(Slowly) Traversing the Cascades

Thought for the Day (Click here)

Leaving Idaho, we selected a northerly, and reputedly most scenic route: the Northern part of the Cascade Loop Highway. To get to this, we first stopped at Clearwater Canyon Winery in Lewiston, Id. Dick is a charter member of their Wine Club, and they treated us very well! Then we had to drive through a lot of Washington Plains. Freshly harvested Barley fields. And not much else. For Miles. And Miles. However, we did for a little bit have the pleasure of driving past the Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph Dams and along the Columbia River. During Apple Harvest.

The Cascades were absolutely all they were reputed to be. Some grades and switchbacks…but none too severe for the Bus. Our GPS looked like this for most of the drive, though (note the speed and grade profile).

The Perfect Campsite in Rockport, WA

The scenery was magnificent! I assume. I was pretty focused on keeping the bus between the lines.

After the Cascade drive, we stopped at Howard Miller County Park in Rockport, WA. This is just west of the Cascades, and right on the Skagit river. A GEM of a place.

The Greatest Little RV Park…Howard Miller in Rockport, WA

Liz’s morning workout was Zen-like in peacefulness.

Next we headed to Anacordes, Wa…the folks in the next spot to ours @ Howard Miller (Paddy and his wife, Queenie…you cannot make this stuff up!) said the Marina there has Dry Camping for $20 and is right “downtown.” They said downtown isn’t much, but the bowling alley has great breakfast and — Good thing “Dry Camping” does not extend to the surrounds — there are a couple of nice beer places! And, being a marina, one would assume it is right on the water!

Anacordes RV Parking

It was! On the water AND a great location – downtown was very nice with lots of shops and restaurants. We did miss the Oyster-Run, which happens next weekend. Not sure how Oysters actually run…would have been interesting to find out.

One-of-a-kind Airstream

But we did have the good fortune of seeing a “one-of-a-kind” Trailer in the Marina Lot. Apparently Airstream made as an experiment 8 trailers with a “garage” on the back…intended to hold bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, etc.

And, also a really not-that-unusual event…We were walking down the nice little main street when I get a call from an unknown Washington number. Turns out, Mike and Ginnie, fellow Bluebirders who live in Anacordes, were standing in front of our bus, hoping we were “home.”

We were not at the moment home, so we met them where they were having lunch, then followed them to the local Eagle Aerie for a beer (and they sponsored us for membership…another free RV parking option as we travel). And, they offered us the ONE crab they had caught that day. And they recommended a local place for local seafood and local views over the shipping channel at local prices. And, if that all wasn’t enough, they made us promise to return to Anacordes and stay at their place overlooking the Pacific. We don’t need much convincing, Anacordes, which was an accidental stop, is AWESOME and we will be back.

“DO NOT TAKE THE BLUE BIRD! The road is one lane in many places and you will likely find yourself trying to reverse up a narrow (sometimes one lane) coastal road on more than one occasion. Take the Clown Car and enjoy. Do not take the bus.”

Leaving Anacordes, we were recommended by several friends in Vancouver to drive the “Chuckanut” Coastal Highway (actual name…once again, you cannot make this up) north towards Vancouver. There was a catch, disclosed to us by ONLY ONE of the many recommendors, Jack Christensen! Hmmm. Perhaps we actually aren’t that welcome in Canada?

So we stuck to our original plan…Interstate 5, stopping one night in Ferndale WA, which is about an hour from the border to Canada. Our Ferndale goal is to make sure we are transporting ONLY necessary (and enough) fluids (if you know what I mean) and also to tanker as much diesel and propane and gasoline as we can (even when “Mr. Harvey goes to Houston” I think all of these are still cheaper south of the border).

Liz has also been very diligent at “Inventory Control” with regard to the wine

Anticipating the border crossing into Canada, we worked to pare down the liquor cabinet. Which means we only bought a couple bottles at Clear Water Canyon, Liz has also been very diligent at “Inventory Control” with regard to the wine, and we have been sharing with friends along the way. For example, Scotch with the Russells in Shoshone, Id. and Margaritas with the Stubbs in New Meadows, Id.

We are hoping that Canadian Border “control” will be as flexible and cheerful at Blaine, Washington as they were near Montreal!

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