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J, M, and J down by the water
We woke up to a misty morning with the sound of occasional fog horns. It burned off by noon, to clear blue skies.

Burning off Bainbridge

We hung around til we absolutely had to make it on the evening ferry.

Saturday pace
We spent today doing a mostly nothing: hanging by the water and walking along the beach, swimming in the heated pool, switching off with the hot tub, and eating some home-cooked meals.

Lavender

Funny, the tennis rackets never came out to hit C’s court and we never went hiking in the woods nearby. Just not a high energy kinda day.

Icons

We wrapped up the late night with a campfire by the water.

McKinley, watching over us
I wouldn’t, couldn’t have missed this camping trip.

Despite a few very minor setbacks in our trip logistics — once I hit the road, I found my friends’ campsite easily. Captain Amy found us a site near a runoff river from Lake Cle Elum. When I arrived it was past 80 degrees and the sky was perfect.

Talkin Story at the Fire

After dark, various neighbors we’d met during the day on the river came through our group’s camp area. We sat and talked and handed out marshmallows. The most memorable guest would have to be Jim, a loquacious yet friendly and well-meaning fellow who was a bit rosy around the neck. Jim showed up when he needed a break from the family squabble happening with the people he came with (not his kin, and never will be).

We got to chatting with and came away with our trip catch phrase:
That dog will not hunt.

Applied usage: If those crackhead campers two sites over start screaming about their missing pipe between 2 and 6 AM tonight like they did last night, THAT DOG WILL NOT HUNT. Ain’t happening. They been warned.

(Jim and another fellow brokered an agreement during the day amongst several sites, all banding together in the common goal of ensuring a good night’s sleep in the forest. It worked.)

The conversation veered into his recent past. Jim’s taking off soon for the Alaskan Highway. He worked in AK for years — half the year at the Pipeline, the other half here in WA, until he was injured in ’96. He divorced six months ago after 35 years of marriage. He’s been living in his camper.

He’s says he’s going back to a place where things still make sense.

Week 4: Our Instructor + Our Boat
Our instructor, Ross, and our little ship

Today was our fourth and final week of Sailing. I felt least newbie of all the weeks, and even did okay on our final exam. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that knots are easy with practice, the wind is a whole world of its own to learn about, and I’m surprisingly tired the day afterward. Two hours non-stop on the water running a small boat takes more out of you than you think. We’ll go back for race night Fridays soon, though. And maybe bigger boats down the line.

Next on our agenda: Whidbey Island. I was recruited to help a dear friend move her stuff from a former home back to a place closer to Seattle. This friend happens to be on the other side of a great big ocean, so there was a bit of choreography as I was the one present to be the Stage Manager. We went up to Langley tonight to be ready for the morning move schedule.

Kittitas

Our ferry.

The Sound to Whidbey Island

Our passage.

Langley, Whidbey Island

Our sunset after a fine dinner at Prima Bistro, in “downtown” Langley.

Prima’s a fine stop on a main lane through Langley. As we scanned the bistro’s menu out front, a couple told us that they were returning for a second night in a row — they strongly encouraged us to join, too. Mr. T was hooked by the French-inspired menu and we spent a fair amount of time on our ordering strategy. The bar service was tops — I loved the Salt and Pepper cocktail. If you’re lucky to sit on the roof deck, they’ll even bring you blankets when the sun starts going down.

Prima Bistro on Urbanspoon

On the Ferry
My friend C invited me and a few other friends to her place on Bainbridge Island. I love a ferry ride.

I should take ferries more often.

Lots of couples on this route.

Once I got there, we had some business to take care of, some fires to burn.

we might be through with The Past

Camano Island
The women in Mr. T’s family held their annual Girls’ Weekend at Aunt C’s on Camano Island. I loved taking part in this — and felt so lucky to be included. They are a smart & welcoming group.

I wasn’t sure how much they’d like me taking their pictures, so I mostly stuck with nature and the younger crowd. 🙂

Skate Night
Tonight, skating in ol’ Lynnwood, with motomotoyama, Ms. N, & friends!

If I hadn’t planned to skate for so long, I might’ve taken a fancier camera which could have better captured this man with the neon-lit spinner rollerskate wheels:
Skate Night

headed north
Celine instigated today’s bike ride out on the Snohomish Centennial Trail — we met at the trailhead near Snohomish, to bike to Arlington. The day started rainy (see above), but I think we lucked out with only a 30 second sprinkling close to the end of our 50 mile ride. Our total bike time was about 4 hours.
Just finished: Snohomish Centennial Trail. Decent day for a 4 hour  ride.
Our gang of 6 stopped halfway for Mexican food at Playa Bonita in Arlington’s downtown. Everyone scarfed down the chips ‘n salsa & who doesn’t love a lunch combo special on a Sunday afternoon? Good times.
ms. nMid-ride margaritas
Naomi's bikeWatch for Cougars!

Playa Bonita on Urbanspoon

Lake Cle Elum
This morning, I planned to stay low-key all day. But with 10 minutes to spare, decided to join Mr. T on a kayaking trip through the arboretum for a friend’s birthday. We saw baby ducklings!
Ducklings! Feasting on their Lunch.
We followed with a delicious meal at Agua Verde. I was in such a peppy mood, I decided to head east to Cle Elum, to meet up with friends there. I got a little lost on my way back from the lake but at least I got some great views out of the situation. The lake is so close (an hour), but felt like far Eastern Washington with its heat and sunshine. Must revisit.
Lake Cle Elum


The G shucking left-handed. Or backwards, take your pick!

The Gastrognome tipped me off last month to this year’s first Walrus and the Carpenter Picnic tonight. During low tide, Jon Rowley took us southwest of Olympia to Totten Inlet for a nighttime beach picnic. The forecast correctly warned of the constant drizzle, but luckily we arrived with warmer wintry temps in the 50s. I surprised myself by hardly noticing the rain, save for moments when I brandished the camera.
Lanterns on the beachoyster beds
There were lanterns at the Taylor Shellfish‘s oyster beds and a campfire in the midst of four canopies set up with four kinds of oysters: Kumamoto, Pacifica, Olympia, and Totten Virginica. My favorites: Kumamotos and Virginicas.

After we had our fill of oysters fresh off the beach & at the canopies, lo and behold Xinh had smoked oysters and oyster stew waiting for us before we boarded the bus back to Seattle. The darkness and the camaraderie set a great mood & this stew was one of the most delicious and satisfying I’ve had.

I felt like I earned my Pacific Northwest stripes last night, intentionally going for a picnic on a rainy January evening and having a GREAT time.

If you have a chance to make one of the later picnics, go for it.

How come no one wore this on the beach?
Found in the cargo hold at the end of the evening — who planned to sport this catchy number?

M$
Mr. T’s parents invited all of us over for a perfect fall dinner. Mr. T’s comes by his gardening bug honestly — his father grew the potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, and lettuce for our dinner.

Since we were on the Eastside, Mr. T took us on a quick drive near his company’s new Eastside campus before dinner. After dinner, I reminded everyone it would be convenient to show my mom & bro an opposing, more famous campus in Redmond. You wouldn’t need 3 guesses to figure out who thought this idea was silly. We drove over there anyway.

Packing up and out
It started raining around 10 PM yesterday. By 10 AM today, we decided to pack it in and head back home. It was gonna be way too miserable to stick around. Better luck next time.

This was one of the final moments before we headed out.

Olympic Peninsula
For five years now (with the exception of one year where there was a work conflict), we’ve vacationed with friends on the July 4th weekend. The first two years were to Vancouver, BC. This year, and two years ago, we went to the Olympic Peninsula. The drive is long, but almost always worth it.

Saturday Night Campfire
After a good camp breakfast, our gang headed to the water where sprizee and her Dude fished. I read my Audacity book and took pictures randomly. Mr. T and the Baron hung out on the rocky beach. Wheelson headed into more civilized areas briefly, but joined us later at the water.

We milled about for a few overcast hours then headed down to Fields Point Landing, another marina down Lakeshore. The tiny bugs were out in force, so we gave up the lazing about and the frisbee-throwing for Chelan, where we found ice cream generally and sprizee found fudge specifically.

Dinner was back at the camp over the fire, which we kept going late, late, late. After the overcast, the night owls got to see the stars.

Cisco's Authentic Mexican - Entiat, WA
Mr. T and I left with the Baron straight after work to drive almost 4 hours to Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park at Lake Chelan. Sprizee, her Dude, and her Dude’s longtime BFF (do boys have those?) met up with us later en route, as they left town earlier.

Since we would be making it to the campsite close to dark, we needed to eat elsewhere beforehand. Recently, another Seattle blogger wrote about Cisco’s near Chelan so I took notes for the upcoming occasion (you should read her, too). We had a great dinner, we met Cisco and we left happy. He’s got a great place going on there. What did we learn today, kids? Cook your shrimp in butter.

We arrived at our campsite after dark. The park was still busy and we were able to set up quickly with our RV neighbor’s lighting. Some neighbors were pretty damn noisy into the wee hours while another RV clan had their peace pipes going. We survived. And how!

Frogger on the Nisqually Delta

This morning, Maya picked me up at the crack of dawn to meet up with some folks to drive down to the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. The weather was COLD, but not too bad for our 5.5 mile walk around the delta. We saw this guy pretty early into the hike. His big buddy, Toad, hung out nearby, too well-camouflaged on an old board for photography purposes.

Carcassone Creatures

One of Mr. T’s colleagues/friends had a small gang over to his place in Bellevue for dinner. Eventually, we were supposed to play Carcassone, but the chit-chit lasted so late, we had to head back before we could begin. Fun dinner, hopefully we can go back soon.

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