Mt. Baker

We took a ride up to Mt. Baker today.  We went on the Chuckanut Drive first which goes from Burlington to Bellingham along Puget Sound.  Beautiful!!!  Then we headed to Mt. Baker.  There were some girls offering car washes along the way, so we took advantage of having someone clean over 3100 miles of dirt off the truck.  The girls were great and scrubbed and scrubbed (the bugs were really stuck on the front!).  We made a good contribution for their work and immediately headed off to get the truck dusty again.

The pictures are better than any words that I can say.  It was hot, so we didn’t venture far off the roadway with the dogs.  There tongues were hanging low pretty quickly.  We went to the Nooksack Falls and walked around a bit at the end of the road at the top.  We let the dogs walk on the snow and the first thing Coco did on the snow was pee.  There were a couple cute snowmen someone built.

On the way back we got some great sandwiches and vanilla cream sodas at a local place.  At the campground, I twisted Regis’ arm to go to the ice cream social.  As you can imagine, it was very difficult to get him to agree to go!

A local sign says “If you see a fork in the road, pick it up.”

Kielbasa

We went to a local Co-op today to pick up some food and they had kielbasa.  We figured we’d give it a try.  I was hoping for some local trout, but there was no trout so we bought the kielbasa.  We couldn’t find any horseradish.  I grew up eating kielbasa with horseradish.  If you didn’t make numerous facial contortions while eating the kielbasa with horseradish, you either didn’t have fresh horseradish or you failed to put enough on.  Until you couldn’t breathe, you didn’t have enough horseradish.  Sadly, we couldn’t find horseradish and had to use mustard instead.  Mustard is okay, but simply not the same. The kielbasa was the spiciest I have ever had, but it was pretty good.

The owners of our campground pulled out about 4 trailers from storage and set them up for the week-end.  I suppose the owners of the trailers have arrived by now or will later today.  Most of the trailers had Canadian tags.

I spent some time tweaking plans for our return trip.  There are so many choices and we can’t do them all.

Seattle is celebrating Pride this week-end.  They have a lot to celebrate this time as a result of today’s Supreme Court ruling.  Hooray for justice! Today LOVE WINS!

That’s Regis making dinner.

Seattle Traffic Ugh!

We had dinner with Jason in Seattle this evening.  About 25 miles outside the city, there was a sign that said 85 minutes to Seattle.  We were moving along at the speed limit, so I thought the sign was a mistake.  It wasn’t.  About 8 miles outside the city we slowed to a crawl.  We could have walked faster.  It’s probably typical traffic for Seattle.  It is not my cup of tea.

We took the dogs for a walk on a rails-to-trails.  They are trails built on old railroad beds.  I love them.  We did about 4 miles round trip.  We planned to go further, but it got hot today and the dogs were wilting.  It’s supposed to get even hotter through the week-end, so we may have to get our hikes done early in the morning or do something else.  (I know my friends and relatives in Maryland are dealing with exceptionally hot temperatures so I don’t expect any sympathy from them over our little heat wave.)

There is a several casinos around here.  Maybe I’ll be a big spender and drop a twenty on the slots and see what happens.  It beats the heat!

The Fly

The most entertaining thing that happened today was watching Coco chase a fly that got in the RV.  Had I known it would be so much fun to watch, I would have tried to get a fly in sooner!

I picked up my lens today and it works great.  Today I remembered that on one of the flights I took this last year, they made me check my carry on bag.  I always carry my camera on the plane in a camera bag that looks like a backpack.  If I knew I was going to have to check the camera, I would have used a better bag.  I didn’t have a choice.  I believe my lens may have been damaged as a result.  It’s great to have the lens back.

There are some cows next to our campground and one calf.  I walked the dogs by the field today and didn’t notice the calf.  When one of the cows saw the dogs, she started to trot over and moo.  After first, I thought she was curious.  Then, I noticed the little calf laying in the field.  It was hard to see him/her in the grass.  Mom stopped at the little calf and mooed at us until we left.  I got a couple pictures later.  The little one looks just like mom.

These Mountains are Crazy

The mountains here are mysterious.  One day you’ll be in a spot and not see a particular mountain, the next day there will be a huge, snow-capped mountain looming.  Sometimes the huge mountains look small and other times they are overwhelming.  The mountains that play with your head the most here are Mt. Rainier (especially) and Mt. Baker.  When we drove on Route 20 from Fidalgo Island the other day, we did not see Mt. Baker.  Today, we drove the same road, turned the corner, and the mountain was there.  The same thing happened when we looked at Seattle from Whidbey Island.  The first day, we didn’t see Mt. Rainier.  The next day, it was unmistakable.  I know the haze accounts for some of this, but it is still eerie.  I don’t understand why the size changes from one day to the next.  Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker can look bigger, the further away you are.

We went back to Deception Pass today and did some hiking.  I love the Pacific Coast and Maine because the mountains/hills meet the ocean and it is stunning.  Also, the water is very clear and blue.  We saw some dolphins or porpoises way off in the water.   It was 56 degrees where we hiked by the water and 20 degrees warmer when we got back to camp in Burlington.

On the way back from the hike, Regis asked if I thought we needed to stop for anything on the way back.  I suggested ice cream.  He looked at me with disgust (like that’s not what he meant), but then quickly asked me to let him know if I see anything.  Of course I found a place and the ice cream was delicious.  We encountered two separate groups from Maryland (out of about 4 cars total).  I guess Marylander’s like ice cream!

My lens is ready.  We plan to pick it up tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to having it back.

The dogs are waiting for water in the picture below and probably hoping for a treat too.

Coco

We moved from Concrete to Burlington and will stay here for 9 days.  Looking forward to it!!

We like the campground and it really works for us with dogs.  I’ve been researching hikes and have a couple planned for this week.  We also plan to take care of issues that have popped up with the RV.  Regis went to the hardware store today and I did the wash and dusted the RV.  We took the dogs for a couple walks around the campground and I continue to be amazed how many times each dog can poop.  One of these days you’ll get a picture of twenty dollar bills sitting in their food bowls.  I may try it!!

We sat around in the sun most of the day reading (me) or just relaxing (Regis and the dogs).

If we were worried about how well Coco would fit in, see this picture.

I brushed both dogs today.  They are both made out of different types of velcro.  Since Coco has a recent haircut, she was easy to brush out and I got all the seeds out of her head.  The seeds turned her into a chia pet.  I took the shedding comb to Dart and the air was filled with dog undercoat.  It’s amazing how much hair can come out of a sheltie on a regular basis.

Following are some pictures of Coco that are more flattering.

It’s really nice to get my Bedlington fix in.  I’ve had two Bedlingtons in the past and absolutely love them.  They are the sweetest dogs.  They definitely attract attention.  Most folks have never seen a Bedlington and a Bedlington can stop them in there tracks.  We’ve only had her to ourselves 24 hours and we’ve been stopped several times by folks who want to know what she is.

Favorite Trail Ever

Jason picked out an incredible hike for us today.  We hiked the Sauk Mountain trail in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.  It was another brutal drive up a forest service road to get to the trail head, but not as bad as the road outside Mt. Ranier.  From the trail head, we hiked up the mountain through a wildflower meadow.  The views were incredible the entire trail and the wildflowers and butterflies were gorgeous.  We saw buttercups, lilies, paintbrush, phlox, and columbine.  As we neared the top, we saw heather.  There were so many flowers and I have no clue about the names of most of them.

By the time we got to the top, I was done in.  I definitely need to get in better shape.  Nevertheless, we made good time so I guess there is hope for me.  The views from the top were amazing,  We could see Mt. Baker, Puget Sound, and east and south to the Cascades.  We could barely make out Mt. Ranier through the haze.

I give Jason a lot of credit for picking great hikes and not killing me in the process!!

I thought it would be hard to beat my favorite hikes which include a hike on the Oregon Coast and the trail to Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.  When we started our hike today, I immediately placed it in the top three hikes.  Upon reaching the top, it moved to first place.

The dogs got wiped out on this hike.  It was half the distance as yesterday but more than twice the change in elevation.  Jason thinks the dogs weren’t getting the mountain breeze close to the ground and we were in the sun the whole way.  The dogs probably got a little overheated.  We met a couple that was hiking with a Golden Retriever and made it all the way to the top, but the dog was having trouble on the way down.  They were helping him walk and kept resting him and giving him water along the way.  Jason thinks the dog may have been hot.  That dog will likely fall asleep as soon as he gets in the car.

We have so many fabulous pictures, it was hard to choose.  

Today, I really could have used my lens that is in the repair shop.  Regis took all the pictures.  His little camera does a great job!

Jason agreed to leave Coco with us for a couple weeks.  It will be good for Dart and we enjoy her.  She is an amazing little dog.  She is skinny but very athletic.  She is very friendly and gets along with everyone.  It will be fun to have her for a few weeks.

Mount Baker Lake hike

We hiked 8 miles round trip today on a beautiful hike.  The forest was beautiful.  The path was a little above the lake, so we got views of the lake now and then.  I still find the aqua color of the water unbelievable.  We got occasional views of the snow capped mountains.  It was one of the nicest hikes I have been on.

The dogs had a great time and were well behaved.

The place that Jason got the recommendation for the hike, suggested a stop at the local Brew Pub after the hike.  We thought that sounded like a great idea, so we dropped the dogs off at the RV and went to the Brew Pub.  Upon pulling up, we noticed a place that looked like you tied up your horses.  By the time we left, it was obvious that it was, indeed, a place to tie up your horse.  In our parting picture, you will see that we have the only vehicle and we are clearly in the minority by not riding a horse to the Brew Pub.

Concrete

The campground we stayed at in Everett was almost entirely concrete.  There were some small bushes between campsites, but no grass.  To take Dart out, we had to go through a locked gate in the back of the campground to a mostly gravel area.  I hated it.  But, it was close to some other things, so it was fine for the four days we stayed there.  It was clean and the campground staff was very nice.  It served its purpose.

We left Everett to go to the town of Concrete in the mountains.  We are in a nice campground with trees and grass.  We left concrete to go to Concrete.

After we set up camp, we went to the center of town to do some laundry.  Although the campgrounds often have a place to do laundry, laundromats usually have more and bigger machines and a way to get much needed quarters.  We usually find that doing laundry isn’t that much of a chore since you get to spend a little time in the town.  Regis chatted with a couple guys and got the scoop on things.  He also took a bunch of pictures of the town which I included below.  He found out that the town burned down twice, so they built it with concrete the last time and renamed the town.

At the campground, there is WiFi access only within 50 feet of the Family Center.  We a bit out of the 50 foot range, but Regis was able to get access from his laptop.  In order to search for some future campsites, I sat on the couch next to Regis, he handed his laptop to me, and I proceeded to try to look at camping possibilities.  I couldn’t get access.  He was sitting next to me and had access, I couldn’t get access with the same computer.  I handed it back to him and “voila” access.  Hmmmm.

It turns out there is a tree between us and the Family Center.  Where Regis was sitting, the tree was not a problem.  Where I was sitting, it blocked access.  Regis almost busted a rib laughing when he could get the computer to hum for him and I got nothing.

I found out that getting sites over the week-ends is tough.  Campgrounds are already filled now.  Perhaps school being out is part of the problem.  And, the fourth of July week-end set me into a panic because I had a hard time finding a campground.  The whole situation caused a major change in plans.  But, c’est la vie.  We’ll be spending the Fourth of July on the Olympic Peninsula.  That wasn’t the original plan, but it works.  Best to be flexible.  I was able to get us campsites through July 13.

Jason is on his way up from Seattle to join us right now.  He has some hiking planned for the next two days.  He’ll probably kill me.  If I don’t post tomorrow, you can assume that I’m recovering in a heap somewhere in the RV (or perhaps worse, in a hospital).  I will try to keep up.

We are also learning something about ourselves.  We find that in our favorite campgrounds, we are often the biggest RV.  These campgrounds tend to be occupied with people who are enjoying “camping”.  In our least favorite campgrounds, we tend to be the smallest RV with lots of Class A’s in the place.  These campgrounds are less about nature and more about concrete.  I think it means we want to “camp” but we are cushy campers.  I’m no longer interested in freezing in a tent, but I still want the trees and the whole camping experience.  It gives us something to think about as we continue our travels.

Whidbey Island

We went to Whidbey Island again today.  We loved it and it was great to be able to take Dart off leash on the beach.  It wasn’t as hazy, so we noticed Mount Rainier in the distance.  We didn’t see it yesterday.  Pretty wild.  This picture is taken from the beach on Whidbey Island and shows Seattle on the right and Mount Rainier to the left of Seattle.

When we got on the Island, I pointed out to Regis we could drive all the way up it and cross a bridge back to the mainland and loop around and come back without taking the ferry.  He said he wasn’t interested in driving that much. (You know where this is headed.)

Dart cut his paw pad yesterday.  We thought he would be okay, but as soon as he got to the wet part of the beach, he kept stopping to bite at his paw.  We think the salt water may have been causing him some pain.  As a result, we didn’t walk on the beach as planned.  Since the sun was out and we had no shade, Dart was not happy, so we left pretty soon.  But, not before I got a picture of these two dogs playing.

I like this backlit heron shot. 

Regis kept driving north on the Island and pointing out all the restaurants.  I figured that meant he was hungry, so I suggested we stop and get something to eat.  We found a dock with picnic tables and a local restaurant to serve us.  While we were waiting for lunch to be served, we saw a seal in the water.

After we left the restaurant, Regis kept driving north and we saw a family of bald eagles in a field.  It looked like mom and dad were on the ground with one youngster while another was circling overhead.  A guy was trying to mow the field.

Regis kept driving north until he was over 3/4 up the island.  He then suggested we continue and drive to the mainland.

We had to drive over Deception Pass to get to Fidalgo Island that connects to the mainland.  It was stunning.  I jumped out with Regis’ camera to take pictures but failed to remember to push the button down the whole way.  Let me tell you, those pictures would have been awesome.  It would have been National Geographic material.  Sadly, we have no pictures.  You’ll have to go to Deception Pass  yourself and see how stunningly beautiful it is.

Off to the North Cascades tomorrow!!