Our Lady of the Blue Highways

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

Sunday, August 1, 2010


(Note: I posted 3 updates today: Seattle, San Juan Island and Whidbey Island - you have to click on the "older post" button to see the Seattle Post!)

I arrived at Gary’s - my cousin, after not having seen him for about 40 years. Growing up, I lived across the street from his family. His sisters were 2 and 4 years younger than I was, and Gary was 6 years younger – which at those tender years was forever. I was at their house every single day!

When I first caught sight of Gary, my first thought was “My God, he looks just like Uncle Lee!!!”, so Thompson family - check him out at the reunion to see if you feel the same way!!

Gary’s Hydrangas

I visited his sister, Gail, in San Jose. We talked non-stop about our growing up days. I remembered a particular “Pet and Doll Parade” entry. Their Mom made crepe paper outfits – the girls looking like roses, and Gary in Brown with a pointed hat – the name of the entry was: “A Thorn between two Roses” Gail had a photo of them on her bulletin board.

We had fun talking about the old neighborhood and how much it has changed. The home I grew up in is gone – replaced by a bigger, more modern house. We remembered the old couple – the Hawleys who lived next door. I visited them when I was a child and my children visited Mrs. Hawley when they were young. Mr. Hawley had a coyote in a cage for years.

I’m looking forward to seeing the home town for the first time in 15 years or so. I don’t think there will be much of a change, but Gary says there are now a number of Casinos. (Is there anywhere that doesn’t have Casinos nowadays?)

The next morning, Gary and I headed out to explore Whidbey Island. Angie had asked me to take some photos of the Deception Pass Bridge at sunset as she had lost the ones she had from when she lived here for awhile. Sorry Angie – I saw the stairway I would have to take down, and then up again – and my knees said No-Way! So I picked up postcards and professional photographs for you.

We stopped at Fort Casey - Built in the 1890’s and in service until ships were provided with More accurate long guns. We walked the battlements, viewing Puget Sound, and looking across to the Olympic Peninsula.

– I even got to fly this kite for a bit on the parade ground!!! As we walked across the parade ground, I mentioned to Gary that flying a kite was on my "bucket List", a fellow nearby heard me and said I could fly that one, if I wanted. Another person of my age was flying it at the time, and said if she could fly it, I could too. So I did!

There was also a Lighthouse on the grounds – Admiralty Head. When we walked in, the docent asked where we were from. When I said Virginia, a young fellow going up the stairs said “Did you say Virginia – whereabouts?” He was from Williamsburg! Small World!!!

The museum had a film clip showing the loading and firing of one of the big guns. Gary asked if I had noticed there were no fat guys around the gun - they kept lean and mean in those days. (this was quite an old training film)

We left Fort Casey, and drove to the 2nd oldest town in Washington, Coupeville. We walked down a pier for a view of the harbor, then headed up the main street. I got to craving a coke – I told Gary if he could find a fountain coke, I’d treat! We stopped at a bakery – Gary had a coke (canned) and apple pie – I had blueberry pie (again, ala mode) But people!!! I didn’t have a coke! I had ice water! Honest!

The Benson’s are everywhere

After strolling around the town, stopping here and there – including a tea shop with this lovely tea garden, we headed back to the car.

Next stop was Rosario Beach, where Gary remembered there were tide-pools. We got to the beach, but there were no tide pools – there was a long fishing pier that he hadn’t remembered, but no tidal pools.

From there we drove across the Deception Pass Bridge, and to Anacortes, and drove around Washington State Park and campground.

Some very beautiful views of the sound and surrounding islands. From one point of view – we saw a very high hill with towers on top. Gary said it had a 360 degree view of the island and waters

Gary said we could go up there, so we did – At close quarters, the hill looks like solid rock. We drove up and up and up til we finally got to the top, - Darn – the trees were so tall, they blocked the view – about all you could see clearly were two oil refineries. I tried to take a photo of Mt. Baker – see if you can see it, just peaking out above the clouds.

Mt. Erie

Can you see Mt. Baker peeking above the clouds? Well, neither can I.

Oh, Angie – info for you! Mary’s Kitchen is closed, and replaced by Frankie’s Place – very military d├ęcor – painted royal blue with white stars and statues of military persons around the parking lot.

I returned to Oak Harbor after camping on San Juan Island (that’s another blog) I was hoping to catch up with Kit and Ken while they were visiting her sister on the south end of the island. Instead, I received an early morning “wake up” call from Kit saying they were in line for the ferry and leaving for Walla Walla. So, I missed them.

On the road again – Mt. Baker is there somewhere!

So calm, so peaceful

I got it together, packed up and headed to the south end of the island to catch a ferry to cross the sound.

What’s In a Name?
Forgotten Lane
Useless Bay Road

I drove through a fog bank in the middle of the island - blue skies and sunshine to the north and south, just this patch of fog in the middle.

On a minutes notice, I decided to visit Kit’s sister, Sonya. They have an Alpaca farm. Kit’s Mom was staying there for a few days, too so I was happy to see her again.

Kathie and Boots

Sonya raises the Alpacas, sheers them, processes the fiber, combs, spins it into yarn, and either weaves it or knits it into finished products.

She tried to convince me I could spin, too – As you can see, I had to wear the requisite shawl. I had much trouble having my feet going and both hands doing different things. I gave up – but I do have a short piece of pink fleece that I spun myself!!!!

Granny at the spinning wheel (Gosh, I really do need another haircut!!!)

Then I got to meet the Alpacas. I think she said there were 24 of them – I couldn’t keep them straight. They pick a theme for the names of each year’s babies. This year it was Disney. They have Prince Charming, Princess Jasmine and Tinkerbelle!

the babies

The girls

Feeding Time – that’s Sonya across the herd!

It was a little daunting to be surrounded by these fascinating creatures – they kick, but they didn’t get me – they spit at each other, too. It was feeding time, and two of them would eat out of my hand. So neat. Sonya corralled one of the babies so I could feel the fleece – Oh, my, it was so soft.

All the adult males were kept separate. One was named Robert the Bruce! I can’t begin to remember all the names – I should have had my recorder in my hand.

The boys

Sonya’s House – They have a beautiful view to wake up to each morning.!

The kitchen (I can’t help it if I suffer from Kitchen envy!)

I explored their slide-in camper, and decided I definitely could not live in one of those.

I was invited to lunch – salmon and Dungeness crab (they caught them the day before!). What a feast!!!

Lunch on the Deck – that’s Sonya’s daughter and granddaughters!

Education for the day. As most of you know, I’m a “Coca-holic” Been drinking coke since I was knee high to a grasshopper. I’m always chasing the taste of Coke I remember from my childhood – that zing!!! I figured it was the water in different places that made the difference.

Not so!!! Some years ago, Coca Cola replaced sugar with high fructose corn syrup for sweetner – that’s the difference. In Chico, I had a Mexican Coke at the taco stand – there was the Zing!!! I noticed in this area, they sell 6 packs of Mexican Coke – in the old green bottles, even!!! Gosh, maybe I should have picked up a 6-pack! But, I was good and didn’t!

It was time to continue on my way. I caught the ferry to Mulkiteo, and proceeded down Hwy 5 toward Roy, Washington and my childhood friend, Judy. I had a total of 75 miles to drive.

Well, tomorrow’s another day.

Until Next Time
Bear Hugs

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