Our visit to Wall Drug in South Dakota is a “must stop,” with an indescribable collection of historical pictures and artifacts, items for sale that you won’t find anywhere else, and entertainment with a carnival atmosphere. Where else can you have a buffalo burger, glass of wine, real milkshake and homemade blueberry pie for lunch?
The Badlands just appear as we travel across the prairie, sticking up with fantastic formations. There are plenty of pullouts where we stop, take pictures, and read information boards. We stop at the visitor center with displays and film. There, we inquire about the campground, and because they didn’t have a clue other than it might be full, we drive to the campground, read the directions and find the last space.
Another stop finds us at the University Museum of Geology in Rapid City, SD. This well laid-out museum has helpful student attendants and is just the right size to allow us to learn more without being totally overwhelmed.
Then on to Hill City, SD, overnight to see Margie, meet her brother John who we’ve heard so much about, and enjoy a great visit and dinner.
Our next stop is Port Ludlow, WA. We call ahead and find our friends would be leaving after the fourth. So we pick up our speed, get on the freeway (90) to Seattle and the Edmonds ferry. However, speed isn’t everything. Our stops include:
- A small petrified forest in South Dakota to walk through—it’s not colorful like Arizona petrified trees.
- D Boone National Historic Fish Hatchery—a nice mixture of old, restored, and reproductions that’s still raising trout.
- Windmill Farms and Solar Arrays—it’s amazing the number and size of these efficient and green facilities we see in our travels. Electric power plants with coal mines sit on the same property with no trucks or trains, just conveyors.
We arrive at Port Ludlow to find Ann and Don waiting for us. We park BB2 at the marina and enjoy lunch aboard their boat. We talk, catch up, go to party at the yacht club, shop, and tour the naval undersea museum. We enjoy our stay with friends—we would say “old friends,” but that’s politically incorrect as we are old, some of our friends are old, and we have some old (known them a long time) friends.
We watch fireworks from the top deck, say goodbye and leave the next morning for a ferry ride to Whidbey Island, a favorite stop for Dave from way back when he boated in Puget Sound. We have our Penn Cove mussels and dark beer for lunch with Carol’s college friend, Millie.
We head north on Whidbey Island to Oak Harbor for a few days with Bud and Noreen. They are part of the “Incredible 8”—a group that got together when we all first started in the recreation business about 45 years ago.
In response to an email, we take another ferry from Anacortes, WA, to Sydney, Canada, and another ferry to Mayne Island, CA, to visit Paul and Candy Gladfelty (usually at home in Sacramento). Yes, they let us into Canada this time. Paul and Candy have made fantastic changes in their “cabin” in the last 12 years.
Three days later, we take the Twassen ferry to the Mainland (still Canada) and south to Seattle to battle traffic. We find that we should have made reservations for the Space Needle and restaurant (the disadvantage of traveling without an agenda) so we go to Chinooks in the commercial marina for a great late lunch. Four hours later we’re finally heading South on the freeway, with serious gridlock and overcrowding.
We find a KOA campground in Kent and it’s big, hot shower time. We pay to park on the entrance road with several other rigs. There are no utilities, but we get our big, hot showers.
Next it’s south to Portland for lunch with sister-in-law Lucy at her yacht club.
Enough of big cities and highways, off to the coast we go. We visit the Tillamook cheese factory (great ice cream, too), watch whales cavort directly below us in a cove, visit lighthouses, go Jeep exploring on the sand dunes, and take the mail boat up and back.
Inland to Ashland, OR, to see a show, our son Ross, and some of his family over dinner at a brewery.
Then it’s on to Anderson, CA, by freeway to have a quick lunch with Pat before arriving at Skippers Cove Marina, where the welcome mat was out. The plan is to stay here for a couple of weeks and use the marina as a home base to visit more friends and family at the lake and in Northern CA.
Signing off with a Mayne Island Sunset.
Dave & Carol,