9/20/2019 Victoria & San Juan Island, Day 10

 

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Fan-ta-sea-isle.com

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A pile of driftwood along the walkway was once a work of art welcoming visitors to Victoria. It is “On The Rise Again”.  Check out: fan-ta-sea-isle

Climate Change Day 9/20/19

Yesterday three feet of rain fell near Houston Texas.  The Trump administration has ignored an internal report blaming changes in the weather and crop yield in central America for an increase in migration to the U.S.  “Climate Change, is a Hoax”, the Donald.

low broken clouds dot the sky this morning.  Today could go either way, overcast with scattered rain or partially sunny and warm.  Either way, we’re due out of Salish Haven by 11 and not due at the Sidney ferry until 4:30.  We may park by Beacon Hill Park on the south coast or check the north side of victoria.

Jerry has asked that we drop by Whidbey Island for a day or two. We could easily do this over the Deception Pass Bridge from Anacortes to Whidbey. The down side?  That would push our trip to Banff, Glacier National Park, and Yellowstone out a few days, closer to winter weather.  We could winterize if necessary.

I’m no closer to knowing how successful whale watching is here.  The water taxi driver happily said it’s great now.  A fellow camper at Salish said otherwise.  We hoped to ask people arriving back from a trip and did not run into groups departing a tour.  I’ll focus more on asking around today ahead of our San Juan and Orcas Island leg.

Blue Skies & Warmer

It’s a beautiful day.  The sun is shining on Victoria Harbor.

“Late Checkout”, Tom entered that in our site record.  We have another hour to lounge around before leaving at noon.  The harbor is busy this morning; lots of float planes landing and taking off. The yellow oval water taxies are seemingly everywhere.

I took another shower here.  Why not?  The only down side: there is insufficient water pressure to drive the fancy shower head.  It is manageable.  “Could you take this garbage for me/”.  On the way I passed a group, 40 strong, gathering behind the “clubhouse”.  I had noticed that many of the motorhomes the arrived yesterday were rented from a “something.com.de”.  This was an RV tour group. I didn’t have a chance to ask where in Germany they’re from.  Moving quickly they headed toward the water taxi stand.

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A Sidney Mural

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Sidney to Friday Harbor Ferry

I booked both a ferry spot for the 5:55 sailing and an RV site at Lakedale Resort at the lakes.on San Juan Island.  Working backwards we should be in line at the ferry at 4:25.  Sidney is a short drive from Victoria though we should stop for a few things.  We’d also like to walk Sidney some; we’ve never visited.. 4:25 less two hours for a visit, drive time, a stop for supplies, and time to  navigate the ferry, left us with maybe an hour “extra”.  We left for Sidney at noon.

Traffic near Victoria has been light every day, but not today.  Even a checkout gal at Save-On mentioned the traffic. Once we were on 17 north, the traffic thinned and we made good time.  At Sidney we followed signs for the ferry.  GPS gal, set to go to downtown Sidney, has something to say about that & she was silenced. The first time I drive right past the ferry entrance and on to downtown Sidney.  I pass a sign about single file for the ferry; that was it. Sidney is a town of 10,000 with a main street (Waterfront I think) that runs to a small park with a shell for performances, and a wharf.  There is no place to park an RV  without going a number of blocks off the main street.  I stopped and Ellen looked at me like I had grown two heads. Let’s either park closer or find the ferry.  “OK”

Back to the sign about “single file” and more slowly this time. That road runs toward the water, then turns 90 degrees left.  There’s a wide lane on the right for vehicles that runs up to the 90 degree turn and ends.  I parked t the end of that lane and saw a closed gate to the right.  There were signs about the ferry and ferry schedules posted.  “We’re here, I think”.  If we had found the ferry, we were first in line. Ellen wasn’t convinced.  I asked a gardener across the street, “Is this the entrance to the San Juan ferry? “ “Yes.” and his buddy said with a grin, “Don’t believe him, he’ll get you towed?”  We left Li’l Beast sitting all alone in the ferry line.  As in Victoria, Sidney has a seaside walk that took us to the wharf downtown.  The restaurant on the wharf looked inviting.  It sits beside a retail/wholesale fish market.  At least the seafood will be fresh. 

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Walking toward the restaurant, my phone rang.  Typically I ignore calls I don’t recognize. This time I picked up.  It was a gal from Lakedale Resort who noticed we’d be checking in after hours.  She gave me information about Lakedale, how to work the shower, where my welcome package would be, and to go right of the lodge to avoid the low overhand.  Cool.

We sat on the enclosed balcony and ordered halibut fish and chips.  Two for me, one and chowder for Ellen.  The halibut was excellent; the breading was far too thick and sat like a lump in our stomachs an hour later. Not the best dining experience.   We walked Sidney, found Roger’s Chocolates, and left with some chocolate covered cashew nuts, a sampler of chocolate caramels, and a bar of something Ellen grabbed.

Back at Li’l Beast, a line of 20 cars and motorhomes had formed behind us.  A fellow opened the gate a few minutes later.  “Here, fill this out and give it to the attendant when asked.  Oh, don’t try to make the turn into the ferry from here.  Go left and around the block and come strait in that way””.”But I think I can make the turn.”  To which he said,, “I don’t want you damaging our fence. Go around the block”  “OK”  I’m sure he has had experience with “know betters” who tried and failed to make the turn.

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Cog, our Mascot, Watches the Ferry

 

Getting on the ferry is a multi part experience complete with a concession stand.  First the gateman gave us a card to fill out.  Then we drove around the block and through the sharp right turn.  Then the gateman checked us off his list of reservations and motioned us forward to the ticketing booth.  At the booth, we presented our form with our names and we were given our boarding ticket and returned our form stamped with “3”.  Drive to line 3 when you get there.   Then we queued for our passport check before boarding.  The van conversion ahead of us had Hawaiian license plates.  It’s not every day you see a car from Hawaii. We sat here for maybe 30 minutes (marveling at the Hawaiian couple) until the border police arrived. “Where are you from”  “How long were you in Canada” “Why did you visit” “Where are you going”. and that was it.  We queue up in line 3 behind a Subaru.  Here we waited for the ferry to arrive and disgorge it load.  People milled about, Ellen too.  I nearly dozed off.  Ellen returned with a cup of vanilla caramel ice cream for each of us.

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Spieden Island

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The Sidney-Friday Harbor-Anacortes ferry is huge.  The group going to Friday Harbor loaded first. Li’l Beast stood at the ferry’s prow, just behind one other car.  We chose port side seating and played a number of hands of Phase-10.  We seem to split wins and losses evenly.  Once underway, the ferry moved quickly.  The San Juan Islands are beautiful to behold.  There are many islands, most covered in tall pine. People with binoulars scanned the water for whale and the islands for wildlife. We forgot to grab our binoculars.  Going through the strait along Spieden Island, the ferry slowed. Spieden Island is full of deer.  Someone at a table behind us said they were “Japanese Deer” a smaller variety.  “weren’t they brought in by helicopter?”  “No, you’re thinking of the Olympic Peninsula”.

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Enroute

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Arriving

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Friday Harbor & Lakedale Resort

We approached Friday Harbor as the sun set.  Friday harbor is smaller than Sidney, and quaint.  That’s the impression we had as we drove through.  Customs such as it was was a breeze.  “Do you have anything to declare?”  “No”  “OK, enjoy your visit”.  GPS Gal took us right to Lakedale Resort.  Check the one star reviews for this resort and you’ll find one wherein some fellow drove up a very narrow road, couldn’t turn around and had to go to the end to turn around, damaged the side of his motorhome, and groused at the resort for not compensating him for his loss. Contrast this with the resort’s call with information about our stay.  I suspected that we’d have not problem settling into our site.

We backed into very level site “J” in the trees with ease.  The road to the site was wide and easy to follow.  No Problem.  We’re close to the showers and have water and electric.  There’s no sewer and that’s fine.  The only downside (as Ellen reminds me from time to time: no WiFi) There actually is wifi.  It’s at the general store and doesn’t reach “way out here”.

We settled in for the night on a brand new Island, new to us.

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