Whidbey Island


Today was magical!

It started with a string of coincidences that led me to meeting up with my friend Denise at the Port Townsend ferry to Whidbey Island. It was amazing enough that we were both visiting Port Townsend at the same time… but then we ended up getting on the same ferry, despite her being told when she drove up that it would be a four-to-five-hour wait until she could board a ferry!

We chatted a bit on the 30-minute boat ride, and then afterward we scrunched around the many items in her car so that she could give me and my rig a ride, about seven miles and 250 feet of elevation into the island! I was very grateful, despite my sardine-like riding conditions.

We stopped in the small town of Greenbank for lunch, catching up on our lives and reminiscing about mutual friends. She was heading north to Orcas Island afterward, and I was able to give her the name of the Indralaya camp that my seatmate on the Seattle-to-Bellingham bus had told me about a couple of weeks ago. Meanwhile, I contacted our mutual friends Frank and Sarah to see about staying with them for a couple of days upon my arrival in Portland. It was a perfect situation, because Denise has been living with them, and told me I could stay in her room!

I love all these serendipities.

After we parted ways, I continued by bike down the island’s main road, with about 17 miles left to reach my Warmshowers hosts in Clinton, right near the dock where I will catch the ferry tomorrow morning on my way to Seattle. (Their backyard literally overlooks the ferry dock.)

On my way, I made a point to stop at two parks, including a privately maintained one ($7 admission) called Earth Sanctuary. If you ever find yourself on Whidbey Island, I recommend visiting this place. There were many more wooded trails than I had time to explore, but I spent about an hour hiking the “Celestial trail” and it was just beautiful. And I didn’t see another bike, car, nor person during my entire time there.

On the way from the parking area to the wooded trails, I found many patches of this region’s ubiquitous blackberries, bursting with the bounty of the season. I feasted.

There were also several artistic touches on the way to the trails, including two large bells. I realized, with a slow smile, that I must have been gone from my party-store job for long enough now—more than a year—to have been able to react to seeing these by thinking, “Wow, look at that beautiful bell. I’m going to take the mallet and play some tones.” During my 18-year tenure at that job (part of which involved my maintaining the store’s extensive rental helium-tank inventory, some of which occasionally got stolen or lost) my first thought would have been, “That better not be one of our tanks!!”

In all, I probably biked about twenty miles today, including close to a thousand feet of climbing. I’m out of practice with hills, having been in the Midwest so long. I was definitely ready for a rest by the time I arrived at Debbie and Michael’s place.

We sat and enjoyed a long chat over dinner and snacks, while watching the sun set over the water, and the ferries come and go at half-hour intervals.

Tomorrow, on my way to Seattle, I’ll bike about 27 more miles, and climb at least another 1000 feet, if Google Maps is to be believed.

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