Day Fifty Four: EastBound and Down: Washington (Orcas Island, Anacortes, Winthrop)

(Events of Friday May 8th, blogged Saturday May 16th)

Side Note: I’m going to just come right out and say it. I’ve been slacking. For most of the trip I’ve only not blogged when lack of proper online connections forced me to do so. But -in this installment (Spoiler Alert) I end the day in a hotel with WiFi and don’t blog. And the last 24 hours in real time I have had internet and not blogged. Maybe it’s knowing that there’s no way I’ll catch up before the journey ends, maybe it’s weariness, maybe my inherent laziness is finally rearing its head. Who knows. But I am failing you and I am sorry. I hope you will be able to accept the oddness of the final entries being written once I return home.

But enough blogging about the blog-let’s get to the good stuff. Which is DEFINITELY NorthWest Washington.

As much as I hadted to say goodbye to Orcas, unfortunately we had a ferry to catch. And by some miraculous coincidence, with zero planning on my part, I pulled in to the ferry lot JUST as they were boarding-ZERO wait time! AND I was able to score a prime window “seat”. So I could hang in Marigold with Annie and still have great views.

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The ferry docked in Anacortes, and, depending on how well you know me, you may or may not be shocked to learn that I IMMEDIATELY went BACK to Gere-A-Deli and ordered the EXACT same things I had ordered previously. (Expect the Thai Peanut Chicken Wrap, which had been the special of the day, and for which I substituted a “Low Cal” Turkey Sandwich, which sounds mundane, but was, again, scrumdiddlyumptious!) And no trip to Annacortes would be complete without a Bigfoot sighting.

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Properly fortified, we set off for the final leg of our journey-and pointed Marigold eastward towards home. Passing through yet more standard issue lovely scenery along the way…

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Along with kooky roadside motels…

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And random tiny churches across from RV parks?? (It seats nine.)

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And then, just when we least expected it, Washington decided to bring out the big guns, North Cascades National Park, which hadn’t even been on my radar!

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Ummm…. mindblowingly gorgeous natural scenery anyone?!

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Seriously, it was like all of a sudden I’m in some Alpine wonderland!

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Even Annie was impressed.

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OK random national park I was only tangentially aware of, I am duly and most thoroughly wowed. They even had SNOW!

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Coming down from the altitude and still reeling from the loveliness, we could only wonder what could possibly be around the next corner?

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WNTHROP! Winthrop was around the next corner! I may have neglected to mention it at the start of this entry, but, as I had originally planned to travel to Vancouver after the San Juans, and then time constraints through a wrench in that itinerary, I was now heading east from a different starting point, and one that also allowed a little more time flexibility. So I decided to throw caution to the winds and just head in an easterly direction with no intended destination or planned route. As you can see so far, this experiment did not disappoint, and Winthrop was just another delightful surprise!

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Winthrop is like the Old West town of your imagination-all false fronts and cool fonts and old timeyness pouring out of every nook and cranny. Of course I should have realized it was all a little TOO perfect. Upon doing some digging, I uncovered the fact that the “Western-ness” is actually played up to attract gullible tourists (ahem) and was in part modeled on the Dutch village, Solvang, that I visited in California.

In truth, it WAS originally an area that Native Americans called home-digging for roots and picking berries along the creek. Then, in the late 1800s some traces of gold were found in that creek, and ALLL then white people started pouring in. The town was officially “founded” by one of them, a Guy Waring, who, for reasons I have yet to discover, named the town after Theodore Winthrop who was a Yale graduate, published author, and one of the first Union soldiers killed in the Civil War, so actually already dead before he could receive this honor, and never actually set foot in the area. Details.

Another friend of Warings, Owen Wister, was also an author, and wrote The Virginian, which is considered to be the firsdt Western novel, after he spent some time in Winthrop.

Anyhow, once the mines played out around 1915, the town went basically dormant until the 1970s, when the road from the Cascades was being built, and the locals decided they needed to do something to get folks to stop. And it worked by gum!

(Side Bar: I’ve just remembered a cute story I had wanted to mention about Anacortes. So, I was in the bookstore (naturally), and a gentleman came in to return a book. It seems he had special ordered the volume, and then when he took it home, he realized he already owned it. Now he wasn’t trying to get a refund, as he put it, it was “his mistake.” He was trying to donate the book back to the store gratis. He refused to take no for an answer! “I insist you keep it as a donation, dadgummit,” he exclaimed! That’s just how folks roll in Anacortes.)

But back to Winthrop. While the Western ambiance may be a bit faux, it was still full of all kinds of cute artsy shops and friendly locals.

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The town’s fiorst watering hole, the Duck Brand Saloon, was originally built by Guy Waring in 1891, but it was damaged in a fire and afterwards turned into the Town Hall. There’s a new Duck Brand Saloon now, and it may be inauthentic, but they make a mean strawberry lemonade.

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The Saloon also operated a small five room hotel over the restaurant. One with a view of Main Street and all its goings on. It was late in the day, and I was tired and hungry, so I ordered the grilled salmon (I couldn’t leave Washington without having at least one piece of salmon) and debated searching out a campsite, or just heading upstairs to the comfy bed, WiFi, and hot shower. I’ll make it today’s cliffhanger as to which one I chose…

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4 thoughts on “Day Fifty Four: EastBound and Down: Washington (Orcas Island, Anacortes, Winthrop)

  1. Don’t you just love traveling by ferry? My father had a side business of reupholstering the seats on the ferries. So as a child in was able to go with my dad while he inspected the seats!


  2. “random tiny churches” – I love it! As a kid in Michigan, our church maintained a tiny church near the state park campgrounds. I think it was intended to allow for self reflection, if needed? But it always had plenty of literature to point folks to the “big church” for Sunday services….Families from the church were expected to sign up for their turn to clean and maintain the little church. Eventually, it was vandalized once too often, and the property was sold. I didn’t realize there were any outside of Michigan!


  3. You are not letting us down! This is supposed to be your adventure! So stop stressing over when you get to the blog and know that we will be here to read when you are ready to post. Hi to Annie.


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