I used to be stationed on the USS Whidbey Island LSD-41 – a ship ported in Virginia Beach not to be confused with the island I heard wonderful things about – weather, tides, whales, and eventually some of my husband’s family; so I have wanted to visit here since 2005. I’ve driven through the state before and even been to Seattle, but this trip was planned with Oak Harbor as my turn around destination with a few days for exploring.
Up at 5:30 and Ed doesn’t feel like running the coffee pot so we boil some water and have some instant coffee. Then he gets out some potatoes, tomatillos, red and yellow bell peppers, some onion, and eggs to make breakfast. We will have fresh Rainier cherries on the side. I feel spoiled being cooked for – restaurants aren’t personal, and I haven’t cooked much since Caleb left – some quinoa and veggie burgers.
We drop Lorraine off at the optometrist office while we run by Napa Auto Parts for a timing belt and gear oil for the Honda; and Albertsons for kale, eggs, and other ingredients. We make it back before she is done getting her eyes dilated, so I have some fun in the office trying on different glasses. Then we drive down to the Beach Park to enjoy the windmill, dock, flowers, statues, bridge, driftwood, and nice weather.
Then I get a tour of Oak Harbor. It doesn’t take long, but I get to see the American Legion where they met – the one next to the police department and city hall. Then it’s back to the house to get changed into safe and warm motorcycle gear that has me feeling like the kid from A Christmas Story. I have on a warm layer and a bright armor layer with chaps and a heavy helmet with a built-in mic so that we can hear each other easily without yelling.
I’m also wearing boots, a do-rag, and Lorraine’s gloves that are a bit small. I thank her for letting me borrow all this, she takes some pictures, gives my camera back, and we’re on the road via a red Honda Gold Wing. We go by barns, fields, and water – we’re surrounded by it. We go uphill, downhill, and around sharp turns as Ed tells me this is the same route used for the Tour de Whidbey – a fundraising bike ride for the General Hospital.
We visit sandy spits, skinny streets, and steep stairs. We stop for the view at the top of Mount Erie and to visit one of the 14 known locations of love padlocks in the U.S. From up here we can see Whidbey NAS, Pass Lake, Cornet Bay, Lake Campbell, Skagit Bay and Island, and islands Hope and Goat. We will continue to explore the north of the island for another hour before finding our way to Deception Pass.
Ed will drop me off on the north end on the inland side and meet me at the south end on the ocean side. I played tourist in full gear with helmet on and learned that this outfit is heavier than it feels to walk in than just sitting down, but a little sweat never hurt anyone – unless they were allergic or it attracted killer bees – maybe then. I got to see Deception Island and people playing on North Beach with driftwood which varies from the other side covered in rocks and gorse.
We drive by the base and up to a park nearby so that Ed can point out where he works without having to deal with the hassle of base. I completely understand – and he’s just a contractor. The navy can have that affect on people even within vicinity of base. Then it’s time to go home for lunch. We will have three cheeses and me two cracker types and Ed some deli meats with a side of mixed nuts and a glass of water.
Our next destination is an hour away in Langley – Whidbey Island is the fourth largest in the contiguous U.S. We drive down to the Chocolate Flower Farm, open daily from 10-5p, to realize that we should’ve called first because they’re closed. No worries though as this brings us to the southern part of my island tour. We stop at Useless Bay Coffee for some caffeine – a small coffee is eight ounces not the 12 I’m used to at Starbucks.
We drive to Fort Casey State Park to see the lighthouse, batteries, and the view. Then we go to Ebey’s Landing NHR to see the prosperous prairie farm, the cemetery with unique headstones, and a blockhouse originally built to be a cabin in 1855. More blockhouses were built by Whidbey settlers to protect themselves from the knives, arrows, and small guns of the Kake Indians. The Davis blockhouse was restored 66 and 86 years after completion.
We conclude our tour with a drive through Coupeville. I make a mental note to return – there is a bakery – Knead and Feed, some cute shops, a museum, and a wharf on the end of the dock. Back at home, I will watch the steaming of the spaghetti squash and the warming of the sauce and cheese bread. Lorraine made the kale salad while we were on the bike and had a small donut, so Ed and I will split a large fritter for dessert.
Ed and Lorraine are subscribed to Netflix giving me a large selection of classics to choose from in their DVD collection and two new ones that they receive in the mail. Tonight’s choice is Gangster Squad where Sean Penn plays an angry mob boss that gets his business destroyed by a secret crew of police. Either too early to read and write or not enough movies in my system I decide to watch Monsters VS Aliens. Not one to give spoilers I will just tell you this: the big girl kicks butt.
Three and a half hours later of watching movies and it’s later than I realize. I Skype my dad after 11:30 pm – he’s where I get my night owl tendencies from. He has heard that I will be visiting my Grama and Aunt Amanda soon and he’s correct. I texted them to let them know that they are the next people on my to-visit list. Technically, I could’ve stopped there first, my aunt’s house being further south, but was able to catch Ed on his days off.