Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008, Yatahai Eco-Farm

Yes, we're home having arrived Thursday night about 11 PM after a 2-day drive from Seattle (15 hours of that on Thursday due to threats of a major winter storm along I-80 in Wyoming on Friday).

What an incredible trip this has been. But I get ahead of myself so let me finish the last 13 days. Our campsite at Fort Casey State Park on Whidbey Island was so pleasant that we stayed there for five nights pretty much just hanging out and hiking the coastal trail up to the Spanish American War batteries and light house. Our weather was perfect and the campsite directly on the shore of Puget Sound was one of the best we've had. Because the Washington State Ferry terminal was an easy walk from the campsite, one day we took the Ferry to Port Townsend, a very pleasant town on the Olympic Peninsula that reminds me very much of Boulder.

On the 30th, we hooked up YOW, drove to another Ferry terminal at the south end of Whidbey Island, took it across to Everett, Washington on the mainland then drove to A & Suzie Streich's home (Harley's cousins). What wonderful hospitality they provided including a place for YOW in their side yard. Lots of family activities as both of their "children" live nearby and have families of their own. While I made a quick trip to Chicago for a NAR International leadership meeting on the 2nd and 3rd, Harley made some repairs, washed YOW, picked 5-quaarts of blackberries, did errands and generally relaxed.

Over the weekend we met our good friends, Pili & Dave Meyer, for lunch and a tour of the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodinville, a suberb of Seattle. We then spent the night in Seattle, dined at the Icon, a great restaurant, and spent much of Sunday exploring Seattle's waterfront icluding the Pike Place Market which should be a model for all cities. Sunday evening we were at the Sea-Tac Doubletree where the Washington Association of REALTOR's Education Convention was held on the 6th and 7th. I was privileged to teach a class we'd designed,"Strategies for a Flattening World" (with Pili and PeggyAnn), and then the Transnational Referral Certificate course.

We returned to Al & Suzie's on the evening of the 7th just in time to watch the 2nd presidential debate. About 9:30 AM on Wednesday the 8th we began the 1,352.8 mile trip home to Yatahai. Harley drove the first 453.3 miles on Thursday, the remainding 899.5 miles on Thursday...what a driver! Our last campsite was at Farewell Bend State Park in SE Oregon on the Snake appropriately named site on the Oregon Trail.

So what made this road trip so incredible? Adventure after adveture, health and happiness spread over 86 days, good times spent with friends both old and new, fabulous scenary and wild animals at home in the wildernesss that surrounds them. We couldn't have done it without YOW and Babe who've become members of the family.

Now a few statistics.... The total trip was 11,751.8 miles and that included two +/-1,000 mile side trips, one to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories by way of the Dempster Highway and one to Prudehoe Bay in Alaska by way of the Dalton/Haul Road Highway. Yes, the price of diesel was high but a total of $5,385.86 really doesn't seem that high especially given that works out to $0.458/mile! (No, I didn't convert Canadian $ into U.S.$ but it's close to par. I also don't know how many gallong we used sice I didn't convert Canadian liters into U.S.gallons.) And, no, I haven't calculated the money spent on campsite fees (average about $15/night but several were free) and the few nights we spent at B&Bs. I also haven't calculated what we've spent on groceries, wine and liquor..sometime I'll probably do all of that; if you're curious, let me know.

All and all it was a fabulous, incredible trip and we loved having you along in your armchaiars! For now, this blog is on hold until we take another trip...the ones we have planned are a cruise in November to Spain and the Mediterranean and several months at Yatahai Southwest in Tucson early in 2009. Do come along!

Friday, September 26, 2008

breakfast at Nairn Falls Provincial Park


Nairn Falls


Fraser River canyon along B.C. 99


municipal falls at 100 Mile House


Friday, September 26, 2008: Whidbey Island, Washington

We've made it back to the lower 48...and now truly understand why Alaskans and north Canadians call it the "Outside". It's so very different and no where near as peaceful. In the North, yes, there were roads but on almost any road, to the left or the right, one could go for hundreds of miles and only be in more wilderness. It's a very special place that we'll never forget.

Since Prince George, B.C., our last blog, we've had many campsites. On the 21st we were at the municipal campground at a little town called 100 Mile House (yes, and there are towns called 70 Mile, 50 mile, etc...all stops along the gold rush trail). The site itself was pretty normal but a short trail led directly from it to a gorgeous waterfall.

From there we took BC 99 south toward Vancouver. At the very beginning, Harley got caught in a RCMP road block and caught for not wearing his seat the tune of $165. Needless to say he wasn't in a very good mood after that but the scenery was absolutely spectacular...wonderful mountains, the deep Fraser River Canyon, the tumbling Coyoos Creek and even some snow (a bit scary given the weight of YOW). We stayed in two Provincial Parks, Nairn Falls and Alice Lake. At Nairn our site overlooked the rushing Green River and we hiked to Nairn Falls, an important spiritual site of the Lil'wat Nation. The trail would through a mixed forest of huge Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock and Coastal Douglas Fir. At Alice Lake we'd come closer to the coast and the forest was wonderfully dark, green and dripping...a real rain forest. We took about a 4-mile hike called the Four Lakes...really special. Fortunately our campsite had power so when we got back from the hike we were welcomed by bright lights and electric heat resulting in dry clothes.

Alice Lake is only about 30 miles from Whistler and the drive from there to Vancouver was amazing...the Winter Olympics will be there in 2010 and the Canadians are building an incredible four lane highway through about 40 miles of solid rock, along the steep coast of Horseshoe Bay and all built by Peter Kiewit & Sons (a U.S. company)...hard to believe but we never had to stop during all that construction although the travel was a bit slow, 30-40 mph.

Yesterday we crossed over the border into Washington...the customs officer was amazed by my thick passport and asked what I did, especially since Harley's is so thin! We got on I-5, took it to exit 320 and then followed Washington 20 across Deception Pass and on to beautiful Whitbey Island. We'd searched out possible campgrounds and settled on Fort Casey State Park which is located on the grounds of one of the former naval batteries set up to protect Puget Sound. We're right on the water with great views, including snow covered Mt. Rainier. Not only that but we're walking distance to the Washington State Ferry and plan to walk on for a trip to Port Townsend sometime in the next three days as we plan to stay right where we's such a perfect location!