Monday, July 4, 2011

Orcas Island Part I

My daughter and I are on vacation in the San Juan Island's Pacific Northwest, specifically on Orcas Island. The quick recap: awesome vacation! For a bit more detail keep reading...

Friday--We flew up to Seattle in the evening; it is so great to be able to fly from our local airport directly to Seattle in only 2 hours. My friend Bruce (whom I've known since 1978) and his daughter met us and took us to their house on Bainbridge Island. That night we had our first of many ferry rides, which was a new experience for my daughter. Very fun to reconnect with Bruce, his wife and three kids (who are all within a year of my daughter's age)

Saturday--We filled the car with 3 adults, 4 kids, luggage, groceries and 2 huge dogs and headed north. Luckily we dropped the dogs off at a kennel for the week about 30 minutes from their house! We spent 45 minutes parked on the road while some huge bridge opened and closed for a ship, which eventually caused us to miss the final ferry over to Orcas Island so we had to wait an extra 3 hours. So our 4 hour trip actually ended up taking about 8.5 hours. Oh well, we mostly stayed in fine spirits and the house we've rented is fabulous. It's on the north shore of Orcas, looking out to Canada and as we arrived there was a family of deer waiting to meet us, talk about magical. To top off the day we discovered that they had forgotten one of their suitcases (the one with Bruce's and the kids' clothes)... poor things!

Sunday--Woke up to a stag deer just outside our front door! I am loving this place. It is so quiet, peaceful, and beautiful. To remedy the clothing issue we hit the town of East Sound to find a couple t-shirts and shorts from a used clothing store for everyone who was missing clothes. Very cute little town with lots of art galleries, cafes, and knick knack shops. The tide went out enough that we were able to walk out to a little island just off shore where we saw a ton of starfish and other sea life. And, to play tourist we all got feathers in our hair...even the dad and two boys! We drew quite a crowd since we had it done outside.

But this vacation would not be complete without a little more drama: we got a flat tire. On a Sunday. The day before July 4. On an island. And they have special tires that are expensive to replace and may not be patch-able. Lots of phone calls later (with no mechanics open, of course) and we started walking the 3 to 4 miles home with our stuff, the clothes they bought, and all our groceries (including a watermelon which fell and smashed half way home). The kids were real troopers! Eventually we started to hitchhike, since it was getting really close to dinner time. It's funny, the last time I hitchhiked was in 1979 on one of the San Juan Islands. I think it freaked my daughter out a bit, but she and I got picked up by a really nice mom/daughter who drove us almost all the way home so that made her feel okay about it all.

We had a great end to the evening with a visit to the rocky beach just down the street. As the sun was setting the kids created a driftwood boat and took turns going "out to sea".

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