Thursday, August 6, 2009

Back in the USA

Welcome to the USA. Why is the RV sign here when the line starts a mile back?
This is the first time we have ever seen a stop sign for a train.
Some of Bill Mitchell's murals.
An evening of culture listening to Los Pinguos.
Going to Guemes Island on the ferry.
Anacortes Arts Festival

We are staying at the Northern Lights RV Park in Anacortes, WA for a week. This park is at a casino on the Swinomish Indian Reservation. We are about six miles from downtown but you can get there on a bike route that starts near the park. This park, like too many, is located by a railroad track but this track is a little different. Since there is a swing bridge over the channel here, there is a STOP sign for the trains where they must wait until the bridge is turned into place. Our return to the USA was not totally without incident as we once again ended up in the wrong lane and had to turn around. Fortunately, there was a large area to do this and we did not have to disconnect the car. We now know that we MUST go through the car lane and found it to be plenty wide enough (our real concern) for the motorhome. When we got to the booth the border patrol, after looking at our passports, wanted to talk about how we liked fulltiming and then sent us on our way.

Allan and Sharon Frey, who we met in Rockport last winter and have crossed paths with several times this spring and summer, are staying near here for a month and we have gotten together to explore the area. Anacortes is a neat little bayside town where you can catch the ferry to Victoria, BC and the San Juan Islands. One of its unique features is the mural project that artist Bill Mitchell has been working on since 1984. He has painted 100 life-size murals of local people and events that have been mounted on buildings all over town. The paintings range in subject from the Safeway manager to the first car wreck. We had great meals at Greek Island and Rockfish Grill, a local brewpub. We attended a concert that was part of the Anacortes Arts Festival. The Spanish guitar music by the Argentine group Los Pinguos was great. The venue was an old warehouse on the water that is the home of the local arts council.

Another day we went to Guemes Island on our bikes with Allan and Sharon. We biked to their RV park and then the four of us rode to the ferry for the short crossing to the island. We went our separate ways there with Allan and Sharon exploring a little beach and Nanc and I taking a longer ride along the uncrowded roads of this little forested island. We met back at the ferry landing and had a late lunch at Anderson's General Store overlooking the inlet and Anacortes on the other side. Before we got to their rig Nanc, who rode across North America without having a flat tire, got her third in our last three rides by running across a broken shell dropped on the path by a bird. The other two happened at the RV and I fixed them and used the foot pump to air them up. Since this one occurred on the trail I had to use the small pump for the first time in years only to discover it was no longer working. Allan drove me back to the rig for the other pump and in a short time we were on our way. I'm glad that flat didn't happen in Vancouver when we were ten miles from the RV park. All that said we had a wonderful time exploring the area.

On our last day here the four of us went to the 48th Anacortes Arts Festival where we did much more looking than buying. That is a phenomenon among fulltimers who really don't have extra room for more stuff. I did find a t-shirt that had two of my favorite things (a frog & a beer) printed on the front and I could not resist. There was music and street performers, one was a juggler who put on a great show. The weather cleared as we arrived and we had a great time admiring all the different arts and crafts. That evening we had another wonderful meal at Il Posto, a small Italian restaurant.

We enjoyed our week in Anacortes and, as usual, we did not do everything we planned so we will have to come back in the future. It was great hooking up with Allan and Sharon again as we have many common interests. They are planning on a day trip to the Olympic Peninsula, our next destination, and we will be getting together again.

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