North and South


Aug04 2

The day after the fair we started moving further north. We sort of felt that since we were so close to the border we may as well go up and visit it before turning south again. It kind of makes things feel complete.

First stop was just up the road at Deception Pass, which if we ever had internet I could Google and probably find an interesting story, but which for us was just a pretty bridge with some nasty looking current shooting the boats below this way and that.

Aug01 1 Aug01 2 Aug01 3 Aug01 4

After getting off of Whidbey Island we stopped in the touristy little town of La Connor. Ouest had grabbed a map of the place a week earlier in one of those little tourist brochure stands, and it looked worthwhile enough—mainly due to the brewpub listed on Main Street.

While walking around town we stopped in at a shop where Ouest found a puzzle for a quarter. We figured it would keep her busy at lunner. So we got to the brewpub, were seated, and then we waited for a waitress while Ouest worked on her puzzle. As she was putting the final piece in place our waitress finally appeared to take our drink order. Without the puzzle I would have been pissed, but with the puzzle it was hilarious. A four-year-old with a new puzzle versus a waitress with three tables.

Aug01 5 Aug01 6

We got lucky and snatched the final camp spot at Larrabee State Park that night and soon discovered that it was some sort of Canadian three day holiday and there wouldn’t be an unreserved state campground space within a hundred miles of the border for days.

We continued towards the border anyway, and the next night found ourselves once again getting the last spot—this time in some sort of weird combination trailer court/rv park where spaces just sort of overlapped. The town was Birch Bay, which had the feel to me of a 70s holiday park. In the morning the tide was out, putting the water a hundred yards or more out in the muck. Not feeling the draw we decided to boogie on.

Aug02 1 Aug02 2 Aug02 3 Aug02 4 Aug02 5

Friends gave the kids these Home Depot do-it-yourself boxes to build. The kids liked it so much I’ve ordered 100 more.

Aug03 1 Aug03 2 Aug03 3

As we were pulling out onto the main road a Travco drove past. We honked and they pulled over. In 7,000 miles this is the first time we’ve seen another one on the road. Ten seconds later and I suspect we could have driven 50,000 without seeing another. It was a 1970 twenty-one footer and the owner was just driving it home from an extended and expensive trip to the mechanic. His fifteen year-old daughter was with him and we got to hear a little about how in addition to the family Travco they are trying to bring a ’65 VW bug back to life for her.

Aug03 4

Up the road in Blaine we stumbled across a very small festival of sorts alongside the marina. The kids played music with some pirate ladies and walked around a bit on a tall ship. After hot dogs we drove just up the road to the Peace Arch where—almost one hundred years ago now—an arch was erected to celebrate one hundred years of living in peace with Canada with our borders free of forts. Basically, we shook hands with Canada and promised each other that we would never fight.

Aug03 5 Aug03 6 Aug03 7 Aug03 8 Aug03 9

Northward bound mission complete, we turned around and pointed south. It was Sunday now and we figured the Canucks would have fled back across the peaceful border, but we were mistaken. We were shut out at the State Parks once again and ended up instead with the last open spot in a KOA. Notice how many times I’ve said “last open spot” lately? Seems like there is almost always one open spot somewhere.

Aug04 1 Aug04 2

Heading south we had half planned on cruising through Seattle. We’ve got a lot of Bum friends there and were eager to meet up with them, but we’ve really got a problem getting ourselves to drive through a city these days. The thought of dealing with traffic is to unappealing. Instead we crossed right back over to Whidbey Island where finally, on a Monday, we were able to stay at Deception Pass State Park. They’ve got about three hundred spaces in the park and yet we were still relegated to the 20 space ring loop across the highway from the rest of the park.

Aug04 3 Aug04 4 Aug04 5 Aug04 6 Aug04 7 Aug04 8 Aug04 9 Aug04 10 Aug04 11 Aug04 12 Aug04 13 Aug04 14

The craziness of RVing in the summer does not fit well at all with our lifestyle of simply bumming around with no particular destination in mind. Summer RVing is for folks who have months to plan their vacation, and who know exactly where they want to go.

The weather has been beautiful, if not a little on the chilly side, and the kids have managed to get filthy dirty every day. So really, I guess summer RVing has worked out okay for us as well.

Cruisers like to say that their plans are written in sand, but we’ve found ourselves to be even more up in the air with our land travels. When we got to New Orleans a few months back we planned on driving up to Alaska for the summer. By the time we’d gotten to Texas we knew that was out of the question—way too far. Then, up until as recently as a week ago we planned to drive back across the States to Chicago and follow the Old Route 66 down to California. That plan has also fallen by the wayside—again, too many miles. Our average daily mileage has declined every day since we started this trip. The other day we drove 50 miles and Ali was in the back complaining, “This is the never ending day! How much farther?” and, “How far? Fifteen miles? Do you know how far that is?” So it seems forty miles is our new cut-off point.


18 Comments on “North and South”

  1. Steve Yoder

    Man! You guys are putting me to shame. I use to brag about how I tried to never drive more than 200 miles in a day. It’d take you nearly a week to go that far. Clearly, I need to consult my WWBD bracelet and get the heck out of the “fast” lane. Sure hoping that the parks are starting to thin out when we finally weigh anchor in another couple weeks.

  2. Travel with Kevin and Ruth

    When we’re traveling in the motorhome, a LONG day is 120 miles (200 kms). And yes, the first year or two we did too many miles. Driving long distances wears me down. There’s too much to enjoy along the way…and less mileage means less gasoline. 🙂

  3. Linda Sutherland

    Quick question: On Friday, August 1st, around 3 PM, I was driving on the freeway above the Outlet Collection Mall in Auburn and swore that I saw a vehicle just like your Travco parked on the outside edge of the parking lot. I would have turned around to come see, but the traffic going the other direction was horrendous! If it was you, I’m sorry that I missed you. It would have been fun to meet up.

  4. Joan

    If you are lucky enough to stop and smell those roses anytime you want to…. shut the hell up…. lol

  5. Mark and Cindy - s/v Cream Puff

    Wow! That bridge is really up there. It came the heebee geebies just looking at the picture. I’m pretty sure I would enjoy looking over the side.

    Even with our mast height we could get under that one.

    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff

  6. Garold

    A handy thing to remember is the black grains of sand that hop are sand fleas. And this is the season in Puget Sound.

  7. Rodger Morris

    That shot of the tall ship rigging looks very much like that of the “Lady Washington”. I schlepped her newly crafted stainless steel galley counters from Ventura to Morro Bay and sailed aboard her for three days back in spring of this year. Is Captain “Shiney” McClurg still her skipper?

  8. Michael w. paul

    If you believe there is a parking space there usually is….love the NW, lived there in the 70’s…your photos bring back many fond memories of Camping and site seeing along the coast…..thanks for the memories….love your site…..heading to St Augustine in September and a week in Anastesia State park on the beach…..

  9. Dave Denison

    I enjoy your postings very much. I wonder if you would have gotten that “last spot” so often if you had not had Ouest and Lowe with you and were in a less well known motorhome or one that did not look shipshape? You are in an area I think of as famous for its scenery and mild weather, and are there at the height of the ‘summer vacation season’. It might be easier to find RV camping spots without prior planning in less scenic locations – as long as no casinos are nearby.

  10. FrankV

    You may want to plan ahead for Labour Day coming up :-), I think I just got the last reserveable spot on the entire Oregon Coast. The two weeks prior we will probably take our chances as it looks like there are plenty of parks with open camping spots; your time of finding full campgrounds may be coming to an end as the summer starts to wind down.

  11. Anne

    Home Depot does free kid workshops using a variety of those kits (bird houses, toolboxes, sailboats, etc.) usually on the first Saturday of each month. If you run across a store and ask, they’ll usually just give you a couple of kits, regardless of the day. We’ve done them all, I think. Just the right size project, and plenty of good hammering opportunities.

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