The thermometer on the back deck hit 100 this afternoon. It’s kind of fun to revel in the overwhelming heat, at least for a day or two, but now I’m ready for a return to the 80s. If we keep the windows open all night, the house stays cool until the early afternoon, but today was the first time Mary felt compelled to crank on the AC later in the day. The dogs played in the sprinklers in the backyard and at the park, but mostly just laid around the house. And I spent the weekend not doing much with our still gutted bathroom. Heat-induced lethargy. Maybe next weekend.
Driving home from Lopez Island last night Mary and I both agreed that this weekend was one of the best trips we’ve gone on together.
We left Yakima around 7:30 am on Friday. Once the initial enthusiasm wore off, the dogs settled in and slept for most of the four hour drive up to Anacortes. At the ferry launch we paid our $49 for the right to drive our car onto the boat, then parked our car in the queue and explored the seaweed-filled beach nearby.
On the ferry, we were directed to a railing spot, bumper to bumper with the car in front of us. The dogs poked their heads out the windows, enjoying the salty air whooshing past. Mary and I explored the ferry a little, then walked the dogs around the car deck. They seemed unimpressed by their aquatic surroundings, though Taylor didn’t like it too much when I picked her up to give her a better view of the scenery rushing past.
Grey skies, but the scenery was still fantastic. Mount Baker in the distance.
After a forty-five minute ride, we docked on Lopez Island and followed the chain of cars inland. We got lost briefly after missing a turn, but on a 30 square mile island you can’t go too far out of the way. Backtracking through a small artsy village, we eventually located our house. And by “house”, I of course mean “architectural masterpiece”. There’s a decent chance this will be the nicest place I will ever stay at on vacation for the rest of my life. Beach front on a quiet bay with expansive views. Beautiful wood and metal-work throughout. Light pouring through wall-to-wall glass. Nothing cheesy or too over-the-top. Just quality craftsmanship that seemed a perfect fit for someone building a dream house on the ocean. I found myself running my hands along railings and spinning in circles spying out little custom details that radiated depth and character.
Friday afternoon and evening we walked around the island a little, hung out on the beach, and generally just relaxed. Mary cooked up some burgers and we sat on the deck watching seals play in the water right in front of us. The seals were there throughout the weekend bobbing up and down and I watched to my heart’s content.
Saturday morning Mary and I walked along the marina (spotting frisbee-sized crabs along the pilings) and located a kayak-rental shop. Then we ran the dogs ragged on the beach of a nearby peninsula. We had the rocky coastline all to ourselves and the dogs frothed about in the salt water chasing thrown sticks and pawing at crabs in the shallow water. Trammell evidently didn’t learn his saltwater lesson yet and drank far too much ocean swill. He was panting for actual drinking water for the next couple of hours.
In the afternoon we locked up the dogs in the house and rented a couple of touring kayaks from the shop we’d spotted earlier. We strapped the kayaks to the Tribute’s roof and drove back to our beach launch at the house. Super calm water as we pushed off. This was Mary’s first time kayaking, but she was cranking away as we paddled along the coast. We coasted past driftwood and sea stacks (circling back to check out purple starfish) and watched bald eagles swooping over our heads before deciding to paddle over to Shaw Island across the channel.
Even with the calm water, the Lopez-to-Shaw paddle was a shoulder-burner. But we talked and enjoyed the salty breeze and in no time we were dragging our kayaks onto a rocky crab-filled beach (Google Maps link). We scrambled on the rock, guzzled water, then headed back (bouncing in the distant wake of the crossing island ferry).
In the evening our clouds finally slipped away and we relaxed on the porch, chomping on shrimp patties, chicken skewers, and chicken pizza. Chased with vodka lemonades and good vibes.
I took another kayak along the coast (spotting more seals and a deer rummaging on the coastline) and returned to the requisite vacation sunset.
Sunday morning broke sunny and we took the kayaks out again heading south down the coast. A little more chop on the water this morning with even a few little curls of whitewater as we paddled around the point. Lots of fun. We bumped through the water for a while before returning to our sheltered bay.
Back on dry land, we played a little pickleball on the officially-sized pickleball court in the front yard (this is exceedingly more fun than tennis), then spent the rest of the morning cleaning up after ourselves.
Once the car was packed, we dropped the kayaks back at the shop and drove back to the ferry launch. We ended up being too far back in the line of cars to make the 12:35 boat and had to hang out for another three hours for the next one. Which wasn’t the worst thing in the world on a sunny day in Puget Sound, but it also would’ve been nice to be home three hours earlier. The dogs tolerated the wait well and later were completely knocked out on the car ride back to Yakima.
We pulled into our driveway right around 9 pm with wistful thoughts of our flirtation with lifestyles of the rich and famous and then trundled our bags into the familiar dog smell of our house. Great, great weekend. Many more pictures on the ’08 photos page if you need any more vicariousness.
Five years! Mary and I are celebrating by heading up to the San Juan Islands this weekend. Specifically, this location (click). Mary’s made some very nice connections through her work and we’ve been fortunate enough to get the free use of a house on the beach for a few days. Incredible. The forecast is a bit gray, but really when is it not in the Pacific Northwest? I’m sure it’ll be great regardless.
Nothing beats coming home to a waiting meal after a long uncomfortable day of sitting in front of a computer. Relaxed on the back porch as the sun drops. Plenty of time to eat and play before the basketball game starts. Dogs don’t have computers so they don’t get spaghetti.
The park flooded some time over the weekend when part of the sprinkler system snapped. So, I took the dogs out one at a time this afternoon and ran them through the disgusting worm-filled water. Trammell was by far the most gung-ho, leaping into the middle without reservation. Taylor preferred to run around the puddles and Nora we don’t trust enough to have off leash when other people are around.
We also ran around less waterlogged areas.
With much solo wrenching and excessive force, the old bathtub is out (and sitting on our living room floor). I shored up the water-damaged subfloor and made at least eight trips army-crawling through fifty feet (round trip) of fiberglass in the crawlspace below our house to get things in order. Lying on my back in the dankness with a flashlight strategically propped, trying to operate a drill while fiberglass sprinkled my retinas was not the most pleasant thing I’ve ever done.
I also cemented in new cement board to the subfloor in preparation for the tile floor to come and for a little more support for the floor I didn’t yet completely trust. Good and solid now though. I installed the plumbing for the new tub and with Mary’s help was able to hoist the beast into place. One more trip through the crawlspace to reconnect the plumbing and check for leaks and we now as least have a functioning tub again. I have no idea how long it’s going to take to get the rest done though.