The San Juan Islands


On Thursday, September 20th we pulled into Friday Harbor on San Juan Island at about 7:30 pm. It was just starting to get dark and we were anxious to ride. We rolled off the boat approached a couple of U.S. Customs officers and they let us through without any issue. We pushed up the hill and then waited for the ferry to unload all its autos and then we set out in low light on deserted roads. We rode as the sun set and the moon rose past big fields and dew covered blackberries. That night we slept out under the stars on a bluff overlooking Roche Harbor. During the night we were awoken by random encounters of passing deer. Some running very close to us. In fact, one came between us and our bikes which were about 25 feet away from our sleeping bags. Just before dawn, a deer came running through the woods and slammed into Debi’s bike, breaking off her mirror and leaving deer hair stuck in the bar-end shifter levers.  We were now completely awake and a bit groggy from a choppy nights sleep. Once we were up we found the mirror about ten feet away – broke.

Sunset from the ferry

Approaching Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, WA

Evening approaches on ride to Roche Harbor

As we packed up our sleeping bags and tarp we decided to head down to the marina area and find a little food. Roche Harbor seemed ridiculously wealthy. We walked around the docks checking out boats from all over the world. There is an adorable Post Office right along the dock and we mailed a few post cards to celebrate its unique setting. In the store next door, we bought a paper and ate some cereal at the outdoor tables. A bunch of people were wondering around and it appeared like they were getting ready for a wedding.  Some folks were lost and confused others had intent and plans but most seemed hung over and bothered. After breakfast we rode over to the Reserve Sculpture Park to check things out. This is what we live for: Free Art as outdoor sculpture. After a good feeding on the sculptures we rode off back to Friday Harbor where we hit the yet another grocery store and then cooked some  soup in the park and waited for our ferry to take us to Lopez Island where we would connect with friends. The ferry ride was short and all things were chill on Lopez Island. Once off the boat we stopped in Odlin park and had a snack and played a game of dominoes. We watched some out of town, novice campers set up their camp in the wind which is always amusing. We made a brief stop at the library and then headed off to our friends Mary and Glen who lived  nearby. The locals call the island Slow Pez and for good reason. It moves at one speed which is ideal for us. That night we were invited to a birthday party for a young neighbor. Cake and Ice cream all around!

Mirror on easel in the Reserve Sculpture Park

Stone Sculpture

Pivoting Spoon

On Saturday, September 22nd we checked out the local Farmers Market and Natural Food Coop and bought some goodies for later. We also checked out Neil’s Mall which resides at the transfer station/dump for the island. Here at Neil’s Mall everything is sorted and items of value like clothes, bed frames and household goods are diverted onto tables and racks and people come from all over to peruse all the free stuff. Being on an island, trash is expensive and must be loaded onto barges to be removed. Neil’s Mall is doing an incredible service to help lighten that load. The day had enough time for a nap which always feels great. No need to rush around this island.

That afternoon we rode our bikes out to Shark Reef Park and watched some sea lions out on the rocks. On the way back we found a small roadside stand and bought some veggies and potatoes. When we got back to Glen and Mary’s we cooked dinner for everyone and then headed out to the Lopez Center for Communities and the Arts to see a special event called Piano Mania. All of this just a short walk from our tent. Occasionally, during the night, apples would fall from a tree above our tent. Not too bad odf a deal to wake up to ripe fruit outside your door. Life is good.

Gnarly tree at Shark Reef Park

Shark Reef Park

The next day we slept in in out tent and then headed out on a ride to Watmough Bay. We stopped at the Islandale store and then rode out to Iceberg Point. This special place has actually just been declared a National Monument by President Barack Obama. At the entrance to the park we met a nice Morman fellow and we chatted for a bit about all things good.  That night we bought a whole roasted chicken and devoured it. We seem to be on a whole roasted chicken kick these days. This happened to us in Mexico too. I think it happens when we get tired.

Calm waters on Watmough Bay

Moored in Watmough Bay

Somewhere between Watmough Bay and Iceberg Point

Old Disston Saw as a cool sign pointing the way

Iceberg Point

Another view from Iceberg Point

On Monday, September 24th we went to the amazing library and did some laundry in the common area of the place we were staying. We took a slow walk around the village and made a chicken soup for dinner. After eating we watched The Sting on DVD with our super great hosts! Thank You Glen and Mary for letting us camp out in your front yard and letting us have some of your apples. Loved all the stories! Glen – Maybe we will see you in Yosemite sometime.

Roadside Lopez

Our awesome tent site for the week in the front yard!

Tuesday, September 25th was our last day on Lopez Island. We could have stayed here for a lot longer. Very cool place with lots to explore and plenty of great biking. We managed to get on the 9:30am ferry to Anacortes, WA. Once off the boat we waited for the traffic to dissipate and then we headed into town to find the library. Here we saw a sign that said based on the number of dogs licensed in the city of Anacortes, WA there is 900 pounds of dog shit excreted daily and that you should pick up after your pet. Great and this isn’t even a big town. We made it to the library before it opened so we sat around with a bunch of other early risers waiting for the doors to be unlocked. After finishing up our computer chores we rode across town and stopped at the grocery store for a little more food. Re-supplied, we made our way to the Tommy Thompson Trail that took us out of town.

Now, from Anacortes, WA we will ride south through the Skagit valley and then get back down near the Seattle area in a day or so.

See you soon,



One Response to “The San Juan Islands”

  1. 1 Frank Zangara

    Im just getting all caught up on your never ending world traveling. Great pictures as usual. I went back to work last month after 2 years retired. So I couldn’t bike to the keys this year. I have my eyes on the southern tier in a few years. Stay safe, watch out for the deer. Frank (ret. bike cop)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: