Tag Archives: Friday Harbor

9/22/2019 Anacortes & Deception Pass State Park, Day 12


A Few Photos Taken from the Jolly Trolly Yesterday


Lime Kilns at Roche Harbor


The Bus Driver’s Frenchies


People Keep Hangers for their Commuter Planes


Arriving English Camp



We passed an Alpaca farm before passing a local eccentric’s art. He keeps a fire burning in the strawberry in the winter so bikers and hikers can get out of the rain and warm themselves.  One time a fellow mooned the Jolly trolley.  He wasn’t there today.





Another Eccentric built this Eight Story House




Ellen’s Burrata Lunch


Not the First Tesla X Campers We’ve Seen!


Lakedale Resort at the Lakes



The Lakedale Lodge



A View from the Lodge over the Deck


Local Art for Sale, A Towhee

We were up late for us, 8:28 AM.  Coffee and cereal for breakfast followed by shaving and re-organizing Li’l Beast.  A quick check of the ferry schedule and, “We could make the 11:00 ferry to Anacortes if we hurry.”  We chose to save Orcas Island for another trip, Whale watching and the weather conspired against us.  “I’d rather be sad that we didn’t go than sad that we did, got bashed around in the rain, and saw nothing.”  We packed it in and drove off for Friday Harbor, but not before dropping the DVDs and a chocolate or two off for Tracy.


Friday Harbor


Friday Harbor Ferry

GPS took time coming on line.  I drove toward Friday Harbor hoping that the ferry access would be easy.  GPS started working as passed a ferry sign pointing to the right.  Two fellows were guiding traffic though the ferry was just starting to load.  “Go around the block to parking lot B and take row 8.”  I forgot the row 8 part but did find the parking lot.  When we arrived row 5 was driving away to board the ferry.  Then row 6 and row 7.  Ok, I approached the fellow directing traffic who said, “You’re in the wrong line.  Go back to row 8 and wait.  You are on standby.  We’ll get you on the 1:30.

Ok. Back around the parking lot to row 8.  I was behind one car.  Two or three others lined up behind me. We waited for a while.  I got out to chat with the fellow directing traffic.

“So I’ll be on the 1:30 ferry?”  “Maybe, you don’t have reservations, right?” “We were told we wouldn’t need a reservation.”  “On inter-island ferries, no reservation is necessary.  Going to Anacortes on a Sunday you need a reservation.”  Ok, we’ve got a 2:30 minute delay and more time wandering Friday Harbor. “We’ll be moving you down to the lower staging area soon.”  Cool.

We were directed down to row 8 in the lower parking lot and motioned to continue on.  We were boarding the ferry!  Li’l Beast was the next to last vehicle on the ferry.  There was a single car that staged behind us.  It parked 1 inch behind our bicycle rack.  One Inch! 


Off the Ferry, Anacortex


Cog back in Washington


The Oyster Run, Anacortes 2019

We were lost in phase 10 and “we’ are arriving Anacortes.” Back in Li’l Beast the center row was flagged off the boat first!  I thought last on, last off.  This was a very neat trick.  There was no customs check as San Juan Island is part of Washington state.  And coolest of all? Washington ferries in the San Juans carge for east-to-west traffic, but not for west-to-east!  No ticket and no payment was required.

The thermistor I ordered last week should be waiting for us at RiteAid, Anacortes.  With that as a waypoint, we rode off.  Ride aid was a block down the road after our first right turn into Anacortes past a Safeway at the corner. The gals at RiteAid were very happy to help, but had never issued an Amazon pickup before.  It took a while to figure that the barcode the system wanted was the one sent in my email.  Moments later I left with the thermistor in hand.  Our ‘fridge has been quiet since the loud fan incident. I’ll replace the old thermistor if the fridge goes noisy again.

Back at Safeway for milk and fizzy water, we found parking was a mess.  An entire section was gated off and full of motorcycles. We noticed cycles everywhere going up and down the street,, parked along the street, everywhere. We parked in Anthony’s Seafood across the street.  I figured they wouldn’t mind as there were lots of space.  In “Yeah it’s not as rowdy as last year.  I guess the rain has a dampening effect on the festival.”  “What festival is this?”  “Oh it’s the Oyster Run.  It’s an annual motorcycle get together themed on oysters, music, and a good time.”

We drove around a bit to reconnoiter, found the main street was closed off except for motorcycles, and found no parking for blocks.  We parked back at Anthony’s and walked.  I counted 100 cycles parked on the main street in a city block.  There were easily a thousand bikes here.  Motorcycle clubs from around the US were represented, guys and dolls with their colors strutted the streets.  I never had a sense of danger.  For the most part these were “old farts” enjoying a day out with their wives on their hogs.  With this many people in one place “anything could happen”.  There was a strong police presence.  Groups of six walked the sidewalks with no swagger or attitude. Everyone was chill.   A gal walked by with a tray of fried oysters.  I bought two.  They were very good and equally overpriced.


There were at least 100 bikes parked on each block, easily over 1,000 total










Crossing Deception Pass Bridge


Our New Home, for a Day

Cranberry Lake Campground

Where should we go for the evening. Closest was Bowman Bay – Deception Pass State Park Campground with full hookups! That’s unusual for a state park in our experience.  I drove down a steep narrow winding road to a sign at the bottom that read “Campground Full”.  The campground hosts occupied the adjacent campsite, but were not home.  Crap.  Then we noticed a sign that said reservations can be made at the main park entrance 3 miles south.  Ok, we were off.  About 3 miles later we found a turnoff for Cranberry Lake- Deception Pass State Campground.  This must be the place.  We turned in remembering the time we visited this campground with Jerry & Michelle.

We drove past a “campground full” sign and up to the entrance. Trudy welcomed us. “You’re full?”  “No, I should probably take the sign in.  We have lots of sites open.  Drive around and find a few you like.  Some sites are reserved, if you pick a few you should pick at least one that’s open. The campgrounds in the 100’s to 200’s are near the water and have no hookups, the others have water and electric.”  we found number 87 in the “near the water” sites that has water and electric!  It’s a double site, but with the other half empty it’s perfect.  It is level front to back and side to side.  We have no satellite reception through the trees, but our High Def antenna brings in 14 channels.  We can select from QVC shopping and reruns of old TV series.







Ellen cooked a stir fry with Chinese noodles, delicious and followed by some of our cheese cake. Then we walked toward deception pass at sunset. The skies have cleared overhead with dark clouds to the south and west. A few fishermen had nothing to show for their effort.  The tide was high and going slack.  The best time to fish deception pass is during an ebb tide which impedes the salmon’s run through the pass.  They congregate in whirlpools waiting for the tide to turn then make their run through the pass.   Like the fishermen out this evening, I fish when I can in good conditions or bad.

As we headed back, a kayaker and paddle boarder passed the point together.   They seemed to be together; she would wait for him to catch up.  They made for a great photo with the sunset beaming on them.

Back home, we’ve settled in.  There’s a 50’s movie playing on the TV.  I’m typing away, and Ellen is 50/50 between the movie and her smart phone.   The movie seems to be about a woman who is either losing her mind or who is sane and everyone else thinks she is crazy.  50’s female drama is so very over the top.

9/21/2019 Lakedale Resort, Friday Harbor San Juan Island, Day 11


Lakedale Resort

Lakedale has changed owners a number of times since it started in 1969. The three lakes surrounding the campgrounds are man made.  The lodge is well designed and inviting.  This is undoubtedly the best campground on the island.  Though the general store is small, it is well stocked.  Tom likes to talk about the San Juan Islands.  He’s a wealth of information and will few visitors off season, he’s also a bit bored.

In the lodge we met Tracy, and thanked her for her helpful phone call the other day.  “Oh that wasn’t me.  That was probably Sherry.”  While we were talking, a bus decorated as a trolley pulled in and around the lodge. “What was that?”  “Oh, that’s the Jolly Trolley. It goes around the island.  For a fee you can hop off and on at various stops.”  It’s $10 per person.  Why not leave the driving to someone else?  “Does the bus take credit cards?”  “No.”  I only had $14.00 in cash.  Tracy offered to lend us $20, “You can pay me back tomorrow.  Here’s a card for a taxi.  You may need it if you miss the last bus.” With a photo of the bus itinerary in hand, we set off to walk the campground. 



Lakedale Resort is a very small campground. It has a few log cabins that sleep 8 with one that sleeps 12, a number of yurts, a remodeled airstream, and lots of tent sights in addition to the 5 RV sites.  In season I’m sure this place is packed with families rowing and fishing the lake.


One of the Three Man-made Lakes

There’s a wedding this weekend.  The owners of the sculpture garden’s daughter is getting married.  On our walk we met a couple who will attend that wedding.  He is originally from Croatia.  She is originally from New York.  They live in Toronto and love the outdoors, which is why they’re staying at Lakedale.  “Wherever we go in the world, we look for hiking trails.  There are some fantastic places to hike that nobody knows about. Crete for example has the deepest gorge and a great hike. Then he mentioned Madeira. “Madeira has some wonderful hiking.  It’s fabulous.”  He also mentioned the coast of southern Portugal as a must visit.  Next they’re going hiking in Spain.

we’re taking a tour of Morocco next spring.  I’ve added a week’s stay in Funchal, Madeira. We’ll be staying at a hotel overlooking the port city, but we will also do walks and hikes into the rugged hills (mountains) of Madeira.

Wherever we go in the U.S. we meet international travellers, like ourselves. Travel opens the heart and mind to the similarities we humans share across cultures.  While different, we all want similar things for our families and friends. Legal immigration in the U.S. is broken.  I’ll leave it at that.


Friday Harbor

We took the Jolly Trolley around the island to Friday Harbor.  We passed the sculpture garden, Roche Harbor,English Camp, Lime Kiln Park, and the Lavender Farm along the way. Roche Harbor is beautiful and worth a visit.  I had planed to take a whale watching tour or a kayak adventure from Roche harbor, but I’m half way through a cold.  Even in great weather, going on the water with a cold is not a good idea.  English Camp has a huge plaque about a war between the English and Americans that almost erupted over a pig.  I’m curious, but with no internet cannot provide more details.  There’s an American Camp elsewhere on the island that has a similar plaque.  Lime Kiln is “THE PLACE” to see orca from the shore. We considered dry camping near the park, but opted for Lakedale.  The Jolly Bus driver said, “When we come around the next turn, if you can see a number of whale watching boats, you’ll see whales.”  Great, but as expected there were no boats and no whales.  The consensus is that the whales are further up islands.  We San Juan Island tomorrow.  We can go to Orcas Island for whale watching or to Anacortes and continue on to Idaho.  With no whale sightings and rain predicted, we’ll probably head to Anacortes.


Friday harbor is quaint.  Like Sidney, it has one main street that runs to the sea and a wharf. Friday Harbor has a large marina to the left and a number of coffee shops, restaurants, and novelty shops.  We ate at the Downrigger, right on the water. Though there were people in shorts and Ts out on the deck, we opted to eat inside.  It was much warmer with the same view through wall to wall windows looking out over the bay.  We had a pastrami sandwich and burrata dish.  The seafood didn’t appeal for some reason. Our waiter said there are ATMs nearby and a Wells Fargo a few blocks up.

Two outfitters in Friday Harbor provide whale watching tours and kayak tours.  They were not busy.  We stopped into a bakery and took two pieces of cheese cake with us.  I took some cash from Wells Fargo to repay Tracy, and we headed to the last Jolly Trolley departing Friday Harbor today.

Tracy was closing the lodge when we walked in.  We repaid her $20 with thanks all around.  “I trust you guys” she said letting us take two DVDs without deposit.  We’ll give her one of our caramel chocolates tomorrow as we leave.

“Back home”, we had a bit of cheese cake and coffee  It took a bit for me to get the DVD working.  We have one less power plug for our devices.  I’ve also got a 3-input HDIM switch that “usually” works and the audio/video cable to the 2nd TV is disconnected.   It’s something I’ll deal with later.  I’ve said that every year.  When we get home it’s out of mind and does not get fixed.  Anyway, The Northwest Passage is a long historical piece that covers the history of adventurers first attempts to find the passage to what climate change has done to the north west.  It’s fascinating.  “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” was a surprise.  It’s a good movie, but the ending is tragic not very uplifting. It’s not a great bedtime film.

Rain is predicted for tomorrow.

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






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.




A Sidney Mural





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. 



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.




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.


Spieden Island


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”.






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.