Monday, September 26, 2016


Breakfast at the Friday Harbor Suites was followed by a fast turn around and departure for the Washington State Ferry.

A few photos of the harbor area before departing is in order.

This would take us to Anacortes and our last coach ride of the tour to Seattle and the familiar Warwick Hotel.

Is that a sub??
The Russians are coming,
The Russians are coming?
Tiny lighthouse on
an equally tiny island

We dropped our bags and took a quick walk to the famous Pike Place Market.

I wonder what the market specializes in?

I think it may have something to do with the sea.

The market runs for many blocks and in some spots 3 levels with arts and crafts sprinkled in with the obvious.                            
After eating and window shopping I negotiated for a better price on hermetically sealed delicious salmon.
Who knew you could actually negotiate to get a better price just by talking too much?  Luckily I have been known to have that skill.
From the market you can see the fisherman's pier and the ferris wheel we visited a few ferry rides ago.

Armed with back pack filled with boxed salmon we moseyed to the monorail and a short, one stop trip to the Space Needle. The elevator to the 520' top moves at 10MPH.  Sadly your tummy only moves at 9mph so wait a moment before getting off.

The views from the top are quite breath taking as well.

You can see the world from up here!

But as beautiful as it was up there the beauty down below was even better!

Because that's where we found the Seattle Center's exhibit of Chihuly Glass.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that we had never heard of the place or Dale Chihuly's product but will now never forget it!
Here are but a few examples of his immaculate pieces, believe me I took more photos: (As always you can click on any photo to enlarge it.)

We considered purchasing a few of these works of art but felt it would be hard to get them in our luggage what with all the lavender we bought so we reluctantly passed.  Prices for any of the individual works was quite reasonable. Most were in the $10,000 to $25,000 range but you could get a steal at $5,000 on a couple.

Before heading back to the Warwick we stopped in for a drink at the museum coffee shop.

Even this place was adorned with artwork, on the walls, ceiling and embedded in the glass museum box tables. 

Every table had a different inset under glass.  Very clever!

Our last night on the RST ended on a high note, at least dinner-wise in a private dining room at the back of LolaRestaurant.

This was touted as Greek food but it was Greek food like a pair of Crocs is Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers or Camden, NJ is Santorini, Greece.

The program wrap included a final speech from Roger and the sharing of emails for all the weary but satisfied travelers.

Even the subway stations have examples of artwork with murals on most of the walls.

 We took the light rail directly to the SeaTac airport for our flight back to reality.

Cheers to those who journeyed with us:
Allen & Sue; Ann & Trish; Ginny; Edna; Michael & Vi; Avery & Debby; Marion & Tom; Elaine & Bill; Nancy & Phil; Susan & Dan; Wayne & Bobbie; Louise & Richard; Henry & Mary; Anna & Buck; Jack & Doris; Bev; Gayle & Sharon; Rebecca & Kate & of course Roger.

We trust all had a safe trip home, may the road always rise up to meet you!


Saying so long to Canada for now (unless the wrong candidate wins in November) we must wait to board the ferry at the tiny terminal which was nearly interminable.

But finally our ship has come in.
Make that coming in!

The land reminds one of suede

Upon arrival at Friday Harbor, Washington USA we were ushered through customs.  At least I think we were ushered through customs. At the end of the pier two smiling uniformed guards uniformly asked if we had anything to declare before welcoming us back to the States. All told it took about 1.3 seconds. Take that Vancouver! 
Weirdly shaped corridor
to our room.
But the room was
very nice!

The hotel was not far but it took 3 shuttle rides to get all of us there with our luggage.

And since we were going to be here for 3 days our schedule was posted and almost adhered to.

Dinner was in the Friday Harbor Suite's conference room, the Harbor Room as would be the next two dinners and all three breakfasts.  It was nice but stark and while the caterer was delightful and helpful and the food was good some decided to opt out for dinner number three and find a restaurant near the harbor on their own. (I harbor no ill will but does everything have to have harbor in its name?)

The hard working caterer also owns and operates Coho Restaurant and a Bed & Breakfast both on the island. And she was from Baldwin Long Island (close to our home town) so she had to be good!

Our first lecture the next morning was given by Mary, a folksy type author with stories of local interest.

The group was split into two and ours went on a walking tour with Connie to the quaint and nationally recognized Whale Museum. The staff works to preserve and promote whales and is especially into Orcas which are technically not whales but who is going to argue with an Orca?  If it wishes to be a whale more power to it!

But according to the explanation on the left the Orca brain size to body mass is second only to humans.
That means we're still smarter, we're still smarter!

After a brief and very informative talk by one of the dedicated employees of the museum we were left on our own to examine all the exhibits, many of which spoke of brain size.

And one important sign explained the differences between dolphin and porpoises, finally!

We found this tree on the walk back from the Whale museum and thought it unique. We must have been right since there was a plaque explaining it to be a Monkey Puzzle Tree.

After lunch we took a tour of San Juan Island and came upon a spot to spot whales, orca and other marine mammals.
Of course we did not so here are a few examples of what we missed.

You can't win em all!

Of course some would've been nice!

But luckily there's more to life than a few camera shy orca and friends so we headed off to Lime Kiln Point State Park.

Here they found lime in them thar hills and mined it for so many purposes that we didn't care we never saw any porpoises! (Still a bit peeved about that I guess.)

In the park we still had a ways to walk to find the actual lime but along the way beauty and nature surrounded us.
A tree framed our walk

A lighthouse with a guide available to answer questions and regale us with local lore
awaited us ahead.
It appears that a creature has been trapped in the bark of this tree!

And finally the limestone stares out on the opposite shore.

Let's get a closer view.

The stone had to be heated to over 2,000 degrees in order to draw out the usable lime!
That was done by chopping down nearly all available trees to burn in kilns like the one shown here on the right.

This one sits at the water's edge but others like the one on the left were to be found near Hotel De Haro and Quarryman Hall. We will visit that area a bit later.

Susan finally spots and
bonds with a sea creature

The San Juan Islands are famous for a little know incident that almost caused a war. The oxymoronic statement refers to the Pig War of 1859!
And no it had nothing to do with New Jersey's current Governor. This dispute concerned an actually useful creature, an Englishman's pig.
American farmer Lyman Cutler found Charles Griffin's pig rooting in his garden and eating his plants.
After several warnings to the Irishman about the intrusion went unheeded Cutler shot and killed the offending porker.
The Brits were outraged at Griffin's loss.
They said he could no longer bring home the bacon.
They thus set out to arrest Cutler for pigicide.
The Americans picked a side and the confrontation was on, and on, and on.  The standoff produced no human blood and lasted a dozen years before cooler heads prevailed.
One can only assume they ended with a good laugh and some ham & eggs with hash browns.

During the dozen years of pro pig vs anti pig posturing both sides set up military camps to be at the ready should one side or the other escalate matters.
We visited both camp sites to see for ourselves what man's inhumanity to pig can cause.
First the English camp.

The round garden below was ordered by the British general's wife who insisted on having flowers and fresh herbs etc. available at all times.
And don't forget the scones and sweet cream. Mustn't forget high tea you know.
We will visit the American camp tomorrow.
But first we took in an amazing sculpture garden.
How did they tote this pole here?

What is she doing?
Perhaps she could
use a magazine.

The thought provoking piece on the right is called Terezin. It's about oppression and is fully explained directly below it.

Just a short walk down the road to the harbor and we come upon this quaint old lime kiln town, Roche Harbor with a Resort, the Hotel De Haro and Quarryman Hall I promised earlier.


Hundreds of boats tied up at the piers and many people enjoyed the view and strolled with ice cream around this peaceful oasis.

After dinner back at the Nancy showed and spoke about her locally inspired artwork.

The post breakfast lecture was on the wildlife of the San Juan Islands enthusiastically given by Shona.

The two tour busses were then loaded with us tourists and boxed lunches to be given out at the Pelindaba Lavender® farm.  What a fragrant place to visit, and I imagine work.
(You now get to understand the title of this multi-part blog post, YAY!)

We were treated to a very good lecture / sales pitch and then shown the gift shop.  Free lavender cookies, lavender tea and lavender lemonade put us in the mood to purchase lavender this and lavender that.
It was a lavender kind of day and we spent much lavender, I mean on lavender using green!

The boxed lunches awaited us in the lavender fields that seemingly went on forever. (Perhaps not as popular as Strawberry Fields but…)

Following this fragrant interlude our group visited the American Camp.


It was now time for our final Friday Harbor tour, The San Juan Historical Museum.

Around 12 of us enjoyed our last supper (hmmm, 12?) in the Harbor Room while the rest found sustenance off premises.
After din-din we had our last lecture, “Raiders from the North.”  Michael introduced the history of members of the ‘First Nation’ coming down river to perform acts of savagery on intruders, much like many civilizations in different lands had done many times before.

This was a long post but not the end of the trip.
Please come back for the final leg, I PROMISE, as we ferry back to Seattle.

To Be Continued & Ended with Part VI