Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I left Gary’s in time to catch the 10:55 ferry to Friday Harbor. I hate to rub it in, guys, but I had to turn on Madame’s heater, it was so cold!!!

I arrived at the campsite in time to see Carol emerge from their tent. I put up my tent, and we had breakfast.

Carol and Ken decided to bike to Roche Harbor – about 12 miles round trip – I had not slept much the night before, so I opted for a nap! By the time I woke up, it was time for dinner.

Canadian Geese on the lake by our campsite

We took a little drive after dinner, trying to find a good place for a sunset photo – but we hadn’t taken the maps, and got on the wrong road – the one down the center of the island, so – no beautiful sunset picture!

The next day we went sightseeing. We drove to Lime Kiln Park, and walked to the beach. This is the prime whale watching beach on the island. It was kind of weird seeing all these people sitting quietly upon the rocks staring out to sea. Sort of like the scene from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” where all those people are standing along the road silently waiting for the space ship!!!

Waiting for Whales

Art Class

Lime Kiln Lighthouse

– Looking from the US, across Canada, to the US!! (Victoria BC with the Olympic Peninsula in the background)

We waited for a couple hours, but no whales were spotted. We did see groups sea kayaking, and learned later that Tom Hanks was with one group – who knows – he might even be in one of these photos. There are 3 pods of orcas that are being studied. The average life span of an Orca is 25-50 years – except…… some females live to nearly 100. Don’t know how they determine that, but so they say!

In the parking lot, we were introduced to “Scoot Coupes”. Those 3 wheel motorcycles with two wheels in front – with a body to hold two people. The 2 cycle ones have training wheels - this one is 4 cycles. They rent them at the same place they rent out mo-peds. I didn’t even ask how much they rented for – but they sure looked like fun!

As we were headed back to the campground, we stopped at a Lavender farm. The fields were beautiful, and the scent in the shop was intoxicating. We each had chocolate lavender ice cream. Yum!

A couple of signs in Friday Harbor. Kind of makes you think doesn’t it?

We visited with our camping neighbors. They were from Minnesota – teachers, and had taken the summer off to go camping. This is Jackson – their 3 month old puppy. 3 months old and he weighted over 30# - He’s a Bernese Mountain Dog – the same family as Saint Bernards – but is dry mouthed (no slobbering), barks very little, and has a very mellow personality. So, If I ever need a 140# dog, this is the one I’ll look for!

They also told us about the winery in Friday Harbor - delicious Reisling = I agree!!!

While at the campsite, I became the water carrier – with bucket and jug, I’d trek al-l-l-l-l-l-l-l the way to the washroom to bring back hot water for doing dishes. After carefully watching Carol, I learned how to light up the stove (gimme a break, guys, It’s been years since I operated a camp stove, and I remember I was always afraid I’d blow myself up) It’s a lot easier than I remember – no pumping!

Anyway, I was supposed to get Carol up at 8 for a bike ride. I started calling her at 8:45, then decided to heat the water so hot coffee would be waiting when they got up! I told Ken, “Look, I CAN BOIL WATER!!!!!” He graciously congratulated me.

I think they finally dragged out at about 10:30. We decided Carol and Ken would ride down to the American Camp, and I would drive down. Then, Ken could put his bike on my rack, and drive my car back to the campground, in the meantime, I would start riding to Friday Harbor, and Carol would catch up with me.

I stopped in Friday Harbor on the way to the American Camp – to see a wine shop I had heard about. I picked up a bottle of Raspberry Wine and Reisling. I got to the American Camp, and was just about finishing the walking tour when I heard Ken calling my name. In the end, Ken decided he was in great shape from his ride, and continued riding.

American Camp. This is the site of the famous Pig Incident – which nearly started a war between the U.S. and Britain. San Juan was disputed territory between Britain and the US. A "british" pig invaded an "American garden", and was shot by the American owner, who was actually "squatting" on British claimed land. The squabble went to arbitration instead of war, and it was 12 years before it was settled peaceably.

American camp – prairie area, where they held horse races. During one race, General Pickett’s horse was well out in front, when he decided he wanted to go to the spring for a drink – much to the amusement of the British troops

Views from the Redoubt. Building of the redoubt was supervised by a young Lt. Roberts, just out of West Point. He went on to write the book – “Roberts Rules of Order”.

I drove the 13 miles to the north end of the island to the British Camp. I arrived just as the Ranger was starting his last talk of the day – and he took advantage of the audience to lower the British flag. Gosh! I had no idea it was so big – it didn’t look so big flying atop the flagpole. The flag and the pole are gifts from Queen Elizabeth!

British Camp

I continued my walking tour of the camp, walked through the formal gardens, and up the side of the hill to Officer’s quarters. The hill became so steep, that I realized I was nearly bent double. I stood up straight, and suddenly, my arms were windmilling, and I threatend to fall head over teakettle into the harbor. Luckily I regained my balance before that happened. In the parking lot a young couple stopped to talk with me – they were from Northern Virginia

As I drove back to the campground, I saw the Lavender farm again – and stopped for a drink of lavender Iced tea and lemonade. It still smells wonderful in there

I drove into Friday Harbor, hoping to see Carol and Ken along the way. I cut off a little before the main street to get some gas, and ice. I was only in town 15 or 20 minutes, I must have just missed them as they started out the main street, cause I arrived at the campsite the same time they did. They had biked a total of 23 miles!

Our other campsite neighbors, a couple on motorcycles from Bend Oregon, told us they went to Lime Kiln Lighthouse that day – and just as they were leaving someone came down the trail and said they’d received a phone call that the whales were on the way. They saw not one, but two pods – right off shore – about 14 whales in all!

That night, I awoke to rustling sounds outside the tent. I thought at first Ken had gotten thirsty in the middle of the night and was fishing through the cooler for a Coke. After several minutes, I unzipped my tent door, and all sound stopped. When I got up in the morning, I realized our visitor was a racoon going through our trash!

The next morning, I packed up and caught a ferry back to Whidbey Island.

Friday Harbor – the beige building is the wine shop I bought the wine. They had really neat labels, and delicious wine, too.

Until next time,
Bear Hugs,

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