Friday, July 6, 2007

Orcas Island

Location, Lynden, WA

Mark and Candi picked us up before 8 AM this morning as we are spending the day on Orcas Island. That meant setting the alarm clock last night so we didn’t over sleep. We caught the ferry from Anacortes with stops at Lopez and Shaw Islands before disembarking at Orcas Island. The Ferry left around 10 AM but to make sure you can get your car on board we had to be in line by 9 AM. There are restrooms and a coffee shop in the waiting area. It cost $86 RT for the car and 4 passengers. The car and driver are $43 and each passenger is $13 plus tax. The wait is not too bad. You wait along with everyone else so you have time to people watch. That can be really funny sometimes as people do the darndest things. Especially people with dogs.

Another ferry just like ours.

Approaching Shaw Island dock.

Waiting to disembark.

Our ferry had large motor homes, campers of all sizes, cars pulling boats, a double dump truck of top soil, an oil tanker, and lots of cars and pickups.
Vehicles are assigned waiting lanes depending on the destination. Loading is by lanes. The ferries are double deckers with smaller cars assigned to the upper deck. After you park you can squeeze out of your door and go up to one of two upper decks to sit. There are bench seats, some with tables and small cafeteria on the upper deck. It is all very spacious. Just before you are about to dock an announcement is made for all to return to their cars. It is well organized but you certainly can’t be in a hurry as it all takes time. We arrived at Orcas Island about Noon.

Picnic lunch with a view.

After disembarking, the first order of business was lunch. We had a picnic lunch with us so found tables by the water with a nice view and ate. After lunch we drove to Rosario to look at the old Moran mansion. It is now a resort but the public rooms upstairs are open for viewing. Moran owned a lumber mill and boat works in Seattle and was told by his doctor to get away from work for his health. He moved to the island and built a large complex of buildings and lived another 40 years. The woodwork is outstanding! There are displays left from the Moran family and a large pipe organ which is played everyday at 5 PM.

We next drove to the top of MT Constitution which is the highest point in the San Juan Islands at 2200 feet. There is an observatory at the top built by the CCC’s. Mt Constitution and the surrounding area are part of Moran State Park. It was a beautiful clear day so the views in all directions were spectacular. We also saw 3 bald eagles soaring on the wind currents around the mountain top. It really was a great experience.

Observation tower at Mt Constitution.

Us with Mt Baker in the background.

On the way down the mountain, we stopped at Cascade Falls which is a short walk down to a series of falls set among the large trees. After the falls we stopped in the village of Eastsound for an ice cream. After looking for some time we eventually found gelato which turned out to be very pricey but good. While sitting on a bench eating our Gelato, I noticed a sign down the street for ice cream so checking later, we found a small store front with self serve soft ice cream which was much cheaper than the gelato. Maybe next time.

We drove back to the ferry landing for a planned 7 PM departure. The ferry prior to ours was delayed which also delayed us but eventually we boarded for a direct return to Anacortes. We planned to eat at a Greek restaurant in Anacortes but they had stopped serving by the time we got there. We were surprised that it was after 8:30 PM but with the long days did not seem like it was so late. Twenty minutes later we stopped at Bob’s Burgers and Pub for a really late meal. We arrived back at the RV Park about 11 PM. A long day, but a really good day.