September 11 dawned bright. We were up and at it early so we had time to clean the house and prepare for our day’s journey, which would take us from San Juan Island, through Anacortes, WA on Fidalgo Island, to Deception Pass State Park and then Coupeville before over-nighting in Oak Harbor.
The map on the left shows our route. The first leg, from Friday Harbor to Anacortes, was on a very large Washington State Ferry. I thought for sure that the M/V Elwha was one of the biggest boats in the system. But according to the WSDOT website, there are five that are larger. It’s hard to imagine bigger ferries. The Elwha is 382 feet long and 73 feet across!
Unless you’ve seen tractor-trailers, school buses, RVs, etc. boarding easily and walked around its multiple levels and decks, I think it is hard to imagine the size of the vessel. You’ll just have to trust me when I say it is really darn BIG.
We got to Friday Harbor early enough that Annelies and I had time to shop while the boys waited in the car, which we’d parked in the ferry queue. We had time for some pictures, too.
Those flowers were outside the public restroom, inside of which occurred one of the most-amusing moments of the trip.
Let me just say, it’s a little disconcerting when your friend, who has already told you she really needs to use the bathroom, is in a neighboring bathroom stall when she laugh/squeals then exclaims, “Oh my GOD, I have got to take a picture of this.”
My first thought, of course, was an interesting piece of stool, which even I would NEVER photograph. I was very relieved when this was the image I saw…
That IS pretty funny.
Some other pics we captured in Friday Harbor…
We bought some souvenirs and picnic provisions and then headed back to the car as boarding time was imminent.
I will never tire of riding ferries, or any other boat, among the San Juan Islands.
After disembarking, which happens surprisingly quickly, we headed to Deception Pass State Park. Part of the park is on the southern tip of Fidalgo Island and the other part is on the northern tip of Whidbey Island. A famous bridge connects the two islands at Deception Pass.
The Deception Pass bridge is actually two bridges, there’s a small island in between the two spans, that connects Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands. In total, it’s 1,487 feet long (Canoe Pass span: 511 feet, Deception Pass Span: 976 feet), with a road width of 22 feet and 3-foot sidewalks on each side. The cantilever bridge is approximately 180 feet from the water (depending on tides).
Currents through the Deception Pass strait are quite impressive. The tidal flow beneath the twin bridges is very strong and the current reaches a speed of about 8 knots (9.2 mph) during ebb and flood tide.
We stopped on the Fidalgo Island side first.
After admiring the bridge up-close, we continued on into the Whidbey Island side of the park.
We spent a lot more time at the park than we’d anticipated, so we had to boogie to reach our hotel before nightfall. Plus, we were all getting hungry.
After quickly checking into our hotel and off-loading some stuff in our rooms, we continued on to Coupeville.
We chose Toby’s Tavern based on Yelp reviews which summed the place up as quirky a local favorite with good seafood. That’s where another favorite vacation moment occurred. Yves had ordered mussels. When he grabbed the plate being passed across the table by the waitress, the bowl slid a bit and brushed his hand.
“Ooh,” he said, “it’s hot.”
“Well, yeah,” said the waitress without hesitation, “if it was cold, you’d bitch.”
Hysterical. We all cracked up, then assured the slightly concerned waitress that she hadn’t offended us. We all laugh a lot when we’re together, which is one of the reasons we all love each other so much.
It was the perfect ending to a perfect, but long, day. Sadly, it was our last full day together of the trip.
Up next, we continue south and meet up with some family.
Installment 1: In the Beginning (Friday, August 30 – Monday, Sept 2)
Installment 2: Portland Morning (Tuesday, Sept 3)
Installment 3: Exploring the City of Portland (morning of Tuesday, Sept 3)
Installment 4: Beyond Portland (afternoon of Tuesday, Sept 3)
Installment 5: Olympic Peninsula, Here We Come!
Installment 6: First Rain Forest Hike & Another Gorgeous Beach
Installment 7: Hurricane Ridge at Olympic National Park
Installment 8: Madison Creek Falls & Lake Crescent
Installment 9: Hoh Rain Forest
Installment 10: Rialto Beach
Installment 11: Getting to San Juan Island
Installment 12: Enjoying San Juan Island
Installment 13: Whales!