Days One to Three

Our tip so far can be summed up in one word: beautiful!

Day One

We left Tucson in the pre-dawn dark for a drive to Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix and flew to San Francisco. San Francisco is huge, has atrocious traffic, and is gorgeous.


Cinda wanders one of the galleries at Sky Harbor Airport

We blasted right out in our little rental (a silver Toyots Yaris I named Pearl) and across the parched landscape of northern California.


We crossed Lake Shasta which is fed by snowmelt from a number of streams, Including Doney Creek, below. Likely, all the rivers and streams are much like Doney – nearly no water. We saw far too many that were bone dry, and trees along their banks were dead or dying.


The old sign on the bridge over Doney Creek just added insult to its trickle.


In the middle of all this drought, we passed by fifty miles – fifty miles! – of cropland, all planted. Much was in trees, and most of those were almonds, at a cost of one gallon per almond. No wonder the state is running out of water!

Mount Shasta was gorgeous! We caught glimpses of her along the route to Yreka where we spent the night.


The drive left me certain of two things. First, California’s drought is very real. Second, I need to plan a two-week visit to this gorgeous area. Highway 5 is not the way to see Northern California.

Best sign of the day: Guided Goose Hunting.

Day Two

Cinda and I awoke early to the sound of geese passing by. We did not tell them of the sign we’d seen the previous day.

We were off again before dawn to missed seeing the gorgeous mountains we passed through, but this was compensated by the brilliant star-filled sky and a sweet quarter moon.

Past Ashland, Eugene, and Grants Pass. For so long they have been words on a map, and finally I was able to place them in my mind. We stopped for gas in Grants Pass where the 58-degree temperature bothered our desert-warm bones, but locals were out and about in shorts.

We did a bit of noodling so I could catch some photos.


Then on through Portland and were in Washington State for lunch. Mount Rainier was buried in clouds, but we did see Mount St. Helen, her flat top exposed due to her last eruption.

We were in Edmonds, north of Seattle, in time for a lovely afternoon on the deck of Cinda’s friend, a fab dinner on the deck and a relaxing night’s sleep.

Day two left me certain that I needed much time up in the Northwest. Portland alone could take a week.

Day Three

And now the real fun began! A quick trip to Trader Joe’s and we were on our way to Anacortes, on Fidalgo Island. We hit a little drive-through coffee stand where I got a great espresso and a marionberry scone.

What is a marionberry? I have no idea, but it was fab in a scone.

We arrived early for the ferry and I put the time to good use.



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A forty-five minute ferry ride and we were on Orcas Island! We noodled a bit and joined up with another of Cinda’s friends for the night.



Leaving the ferry at Orcas Island

We toured the island even more with my new friend, including a drive up to Constitution. Gorgeous views from both part-way up and from the top.


These two were headed out in their kayak



The Olgas Post Office. We spent the night in Olgas, at the far side of Orcas Island from the ferry landing.

One highlight was a trip up Mt. Constitution. The views from the top were gorgeous.


That’s Cinda at the top of the tower.

And just as we were about to walk back down, the clouds parted and we finally saw Mt. Rainier! Except it turned out to be Mt. Baker. Oh, well!


After a lovely night in absolute island silence, we did a bit more roaming


and hopped the ferry back to Anacortes to continue our journey.

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Published by Emilie

I'm a retired instructor from a community college where I taught Developmental English and Reading as well as English as a Second Language. I'm also now a published author of a bilingual children's book entitled. Luisa the Green Sea Turtle - Luisa la Tortuga Verde del Mar. It's available from me, through Amazon, and is in a few (more and more each day!) bookstores.

Join the Conversation


  1. Maybe-maybe-maybe meet me in Portland when I go visit the kids? Can’t spend a week in Portland, but the drive along the Columbia River Gorge to Kennewick would be fantastic!!! Deal????? Love the pictures!

  2. Wonderful! We’re having similar trips, and I look forward to the next update. Enjoy!


    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Wonderful pictures!! Keep them coming!

    There were two beautiful ladies heading out in their kayak, where were the other two beauties headed?

    Keep having fun and taking pictures that I’m enjoying it from here!

  4. Beautiful photos! It brings back wonderful memories of my time in the northwest…and I want to go back for a visit. too. I’m looking forward to rest of you and Cinda’s journey!

  5. Good to follow your Adventure, and everything is going so well. It sounds like things are living up to or surpassing your expectations. Keep it up! 👍

  6. Your photos are spectacular–particularly like the one with the fog. And so glad your ferry trips were uneventful! Looks like the kind of trip that rekindles the spark of creativity in the heart and feeds the soul! Congratulations on taking the step out of comfort to make it happen!

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