Day 2.9a If It Walks Like a Duck . . .

OK-so we’ve still jumped in the DeLorean and gone back to the future. It’s still Saturday, only a little bit earlier and I haven’t gone to the creepy motel yet. Still with me?

After a flurry of activity packing up Pearl we headed once more into downtown Bar Harbor for a last look around and some shopping. BUT FIRST! Ice cream! And not only was it handmade from real Maine blueberries (and real rainbow sprinkles) . . .

EdenMDIceCream

but guess who else got samesies?! (Albeit six years earlier.)

ObamaIceCream

Sure, Obama had toasted coconut and didn’t (to my knowledge) share with Bo, but still pretty cool.

So after a quick pop into Bark Harbor to stock up on lobster flavored dog treats, we strolled down the street a little further and I saw an interesting little shop selling things made by local Maine artists. Now I should say that the majority of the stores in this area are dog-friendly, including the ice cream place, but I do understand that’snot everyone’s jam. So I poked my head in to see if Annie and I would be welcome. The place seemed deserted (NOT desserted) at first, but eventually a lady came out from the back. “Can my dog and I come in?” I asked. “No.” I said OK, and turned to leave, and as I did she mumbled something I didn’t quite catch. At first I thought she suggested I tie Annie up, which, seeing as it was about eleventy billion degrees outside seemed like a less than ideal solution. But no, what she was ACTUALLY proposing was even more absurd. She wanted to me PICK ANNIE UP!

So I look at Annie and I look at her, and she says “Oh, does she not like to be carried?” And I’m thinking, “It’s a 33 pound dog! I don’t normally carry a 33 pound dog! That’s a lot!” And I’m already carrying the treat bag and her leash handle, so it’s all kinds of awkward anyway, but I try to pick her up, and I’m carrying her, and she’s heavy as crap, and I see things I’m interested in, but my arms are full of heavy dog so I can’t pick anything up, and even if I did like something I can’t get into my purse to pay for it, so the whole thing is just a gigantic clusterfuck and we finally just have to peace out. I still have NO idea how that was supposed to be helpful in any way.

So we leave Bar Harbor and the island, and here’s where things GET REALLY COOL!

So-many of you know that I am a HUGE fan of the Bangor Maine Police Department page on Facebook, and if you’e not following it now, you NEED to be. It’s a brilliant use of social media by people who aren’t even social media professionals. It’s real and it’s funny and it’s open and I aspire to be that entertaining and enlightening.

As it happened, I was about 45 minutes away from Bangor, so even though I was super nervous, I couldn’t pass up the chance to make the pilgrimage.

EdenBPD

So I went in to their very nice facility and the greeter person wasn’t there, so I had to get on the intercom of a professional facility where people are doing serious, important work and say: “Umm, yes, I’m here to see if I could meet the Duck of Justice?” BECAUSE THATS NOT AWKWARD AT ALL!

And after seeing the older cop in the back shake his head and laugh (and learning late that he is the genius behind the FB page),I spoke with a very nice young officer named Daniel who was very kind AND LET ME POSE WITH THE DUCK OF JUSTICE!

EdenDOJ

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!

AnnieDOJ

ANNIE BUTLER GOT TO MEET THE DUCK OF JUSTICE TOO!! (And she didn’t even try to eat him.) #RespectTheBadge

The whole thing was so cool I was giddy for the rest of the day. I was so impressed with the whole operation and thanked them profusely for their time and service (Because I actually do like most cops Tony.)

Annie was a little more effusive in her gratitude.

AnnieOfficer

 

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Day 2.9(b) You Can Check In Anytime You Want But You Can Never Leave (Your Room)

Allow me a slight detour from strict chronological order. The last entry detailed the events of Wednesday, July 20 – whereas this one takes place on Saturday, July 23-and only in the evening- there will be another one with the awesome stuff that happened earlier in the day. But my outrage and befuddlement is fresh, and therefore I feel it must be documented post haste.

My goal in driving home had been to make it to Connecticut the first day and to stop early enough to get something to eat and relax and maybe do a new blog post. So when we reached Vernon, CT a little after 7 it seemed like a good time to stop.

First we tried the Holiday Inn Express, but they didn’t accept dogs (although some of their locations do-annoying). After some Googling, it was determined that we had two options: Motel 6, or the Red Roof Inn. I’ve had good experiences at Motel 6 before (not like that, get your mind out of the gutter!), so we headed there first.  As we approached, the first thing I saw was an ENORMOUS carnival set up right next door-FILLED with people and rides and games and . . . carnies. (Note to my overseas readers-carnies is slang for carnival employees, NOT carnivores/cannibals.) Now this may be my #SummerofBadDecisions, but that seemed like just asking to be sold off into white slavery or waking up married to someone lacking his full complement of fingers and teeth. Not a risk I was willing to take.

So we drove onward to the Red Roof Inn. Which looked pretty uninspiring when we pulled up, but then most cheap motels generally do.

So I go through the whole check-in process, answer a boatload of questions, pay, etc. At the end of all this the desk clerk (who has ZERO affect, speaks in a monotone, and has had to ask me to repeat my phone number and street name twice) hands me a piece of paper with a room number on it.

RedRoofKey

“We’re out of keys,” she says, “so I’ll have to let you in, and if you need to leave your room again I’ll have to let you back in.”

Jiggawhaaa?!?!

IF I need to leave the room? Like to take my dog out to pee? To get ice? To get dinner or breakfast or just something I left in the car?? I’ll have to get your assistance??

How the HELL do you run out of keys?? It’s just the little plastic card, you’re not smelting it down at the iron works!!

And you didn’t think this info might have been pertinent BEFORE I checked in? Or warrant a reduction in price??

(Please read the “note” on the “key envelope” and just let that sink in a bit.)

She seems shocked (or puzzled maybe-shocked implies more emotion than I think she’s capable of mustering-even puzzled may be a stretch) when I indicate that this bit of information should have been provided sooner and might have prevented me from registering. Or that this is the single weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me in a seedy motel (and that’s saying something). It becomes clear that un-registering will be a tedious process, and I still fear the carnies, so I decide to make the best of it. I tell her I will be right back and go to the car to get Annie and all the stuff I now need to juggle in one trip (don’t ask). When I return, 5 minutes later, she’s gone. So I make awkward chit chat with some old dude who doesn’t seem fazed in the slightest. At last she returns and we get settled in our vile room with only chips for dinner as I just can’t bring myself to have to deal with her anymore to go out and get dinner. Or at least one of us is settled.

AnnieRedRoof

The AC has to be bumped down to 60 to even be noticeable and the duvet has even more questionable stains than one would normally expect, but we make it through the night.

Come morning I prop my door open with the latch and wander down the hall to see about breakfast.

It’s 7:30AM. The “free” continental breakfast which runs to 9:00AM has been picked clean. There was a woman sweeping up crumbs and I asked if it would be replenished and she looked puzzled, shrugged, and said someone had gone to the “store”. Pretty sure that was the front desk clerk as someone else was trying to check out and her post was deserted. (NOT desserted.)

Side Note: the place I am staying is called the Red Roof Inn, but the WiFi is labeled Quality Inn, so I can only assume the descriptor “Quality” was stripped from it after some massive litigation and now its operating under an assumed name using the only adjective it can rightfully boast.

Frustrated, hangry, and annoyed I start to head back to my room when.. WHAT IN THE FRESH HELL IS THIS???

GeogeandMartha

Apparently George and Martha Washington’s poor relations are trapped in this nightmare hellscape as well? (And suspiciously leaving with a full cooler when the breakfast bar has just been tapped out…)

Connecticut is a freaky trip man.

Day 2.6 The Mainiest Day That Ever Mained

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned, but there are actually two cabins on the property I’m staying at-both owned by the same person. My info packet came with all sorts of dire warnings as to what would happen if my dog got on the furniture (I put down blankets) or barked excessively (uh oh). I had been trying my best to keep Annie in check, but there’s only so much one can do when confronted with an aggrieved terrier. The family next door is achingly Midwest wholesome (four kids, two of each, all blond, Mom looks perfectly put together at all times, even when jogging), but with 4 kids in a small cabin on the water that carries sound, again-only so much could be done. This morning I encountered the Mom while I was out walking Annie. She seemed a bit reticent, and I was afraid she was going to complain about the barking (and who knows what went on when Annie was alone for a few hours while I was on the boat cruise Monday). But nope, SHE was worried I was going to complain about HER kids! And claimed she hadn’t heard a peep out of the dog! So I quickly realized we each had as much to lose as the other and we had reached a satisfactory detente.

Anyhoodle. Feeling a bit worn out from all the walking yesterday, Annie and I decided to drive over to the Western “quiet” side of the island to see what that was like. Answer: Very nice!

Driving through the small town of Somes (the first village established on the island after the French/Indian wars, I saw a large banner proclaiming PIES! and a smaller sign that said “Pie Sale, Noon-Gone” Alas, it was only 11:15.

Acting on a tip from Thom that I feared might be out of date, we attempted to find a shop that allegedly sold popovers from 7:30-11:30 every morning all for the benefit of the local soup kitchen. And we did! Only we pulled in at 11:28. Booo! BUT the nice lady said we could take our popovers and fixins to go! Yay!

We decided to take our impromptu picnic out to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse-the only one on the island (and it is still in use!)

BassHarborLight

By following a short trail to the other side we found a comfortable spot to perch on some rocks, glimpse the light through the trees, watch the boats and the tide, and enjoy our snack.

LighthouseTrees

Unfortunately, eating at the same level as Annie means she decides who gets what size portion.

AnniePopovernom

Still hungry, we opted to drive a little further to the small town of Bernard to try what was alleged to be the freshest and tastiest lobster on the island-at Thurston’s Lobster Pound. The little shack sits right out on the harbor and you can pick your own, still living, lobster from a vat and send him to his ultimate doom. Fun!

Even more of a treat, they offer softshell lobsters which can only be had on the Maine Coast and which are much sweeter than the regular hardshells.

LobsterBib

Lobster

Driving back, we passed the coolest thing-apparently in Maine you can just set up a little cookie and pie stand filled with delectable goodies and a tin box in which to insert you payment. All on the honor system! Have I died and gone to heaven?!

PieStand

On  the down side, by the time we got back to the big pie sale around 2:30 they were all sold out. But not to fear, dessert is a pretty big deal here (such that the island-Mt. Desert-is actually pronounced Mt. Dessert!), so we found another random spot where a woman was apparently selling pies out of her house and snagged ourselves a prime blueberry.

Pie

Which we enjoyed at our now traditional sunset watching spot at Hadley Point. I especially enjoyed watching the golden retriever, Summer, whose parents were working diligently to get her to pose in front of the sunset so they could take a picture with their very nice camera. After about 5 minutes of that, I saw a blur go down the beach to my left, accompanied by cries of “SUMMER, Noooooooooo” and then a loud splash. After wallowing for a bit she came out and rolled on the ground until she had a full coating of pebbles and sand. Sometimes it’s not so bad to have a dog who hates the water.

Annie3rdbeachsunset

Day 2.5: Acadian Ramblings

So here’s the problem I’ve been struggling with this week. Am I on an adventure or a vacation? That sounds weird I know, but hear me out. When I took my trip around the country that was an adventure: I was go go go most of the time, seeing and doing all that I could and blogging daily (at least as internet connections permitted). When I go to the Outer Banks that’s a vacation. I slug about being lazy and relaxing and have never once written a blog. This trip somehow seems like a little bit of both. So I want to blog-and I’m getting great feedback on the blog-but I also hate having the obligation hanging over my head, which is part of why it’s Friday and I’m only now writing about Tuesday. Tied in with that is the pressure I feel to be out seeing and doing when half the time I just want to chill on my deck with a book. But no one wants to read a blog about me reading. Except maybe Seth. It’s been a weird (but wonderful) trip in some ways, and perhaps too long of one for me to have taken alone.

Enough blather-let’s get to it. We made attempt Number Two to drive around and explore some of the park. Which is still MEGA CROWDED and honestly, I’ll never go to a National Park in high season again. Maybe. Our first stop was the legendary THUNDER HOLE, a slot in the rocky ocean side cliffs which is supposed to make LOUD KABOOMS as the water fills it in around high tide. Thunder Hole was pretty crowded. And pretty quiet.

ThunderHole

Speculation as to the timing of the KABOOMS ran from an old white dude confidently asserting (in the way that old white dudes can about stuff they really have no idea about) that it happened 4 hours before high tide. Which would cause one to wonder why he was there at 5 minutes to high tide. Some random redneck woman insisted to her party that it was going to happen at the exact MINUTE of the highest tide and was glued to her watch for a countdown. I wandered off and found a sign that the Park Service put up stating it was usually about 2 hours prior to high tide and really only on stormyish days. #ReadingIsFundamental

So I took a selfie with Annie and moved on.

E&AThunderHole

We drove past lots of rocky coastline:

rockycliffs

And finally came to Otter Cove, which, despite the profound lack of otters, is really quite spectacular.

OtterCoveAdjacent

E&AOtterCove

At last we made it to our destination: Jordan Pond House. Jordan Pond House is a quaint little restaurant inside the park that has been serving popovers on the lawn for over a hundred years.

JordanPondHouse

And while you (and your dog, should you be so lucky) eat, you get to look out at this:

Jordan Pond

Which is nice. BUT FIRST! We had to earn it by hiking the three mile loop around the pond. So off we set, and fairly quickly the trail veers away from the pond and it’s just walking through woods. And it’s going uphill more than I would expect. And there are a lot fewer people than I would expect on such a popular trail, and most of them are on bikes. Odd. We hike a LONG way and we’ve barely seen the pond and we definitely haven’t made it to the other side, and we’ve got a reservation for popovers in an hour, so I decide to turn back…

(Side Note: How is it TWICE now I’ve been hiking in a National Park and come across someone’s abandoned undies on the trail?!)

Undies

I guess I should be grateful they weren’t SOILED like the ones Annie helpfully found in Shenandoah a few years back!

Anyhow, we get back to the trailhead, only to find WE’D BEEN HIKING THE WRONG TRAIL THE WHOLE TIME! There at the bottom was an offshoot leisurely winding around the pond just as I had hoped. Curses!

But there were still popovers to be had. What’s a popover you ask? This:

PopoverText

And this:

Popover

The popovers are a bit pricey (but worth it) so I wasn’t inclined to share-even with this staring up at me:

AnnieHungryEyes

But as fate would have it, the afternoon was a bit blustery and just as a waitress was carrying a basket of popovers past our table, a strong gust of wind blew her cargo over and they came raining down upon us like manna from heaven! Score another for Annie Butler.

AnniePopover

We both concurred that they were beyond amazeballs. As was the lobster roll.

Next on the agenda was a stroll along the giant sand bar that connects “Bar” Island with “Bar” Harbor (as I mentioned in my last post).

SandBar

It’s only accessible for the two hours before and after low tide, so that’s kind of a cool thing, and yet another callback to the somewhat submerged sandbar I walked off of Orcas Island last summer. Other than a few cool shells and lots of uber annoying tourists, there was not much else of note, although it was fun to look back at Bar Harbor through this row of rock cairns someone had left.

BarHarborCairns

The crowds were once again overwhelming me-especially on narrow sidewalks with a dog who likes to stop and sniff every three feet. On a positive note, I CRUSHED my FitBit-highest day ever!

FitBit

But it did leave us pretty wiped out!

AnnieBed

 

Day 2.4 The Fog Comes On Little Cat Feet

Monday morning dawns. At least I assume it did. A thick blanket of fog is coating everything, so I can’t entirely be sure. I may not even be in Maine any more for all I can see. Seems like a perfect morning for a boat cruise! And it’s chilly. Damp and chilly. Wasn’t it just like 100 degrees two days ago? GEE I SURE WISH I HAD A PAIR OF LONG PANTS THAT DIDN’T REEK OF URINE! WHY DIDN’T I BRING MY YOGA PANTS?! WHHYYY??!!  (The cabin I’m in doesn’t have a washer/dryer, and the thought of hand washing them in the same sink I use for food prep wigs me out a little. So I debate my wardrobe options. And I decide to wear the thin hoodie so that I can put my rain jacket on over it if needed. And then I get to the marina and realize I left my rain jacket back at the house. (This happens continually on the trip-I’m always in the wrong shoes, without my sunglasses, lacking a snack, you name it.)

So I get to the dock:

Foggy Dock2FoggyDock

Looks great! Let’s set forth to learn about the local history and wildlife!

Off we go, and the nice park ranger is pointing out all kinds of interesting stuff like: “Look at this 100 year old lighthouse!”

AllegedLighthouse

And “Here’s a 6 foot tall osprey nest with a record THREE baby chicks!”

OspreyNest

Uhhh…

So eventually we male it to Little Cranberry Island which is a cool little place seemingly trapped in time with no grocery stores, no banks, one restaurant (hope you like seafood), no services of any kind, and you can only leave once or twice a day on the mailboat (unless you have your own boat which I’m guessing many do).

BlueBuilding

Did I mention no grocery stores? This was the closest thing I found, where you can pony up $10 for a small jar of Kraft mayonnaise or $5 for a Diet Coke! Quelle horror!

FoodStand

According to some people I could be one of the proprietors. (Side note: Do you pronounce these two words the same? And if so, do you self-identify as an American?)

AaronErin

My favorite thing though HAD to be the random ass, DIY, homemade mini-golf course some dude had set up in his front yard.

MiniGolfWhole

I only HOPE these pictures can properly convey the hilarity:

Tiger Woods

Mermaid

And my personal favorite, Snake in the Grass:

SnakeinGrass

Of course, in true Crazy Person fashion-he has also dubbed part of his house “Trump Tower”:

Trump Tower

There was also a neat old church with some gorgeous stained glass windows made from sea glass and designed by local artist Ashley Bryan (who is an interesting guy worth Googling).

ChurchStainedGlass

Later we sailed up Somes Sound, the only fjord on the East Coast, but the fog was so dense that all of my photos were worthless (in fact I could barely tell what they were looking back).

But the main thing we saw a lot of was lobsters. The place was lousy with lobsters.

Lobster traps on the water.

LobsteTrapFloat

Lobster traps on the ground.

LobsterTrap

Lobster traps in use.

LobsterBoat

LOBSTER LOBSTER LOBSTER

So the trip wasn’t everything I’d hoped it might be, but it was pretty interesting, and I DID learn that sullen teen herring gulls will projectile vomit on you if you even think about fucking with them.#truefact

Afterwards, I FINALLY made it into Acadia National Park to drive the scenic loop road, but after stopping at the first overlook  and BEING PEPPERED WITH QUESTIONS AND RANDOM CHIT CHAT by some oddball park lady who had clearly been stuck out there because none of her coworkers could handle her anymore when all I wanted to do was read the sign and try and absorb the information for the love of god, we saw most of the rest from within the peaceful confines of Pearl.

EandAOverlook

See that island with the long sand bar stretching to the right? That’s what puts the Bar in Bar Harbor. More on that tomorrow.

The remainder of our evening was spent relaxing on our deck with the refreshments of our choice.

Deck Annie

Day 2.3 The Rain in Maine Falls Mainly on the . . . Girl and Her Dog

We awoke bright eyed and stub -tailed to greet our first full day on the island. In the absence of an alarm clock, it appeared that what woke us was the pitty pat of rain drops on the skylight above the bed (Yes, there is a skylight above the bed that looks up into the trees-how cool is that?). Rain. Heavy rain. Predicted for the whole day. *sigh* I killed some time unpacking, blogging, researching things to do, reading, and putzing about. Truth be told, after two full days of work and driving (and two pretty full weeks before that) it was nice to have a little down time. But I also had a whole list of things I NEEDED TO DO before the week was out.

Finally, a little before 11 there was a bit of a break and I decided to try and check out the local Farmer’s Market that runs on Sunday mornings.

Cheese

And what a find it was-TONS of fancy cheeses-most of which looked like works of art, honey, yogurt, the sugar snap peas of my childhood, AND a guy selling smoked dog bones and frozen pig tails! What more could one ask for? Naturally, every other small child there wanted to pet Annie as well.

Apres market, I checked the map and saw we were only a short walk from both the local gourmet dog shop AND the fancy ice cream place. So we took a little stroll through downtown Bar Harbor (which is adorable and little changed from its heydey) and while I never could find the two shops we were looking for, I did find a yummy bakery aptly named A Slice of Eden which not only welcomed Annie inside with a treat but also had THE BEST chocolate cake donuts ever.

EdenSlice

Of note, Bar Harbor is extremely chill and mega dog friendly, and many stores had this sign in the window:

Welcome

Eventually we hit the pier, and stumbled upon Shore Walk-a half mile gravel path that winds between the ocean and some of the fancy pants old school mansions that line it. The day was pretty overcast, and at several points during the walk, the skies opened up and we got drenched (glad I left my rain jacket in the car) but the views were still pretty spectacular, and sure beat anything I can walk by on my lunch hour (sorry random chunk of Berlin wall) .

 

After the shore stroll we wandered back into Bar Harbor proper, but by then the sun had come out, the streets were TEEMING with huddled masses, and I was about 5 minutes away from having a hangry meltdown.

In short order we found a spot to enjoy a tasty clam roll and requisite Diet Coke. Of course traveling solo-ish means random strangers feel compelled to start talking to you. I was beset upon my an older woman (with her even older and more feeble looking husband in tow) who yammered on in a seemingly friendly manner until I asked a question of her man. As soon as he attempted to stutter out an answer she promptly admonished him that he needed to be calling the park immediately to reserve a spot for them on the afternoon’s lecture unless he needed her to do it herself.*heavy sigh* Annie and I made a quick exit.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful, and come 7ish we strolled down to our local beach where Annie endured the standard forced paw wetting that accompanies all our visits to the shore.

Anniewater

(The water here is ridic clear).

Just another perfect Maine evening watching the sun set.

Day 2.2: The Maine Event

After taking Annie for a quick amble around the motel grounds (where we spotted both the VIP smoking lounge, and the setup for perhaps the world’s saddest parking lot party) we were back in Pearl and headed northward.

Smoking LoungeBBQGrill

Where we were confronted with traffic, traffic, and yet more traffic. I had really thought once we got out of the DC-NY corridor we would be free of such gridlock, but such was not to be the case.

We stopped briefly in Massachusetts, where I grabbed a smoothie at Panera and Annie foraged for a snack behind the pizza shop.

Annieforage

New Hampshire was weirdly obsessed with making sure we all knew how to access booze and gambling, even on the Lord’s Day.

BoozeandGamblingLiquorStore

And then, at long last, we were in Maine. And it gets real deserted real quick in Maine. And here’s where things get awkward. You see, I’ve always prided myself in not holding back on this blog, fully sharing all my personal quirks and embarrassments for the edification of you, the reader. But I’ve got some new readers these days-specifically my boss and some of my professional colleagues (shout out to Jon Yankee and the FJY Financial team!), and so I REALLY struggled with whether or not I should share this next bit. But it’s in the blogger’s oath that the reader’s entertainment and enlightenment must always come first, so push forward I must, no matter the cost to my dignity.

The long hours of driving had grown a bit tedious, and i thought it might be advisable to pull over for a rest and a stretch. I found what appeared to be a fairly deserted day parking lot for whatever passes for a train in Maine (moose drawn wagon?), and after a quick catnap I took Annie for a walk to empty her bladder. It quickly became apparent that I needed to do the same, and as I grumbled inwardly about having to drive around some more to find a bathoom, a light bulb went off! That’s what I have my SheWee for! For those new to the blog, this is a SheWee…

SheWee

I… errr.. positioned the device, but perhaps it had been too long, or I was distracted, because apparently I did it wrong, because the next thing I knew HALF THE PEE WAS RUNNING DOWN MY LEG! #SheWeeFail

So now I’m in some random parking lot in Maine with pee all down my leg and soaking my jeans. Awesome. (Luckily it’s a pretty deserted parking lot). So I do a quick rummage through my suitcase and find some shorts to change in to, and decide that this debacle calls for a Diet Coke to soothe my nerves. Now normally I would head for a McDonald’s in this situation, but all I can find is a Burger King, where I find . . .

What the Actual F**ck is this now??

Cheetos

America, we have sunk as low as we possibly can. Naturally I bought some. And now I’m sitting in a Burger King parking lot with pee on my leg and eating Mac and Cheetos. How have I sunk so low?

To me, they were vile and chemical tasting, but Annie nearly bit my thumb off trying to grab hers.

AnnieCheeto

Yadda yadda yadda, driving, driving, driving, FINALLY we arrive and it is GORGEOUS here!

This is the view from our cabin:

CabinView

Which overlooks this little beach I could walk down to…

CabinBeach

And then it’s only a ten minute walk to an even better beach where Annie and I went to watch the sunset over Frenchman’s Bay. And as we sat on my Jake:Half Man/Half Alligator beach mat on the rocky shore, I flashed back to sitting on that same beach mat on a very similar rocky beach watching a sunset just over a year ago. That was on Orcas Island off the coast of Washington state, a country and a life change ago, but it felt just the same.

Sunest