Our First Two Weeks in the San Juans and Whidbey Island

The San Juan Islands of Washington is one of our favorite areas, and has been since we first visited here on motorcycles back in 1984. We have been here again since then in our previous motorhome, but both trips were while on vacation, and while still working. This time, as retired full-time RVers, we have parked ourselves for a month at North Whidbey RV Park. Although there are other camping options in the area, we chose this park because of its central location to things we want to see and do, AND they have a good monthly rate starting in September. It is almost literally at the south end of the Deception Pass Bridge and State Park, a beautiful area. After boondocks for the past several days which included two truck stops, a Walmart parking lot, and an Indian Casino, we were ready for getting off the road for awhile and the amenities that a RV park offers. And, being parked for a month in a place we love seems priceless.first-sunset_whidbey_20160914_193037_lls


Our first sunset————————–>

Our first several days here were a combination of relaxing, exploring the area and doing a little work around the “house”. Four towns in particular are in fairly close proximity to our campground. In no particular order, they are Anacortes, Oak Harbor, Coupeville and La Conner. When we have visited the area in the past, the town of Anacortes was our launching point for taking a ferry to the San Juan Islands and Canada’s Vancouver Island. Now that we are “locals”, we decided that we will actually spend some time getting to know the town.

One of our “must visit” destinations is the town of La Conner. Although we took a quick drive there the one day, it was late and, other than dinner, most of the shops were closed by the time we finished eating. So, we planned to go back during the day.

And speaking of dinner, we may have found the best mexican restaurant we have ever eaten at. It is called COA. Interestingly, coa is a tool uniquely designed to harvest the Agave plant for the production of tequila. The family that operates this restaurant comes from the particular region in Mexico that is well-known for producing the very best tequilas. The recipes used in the restaurant are derived from this same region.coa-burrito_20160916_175403

Believe it or not, this photo is a roasted pork filled burrito, one of the restaurant’s specialties. Muy delicio!


One of the things we love doing when visiting areas that are new to us, is to simply drive back roads without any destination in mind. Whidbey Island and the surrounding area is perfect for such explorations with forests, endless country lanes, farms, and coastal access. One evening before dark, we stumbled onto Ala Spit. A “spit” is a bar land form found off of coasts. Kind of like a finger or peninsula that juts out into the water. As is the case with Ala Spit, currents will often deposit debris on these spits, particularly during stormy weather. whidbey_ala-spit_tree-trunk_20160919_180729It is not unusual to see thousands of pieces of driftwood on a spit, including entire tree trunks complete with roots.

This picture is of the root system, what’s left of it, of an entire tree. At first, we thought the rocks were “grabbed” by the roots as the tree grew. But on close inspection, it is evident that these rocks were decoratively placed. Click to enlarge.

After having been on Whidbey Island now for about two weeks, we have discover a few things. First and foremost is that there is SO much to see here. The island is about 50 miles long and varies in width from, say, less than a mile to maybe 5 miles. At almost every turn of the endless number of roads, views are ever-changing.

Mt. Baker is a prominent feature here. As you travel throughout the area, it always seems to be watching over you. anacortes-bay_mt-baker_20160928_140945This photo of the Anacortes bay and large ship docks was taken on a clear day, a rarity in this neck of the woods.

On another of our day trips, we drove further south on Whidbey Island, beyond Oak Harbor, to the town of Coupeville. We enjoyed the seaport atmosphere of Coupeville’s old town. Not as many shops and historic buildings as other towns, but nice for strolling. coupeville-shop_20160921_140442


This photo is of one of the typical shops backing up to the bay and landing.




The area around North Whidbey includes the Swinomish Indian Tribe and Reservation. In fact, when first arriving in this area, prior to settling in for a month at North Whidbey RV Park, we spent a couple of nights at the Swinomish Casino RV Park just southeast of Anacortes. The actual Reservation and “Community”is across the river from La Conner.



This is a view of downtown La Conner taken from the Rainbow Bridge. La Conner is fast becoming one of our favorite day trip destinations.






Everything is SO green in this area that ANY signs of autumn jump out at you. We caught these trees on fire in the residential and farming area of La Conner.





At the south end of downtown La Conner is the “famous” Rainbow Bridge, which is named for its design resembling a rainbow.





One of the things we really enjoy about La Conner are the shops. Lots of eclectic things that you might not typically run across. And some of the funky items in some shops actually spill out into courtyards and alleys, as if to say “see me”.




Fishing and food from the sea is king in the Puget Sound area of Washington. This art object was one of several along the boardwalk in La Conner. The message seems clear.





Ah, the buildings. We love historic downtowns and buildings, which are abundant here. All of the towns in this area have existed for a longtime and it is nice to see the pride exhibited in the preservation of their respective buildings. This particular one is in La Conner.


Just imagine a perfect weather day, temperature around 70 degrees. And you are strolling along the docks in La Conner with a latte or hot cocoa in hand. Priceless.



So, that’s about it for now. It’s now almost October. We have another two weeks here. Among other things, we’re hoping to go whale watching out of Anacortes and also, we want to take the ferry from the south end of Whidbey Island over to Port Townsend. Stay tuned for my next post.

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