Whidbey Island and Bend, Oregon
Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
10Trip End Nov 01, 2006
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Can there be anyplace nicer than the Pacific Northwest in the month of August? We liked it so much we decided to sponge off of our family and friends who have migrated here. Our method is to set up the trailer, Marshall cooks a lot of great meals, and I help with chores around the house. It seems to be working.
We arrived on Whidbey Island after a short 30-minute ferry ride from Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula. As we were waiting for the ferry, I was approached on one side by an elderly man who spotted our Airstream of Arkansas logo who asked if Arkansas was still so hot in the summer. We assured him it was. He said he played basketball in 1940 against Searcy and just wanted to say hi. On the other side a couple from Mendocino County in California approached Marshall, gave her their business card and offered to let us stay in their yard with the trailer if we need someplace to park
Is it the Airstream or the karma? Y'all probably never figured me for the Peace and Love guy, did you?
Whidbey is a large island with several towns and a Navy base just a few miles across the water from Seattle. My sister Linda Sara worked as an instructor for Microsoft back in the early days (around here when somebody refers to Bill they are talking about Gates, not Clinton), cashed in some stock and bought a house on a bluff overlooking Puget Sound. She made the mistake of inviting us to stay with her, so we-the mobile Clampetts-arrived and parked next door to her house with a view of the freighters pushing cargo through the sound into the Pacific Ocean a few miles away. Marshall finally has found her vista!
We thought Whidbey was idyllic--beautiful sunny days with a high of about 80 degrees (the locals complained that it was hot!), gorgeous sunsets, spectacularly fresh local seafood, and almost no traffic. One of Sara's friends invited us twice to play golf at the local country located on Useless Bay. We attended a classical trio concert at the local arts center and went to see the annual Highlands games, where large men pranced around in skirts to celebrate their Scottish heritage
This visit allowed us to reconnect with my sister Sara and her daughter Meghann.. Sara is still dealing with the loss of her husband Henry, who died of a heart attack this past spring. She misses him daily, but seems to be doing fine. Meghann, 25, is pretty, outgoing, and hard-working, and has just become a licensed real estate agent. She signed up her first contract while we were there, and I took a glamour photo for her business cards. She also works five days a week in the local hardware store, which is a great way to meet practically everybody on the south island, especially those who count (i.e. plumbers, carpenters, etc.). She does; however, seem to have an unhealthy obsession with the Judge Mathis tv show.
After a week we departed Whidbey, took the ferry back across to the Olympic Peninsula side to avoid Seattle traffic (Sara and Meghann took the ferry with us and we all had tremendous sushi together in Port Townsend), and headed down to Portland
Leaving Portland we headed east along the Columbia River to spend an afternoon and evening with Sylvia and Richard, friends from Washington, D.C., who have just moved this summer to Hood River, Oregon. Sylvia worked at the Holocaust Museum and always allowed me to book rooms for her annual teachers conference, so she was a client who became a friend. Richard was a head honcho in the federal drug enforcement program. Think of them (and Marshall) as part of the tidal wave of federal retirees who are leaving the government. They showed us the new house they are building, and then we sampled the local brewery and had a short evening to visit. They are thrilled to be starting a new life in the Hood River area, which has become the haven for wind-surfers because of the high winds through the canyons of the Columbia River. (Historical note: Today the Columbia River has been tamed by several dams, but when Lewis and Clark came here as their final destination the river was a raging current
Next we traveled about four hours to the Sunriver area a few miles south of Bend, Oregon, where Fred and Debbie have 20 acres of land. They are now expanding their homestead with a second building, so Fred and I spent part of the week painting and moving lumber into piles. It is a small price to pay for another spectacular campsite. The land sits at an elevation of about 4500 feet. Since the night temperature gets down to the low 40s we have kicked on the heater in the trailer. There are no city lights, so the night constellations appear bright and seem close enough to touch. The days are sunny and 80 degrees, perfect for golf, biking and painting.
Well, that's the travelogue for now. We depart next week for the Oregon Coast, down to Ashland to visit friends Don and Lynn, and then heading down to Yosemite and more photographs. Happy Labor Day weekend to all!