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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

POST 669; 06/27/12: BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON

Our Bellingham, Washington home.

After the wonderful reception at the Peace Arch, I drove "home". No one was there. My key still fit and my room was exactly as I left it 1.5 years ago. I made myself at home.

Yesterday, SPIA received a thorough look-see by Les Schwab Tire Company and pronounced SPIA was sound, fit, and - except for need of front wheel brake job - ready to drive cross country or to the Bearing Straits, Alaska...or wherever I wished to take her.

Good news as I was concerned about the serviceability of the leaf springs and air shock absorbers...both of which systems are still in good operational condition.

This morning, Wednesday, June 27, 2012, I worked until noon gardening; i.e., cleaning and trimming the front lawn and rockery to the standards of our Gated Community.

At 12:30, I met my faithful young friends who have been tracking SAM & ME for over 3 years...long before SAM was even built and before I had any idea that I was about to walk America.

My young friends are in Juvenile Detention. They - both boys and girls - have taken SAM & ME as a daily project, (they named SPIA = Seniors Performing Incredible Acts). When I walked into their conference room, they were all smiles, proudly showing off the wall size maps with SAM & ME travels day by day from Day # 1. We spent the next two hours chatting...mostly, they asked questions and I tried to give intelligent replies - yes, I know...a questionable effort on my part.

This was the second visit I have made to JD, and I hope to be invited back more times.

Arriving back home, my Partner and I prepared for evening gathering at the Squalicum Yacht Club for BBQ and visiting. I was received with hugs and congrats for my walk - SYC members also followed our blogs -.

A few pics taken at SYC follow.


The mountain in the background is LUMMI ISLAND...45 minutes away under sail. The "V" on the top of the mountain ridge is directly above a small harbor, complete with waterfall and protected rocky beach...steering for the harbor one steers for that "V".

Lummi Island is one of 172 islands in the San Juan Island group. Waters are deep, cold, and a visiting yacht to any harbor may well be the only boat in sight. Killer Whales live in the San Juan Islands year 'round...we have three "Pods" (families). I have twice been on board yachts when all three Pods gathered...about 50 whales playing - diving and leaping - to put on a show.




View of Bellingham Marina from SYC Clubhouse.


While I was out walking, a new entrance was hand built by SYC members. This handrail is unique in that it, like the rest of the entrance, is hand made...a length of steel pipe, designed and crafted by hand.

The completed entrance...that elegant ship's front door was installed only today after being hand crafted - NO machine tools were used - by one of our members.


SYC Yacht Clubhouse is a converted Barracks from World War II. It has been an ongoing project since 1948, having received many thousands of man/lady hours of work...all done by members. The new entrance porch, I am told, took additional thousands of man hours as it is completely hand crafted and free standing; i.e., not attached to the building, except for the roof.

No longer having my own yacht, I look forward to being invited to join as a guest aboard other yachts during cruises into the San Juan Islands.

I am evaluating a number of options as to what SPIA (and perhaps SAM) and I will do next. It is premature to discuss them, but a decision is not far away.

Monday, June 25, 2012

POST 668; 06/24/12: PEACE ARCH, BLAINE - BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON

I arrived at the US / Canada Border at precisely 2:00 pm on the afternoon of June 24, 2012.


Leaving KOA Kampground in Lynden about 8:00 am, drove to Bellingham, Washington. Stopped first at WAL-MART to check out overnight parking...then to Diamond Jim's Grill in the Fountain District for a relaxed breakfast.


The "Fountain"...


Drove on to the Marina, where my yacht(s) have been moored the past 25 years or so...a bittersweet moment for me.


Entrance into the Inner Marina from Bellingham Bay.


Bellingham's waterfront hotel...where I have enjoyed many lunch and evening meals.


The outer Roads of Bellingham Harbor.

Bellingham Harbor is the last deep-water (40 feet at the docks) un-developed port on the West Coast of the USA. Georgia Pacific (Paper) Company occupied the waterfront for much of the last century; GP recently closed down all operations and "deeded" their entire properties to the City of Bellingham.

Bellingham waterfront is still largely undeveloped, offering tremendous opportunities for the future.


Seaview Boatyard, where I have spent many days (and nights) refurbishing the hulls of my yachts. Each year yacht bottoms are sanded (mostly by hand) and repainted.


SQUALICUM YACHT CLUB Clubhouse, sitting on the waterfront looking out on the yacht filled marina and in the far distance, Lummi Island, the first of our 172 San Juan Island Archipalegio.



Inside Squalicum Yacht Clubhouse. A World War II Army Air Force Barracks, this building has received loving care and weeks upon weeks of man (and lady) manhours...now a showpiece on Bellingham Harbor.

In 1995, I was Commodore of BYC.


Favorite BYC pastime ... rafting on a cruise to the San Juan Islands.

My yacht, Journey, is fourth from the right.


This is how yachtsmen carry heavy loads from car to yacht.


A bit before 12:00 noon, drove the 25 miles to near Blaine, Washington, the location of the CANADA / USA border crossing where my walk will complete at 2:00 pm.

Blaine Marina is in the foreground.


Blaine waterfront Caboose Restaurant/Cafe.


Vintage 1957 Pontiac Station Wagon parked in front of the Thai Restaurant overlooking Blaine Marina.


Blaine waterfront home.


Not too many years ago, Blaine (and Bellingham) held the distinction of having the largest Salmon Canneries in the world.


Since noon, I walked out a couple miles from Blaine and back. At 1:30, I made my way toward the Peace Arch about 1/8 mile North of Main Street Blaine.


...where I was met by Border Park Ranger, Jason.

Jason was apparently waiting for me as he offered to drive me the final few blocks through the Peace Arch Park all the way to the Peace Arch...not your everyday service...

Thank you, Jason.


Walking the final few yards to the Peace Arch, I recognized a number of friends - and family.





...including my Daughter, Monica. Monica, living in Burns Oregon, drove over 10 hours through the night to be there for my arrival...yes, I was shocked; and, a bit overwhelmed.


Monica, whom I adopted when she was 10 years old (she says she was 9).

I can honestly say I have been closer to Monica than to my four Sons.


Teresa, my "new" Niece also made the trip with Nephew Carl.


Two special people...Bob and Pam...

Bob came to my rescue a number of times during my building of SAM and during my walk when faced with unexpected ER (Hospital) expenses. Bob actually gifted me his entire weekend overtime pay - deposited $$ into my Debit Card account.

How does one thank such kindness.

Bob was the only one to answer my plea to guide me in building SAM's electrical system.

Thank you, again, Bob.



My friends and family under the Peace Arch, Blaine, Washington.

Judy Smith,
Jerry Lesniak,
Pam Bosell,
Bob Young
K.C. Sulkin,
Wendell and Erlene Poole,
Lynn and Les Blackwell,
Debbie Oyamada,
Carl and Teresa Johnson,
Kim Castaway,
Monica McKenna




The PEACE ARCH which stands astride the CANADA / USA Border at Blaine, Washington.

Thank you, all, for coming out to welcome me home.

Bob, Pam, Monica, and Kim treated dinner at the Thai Restaurant overlooking Blaine Harbor.

I then drove to my own home on the shore of Lake Whatcom in the town of Bellingham. My partner was not at home, having visited the village of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. She arrived about 6:00 pm with the words...where did YOU come from !

(HELLO to you, too, I thought)

Together, we have enjoyed yesterday evening and all day today together in our home. My room was exactly as I left it 2.5 years ago.

Already received my first few "honeydu" items.

For the moment, I gather my wits and give thanks for a fascinating safe adventure and a kind and warm welcome home.

"Tomorrow Is Another Day" : Gone With The Wind

Saturday, June 23, 2012

POST 667: 06/23/12: LYNDEN , WASHINGTON

Whatever happened to my "liquid sunshine"? Last night it rained and rained and rained. This morning was calm overcast and no wind...This afternoon, it rained rained and rained.

Welcome back to the Pacific Northwest. At least, there is no shortage of water up here.


SPIA in her spot in KOA Kampground.

At 6:00 am, I walked out of KOA, heading West. At 12:00 noon, I arrived back at SPIA, having walked for a full 6 hours toward Blaine - stopping well short of town - and back to Lynden where I spent at least 1.5 hours strolling around this beautiful town made up of over 50% Dutch from Holland.


KOA fishing lake.





KOA Mail Box.


Tremendous amount of private home building has happened in Lynden in recent years. A number of home starts were happening as I walked past today.


The Canada / USA Border is about 2 miles away, directly up the rows of Raspberries pictured above. Raspberries are only one of the many "berries" grown in this lush soil deposited by the Rivers Frazier - in Canada - and Nooksak - in USA.

Strawberries are already being harvested. Raspberries begin in a few days. During the next couple months, berries of some sort will be available from local fields...available already picked, or available for picking yourself.

When local berries are about finished, the tree fruit of the Columbia River Basin only one hour drive away will be in full swing, lasting into October.

Washington State has nearly unending fruit fresh from the fields all Summer.


...and there is still room and demand for Dairy products. A number of dairy farms operate near Lynden.





A typical farmhouse from 50 + years ago.



Interesting choice of words by Washington DOT. "Customs" means Canada / USA Border Customs...

I take the choice of words to have emphasis on "security" and "revenue"...not the freedom of over 3,000 miles of undefended international border...the longest such border in the world.

The Peace Arch, which I will walk under tomorrow, anchors the West end of that 3,000 miles of undefended border between Canada and the United States.

















The above liquid being jetted onto the field is liquified Poop from dairy cows. With this spraying, the cycle is complete; i.e.,

Cow Eats Grass
Cow Makes Milk
Cow Poops processing byproduct.
Farmer liquifies Poop
Poop is sprayed back on Cow grazing field
Cow Eats Grass - enriched by Poop
Cow Makes....etc.



Poop Pump.





In the far distance is Canada. The Peace Arch is about 5 miles to the left.





My walk back through Lynden.


Girls offering fresh picked Strawberries.

I purchased a complete "flat" of strawberries to take to the Solstice Party this evening.

Lo and behold, I hunted for over one hour and could not find the roadway to Mike and Kris' home...even though I have been there many times...and even telephoned to confirm my directions.

In defeat, I retreated to Bellingham WAL-MART - tail between my legs - where we will park for the night.

Yes, I have eaten quite a few fresh strawberries this evening...YUM.


Lynden residential street.








A number of "yard / garage " sales were in progress this Saturday in Lynden.











Lynden also has downtown murals...please note the "Three Sisters" in the mural.


In addition to FREE middle-of-town Restrooms for pedestrians, Lynden also offers downtown FREE parking for tourists and residents alike.

Lynden is most definitely a People town and is keen on promoting business for downtown.

Any other towns peeking over Lynden's shoulder ???





Click click to enlarge...a bit of Lynden history.



I like this photograph of mid town Lynden.


In addition to all the fruit surrounding the small city of Lynden, it also boasts to be the center of the largest commercial source for Tulips outside of Holland.

Actually, the major Tulip fields are about 30 miles to the South, in the Delta of the Skagit River...the same river we walked a few days ago coming down from the North Cascade Pass.




Mid-town garden.


Two large Windmills - the one above and another a few blocks to the West - are found in mid-town Lynden. A number of smaller windmills are also found on business and home properties.

I am truly disappointed I have not been able to join the Squalicum Yacht Club Solstice Party...another evening alone was not my first choice...and missing out on renewing old - and new - friendships of yachting friends.

In the morning, I will spiffy up SPIA a bit more...perhaps walk around downtown Bellingham a bit...or perhaps take in the Marina.

Around 12:00 noon or so, will drive SPIA North the 25 miles to Blaine, Washington, where we will find a parking spot a few miles South of Blaine on "Portal Way"...Old US Highway 99.

Historical Note: US Highway 99 begins in British Columbia, Canada, crosses through the USA from Blaine, Washington to San Diego, California, and continues all the way to Panama and beyond.

At 2:00 pm, I will have walked the few remaining miles from SPIA's parking place to the Peace Arch.

I have no idea of any activities, visitors, or other acknowledgment(s) of my completion of:

one Diagonal Crossing - Blaine (Peace Arch), Washington to Key West, Florida;

- and one Circumnavigation of the USA -

Blaine (Peace Arch), Washington;
Bakersfield, California;
Lake City, Florida;
Kitty Hawk, North Carolina;
De Kalb, Illinois;
and, finally, back to Blaine, Washington (Peace Arch).

...having walked something like 16,000 miles
- in 810 days taking only 3 days rest during actual walking periods
- investing four months (120 of the 810 days) working to help Hurricane IRENE victims in the Outer Banks - for which I refused all $$ remuneratin...MY TREAT !
- having posted over 700 blog updates
- containing something like 30,000 photographs.

I have done this to promote "old" citizens' abilities to do more than given credit for;

-without sponsorship of any kind
-financed totally (with a handful of exceptions from family and friends) by my Social Security $$.

and most importantly, I have yet to have my first foot blister and am told by my Cardiologist that I am "...healthier than any 35-year-old has a right to be".

During this time and investment, I have gained hundreds of new friends...some I dearly love...and visited places which many only dream of one day seeing.

I cannot envision having lived my life without having taken this stroll around America.