then it turned and wound around to an overlook area where you could see for miles.  There was a parking area and I got out.  I took a couple of pictures and then walked over to read some signs that talked of preserving local natural flora.  My hands were behind my back while I was reading.  Before I knew it I felt like I had something pinching the back of my left hand.   I quickly brought my hand in front of me to see a honey bee in the process of stinging my hand.  I slapped at it and quickly moved to my car to get away from it.  My hand was swelling up, getting red, and starting to throb. 

I quickly finished the rest of the Loop drive.  I went back to a 7-11 store that I had seen earlier.  I grabbed a couple of ice cubes and then grabbed a cold drink.  I then decided that the sightseeing was at an end for the day.  I headed back to my friend Jean’s house; where I iced the sting and took it easy for the rest of the night.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

DAY 7- Sightseeing & Mani-Pedi!

I did my final early morning walk with Otis.  I’m moving onto staying at my friend Jean’s house to stay and visit with her.  The last of the relatives that came for the wedding had headed out back to their home.  While “poor homeless” me (don’t be alarmed- by my own choice) will be moving in for a bit with a friend and use it as a base to do some more sightseeing in the area.
Photo- The sign on the door at the Wildwood B&B.
And more sightseeing I did do, after I final had my last wonderful breakfast of waffles (My Fav!) with homemade strawberry syrup.  Yummy!  I tell you the Wildwood Farm B&B will be a hard place for any other B&B’s to beat.  I might just have to come back in two years after I have finished my trek. 
Photos- Libbey Beach Coast line.

After getting my car packed and a last check of email, I was out on the road to explore more of Whigby Island.  I ended up wandering around to West Beach Road where there were wonderful views as well as quite the large upscale homes; some almost mansions.  I always find it fun to see how the other half lives.  Next I wandered along to a looped drive that led to Libbey Beach.  I got out and walked around its rocky shore.  Off in the distance I could see large freightliner ships.  It was another wonderful day of weather here on the Island—sunny with an expected high in the low 70’s.
Photos- The cute Coupeville Old Town

Next, I wandered over to Coupeville and actually managed to find a parking space within a reasonable distance from the Old Town area.  I had drove through before but it was always packed and no available parking.  But this time, I figured it was a week day and late morning so I thought I would have more of a chance of getting a spot.

Hey- I did manage to find one; a parking spot within two blocks.  Off I went to walk and explore through the Old Town Coupeville area. The Old Town is a picturesque place.  I guess that this Old Town area has been used in several different movies; such as Practical Magic, the 1998 movie that starred Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.  I had lunch out front of a deli called Bay Leaf; an enjoyable lunch of a fresh deli sandwich with a ginger beer.  Next, I went for an ice cream at the Ice Cream Shoppe.  They had a single ice cream for $2.75 which was three scoops served tall.  I enjoyed it near the dock and watched people and boats.
Photo- A sculpture along Old Main in Oak Harbor.

Then, I wandered over to Oak Harbor’s Old Main Street area.  Oak Harbor is the largest town on Whigby Island.  It has the largest commercial shopping areas that include chain stores and restaurants such as Kmart, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Burger King, Walgreens and several others. But with saying that it almost seems like the Old Main Street seems to be a bit of an afterthought.  There are only a few blocks along this street and some of the buildings are empty.  I did check out a very nice local artists gallery and a very good scrap booking with home décor store that were fun to go through.  I was a bit disappointed that The Noble Horse was closed.  It’s the store that’s tied in with the Wildwood B&B.

I still had a bit of time before I could meet Jean at her house, so I decided to do something about my rough and cracked heels.  I swung by the Nail Masters on Bayview Street in Oak Harbor and treated myself to a pedicure.  I had quite the experience.  I choose my nail color and then was directed to a chair to sit in; a chair that is a massaging chair.  So while I got my feet done, I also got my backside massaged.  It was a bit of pampering fun.  I also had the gal that did my pedicure, do a bit of nail art on my Big toes.  I was talking to a gal that arrived while I was soaking and pointed out her art on her Big toes.  She had these cute little flowers.  “I want those too!” I told the Filipino gal.  While she was doing that and I was looking at the clock, I thought I might as well have a manicure too.  So I also had her do that.  Yep, it was an afternoon of pampering!
Photo- My Pretty Big Toes after the pedicure!

Monday, August 27, 2012

DAY 6- Horseback Riding & Boat Rides...

I'm still on Whigby Island and ended up taking a bit of a different adventure for the day.  I had never been horseback riding.  I found out that there would be a family that was going out for a ride here at Wildwood Farm B&B, some for the first time too; and I thought why not?  Plus, there's a bit of a price break for more than two.  It sounded like an opportunity for me.  So after my usual morning walk with Otis and another amazing breakfast.  The highlight of this breakfast was cubed fresh watermelon with fresh mint, and feta cheese.  Yummy! I changed into my blue jeans and tennis shoes.

Photos- The pasture areas at Wildwood Bed & Breakfast.

I went up to the main barn after taking a few more photos of the farm.  I was a bit nervous but Lisa the instruction was very nice and inviting.  But I wasn't nearly as nervous looking as Oscar the young boy in the family that I joined.  Thank goodness they had a bit of stair step to get up onto the horse or I would've spent the whole hour trying to figure THAT out.  I had a calm horse called Vision.  Vision wasn't as tall as some that I had seen and I was glad of that.  It's always good to have a shorter distance to fall.
Photo- Oscar, one of my horse riding companion, looking a bit nervous.
Photo- Lily, Oscar's older sister, looking confident and ready.
Photo- Lily leading out her horse.
Photo- Lisa, the trainer, giving instructions to Jeanna as to proper sitting on horse. 
Note- the helpful stair step to get up on the horse.
Photo- Myself on Vision the horse.  Is that a goofy smile or what?

Lisa, the trainer held the two horses of the younger riders while Mom (Jeanna) and myself followed behind.  Jeanna's horse kept on wanting to stop to eat the fresh grass on the way along.  I was laughing because Jeanna would try to get her horse to go but it was SO much more interested in eating the salad.  I was saying," Salad bar break!"  We went along the road and up through the pasture areas towards a race track area.  We did a loop around the track then back through the pastures and up to the Happy Trail that went through the woods.  It really was a wonderful experience and I wasn't as bad as I thought I would be.  They were English saddles with out the horn on the saddle and you were supposed to sit more up right than in a western saddle I guess.  I didn't have any problems with sitting straighter and I was surprised how comfortable it was.

Photo- People fishing off the dock as I was waiting for my turn on Walt's boat tour.
Photo- Walt, Mr. Skipper for the day and looking totally at ease in his boat.
Photo- Deceptively calm looking water but with eddies and tidal pools
just under the surface under the Deception Pass Bridge.
Photo- Deception Pass Bridge as seen from across from a National Forest area path I hiked.

Later on, I met some of the wedding party.  Walt, Jean's new husband, was giving tours on his boat out by Deception Pass.  It was a bit chilly and overcast but it was still fun to be out over the water.  We went under the huge expansion bridge that spans the pass.  I asked Walt why it was called Deception Pass and he stopped the boat under the bridge and pointed out the water.  It looked deceptively calm but underneath you could see tidal pools going each and every direction.  I bet the sailors in the olden days hated coming through here.  Next he took us over to some logs that were tied together where sea otters like to hang out.  The logs are cut down, tied together and then sent out on the bays where they are eventually sent some where to be processed.  The sea otters take advantage of these little floating log islands to "sun" themselves.
Photo- Sea Otters "sunning" themselves.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

DAY 5- Jean's Wedding on Whigby Island

Photo- Myself, Jean, and various wedding guests.
I went for another early morning walk with Otis.  He took me along the back of the of the Wildwood Farm Bed & Breakfast property to a trail aptly named Happy Trail.  The B&B is on Happy Valley Road.  The trail winds through a large wooded area.  Its beautiful green and woodsy.  I ended up turning around when the 5 paths verged in the forest area and I was unsure which one to take.  I didn’t want to get lost in the woods, though I would imagine that Otis would have showed me the way back.
Photo- The stairs from the Rocky Point Lodge area down to the beach.

I came back to a wonderful amazing breakfast of fresh honeydew melon, bacon, breakfast potatoes, and French toast stuffed with blackberries with a bit of cream cheese.  All of it was terribly yummy!  Otis didn’t partake of very much leftovers from this breakfast.

I kind of just hung out around the B&B—caught up on email, a bit of blogging, uploaded some photos, wrapped up a wedding present, and other misc. things.  I wanted to be available to help if Jean needed help getting ready.  She said they were going over at 10am to start set up.  I had taken a shower and was getting ready to head over about 11am when she called and said they had it all set up.  Okay, so I hung out a little more doing a little reading and then trying to figure out what to wear to a casual wedding. 
Photo- Wedding guests along the beach area.

The day’s weather was beautiful—sunny and not a cloud in the sky.  The perfect day for a wedding.  The wedding was held at a place called Rocky Point.  It’s a large wood cabin lodge just above a beach area on the opposite side of the Island from where my B&B is located.  It was maybe about an 8 mile drive over to it.

I arrived to a hive of activity taking place.  A rock band was setting up, people were putting out coolers with beverages, the keg of beer was on ice, and all kinds of people like me were taking photos of the amazing view from near the lodge area.
Photo- Some of the kids from the wedding party playing at the beach.

The ceremony was to take place at 2pm but got delayed because of guests being late of lost trying to find the place.  At 2:30pm, the small lovely simple ceremony took place in an area inside the lodge while the guests sat at shell decorated tables.  Walt and Jean held hands facing each other as the minister talked.

After that, they opened a buffet line that had macaroni salad, potato salad, corn bread, smoked pulled chicken, smoked pulled pork, and an apricot based BBQ sauce.  Walt’s son had smoked and cooked the meat and also made the bbq sauce.  It was all just wonderful and everyone went around and visited.  I got to meet quite a few of Jean’s family from the Oregon area.
Photo- Jean's daughter Christa, with a cousin being silly along the beach area.

Shortly after eating the band started up and some were dancing, some were just listening, and others went down to walk along the beach where you could still hear the band.  The band played tunes from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.  It was just wonderful. 

As the sun started to drop towards the horizon, so did the temperature.  After watching the beautiful sunset out over the water, and as the band played their last tune; I found myself chilled to the bone in my skort.  I got in my car and headed back to the B&B for the night.  I guess I should have worn the blue jeans that Jean had suggested.  But overall, it was a wonderful event and I guess they have more planned for the next day too.
Photo- The amazing sunset at the end of Jean's wonderful wedding day!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

DAY 4- Exploring Whigby Island...

Photo- My faithful morning walk companion Otis.  A resident at Wildwood Farm B&B.
I woke about 6am again and had a nice little walk with my morning walk companion, Otis.  He took led me along a different area of the horse pastures.  I came back to the B&B and had another wonderful breakfast of sweet bread, fresh bananas with strawberries, sausage, breakfast potatoes, and an everything veggie omelet.  Again, I couldn’t finish all of what I was served but I found out that my friend Otis gets to enjoy the leftovers, so I didn’t feel as bad.

I decided to do a bit of exploring in my car.  I drove over to the south end of the Island to where the ferry leaves for Seattle.  I did a typical Utahan illegal U turn; anyone from Utah will know what I mean.  I really think U turns are the only way to get around in Utah.  I found a little bike shop in Bayview town on the way south and stopped to get a new mirror for my glasses.  I had misplaced the one I had.
Photos- of Langley town's Main Street area.

Next I took the turn for Langley town.  I parked just off of the Main Street area near a beach area.  It’s a cute little scenic community and I went through some shops.  I also went down to the public access beach area and walked around for a bit.  Langley had a great deal going on and was in the process of clearing the parking stalls along the Main Street for an event.  I could see parking becoming an issue later on in the day.  I found this cute little Swiss Bakery tucked back in from the Main street area.  Everything looked SO good but I finally decided on a strawberry square and a black coffee.  The strawberry square had cut strawberries on top, a thin layer of chocolate, a layer of cake with an almond cream layer in the middle of the cake and a crushed almond baked crust.  I took it over by the beach found a bench and enjoyed it and the view.  Yummy!
Photo- Langley's public beach area.

Then I drove more north and took a left on Fish Road.  Well, Fish Road led to Mutiny Bay.  Go figure! Mutiny Bay was very pretty but I was surprised to see tsunami warnings in the area.  It was lower and it was on the Ocean side of the Island.  I was also surprised to see a great deal of building going on.

Next, I turned off at Greenbank Farm.  There, I visited a few art galleries and a cheese store.  AND of course, the wine store.  It was late enough in the day that I did a bit of wine tasting.  I have to laugh because when I told the gal behind the counter I was from Utah.  She took each wine that she had poured out and poured a little more into each glass.  “Here you go sweetie.  You poor thing, you need a bit more then.”  I had to laugh.

I drove further north and turned off at Ebey Landing Overlook.  It’s a ridge that you can see for miles. At the overlook you can see farms, houses, fields of trees, and off to the right the sea.  Just an amazing view! I had a bit of a laugh because on the way out I see a house where there’s a combine tractor pulled up in a stall right next to the house.  I could see it by a barn or out in the yard but right next to a house.  It just struck me as quirky.  On that same ridge is one of the oldest cemeteries in the area.  The first gravestone is from 1863 and the cemetery has a great deal of history to it.  The cemetery is called Sunnyside.  It seems like a cheerful name for such a morbid place.  I found it interesting how there was cement curbing or white picket fences around the family plots.

The other highlight of the day was dinner.  I stopped to have dinner at the BBQ Joint.  It’s a couple from the south that moved to Whigby Island and there was no REAL BBQ in the area.  Well, they brought it here. They brought the REAL Southern BBQ to the area.  The brisket I especially enjoyed.  The atmosphere is very laid back and help yourself.  The counter where you order is at the back and then you take your food to a table up near the front.  You have your choice of tables or booths.  A TV plays the blues and jazz for music and it just feels comfortable and easy.  A perfect way to finish a day of sightseeing. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

DAY 3-- On Whigby Island...

I woke up around 6AM to the pure sound of silence.  It’s so peaceful here at this Wildwood FarmBed & Breakfast.   In fact, I felt like my heart rate fell just as I drove down the valley where the B&B is located.  It’s surrounded by evergreen forests and there are large fenced off areas with pastures.  Horses and a few colts are frolicking around the pastures.  It’s just amazing.

I took a walk in the morning around the B&B with Otis; an older dog that resides at the B&B.  Of course, Otis wanted me to throw his rubber squeaking toy in the shape of a female chicken with a bathing suit on.  I said okay but I throw like a girl.  He didn’t seem to mind.  After a few throws then he started leading me off on a tour of the farm.  He would lead the way and then stop.  He would take a look over his shoulder as if to say, “Well, are you coming or what?”  So I followed Otis around and he led me on a loop around some of the Pastures.  I even got to pet and talk with a couple of horses along the way.

Shortly after returning from my walk breakfast was ready.  Another AMAZING thing about the Wildwood Farms is the breakfast.  It started out with fresh ground strong coffee just the way I like it.  Then apiece of raspberry sweet bread; followed by vanilla yogurt with granola topped with fresh black berries.  Then it was a waffle (You KNOW how I LOVE my waffles!) that was served up with a homemade black berry syrup.  Also, served was breakfast potatoes and bacon.  I was a bit disappointed that my stomach wasn’t larger because it was all SO good.

About mid breakfast, as I sitting there eating and watching the horses frolic in the pasture, a fog literally rolls in.  The B&B owner told me that it was the marine layer and that’s what keeps the temperatures so mild here.  He went on to explain that it usually will “burn off” as the day goes on. It will last anywhere from an hour to 8 hours depending on the time of year.

I went on talking with the owner.  He bought the property about 18 years ago as an investment.  His daughters, all three now grown; started taking horse riding lessons.  “Well, one thing led to another and this,” he pointed out to the pastures around,” is the result.” The horse part of the farm basically breaks even at best, but it is the B&B and horse tack/clothing/gifts store that keeps things really going.  I guess that as of tomorrow evening I will not be the only guest at the B&B.  They have had most of the summer weekends this year booked solid, and I can understand.  If you are up this way and need a relaxing place to stay…this would be ideal!

Shortly after breakfast the fog lifted and I managed to get out for a bike ride.  It was a bit chilly and windy. There’s a great deal of rolling hills on the Island and a bike ride is a workout.  It was just what I needed after that breakfast.  I managed a little over 20 miles and rode north from the B&B to Dugualla Bay with some beautiful views.  It was wonderful and I only had 4 stop signs along the route that I took; almost like a biker’s paradise.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

DAY 2- Yakima to Whigby Island...

I watched a beautiful sunrise over the Washington State’s Wine Country; that Yakima is very much in the center of.  I had my favorite Fairfield Inn Waffle while seeing various guys in military attire walking in and out of the hotel.  I guess there must have been some kind of base or something in the area.  Shortly, after starting my drive north I found myself driving along windy roads crossing gorges.  Then, all of a sudden it just opened up.  I stopped at this view point.  It was AMAZING!  There was a patchwork of farms, vineyards crawling up the hillsides, windmills, and snow crested mountains off in the distance.  A bank of clouds looked as though it was sneaking a peak over the mountain.  I took a picture but it just didn’t seem to do it justice. 
Photo- The Amazing Valley View-- though picture doesn't do it justice.

As I am driving into the valley that I just over looked, I couldn’t help but wonder at the amazing variety that we have in our country.  A great deal of people are kind of pooh-poohing that I’m visiting around the US and think I should be doing somewhere in Europe which would be “much more interesting”.  But I can’t help but say that there’s a great deal that we take for granted in this country and I want to not take it for granted and check it out.  I mean where else can I be in a desert one day and within two days drive thru vineyards, forests, and on to a scenic Island.

Yes, later on in the day I drove through a National Forrest Area where there were ski slopes and a bit of Interstate construction too.  They had BLASTING Zones!  They were working on widening the Interstate and blasting through cliffs off to the side of the road.  Rocks were in piles here and there being loaded and hauled off.  It was a bit of slow driving but very interesting to watch.

I hit heavy traffic through the Seattle area as I traveled north.  I was kind of surprised because it was a little after 10AM and I would’ve thought that I would have missed the morning rush hour.  I took the 405 north to avoid some of the Seattle area and eventually managed to work my way to I-5 to go further north.
I rode this HUGE vaulted bridge over to Whigby Island.  It was SO scenic and green with blue skies that contained fluffy white clouds.  WOW!  But I never imagined the Island to be that BIG.  I managed to get lost trying to find the Bed & Breakfast that I had reserved.  I called my friend and got directions.  I got to the gate of the B&B and it needed a code.  I called the B&B and they were surprised to hear from me so early; a whole day early in fact!  Oooppsss!  I thought it was the 23rd but it was actually the 22nd.  Embarrassing!  They said that they could get a room ready if I could come back in about 2 hours’ time.  That’s what I did; Meanwhile, I did a bit of exploring.
Photos- I took during a bit of exploring.

Later on, I went to dinner at my friends.  It was pitch lack dark on the way back from their place to the B&B.  The whole drive is maybe about 3 miles but there were no street lights and there were only a few houses her and there that had yard lights.  It was rather unnerving for a city girl to be driving in.  Plus, I was going slowly because there is a ton of deer on the Island.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

DAY 1: SLC to Yakima!

The night before I had spent a great deal of time packing and repacking to fit everything in the car and still make it accessible; not really sure if that’s possible and I may yet end up downsizing as I go along.  Why do we always want to hold on to things?

I started driving out early.  I was out on the road and driving north by 5:40am.  It was dark for a while and I didn’t see the smoky outline of the mountains until about an hour later as I went by the exit for Logan City.  In fact, most of the day there was a haze of smoke that clung over the landscape as I drove along until I got into the state of Washington by about 10 miles.  Then it was clear blue skies and fluffy white clouds.  From the news reports of the last week there were quite a few wild fires in Utah, Idaho, and Oregon.  When I drove through Boise, about 11am there were warnings about the air quality and requesting that people limit their driving.

The “Hi- Lights” of today’s drive of about 730 miles…
--An old sign along the interstate in Northern Utah/Southern Idaho for a budget Motel that states… “Better than the Donner Party!”  WHAT?!?  I’m unsure as to what they were playing at here but I could VERY much see how it could be taken out of context.

--There were tons of signs about reporting wild fires on your cell phone in Idaho and Oregon.  Just call #FIRE if you see a Wild Fire.  Another sign that were common along areas in dry areas in southern Idaho were “Dust Storm Warning: No Stopping Along the Road”.  That’s good to know!

--BUT the strangest site I saw all day was a vested guy walking a vested goat along the interstate just before Boise, ID.  I think they were out there picking up trash off the side of the road.  I guess I could see it as a win-win situation and possibly an inexpensive way to feed a goat and also helping the community along the interstate.  BUT it was just weird to see a guy walking a goat along the interstate!  Just when you think you may have seen it all; nope not yet!
Photo from car- Vineyards off in the distance near Yakima, WA.

As I neared Yakima and I thought it just sounded like a cool place to stay for the night.  It just had a nice ring to it—YAK-kema!  Just prior to the city of Yakima there is a whole region of wineries.  Some were really new and others looked like they had been there for years.  There were tons of different exits that advertised Vineyards with tasting.  I wish I would have had more time but I want to be at the Bed & Breakfast on Whigby Island on time for tomorrow afternoon.  Then I still need to figure out directions to where my friend Jean’s wedding and reception was on Friday.

I checked in at the Fairfield Inn Marriott, which I LOVE their waffles that you can make at their continental breakfast.  I asked for information about local nearby wineries that I could go visit.  Well, the short story is that not much is open after 6pm on a week day.  If you want to really try some wine tasting be there before 6PM. 
I ended up visiting a wine bar –tasting room in historic downtown Yakima called Gilbert Cellars.  The Gilbert family has been in the area of Yakima for over 120 years and you’ll see a great deal of things with the Gilbert name on it—like the HUGE photo behind the bar of the mountain top that’s called Gilberts Peak.   Out of necessity, I ended up having to sit at the actual bar to get a sample tasting.  I tried 6 different wines and as the guys behind the counter started to explain the complexities and flavors of the wines, I felt totally in over my head.  All I knew was what I had watched on the movie- “Sideways” and that about summed up my wine knowledge.  I swirled and smelled and asked about type of grapes used. BUT I’m sure the guys knew I was a fake!  I will say they were nice enough that they didn’t let on to me.

Well, after trying 6 wines and not partaking much in the way of food today except for twizzler’s and diet Dr. Pepper.  I went around the corner to the Barrel House- Wine Bar, Coffee, and Restaurant.  I had some delicious BBQ spare ribs with curry rice, a Yakima Pale Al beer and for dessert a fancy coffee with a homemade cheesecake with fresh raspberries on top.  Yummy and all in a casual dining experience that made me feel at home.  Definitely, a place to swing by if you are ever in the area.