Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington Friday, Aug 11 2017 

Washington State Ferry

Washington State Ferry

We drove the smart fortwo to Anacortes to take a 90-minute ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. On our drive, three or four miles on Chuckanut are narrow and heavy vehicles like our RV are not allowed. After waiting for some time, we drove aboard the ferry in a lane pinched between two large trucks. On our arrival in Friday Harbor we walked the streets, noting restaurants, shops, and bed-and-breakfast options. We passed the Whale Museum and decided to visit for another time. We waited in line for Downriggers which rewarded us with an outside table directly overlooking Friday Harbor. After lunch, we drove south where we visited the American Camp, a National Historic Park. We viewed an informative film that used watercolor paintings to tell the story about the ownership of the island. In 1859 and for some years thereafter ownership was shared with the British in the north, the Americans in the south. Outside the Visitor’s Center a telescope was focused on an eagle’s nest. We completed our island tour by going to the Cattle Point Interpretive Area. We passed a lighthouse but didn’t see any way to visit it. We returned to the Friday Harbor Ferry Landing and got in line at about 2:30 p.m. for the 3:45 ferry. Because we did not have a reservation, we had some anxiety about whether we would be able to board the ferry. There was no need to worry as there was some unused space. It was interesting to use the Washington State Ferry System, but I wouldn’t want to depend on it daily.

Bellingham, Washington Friday, Aug 11 2017 

Dirty Dan Harris

Dirty Dan Harris

I last visited Bellingham when I was in college and visited student activists at Western Washington. As a retiree, it was interesting to walk the downtown streets and arts district. The old City Hall, now a museum, is a distinctive historical building dating from 1892. The Mount Baker Theatre is also very idiosyncratic. I enjoyed spotting a Carnegie mural on the back of the former library. Another colorful mural also caught my attention. It was also interesting to pass a café where a chess game was in progress. We walked through the Maritime Park where we encountered a very hungry young buck. Below a totem pole we learned about the “Legend of Salmon Woman and Her Children.” A downside of this visit was the number of homeless, especially in the park. On a later day, we visited Fairhaven, a subdivision of Bellingham. Dirty Dan Harris, founder of Fairhaven, was an unusual character. We were told that originally 17 of some 20 buildings were devoted to houses of ill repute. Fairhaven was one of four small communities on Bellingham Bay that merged in 1903-1904 to become Bellingham.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Canada Friday, Aug 11 2017 

Our trip from Portland, Oregon to the Larribee State Park involved circumventing the most direct route because of weight restrictions on Chuckanut just south of Washington’s oldest state park. After setting up camp, we explored a trail leading to Clayton Beach. Later we hiked the Fern Trail to the boat launch which is accessed by car on Cove Road.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge

On our first full day, we drove to Canada to visit Vancouver’s most popular tourist attraction, the Capilano Suspension Bridge. One musical group performed near food tables while two individual artists played at venues just outside and inside the park. The entrance area displays a variety to totem poles. We started our visit on the entrance side by taking Cliffwalk, suspended walkways along sheer granite cliff faces with canyon views. Informational signs emphasized the importance of water. One interesting display atop the cliff showed the power of water erosion after 15, 25 and 50 years of flow. We heard more foreign languages on this day than we did during our two-week river cruise in Europe. The main attraction, of course, is the Suspension Bridge that dates to 1889. It is 450 feet long and 230 feet high. We didn’t wait too long in line to cross. It is a challenge to adjust to the sway as well as the distance when looking down. There are more trails on the far side of the bridge. On Raptor’s Ridge, we passed a Great Horned Owl and a Harris Hawk. Trout could be seen swimming in a pond, too. The Treetops Adventure is a unique attraction that connects trees with seven suspension bridges rather than zip lines. Three varieties of trees — Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, and Hemlock – dominate the foliage. I liked the following quote from Hermann Hesse: “Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.” Listen to the trees!

Portland’s White House Sunday, Aug 6 2017 

White House

White House

I celebrated two birthday parties this year. In addition to my May 12th birthday, August 5th was selected for my 70th birthday party and family reunion. My wife’s family has a tradition of family reunions, and my wife has experience in planning them. She did a marvelous job of planning a first family reunion for the Green clan. With input from Oregon family members, she settled on the White House B&B. This venue could handle individual rooms for participants, common areas, and outstanding food. Both of my brothers attended along with five of my six nephews. The only nephew not to attend had a last-minute emergency in his partner’s family that kept him from participating. Two nephews brought their three-year-old children who got along famously. We even played some chess. The B&B had an excellent wooden set and I brought two plastic sets and two clocks that allowed me to introduce bughouse to some family members. Our dinner featured a Mediterranean menu with multiple dishes. Two breakfasts were amazing. We learned that the current owner, who has operated it for some twenty years, is looking to sale the property. Parking here, like most of Portland, is a challenge and involves only using the space immediately in front of the property. When will we get together again?

Portland Japanese Garden Sunday, Aug 6 2017 

Stone Lantern

Stone Lantern

Nestled in the West Hills of Washington Park, the Portland Japanese Garden overlooks the city and provides a tranquil, urban oasis. Originally designed in 1963 and recently remodeled, it encompasses 12 acres with eight separate garden styles. The use of stone, water, and plants reflect nature in idealized form. Truly, this is a place to discard worldly thoughts and concerns and see oneself as a small but integral part of the universe. One of my nephews shared his love of this spot with us. The Tanabe Gallery displayed Woodblock Kabuti Prints from the Lavenberg Collection. These colorful examples of commercial prints used chiseled planks of cherry wood, a different one for each color. The Pavilion Gallery presented a selection of silk Kabuki costumes from Shochiku Co. Ltd. In Tokyo, hand-dyed and lavishly embroidered. Two that I particularly liked were both worn by the character Mluraya Agemaki. The only negative about our visit involved the smoke from regional fires that reduced our view of Mount Hood.

Crescendo

Crescendo

We did a circle walk around the International Rose Test Garden which is celebrating its centennial this year. My favorite roses include “Just Joey,” “Strike It Rich,” “Barbra Streisand,” and “Crescendo.” Surprisingly, there weren’t any August weddings taking place in the Shakespeare Garden where one of nephews wed in June several years ago.

Multnomah Falls Friday, Aug 4 2017 

We had lunch and visited with the minister and his wife who were instrumental during my high school years. Their home in the non-profit Willamette View offers diverse programs and beautiful views. Interestingly to me, their large campus includes land on River Road where my maternal grandparents lived.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

At our first stop on this trip in Needles, our water filter failed. Since then we have made a few stops looking for a replacement and have not been successful. We decided to seek a Camping World and were rewarded with an option to purchase a two pack. Because we were Interstate 84 and about halfway to Multnomah Falls, we decided to visit this iconic Oregon waterfall. It is the second highest year-round waterfall in the continental United States. The upper falls cascade 543 feet and the lower falls 69 feet. It was cooler being near the Falls. Who would have known that the Portland temperature would be higher than Phoenix. The air quality is very poor because of smoke from area forest fires.

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