Danger Man

secret-agent
“Danger Man” aka “Secret Agent” starring Patrick McGoohan as agent John Drake

The very first song I learned on guitar was this opening riff from “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers.


It’s a simple riff and can be played on just the upper two strings of the guitar. I was only five or six at the time, but I played it on both my brother Houston’s sunburst guitar from Sears and my sister Susan’s ukulele. I didn’t know any other chords, but I could play that riff. I had vague memories of it being associated with some TV show.

Fast forward a half-century… Continue reading “Danger Man”

The Oso Landslide of 2014

Aerial view of the Stillguamish River and SR 530 after the March 22, 2014 landslide
Photo by Washington State Department of Transportation

In a recent post I stated that if news from this area reaches back east, then it’s generally bad news. There was one more event that I had intended to include with my list of Skagit Tragedies, but it doesn’t really fit with that list since (1.) it took place in Snohomish and (2.) it’s not a place that I drive by or see every day like the other places on the list. Having recently visited the site of the terrible Oso Landslide of 2014, I thought it worthy of its own post. Continue reading “The Oso Landslide of 2014”

Skagit Tragedies and a Deserted Mall

Cascade Mall-18

When news from Skagit County makes it all the way back to Greenville, generally it’s bad news. Since our association with Samish Island, there have been several tragedies in the region that reached that level, from crimes, to natural disasters, to accidents. Now, living up here, I drive past and look out at these places on a daily basis. I can’t help but think about those tragedies when I pass by. Continue reading “Skagit Tragedies and a Deserted Mall”

Thai, Slides, and Drums

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Vernal Equinox Sunset over Fidalgo Island – a photograph that has absolutely nothing to do with the attached post, but included because I like it.

For a Wednesday there was a LOT going on. There were trips back into town and to see more daffodils, as well as new musical and food experiences. Here’s a quick rundown of the day… Continue reading “Thai, Slides, and Drums”

La Conner Daffodil Festival

Skagit Daffodils-28

Of all the crops grown in the Skagit Valley, flower bulbs are the most dramatic. The first tulips were grown and sold on Samish Island in the early 1900s, then operations were moved to the flats between Mount Vernon and La Conner. Now large companies such as RoosenGaarde, Christianson, and the Washington Bulb Company produce and sell flower bulbs of all types. When these flowers come into season the valley is awash in color. This month it’s daffodil season.

Specifically, the month of March marks the La Conner Daffodil Festival. Right now the daffodils are at peak bloom. However, the “festival” doesn’t seem to be much, as such. Continue reading “La Conner Daffodil Festival”

The Good, The Bad, and The Irish

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Clonmacnoise Abby and Ruins, 2015

In my single, young adult life St. Patrick’s Day was the biggest excuse for a party of the year. I’d dust off the green and tweed and trot out the Irish ancestry (William Taylor, the ship Earl of Donegal, County Antrim, etc., etc., etc.), and purchase large quantities of the chosen poison for the evening, whether Jamison, Guinness, Bailey’s, or some green concoction. It didn’t help that my usual partner in crime back then, Bob Donnan, celebrated his birthday on March 17. I remember a couple of particularly epic parties (barely.) It was also about the only time I’d listen to Celtic music.

Fast forward a few decades and my St. Patrick parties are much less epic, if they occur at all. Since this year’s celebration was on a Saturday, there was the potential for more epicness. While the actual date was celebrated quietly, it was a weekend full of Irish music, including the good, bad, and ugly. Continue reading “The Good, The Bad, and The Irish”

Active, Dormant, or Extinct? Confusion and Clarification

Mount Baker over Bear Creek
Mount Baker over Bear Creek

In the last post I took Island Adventures naturalist Tyson Reed to task for his characterization of Mount Baker as an “active” volcano. I was a bit too hasty. My friend Tommy Thompson alerted me to the fact that these definitions are evolving, and there’s still a bit of some confusion about what they really mean. Continue reading “Active, Dormant, or Extinct? Confusion and Clarification”

Spur of the Moment Whale Watching

Quintessential Washington

We are finally getting some spring-like weather here in the PNW. With sunshine and warmer temperatures we’ve been wanting to get out and about a bit more. I had gotten an e-mail with a discount coupon for whale watching out of Anacortes. We had taken a tour with the company several years ago, and decided that we would take advantage of the coupon and head out with Island Adventures once again. Continue reading “Spur of the Moment Whale Watching”