I grew up in Seattle and even though I left soon after high school, I still feel very much at home here. I love being surrounded by water and green trees, ferry boats and distant mountains. But I’m getting ahead of myself since we made a few stops along the way.
Back in Mexico, we spent a few days of melting at the dock in San Carlos which made us ready to leave the heat for a while and head to someplace cool; so we headed to Phoenix (109 degrees), and Sacramento (90’s). But first we had to put Happy Dance to bed for her long summer’s nap, and make sure that a hurricane wouldn’t wake her up. We doubled the dock lines and removed the sails, tied down the dinghy, replaced the halyards with messenger lines, cleaned every nook and cranny, emptied the refrigerator and freezer, pickled the water maker, stored the toys below decks and turned everything off except the bilge pump. You get the idea; Happy Dance was as ready as possible for us to leave her.
So the next morning at dawn we hopped into a taxi to get to the bus station to get to the airport to get to a taxi to get to a hotel, with…air conditioning! What a wonderful invention. We slept like logs that night; under a blanket! The next day we started family visits; first in Phoenix to see Marty’s 102 year old Grandmom, his Uncle and cousins, then off to Sacramento to see the rest of the McDaniel clan and especially the newest member, our Grand Nephew, 2 month old Zachary Lee. Loads of 4th of July family fun and silliness, along with plenty of awesome bar-b-que (thanks Ross). And even though the main 4th of July fireworks show was cut short by a shell blowing sideways we still enjoyed some spectacular bangs!
From Sacramento we flew to Seattle, rented a car and drove to Eastern Washington to see the Cunningham clan. We visited beautiful spots on Lake Osoyoos in Oroville, enjoying the quiet views, best ribs ever, apple trees and rowboats. Marty even had the opportunity to try out “el drono” again, and with success this round (though a few trees were trimmed!).
From Oroville we took a side trip into Canada, heading past a crazy spotted lake, beautiful mountains full of forest fires and smoke, and stayed a night at Harrison Hot Springs. We walked the lake, checked out the hot springs, laughed at a floating blow-up water park, and soaked in sulphur hot springs…ahhhh. After we were noodles we walked back to our hotel for another lovely night of cold air and blankets.
Heading back to Seattle required a bit of guess-work on routes since we no longer have a cell phone or any way to get GPS directions while on land. I guess we could bring the chart plotter with us, but I’m not sure how we’d get it out of the boat! So we do what all sailors do, we steered by the sun, heading south and west, until we came around a corner and voila – the border crossing!
Those poor border patrols; it’s always a bit confusing for the immigration agents to understand our living situation.
Agent: “Where do you live?”
Sue: “On our sailboat in Mexico.”
Agent: “Where do you keep your car?”
Sue: “We don’t own a car, this is a rental.”
Agent: “Where did you rent the car?”
Sue: “In Burien.”
Agent: (Puzzled face…) (Giving up on me and leaning down to peer at Marty)…”Martin, do you live in Renton?”
Marty: “I did many years ago.”
Agent: (back to me…) “Where did you come from today?”
Sue: “My brother’s house in Oroville”.
Agent: “How did you get to Oroville?”
Sue: “We drove from Seattle.”
Agent: “So you flew from Mexico to Seattle?” (another puzzled face)…and on and on…until the important question…”Did you buy anything in Canada?”
Sue: “Two bottles of wine.”
Agent: “Welcome home, have a nice day!”
And with that we were back in the good ol’ U.S. of A. We drove down Chuckanut Drive to Skagit Valley to enjoy the view, some clam chowder, with a stop at Deception Pass to watch the whirlpools, finally landing at Coupeville to see friends there, and to visit our 8′ x 10′ shed that holds all our earthly possessions that don’t fit on Happy Dance. We opened the door, looked in, shut the door and walked away…yep, our stuff is still there and we don’t seem to need any of it so it will stay there for now!
From Coupeville we rode the ferry down to Seattle, missing it by one car, just like the good ol’ days! I tried to drop Marty off at Boeing as we passed by, but he decided to stay retired. We drove down I5 with memories going into overload, and ended up at REI. This isn’t your everyday REI, this is the mother ship! It’s such a culture shock to go from Mexico to a land of materialism on steroids. We get caught up so easily, but then we remember; where the heck would we put it?
So now we’re enjoying some lovely days in Seattle staying with my cousins in the little house that my great-grandfather built on Three Tree Point. It’s been great to take walks on the beach (and yes, I found an agate!) and hear of all the family haps. We’ve had a few visitors and hope to plan a few more. We’ll sleep to the sound of the waves on the shore, watch the freighters go back and forth, watch the tides come and go, and plan our upcoming travels. It’s always fun to come home, even as a wayward visitor!