Sunday, October 9, 2016

Weekend in Washington -- Bellingham / Whidbey Island / Seattle Elliott Bay Trail

We spent the weekend visiting a daughter in college.

Saturday,  October 8, 2016

First activity was watching her run with her WWU XC team on a very rainy, cold, wintery Saturday morning.

We understand it is the Pacific Northwest and it rains all the time there, but even she said "This is much harder than it normally rains."

And then rain and squiggly things got on my lens. Of course, on probably the best picture I got of her.

Tall trees on the road to Lake Padden where the race was held.

After getting drenched at the race we went back to our hotel and put our clothes in the dryer, after stopping by the grocery store to get a box of rice to put one of our phones in to try to dry it out since the rain had appeared to kill it.  Good news, after letting it dry out in the rice for the entire weekend, it eventually ended up getting back to working order, thankfully.

Later in the afternoon we met back up with the daughter, had Vietnamese noodle bowls for supper at Pho 99, then she took us on a short driving tour after Bellingham, showing us her favorite sites.

Cool painting on a downtown Fairhaven building.

She took us up onto Chuckanut Mountain

with its view out over Bellingham Bay

We then went north of town to visit Locust Beach. She said this is an amazing place to watch the sunset, but the entire day had been rainy and overcast, so no sunset tonight. As this article alludes to, it's not the easiest beach to access. There is a lot of walking to get to it, both from where we (questionably legally) parked and then down many, many steps built from railroad ties in the side of a steep bluff.

We finished off the evening and our time with her with ice cream at Mallard Ice Cream in downtown Bellingham.

They are known for their interesting and inventive ice cream flavors. He tried the Corriander, she had Licorice. Both were yummy!!

Sunday, October  9, 2016 -- Afternoon

With no concrete plans for this day, other than being to our hotel in Seattle by evening, we decided to check out Whidbey Island on the way back.

We drove through Deception Pass State Park to get onto the island.

Saw a bald eagle

Walked out onto Deception Pass Bridge before we drove over it.

More truthfully, "he" walked out onto it. She stood at the edge and took his picture. 

We paid our $10 day fee to get into Fort Casey State Park

so we could visit Admiralty Head Lighthouse, one of the two lighthouses on the island.

Then we walked down a short sandy path to enjoy a brief view of Admiralty Inlet from atop the bluff

The second lighthouse on the island, Bush Point Lighthouse, is not open to the public. See the welcoming sign?

It is on private property in a residential area. The road down to it had numerous signs warning "Tsunami Area."  I'm not sure that's a place I would want to live.

As we parked our car on the residential street to get out to take our pictures, we got the stinkeye from some people going into a house. *Shrugs* We got out and took our pictures anyway. Rebels been rebels since I don't know when.

Then she wanted to find a sandy (not rocky) beach that we could walk on for a while and listen to the waves and watch the seagulls and cute little shore birds. Google told us Double Bluff Beach was "the sandiest on Whidbey, reminiscent of the sandy beaches you would expect to find in areas like Southern California." It sounded like that was what she was looking for, so we headed to the south end of the island to visit this beach. 

The remnants of someone's heart made out of shells

Lots of driftwood was washed up on this beach.

Including this entire large trunk of a tree. 

And there were many lean-tos built out of said driftwood along this beach.

Truthfully, I was pretty disappointed in our visit to this beach. There was literally not one single seagull or shore bird to be found anywhere. And you know why we think that was?  Unbeknownst to us at the time, this is a very well known "open leash beach" and there was indeed a plethora of dogs running everywhere.  In fact, I believe we were the only people we saw on the beach who did NOT have a dog with them.

But, hey, a beach is a still a beach, right? And I definitely can't see one of those just any day where I live either, (sigh.........) So, make the best of it and move on.

While we sat in our car at the Clinton to Mukilteo ferry waiting area to take us back to the mainland, I was able to get a shot of this group of seagulls sitting on a wire. Hi, cute little seagulls! I think the ferry charge was only $8 or so. We didn't think that was too bad.

As the ferry approached Mukilteo, the light in the lighthouse came on for us! I thought that was cool.

We needed to get to Seattle to get our bike ride in before it got dark, so we didn't have time to stop and visit this lighthouse, which is the Mukilteo Light Station. Maybe we can on other trip.

Sunday, October 9, 2016 -- Evening

We drove to downtown Seattle to rent bikes from the Pronto Bike Share. We have ridden on these type of bike share system in several large cities (Houston, San Antonio, San Diego -- that blog post is sadly not written yet) and have always been happy with the experience as it enabled us to get bike rides in on trips where we have flown to our destination and weren't able to bring our bikes with us.

It turns out this Seattle bike system apparently has not been too successful and is being scrapped, a decision that was made in the 6 weeks after we used the system for this ride. The troubles apparently started in March 2016 (article here) and the city threw quite a bit of money at it to prop it up and get it going. The date of our ride was 10/09/2016. Just a few days later, this 10/13/2016 article states the city was planning to change to bike share system to using electric bikes. However, the death knell for the entire system seems to have finally rung, as this 11/28/2016 article states the program will end in March 2017, and the replacement system they had been working on is also officially dead

So, as I write this blog post in mid-April 2017, this serves as a pictorial history of Seattle's now defunct bike-share program

We were very happy with our ride on the Pronto bikes along the Elliott Bay Trail.

They even had helmet rentals at the bike kiosk (sign said it was the law). This was the first bike share system we have utilized that offered helmets and it was a very welcome.

A Dr. Seuss tree!

View of the Space Needle.

The Seattle Great Wheel:  Seattle's Ferris Wheel at Pier 57

Requisite trail art pictures :)

Art is the eye of the beholder :)