Sunday, April 5, 2015

End of an Era

Old Chinook origin story is etched on the table

After a wonderful ramble through Oregon, we crossed the four-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge that spans the mouth of the Columbia River. We were eager to see the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment, as well as the installations for the Confluence Project designed by Maya Lin. This interesting series of works was envisioned by Native elders collaborating with landscape architects to reflect elements of ecology and culture that were in place when the Lewis and Clark expedition described their findings 200 years ago. There are actually seven Confluence Project sites along the Columbia River and the Cape Disappointment displays were the first to be installed a decade ago as part of the bicentennial celebration of the famous expedition. We were disappointed in Cape Disappointment but only because we arrived on a day when the Interpretation Center was closed. But we enjoyed walking around the sites with few other tourists and no distractions other than the very interesting landscapes.

Lewis and Clark artwork along bike trail
We stayed a couple of nights in the little seacoast town of Long Beach, which touts itself as home of the “Longest Beach in the World.” Town planners and citizens are obviously proud of the eight miles of paved pathway that winds through the dunes between the town and the Pacific Ocean. We got our bikes out and enjoyed a few miles of this trail, vowing to return to this beautiful place (which happens to be close to home) sometime when the weather is a little warmer. From there we wound up through little logging towns and coastal waterways that make up the southwest corner of Washington State. Highway 101 did not fail to deliver a bounty of natural vistas and quirky communities that were just as interesting as those along this road further south. Then we left Highway 101 at Hoodsport where we climbed up towards the Staircase area of Olympic National Park and the cabin of Janna’s sister and brother-in-law. There we met up with Addy and Al as well as our daughters and grandkids from Vashon Island, and  had a delightful weekend of family fun including a disk golf course through waist-high salal and a short hike to Lake Cushman. The grandkids got to ride with us in Lilypad back to Vashon Island and were excellent pilots from the back window when Grandma Liz had to back down the winding ramp to get on the ferry at the Southworth ferry terminal.

Today we are still on Vashon Island, at Wishing Rock Farm, home to these (aforementioned)  lovely daughters and beautiful grandkids, and also home to a growing quail egg-production operation which has resulted in delicious bite-size Easter eggs as well as the fun of  brand new tiny quail chicks, born today. It’s also the home of the Wishing Rock Farm Retreat, a very comfortable loft above the barn that has been made available to us these last two weeks. We have been cleaning out Lilypad, learning more about this island, and beginning to make the transition to a life of watching the same scenery every day. But, no complaints: it will be fine scenery and we are ready to stop travelling, at least for a while. 

Tomorrow we’ll be at our cabin on San Juan Island where we’ll stay the summer before returning to look for a house on Vashon when the fall weather makes the cabin uncomfortable.. This move will allow us to be able to spend more time with grandchildren, still returning to San Juan Island every spring to mow the grass and pull the Scot’s Broom and remove plastic refuse from the beach. We are ready to do some nesting on each of our islands and look forward to renewing old friendships and finding new ones. We are ready to settle down for a while. And we hope to spend a lot of time making music.

Thanks for bringing us home safe, Lilypad
But it is with great sadness that Liz will drive Lilypad one last time tomorrow morning, as Janna follows in the Honda, up to a consignment RV dealer in Everett, Washington. Our Winnebago Aspect has been a steadfast steed and home for the last 18 months, safely transporting us 35,000 miles all over North America. She’s braved hail and rainstorms, windy nights and even snow, keeping us warm, dry and securely asleep in comfortable beds. She’s been the dining room for countless cups of tea and scrumptious meals made from local ingredients, wherever we were. Her windows and windshield have been our “big screen” and we’ve enjoyed every manner of gorgeous views, parked for the night or just for lunch or a nap. She’s taken us to so many historical and culturally rich places we feel we’ve learned enough to qualify for an advanced degree in American Studies. And now after a rigorous mechanical check-up and detailed cleaning she is ready for someone else’s great adventure. We are sad to see her go.

And so ends our journey. So ends our blog. For us, it is the end of an era. We thank you, faithful readers. We have loved having you along with us. 

1 comment:

  1. We too, were just at confluence project JUne 2015! Right by that fish station! Ruby comes to Olympia second half of July and wondering if Illg Beach might be available for a night or two, or alternatively, that motel that is kind of upscale in downtown San Juan (if you could give us the name it would help). Howr you guys? Send us a report at Love KK and the Captain