After leaving Seattle, we decided to get closer to the water and the islands of Washington. We were fortunate enough to have visited the San Juan Islands 4 years ago, and really enjoyed our time there. Research proved that transporting our RV in a ferry would cost around $200 (and I'm sure a few headaches), so we settled on the " homebase" of Anacortes. Anacortes worked well for us becouse it was close to the ferry terminals, Bellingham, Deception Pass and somewhat close to Mount Baker National Park.
Finding a campground in Anacortes 2 weeks prior to our arrival, proved difficult as the summer was prime camping season for the area. Nick was also planning on leaving to visit Ohio for a majority of the time, so we wanted to find a campground that seemed some what "safe" for Britt and Buford, and one that she wouldn't need to move the trailer locations. We ended up finding an opening at Thousand Trails La Conner beach campground. It is situated on a Indian Reservation, right off of Skagit Bay and was quite beautiful. The rocky beaches were just a short walk away and great spot to put the kayaks in. It was also very busy- the majority of campers being retired full timers, so Britt felt safe too ;)
Nick was stoked for the area becouse he had already found a bike park he wanted to check out. When Nick weas 14 or so, he and some friends drove up to Chenga World in Cleveland. There, he saw a rider named " Toledo Joe" do a backflip and his mind was blown. Nick went on to ride more bike parks that Toledo Joe helped build in the Ohio area. As it turns out, Joe also built an indoor dirt bike park near our campground. We headed to Burlington Bike Park one of the first nights we were there and Nick had some fun riding on the dirt. We also got to meet Joe and his family, and the boys swapped stories of the old Flow skatepark back in Columbus, OH.
Bellingham was about a 40 minute drive away from Anacortes and we really liked the towns character. It felt like a hip city, right on the water, and had a nice little bike path right along the water. We spent some time checking out Chuckanut Brewery and even made some new friends.
A Washington State Ferry terminal was only about 20 minutes away from La Conner, and offered several choices and islands to visit. Britt decided on Friday Harbor, as it seemed the most friendly port to bike or walk from. The ferry ride took about an hour, and dropped her off right at an island bus shuttle service. Britt wanted to check out Lime Kiln State Park - known as one of the best places in the world for whale spotting. Upon arrival, she was not aware that the shuttle had two lines - a green line and a blue line, and mistakingly got on the green line. Deciding just to go with it, she visited Roche Harbor, best known for a hotel that Teddy Roosevelt visited, and had lunch on the pier. From there, she visited The San Juan Vineyards, and enjoyed spending time with other visitors. When dropping her off at the vineyard, the bus driver assured her she would be back to pick her up in 45 minutes. Well, the bus came, and drove right by her. Not wanting the bus after that to miss her as well, and possibly missing her ferry, she called the shuttles main office. The manager and owner of the shuttle company was so kind, and came to pick her up personally. They got to talking, and she found out that his wife is a curator at The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor. The manager offered to drop her off at the museum, and Britt happily spent the next hour learning about the different whales and pods that travel through the San Juans.
Four years ago, when visiting the San Juans, we took a whale watching tour with a small boating company owned by naturalists. It was such a great experience- we felt that the company really respected and cared for the wildlife and it didn't hurt that we saw multiple whales breaching with Mt. Baker in the background. This time around, we went with a bigger company based out of Anacortes, and it was just "ok". What we took away from this experience was to take the time and do better research on the companies we decided to hand our money too. It wasn't a horrible experience by any means, but these whale watching tours are spending a lot of time in the water, and we would like to support people who are working hard to protect the wildlife and keeping them wild. During our tour in Anacortes, we were lucky enough to have the K and J pods come right up to our boats and swim by.