Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Brenda and I want to wish all of you a joyous holiday season; may you enjoy good health and happiness in the coming year! Xmas 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It’s a Ferry Nice Way to Travel

It’s hard to believe that almost a month has passed since my last blog – where does the time go?  Brenda and I have been enjoying the Pacific Northwest and it’s beauty, although the weather is starting to get a bit depressing.  Even though we’re in the “rain shadow” of the Olympic Mountains, we still get the overcast, dreary days.  We’ve avoided any of the severe weather that the Pacific storms have brought, and so far, we’ve had no freezing temperatures. 
As we learned when we lived here many years ago, you just have to dress in layers and continue to do the things you enjoy.  We’ve been out visiting number of the small towns in the area, and some are beautifully decorated for the holidays.  One of our favorites is Port Gamble, a small waterfront community where the well-maintained homes and shops make you think of a New England seaport.  Port Gamble ChurchThere’s a simple yet beautiful church, neatly maintained small homes, and a general store with a bit of everything, including an upside-down Christmas Tree.  We visited on a weekend day when there were hayrides, vendors of crafts and food, and plenty of gaily-decorated shops to explore.

Port Gamble Store
We’ve found that Washington State Ferries are an easy way to travel across Puget Sound.  In this area, so many people live on the islands and peninsulas  which may only be a short distance to their work or shopping as the crow flies, but  can be a hundred miles by road.  Ferries provide an easy, sometimes reasonable alternative to the long drive. 
Ferry Car LineWe started our ferry journey at the Kingston, WA dock, whereInbound Ferry we paid our fee ($8.80 for the two of us plus the car) and we were then directed into lane 3 of Seattle Skylinethe holding area, a large parking lot .  We got out and Ferry Trafficwalked to a viewing area where we could see our ferry, the “Spokane” coming across Puget Sound to our dock.  Once it had docked and unloaded, we were directed , two lanes at a time, into the ferry, and then into separate lanes.  We were at the front of the ferry with a good view, so we decided not to leave our car for the upper deck with it’s snack bar and warm interior.  Off in the distance, the skyline of Seattle was just visible, and as we began crossing, a large ship crossed our path.  The trip lasted about 30 minutes, and we began to dock at Edmonds.  It was interesting watching how the ferry slowed and maneuvered, and how the large ramp was lowered onto the deck of the ferry.  Once docked, it doesn’t take long to unload – total time from boarding to driving off the ferry was about 45 minutes.  Driving distance to get to the same location from Kingston – 108 miles, including navigating downtown Seattle.  Thanks, Washington State Ferry System!Ferry Dock
Ferry Dock2
Although it’s generally overcast, every once in a while the clouds clear and we’re left with stunning views.  This view across the Puget Sound of Mount Baker is one of those invigorating experiences that will carry us through another week or so of dreariness….
Mt Baker
That’s it for now, we’ll be back with another update soon!