Friday, August 08, 2008

San Juan Island for Christy's birthday

As always, I'm a "little" tardy writing about my life. So, a little over a month ago, on July 3rd ...

Gregg and I hopped in the car to drive up to Seattle. What on earth were we thinking, driving to Seattle on the 4th of July weekend! Traffic sucked! Bad, messy, horrible traffic. But Christy's birthday on the 5th was a persuasive reason to put up with it. And it was worth all of the traffic headaches to be able to enjoy an adventure with her on her birthday.

We started by meeting up with Christy and Hathan in Bellevue. We loaded everybody in our car and made our way to Mukilteo to catch the ferry to Whidbey Island. Carol & Bill have a new place now, a little further south on the island ... as I hear it, they're "livin’ in the free-land" now :)

Since we got there the evening of the 3rd we had a full day on the 4th to just hang out on the island with the parents, go for a walk, lounge on the deck, drink, watch fireworks ... an AWESOME way to start a vacation.

We got up early on the 5th to head up to Anacortes, and took the ferry from there to San Juan Island. Not surprisingly, random misadventures and poor timing left us running for the ferry. Again. This is beginning to feel really familiar. No matter how well we plan to arrive on time, we seem to be doomed to be the poor saps running for the ferry.

When we got to the island we grabbed a bit of breakfast, and then wandered around looking for the moped rental place. More misadventures. But we finally made our way to the mopeds!

We got quick lessons on riding a moped, a brief overview of the driving tour of the island, and we were sent on our way. These women have their routine perfected, right down to the drawing of the identical whale that they draw on each of the maps. It took less time to get through this process than it had for us to find their shop in the first place, and it's located about two blocks from the Ferry!

I was under the impression that since San Juan Island was so small, we'd burn through all the tourist opportunities quickly and end up with time to kill at the end of the day. I was surprised at how much there was to see. It would be easy to spend a couple of days there. More if you added a sea kayaking adventure.

We stopped at the Pelindaba Lavender Farm first. There were some really cool sculptures in the middle of the lavender. My favorite was a giant Pi! I love random math. And I've never seen as wide a variety of lavender products as they had in their gift shop. I was pretty curious about the lavender ice cream cookie sandwiches, but wasn't hungry at the time, and ice cream doesn't travel well. So I'm still curious.

The next stop was the Lime Kiln Point State Park. We watched the sea kayakers and the sea lions, and hiked out to the lighthouse. And for a while we lost curious Christy.

Having never operated a moped I at first assumed they all ran as badly as mine. They are under 50 cc, after all, so I wasn't expecting much. But judging by how difficult it was for me to keep up with the rest of the crew I was getting increasingly suspicious that I had a lemon. So my amazing guy swapped machines with me as we left the park. We pretty quickly proved that it was in fact the bike, so Gregg heroically decided to put up with my finicky steed for the rest of the day.

We went a little further down the road to the Alpaca Farm, and stopped for a picnic. There were some new alpaca babies in one of the enclosures ... completely adorable.

While we watching them the most interesting thing happened. All of a sudden all of the Alpacas started clumping together into a mob, and rushing toward the fence. We turned around and noticed that the alpacas in the other two enclosures behind us were doing exactly the same thing. All the alpacas in each of the fenced in areas was clumped together, and rushing the fence nearest the parking lot. They didn't make any noise, but they acted like they were all on the same page about something.

Apparently someone had brought a dog on the premises. We were told that the alpaca's are very frightened of dogs, and from what we saw they seem to react in an aggressive, violent, "we're gonna kill you to protect ourselves" kind of way.

There wasn't enough time left in the day for us to visit Roche Harbor, but we did want to visit the sculpture park just outside of town. We were expecting something pretty small, and were pretty surprised when we saw how big it is. I'm not sure how much of it is populated with the sculptures but apparently it's a 19-acre park. The walking tour of the sculpture garden probably covered a couple of acres, and we could have spent quite a bit of time there if we'd had any time left.

But it was starting to get late and we needed to get the mopeds back. We made a quick stop to on the way back to see Mona, the Camel. Apparently she's often near enough that you can feed her; a tourist tradition I'm sure she loves. But when we got there she was fenced in away from the road. We'd forgotten to get anything she could eat, but it would have been kind of cool to pet her.

This is the second trip I've made to San Juan Island. And again, the ferry ride from Friday Harbor to Anacortes was awesome! Somehow it's better on the return trip than it is on the way out; it's a relaxing 45 minute cruise after a long day ... made more relaxing, because we didn't have to start the return trip by running for the ferry!

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