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Laura Domela
Portland, OR
On the road in a 2010 27'FB Airstream International
Recent Activity
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We're at our home in Portland for the holidays. Soon, our houseguests will arrive and the brief period of holiday traditions will begin. We are not a religious bunch, but we embrace it all and pick the parts we like best for our own traditions...like this naked headless Barbie wreath, for example, which hangs over the fireplace as I type: Here are some of our other holiday traditions: Christmas Tree We usually wait until everyone is here to do the tree thing. The past few years the tree has been procured and decorated on Christmas Eve (I know, it's late, but it's a fun Christmasy outing). We all pile into the truck (or if there are a lot of us, the truck AND the Camry) and drive out Zurbrugg Farms on Germantown Road, where we get all muddy hiking over sometimes snowy hill and dale to find the perfect tree. We always pick a pretty large Douglas Fir or Grand Fir (and Kevin usually says, "That won't fit in the living room" and sometimes he's right and we end up cutting a bit more off the bottom, but not always). Kevin is normally the one who does the cutting, as... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Riveted
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Kevin's mom is a member of the Woman's Club of San Antonio, and before we left she wanted to take us by to show us this interior of beautiful building. The Woman's Club has been here in the Woodward House since 1926. This 2 1/2-story Neo-Classical revival home was designed in 1904–1905 by architect Atlee Ayers for San Antonio business man David J. Woodward (1864–1925) and his wife May Bock Woodward (1866–1942). The Woodward couple flipped twenty-three homes during their married life. David built the houses, and May decorated them. Each property would eventually be sold for profit when the couple moved upward to a more expensive residence. After David Woodward died, his wife sold the house at 1717 San Pedro in 1926 to the Woman's Club for $47,000. The first floor of the house has the interior parlor, library with fireplace, butler's pantry, office, kitchen, powder room and dining room. When Ayres designed the house, the second floor served as living quarters with five bedrooms, bath and sitting room. The Woodwards intended the top floor to be a ballroom and had it designed with window box seats. [Wikipedia] The inside is filled with period-appropriate furniture and what looked like... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Riveted
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We've been in San Antonio for a couple days visiting Kevin's mom. It's been a great trip so far. Lots of visiting, lots of exploring, and lots of eating. We had breakfast tacos at Taco Cabana for old times sake (because there's no Tacodeli in San Antonio, only in Austin, and those are the best breakfast tacos in TX). We took Kevin's mom to dinner for her birthday on Saturday night -- Restaurant Gwendolyn down on the Riverwalk. It was great! We had the charcuterie board to start (highly recommended) and the 5-course tasting menu and we all really enjoyed the food. The concept of Restaurant Gwendolyn is extremely old school, using what they had and doing as they did before the break of the industrial revolution: approximately 1850. There are no blenders, mixers, choppers, ice cream machines, deep
fryers, or anything else with a motor--nothing with a plug. 

"No perishable ingredient may travel further than a good, strong horse.

 The menu will move absolutely in lockstep with the seasons, as okra and 
eggplant taper off and leafy greens move in, we must change ourselves to 
suit the product--not the other way around. What is outside is inside." Old school tableside... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Riveted
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After following out boating adventures for a couple months, one of our friends (a friend who travels frequently in an Airstream) asked us that question. It's a good question. From the perspective of RV travel it probably seems like a lot of moving. When we're on the road with the Airstream our goal is usually to travel to a great spot, set up camp and enjoy that new place for a while. Driving from campsite to campsite is not really the best part of road travel. Sure, it can be scenic and pretty, but I believe that the majority of our enjoyment on the road is getting to set up camp and stay put for a few days, exploring the new place by foot or bike or car while our cozy little home awaits in the pretty spot we found for it. With the boat, so much of the enjoyment is moving and being on the water. I'd even say it is often the best part. Yes, finding the cool anchorage or quaint marina and exploring the harbor or hiking the hills is also great, but...well....whales, and seals, and eagles, and the sound of the water swishing past as we... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2014 at Riveted
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While in the cute little town of LaConner, WA a couple weeks ago, we stopped in a shop I wouldn't normally go into: The Wood Merchant. It's not that I don't like hand crafted items made out of wood, it's just that...I don't know. There are so many of those kinds of stores and they all seem to have the same stuff. Something caught my eye in the window though, and we ended up going inside, and they have a whole bunch of cool things in there! There were two things that stuck with me, that I kept thinking about since that visit. So when we found ourselves with a little extra time on our way back to the boat from Lummi Island last week, we made a detour back out to LaConner...mainly for one of these endgrain cutting boards: It doesn't stay on top of the stove, that's just where the light was best to get a photo of it. I'll use it mostly as a serving board for charcuterie and cheese. Also, this long wooden, um, bowl? to use for serving bread or crackers. It's about 3 inches wide, and about 12 inches long, and I love it:... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at Riveted
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This was the sunrise yesterday morning from our anchorage in Griffin Bay (off of San Juan Island): I know, I was awake for another sunrise. It's not that weird though, since sunrise was at 7:54am yesterday. Right behind us, the moon was slowly setting. Seriously, these were taken within minutes of each other: We had some coffee and waited for it to get a little lighter out before taking the dinghy ashore to explore some before heading back to Anacortes. Airship, anchored: This end of San Juan Island is made up mostly of San Juan National Historic Park, so we did some hiking around in the park, made our way up Mt. Finlayson, and had this incredible view. Looking north(ish) into Haro Strait: Looking south toward the Cattle Point lighthouse, Lopez Island, Whale Mummy Rocks (!!!) and to the right, the Straight of Juan de Fuca: The trees up here show evidence of some rough weather, don't they? This is called Third Lagoon, and you can't see it very well, but the teeny tiny white dot way off in the distance on the right side of the photo is Airship, anchored in the bay: Back at the boat: We pulled... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2014 at Riveted
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This morning it was rainy rainy rainy at our moorage in Blind Bay. It had not been a super calm night, so we ended up sleeping until about 10am to make up for the other non-sleeping hours...the ones when we were out on the bow in the dark with headlamps, trying to reposition our mooring lines so the buoy quit bumping up against the bow (aka, our headboard). Anyway. After breakfast we took the dinghy over to Blind Island to explore a little. Blind Island is part of the Cascadia Marine Trail and a Washington State Marine Park. There are four campsites on the island (along with a ton of goose poop, and this tiny spine part): The campsites are all gorgeous though, with beautiful views toward Shaw Island and Harney Channel. Each one has a fire ring and a picnic table, and plenty of soft grassy mossy stuff for tent-pitching. Next we headed over toward the Shaw Island ferry landing to check out the highly rated Shaw General Store, but when I looked up the hours and it said open on Saturdays, I didn't realize that they close up completely from October until sometime in the spring. Oh well.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2014 at Riveted
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This is going to be a mish mast post of the past two days...because, why not? We spent Kevin's official birthday moored at Spencer Spit. We had some champagne, snacks (duck rillette, cheese, crackers, caper berries) and then a dinner of linguine con le vongole (with the clams) that turned out pretty darn yum. Totally boring photo of cooked pasta, because the first photo was too busy next to the third photo: Waiting for the clams to open: I worked from this recipe from Mario Batali, and it came out great! Coast Guard helicopter overhead on our way back into Anacortes yesterday morning (I told you it was going to be a mish mash): We got back to the marina, packed an overnight bag, and headed (by car) north to Lummi Island. A few weeks ago, I made a reservation for us at the Willows Inn -- for the "present" part of Kevin's birthday. We tend to do events as presents more than things as presents. We arrived at the inn around 3:30pm, checked into our room, and headed out to soak in the hot tub for a little bit before getting ready for the 6:30pm dinner seating. Relaxing in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2014 at Riveted
Ta-da! Kevin's finished aerial video from around Patos Island (watch in HD if you can): Shot with an FPV Quadcopter. Filmed with GoPro Hero 3+ aboard a Team Black Sheep Discovery Pro quadcopter. Launched from a Nordic Tug 34 anchored in Active Cove on Patos Island, WA. The music is Isaac Albéniz: "Suite Española No. 1, Op. 47: Asturias" played by Ivan Kalcina. More about the quadcopter here if you're interested. Related articles Patos Island (and Humpback Whales!) Birthday Cruise More Around Patos Island Patos Island to Friday Harbor Birth of a New Drone Roche Harbor to Patos Island Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2014 at Riveted
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Today is Kevin's birthday! We left Active Cove this morning and headed for Friday Harbor, where we thought we'd have some lunch, and pick up some seafood for dinner tonight at the little fish market down on the dock. Active Cove lived up to its name last night, and was pretty dang active. Our first night there was nice and calm, but last night the north wind caused the swells to come straight into the bay and we rocked and rolled all night. Kinda crazy, and we did not get much sleep. But I did get to snap this shot of the moon as it was setting...sometime around 4am: It's super grainy becaused I cranked the ISO on my camera as high as it would go, but it still gives a pretty good representation of how it felt. In real life of course it was much clearer and a little softer. :) We picked up some clams at the fish market and a few items at the grocery store in Friday Harbor for tonight's dinner: linguine with clams, and asparagus. It was another gorgeous day in the islands, and we decided to moor at Spencer Spit State Park tonight on... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2014 at Riveted
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We took the quadcopter and hiked out to the lighthouse on Alden Point for some more fun aerial footage. Oh hey seals! In this photo, there's one seal looking straight up at the copter. You might have to click for an enlargement, but it's pretty cute. Another cove-side campsite (Patos Island is a Washington State Park): The remains of an old car or truck, beside the trail out to the lighthouse: Kind of funny to have a car on a very small island where there are most definitely no roads. Hey! The new mooring buoys match the boat's paint job: Earlier today Kevin did his first from-the-boat launch and it went great! Can't wait to see the footage he got out here! Taking off from Airship's top deck: Smooth, successful top-deck landing: Sunset looking out of the cove: Related articles Patos Island (and Humpback Whales!) Roche Harbor to Patos Island Orcas Island: Rosario Resort & Spa Circling San Juan Island Patos Island to Friday Harbor New Drone!! Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at Riveted
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This morning as we were working and having coffee, I noticed out the back window what looked like a pretty big boat heading toward the cove. This is a pretty small cove (only two mooring buoys), and this boat seemed, um, large. It showed up on AIS as a vessel called Thunderbird, and it was designated a pleasure craft. I don't think so. Pretty soon the bow of the boat dropped, drawbridge-style, and we could see that it was filled with mooring buoys. Ah! Time to replace the mooring buoys in Active Cove. A couple of guys were soon suiting up in what looked like wetsuits and then drysuits (because, you know, it's like 30something degrees out there). They got in the water and went down and hooked the crane line onto the concrete block on the bottom. Divers in the water: Succesfully hooked the line, divers back on deck: Pulling up the old buoy (and a bunch of kelp): And here's the new (larger) concrete weight heading down to the bottom. They have some other corkscrew anchoring things, but they said they don't work in all this rock out here, so they use big concrete blocks to anchor the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at Riveted
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The inside of Airship was bathed in the most amazing light during this morning's sunrise: pinks, oranges, yellows...a nice way to start the work day! (That's Orcas Island, in the far distance.) Kevin just said "People are going to think that photo is fake." Me: "Why??" Him: "Because, you? Up at sunrise?" Related articles Roche Harbor to Patos Island Today on Sucia Island Patos Island (and Humpback Whales!) Hiking Around Sucia Island Fisherman Bay to Spencer Spit We're on a Boat! Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at Riveted
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Roche Harbor this morning was frosty cold and sunny! We went up to the Lime Kiln Cafe for a little breakfast, and then filled up the water tank on Airship before heading out. Frost on the Flemish Flake (look mom, just like grandpa taught me!): We decided to go to Patos Island, via President Channel (the back side of Orcas Island) again, in hopes of catching the humpbacks. No whales this time, but a gorgeous day with smooth water and no wind. This is such a fantastic area for boating! At the Eastern end of Spieden Island there were a whole bunch of sea lions lolling about on the shore and in the water, fins flapping around while I assume they were eating a late breakfast: We decided to prolong our cruise and go around Sucia Island before settling in at Patos. Here's our track: I'd done most of my work for today last night and early this morning, so I piloted (or, autopiloted as the case may be) while Kevin worked on an article. Not a bad office view, eh? Bird on a log, with mountains: Layers: The lighthouse, as we approached Active Cove on Patos Island: Once at... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2014 at Riveted
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We left Rosario this morning around 10am (breaking through a tiny bit of ice on the water over by the jetty). It was 21 degrees...brrrrr...but nice and sunny! See you soon, Rosario! Cool cabin in the woods: Obstruction Pass, where apparently yesterday there were cresting waves (!!!). Not bad today though. We took the long way and went around the east side of Orcas, around to the back/west side where we'd seen humpbacks before and hey guess what? More humpbacks!! They were really close to shore this time: We arrived at Roche Harbor on San Juan Island right around 3pm. It's so cold that they've got the water turned off so we weren't able to rinse all the salt spray off of Airship, so we'll have to do that another time. We wandered up to the Roche Harbor Company Store for some groceries, and then decided to go up to McMillin's for a cocktail and a snack by the fire (because, 21 degrees, and the harbormaster recommended it!) We had some Salish Sea oysters, calamari, and a Manhattan. Everything we ordered was so good that we decided not to cook after all and ordered a house salad and the very... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2014 at Riveted
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This afternoon we went up to check out the 4pm organ concert and presentation given at the Mansion by Christopher Peacock. It was pretty cool! He played a few pieces on the 1900 Steinway grand piano (the last one out of the factory, on December 31, 1900), and then he went upstairs and played the organ (an Aeolian pipe organ with 1,972 pipes that Moran had installed at the Mansion) while showing a slide show of Robert Moran's photographs of the San Juan Islands, the shipyards in Seattle, Rosario, early shots of the mansion, the Moran family, etc. Moran was a pretty good photographer! There's one photo of his that I LOVE, but unfortunatley I can't find it online anywhere. If you've been here you might have seen it. It's of a small child, with a big fish trailing behind him on a string (the child is looking at camera). It's great, and reminds me of some of the vintage crime scene photos I've seen...I know, that's weird. Whatever. I'm weird. :) Robert Moran (not a selfie), with the figurehead I posted about earlier: The Tiffany chandelier in the organ room (depicting the performing arts): An early shot of the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2014 at Riveted
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Nice light on the figurehead at the marina (taken from the boat): "This figurehead is from the clipper ship "America." She was built in 1874 at Quincy, Massachusetts by Deacon George Thomas. Her original owners were Thayer & Co. of Boston. In 1887 she was put in the Pacific coasting trade and was wrecked on San Juan Island in the year 1914. The "America" has some notable voyages to her credit. Namely, from New York to San Francisco in 89 days and from San Francisco to Liverpool in 102 days. Captain J.S. Gibson, at one time her commander, records that this figurehead was a source of much pride to him, that it had many times in many ports been remarked upon as being one of the mostartistic figureheads that ever graced the bow of a ship and there is probably no other on an American vessel that has been mentioned so many times in public print. It is carved from a solid white pine log. This is erected by me to commemorate a beautiful sentiment in ship building now becoming a lost art. Figure donated by Captain James Griffiths." – Rosario 1916, Robert Moran [source] Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2014 at Riveted
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Yep, it's cold cold cold here on Orcas Island now that those winds have shifted from South winds to North winds. Early this morning as predicted (known gale warning), we awoke to the sounds of being on a pirate ship in a storm. We both got up and went out to (1) remove the dang burgee (little flag on the bow that says "Nordic Tug" with a little tug icon, very cute) because it was blowing and clanking around like crazy (which ended up to matter NONE in the big scheme of things that made noise for the rest of the night), and (2) make sure all our lines were really REALLY secure, and that all the fenders were in the right spots between the boat and the dock. I've been using this great app called iWindsurf for getting the winds. These panels showing wind speed are 4am, 7am, 10am, and 1pm this afternoon (forecast) and that little blue dot is where we are. Fun stuff! (Click to enlarge) And here's what it sounded like at about 4am from bed, as the wind tossed us around a bit: Listen: Sounds like a pirate ship, doesn't it? Once when it was... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2014 at Riveted
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Thanksgiving dinner up at the Mansion Restaurant last night was really good (a fairly typical, traditional Thanksgiving dinner buffet). We hit the spa before dinner (hot tub for a bit and then swam in the indoor saltwater pool after that to cool down). Remember how I said that for our $34/night moorage fee we also got access to the spa facilities, and how great a deal that was (and it is!)? Well, it's a bit different in the summer. I looked, and moorage is $75/night for our size slip at the marina. You can grab a mooring buoy offshore for $25, and then you pay an additional $20 for spa access if on a buoy (but that is access per boat, for up to 4 people). Anyway, turns out the off season here is a SUPER deal. :) We slept in this morning quite late. Last night was windy and therefore the boat rocked a bit, and therefore the lines creaked a bit as they rubbed at the cleat that's on deck right above my head, so I didn't sleep all that well (and when I was sleeping I was having dreams about the boat coming untied and drifting into... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2014 at Riveted
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We got up this morning and left Port Townsend by about 8:30am (and not at the "crack of dawn" as we'd planned). The wind was from the south and had been blowing pretty good all night, but by morning it had subsided quite a bit. We never saw the 2-4 foot wind waves as forecast, or any rain at all. The day turned out to be quite beautiful and our 4ish hour cruise from Port Townsend up to Rosario Resort on Orcas Island was gorgeous. Looking back toward Port Townsend: And then all of a sudden, clear blue skies and bright sunshine! It was like this for most of our 4 hour trip from Port Townsend up to Orcas Island: Willow Island, just off of Blakely Island: Something off the port side caught my eye and as I turned toward it, I quickly realized it was an upside-down eagle, diving into the water. I grabbed my camera but the action was over by the time I snapped these two shots: Arriving at Rosario... The marina: And here we are: Thanksgiving Dinner reservations up at the Mansion Restaurant are on the late side, so we're just kickin' it until then. We... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2014 at Riveted
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Later this afternoon we took the boat out for a little cruise out toward Fort Worden and Point Wilson just for fun. It was 3pm when we left, so it was a short one, since sunset is at like 2pm these days! (Okay 4:23pm. Still.) Heron on the way out of the marina: Fort Wordon lighthouse: And from the other side of Point Wilson: And this is looking at the Point Hudson Marina from the water. Airship is moored at the left of the frame, right between that tall red marker and the other tall boat (a Nordhaven 47) that pulled in this afternoon while we were exploring (we're short, so you can't see us): We're having a cocktail and some snacks now (salmon and albacore pâté from Seabolt's Smokehouse on Whidbey (SO good), cucumbers-as-crackers, and some Spanish chorizo and Saucisson from Olympic Provisions in Portland) now, and a bit later we'll grill a piece of king salmon we picked up locally, with a side salad for dinner. Oh yeah, I keep forgetting to show you these cool coasters I've collected for the boat. They're vintage Dutch Royal Blue Delft ceramic tile coasters from the Holland America cruise line...Dutch and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2014 at Riveted
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This afternoon we took off and wandered around Port Townsend some more. We took the steps at the Haller Fountain up to the upper cliff and explored around up there a bit. Port Townsend is considered one of the finest examples of a Victorian Seaport in the United States...so much cool Victorian architecure here! (I know, lame, no photos, but just look here.) Back down on the waterfront: We've walked several times yesterday and today past Waterfront Pizza on Water Street. The good smells coming from this tiny pizza joint were torture, and we eventually caved and went by today to try a slice for lunch. There were people lined up out the door, and as soon as we sat down at the tiny counter downstairs with our slices it became obvious why. The pizza was DELICIOUS...some of the best we've had. There was one no-nonsense guy separating dough and taking orders, and a woman behind the counter spinning pizza dough like a DJ in perfect rhythm with the electronic playing in the kitchen. She sauced and topped like an artist (again, with the music) and was a blast to watch. Here's a low view of her (blue tank top,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2014 at Riveted
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It was a gorgeous foggy morning in Port Townsend early this morning. Now, it's just all purple and silver. (iPhone photo, no filter, taken from the boat at Point Hudson Marina and RV Park) We're working while breakfast is in the oven, and later today we'll probably go wander around town some more. Tomorrow morning our plan is to head out (early) north to Rosario Resort on Orcas Island (weather permitting) for Thanksgiving dinner in the Mansion Restaurant. We'll likely stay put there for a couple days and take advantage of the fitness room and spa included for our $34/night moorage fee (and the fact that the forecast for the islands is a few days of heavier winds and wind waves). I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Related articles Orcas Island: Rosario Resort & Spa Langley to Port Townsend Skull Island, in Massacre Bay Point Hudson Marina More Port Townsend, Again Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2014 at Riveted
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This morning we got up early and worked a bunch, had some breakfast, and then decided to take one more quick walk up the hill into town before heading for Port Townsend. Langley is such a cute town, even in the drizzly gray. On the way out of the marina, more of these cool birds. If someone knows what they're called, please tell me. I googled up a storm and still didn't find them. Found the Mergansers, but the ones I saw had different markings: Here's a blurry closeup of the one with the cool paint job: The trip around the southern tip of Whidbey and up to Port Townsend was calm and uneventful. A little rainy and gray, but calm waters and beautiful scenery. Update: Thanks readers! It's a Barrow's Goldeneye! Arriving at Port Townsend: We stopped at the Port Townsend Boat Haven Marina first and made a quick trip across the street to West Marine. (Oh, it was nothing, we just, um, lost one of our fenders somewhere between LaConner and Langley...oops!). We then headed north a little ways to the Point Hudson Marina (the marinas are on either side of all the downtown cuteness) where we'll stay... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2014 at Riveted
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This morning we got up early and after a shower and a quick breakfast we said goodbye to LaConner (above) and headed toward Coupeville, a small wharf town in Penn Cove on Whidbey Island. Crumpled shack on the way out of the Swinomish Channel: Bald eagle hanging out on a piling, watching us pass by: Surf shack on Whidbey: We decided to stop in Coupeville for some Penn Cove mussels at Toby's. Toby's is the red/white building on the left: Approaching the wharf: Docked and heading to town for lunch: Not too busy at this time of year, is it? Toby's is great...a dive(ish) bar, with really good steamed Penn Cove mussels with garlic bread. A little view of our Airship out the window: Perfect bar ambiance and super nice people. And the mussels were REALLY good: Here's our route from LaConner to Coupeville: We headed back out to Airship after lunch and then made our way further south to Langley. The weather was kinda crappy, but still totally fun in the boat. Looking back from the pilothouse window: A bit of wind, and some wind waves (2-4 feet) but Airship is so solid. Nothing creaks, clanks, or blams at... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2014 at Riveted