Category Archives: Washington state

Road Trip: San Francisco to Coupeville, Wa


On the Ferry to Clinton, Wa

We left the Bay Area on 8/11 en-route to Seattle.  I had planned to take five to seven days for the trip up, but we over stayed at home and buzzed up in three days.  We gave up a Shakespeare evening in Ashland, a visit to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum near Portland, a hike in the Columbia River Gorge, a hike at Mt St Helens, and a visit to Crater Lake. That’s OK, we can visit them on the return trip.  Unfortunately hikes to the top of Mt St Helens are by permit only and permits are limited.  This year’s permits are sold out.


Sunset on Penn Cove



Wildlife Safari, Winston Oregon


We did stop at the Wildlife Safari in Oregon which was fun.  It is a self drive through a number of fenced in animal parks.  The park is large with enough room for the animals to roam freely.  The cats and elephants do not roam free.  It’s sad to see them confined as they were though I’m sure they are well cared for.  Food to feed the animals is available along the drive.  This is big fun for families.  The ostriches are not shy at all and will poke their heads into a vehicle in search of a bite.  If you purchase food, save some for later along the drive.

Ellen got to test her new camera and it brought back a flavor of Africa.  We did shoot a lion, with our cameras of course.  This is a wonderful place for families.

San Francisco to Coupeville, Wa


Coupeville at dusk


Ebbey’s landing

We stayed the first night near the Rogue River.  We did not want to drive very far from Rt 5 even though staying on the Rogue River could have been relaxing.  We opted to stay at an RV campground right off Hw 5 at Cypress Grove, Gold Hill Oregon.  This was a wonderful place to camp, if you look past being right off highway 5.  No doubt there are other fine campgrounds inland along 62 or 264.  Cypress Grove was great for dropping off the highway and getting back on the next day.  Ron and Vera do a wonderful job maintaining their campground.  They are fine, friendly people.

The second day we pushed through to Mt St Helens.  Again we wanted to stay close to Hw 5 to put our time and miles into driving north.  We chose Longview North Mt St Helens KOA.  This campground was very pleasant.  It is off the highway a bit and had no road noise.  It’s perched on a hillside with a good view of sunset over the ridges.  There is no view of Mt St Helens, which is unfortunate.  There were plenty of campsites here, probably because there was no view of the mountain.

Joergen, Mercedes, and Winnebago View

We noticed another Winnebago View as we pulled into Longview.  It was not long after we hooked up that we met Joergen, who had just hiked the mountain with a group of friends.  He does this every August.  Joergen worked for Mercedes and had traveled all over South America in sprinter vans.  He said he researched all the campers built on the sprinter chassis looking at accommodations, build quality, and how the coaches age and he felt the View 24J was best overall.  It’s always great to get corroboration, even if it is a bit biased.  Joergen visited us for an hour later in the evening.  He is well traveled and suggested a number of places we could visit in South America and on our trip north.  We both would like to go to Burning Man.  Strangely he will be headed to New England this fall and we will try to hook up with him then.

On the third day we blasted past Seattle, headed to Whidbey Island.  We took the ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton.  We arrived at 12:45 and queued up in the line going down the road to the ferry.  The ticket line went quickly and we boarded the 1PM ferry to Clinton with no delay.

From Clinton the drive to Coupeville wound inland up the spine of the island then turned east to the town.  We found Jerry and Michelle’s home easily with our Rand McNally  GPS.

Penn Cove, Crabs, Clams, and Poachers

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Dungeness Crabs in a bucket                                     Jerry cleaning a crab

Jerry and Michelle welcomed us with open arms.  We’ve parked “Li’l Beast” on their farm and stayed with them in Coupeville, on Penn Cove. The first day we dropped crab pots and pulled three massive Dungeness crabs from one pot.  They were sweet and very succulent.   We left the pots overnight thinking we’d pick them up the next day.  However, the next day we spent the morning at the local farmer’s market and went clamming  that afternoon.  The steamed clams were as good as any I’ve ever eaten.  With the crab pots still in the water, on Monday Jerry and Michelle went to see a tractor dealer and dropped Ellen and I off in Bellingham to visit with Cindy.  We had a short visit with Cindy over lunch then the four of us went back home.  Michelle, Ellen, and I headed out to recover the crab pots and with luck some crabs.  Sunset was glorious as we motored out on a glassy calm sea.  We found the first float quickly, but could not hook the line.  We tried a number of times before it occurred to us that 1. this was not the crab float, but the yellow float Jerry had attached to the down line and 2. there was no down line to hook!  The float had been cut from the line and the crab pot, float and all, was gone.  We found the second yellow float where the second crab pot should have been and that pot was also gone.  That sucks.  It might be understandable that someone would take a few crab from a pot if they didn’t catch any themselves, but to take the entire pot crabs and all is awful.

We were out during slack high tide.  We must have just missed the poachers because the floats would have drifted far from the site if they were cut  during the flood or ebb tide.   Search the web for crab poachers and you’ll be startled at how endemic this is across the US and Australia.

It’s Tuesday today.  Crabbing is illegal here on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  I hope to coax Jerry into dropping some fake crab pots on Thursday to mess with the poachers.  To do this we will drop a dozen cinder blocks with down line and a crab float with some rather nasty messages attached to the line.  Let the poachers deal with that subterfuge.  Later we might be able to drop crab pots without being poached or worst case we’ll drop crab pots-line-cinder block-line-floats down.  The poachers would be dissuaded by the cinder block and not continue pulling the line to find the crab pot.   I wonder how much work bringing up a cinder block covered with sea weed will be.

So we’re here for a few days longer.  We’ll probably visit Cindy for a while in Bellingham and visit Langley on Whidbey to check that town out.  Cindy said its the town she likes best on the island.

There are many places to visit and things to do on the way back.  We’ll have time, though I overheard Ellen mumbling about a woman’s get-together next Thursday.  This will be interesting.