Amtrak Cascades Trek – Part 1, Mount Vernon to Vancouver

Amtrak Cascades to Vancouver-44

For years I’ve observed the railroad tracks that hug the base of Chuckanut Mountain. The line crosses the Samish Flats from Mount Vernon then curves along the coast right at the waterline. From the tracks you can see across Samish Bay toward the San Juan Islands. Even more intriguing to me was the fact that Amtrak runs along these rails. I knew this was something we had to do while we were out here, and we got that chance this past Tuesday. Continue reading “Amtrak Cascades Trek – Part 1, Mount Vernon to Vancouver”

Thrift Stores and Farmers Markets

Bellingham Farmers Market-021

I miss a good, old-fashioned Southern flea market, the kind where you can find anything from fishing lures to knives to rusty tools to outdated medicines to questionable Confederate adoration. There’s just nothing like that up here. The western term is “swap meet”, but I haven’t even been able to find one of those. At least in this corner of the state swap meets are infrequent and are nothing like those in the South. I was eager to find some alternative. Continue reading “Thrift Stores and Farmers Markets”

Random Skagit – Volume 6, Padilla to Bowman Bay to Guemes

Guemes Island-15

It took until May to get here, but it’s finally spring in the Pacific Northwest. Along with the tulip fields we’re getting rhododendron and other blooms. The weather is also improving, with sporadic sunshine temps reaching almost 70ยบ. It’s perfect weather for getting out and about, so I’ve been trying to take advantage of it when I can. Continue reading “Random Skagit – Volume 6, Padilla to Bowman Bay to Guemes”

Random Skagit – Volume 5, A Visit from Bubba

Houston with Fire Pit-001

I’ve got some catching up to do. The last few weeks have been a relaxed whirlwind and I’ve been having too much fun to write about it. It’s Tulip Festival time here in Skagit Valley, but, more importantly, we’ve had a visit from my brother, Houston. The past week was spent showing him all our favorite tourist spots and having a great time in general. Continue reading “Random Skagit – Volume 5, A Visit from Bubba”

A Visit to Northern State – Part 2, The Recreation Area

Northern State Hospital Recreation Area

I was on an old-fashioned ramble, much like the ones I used to do back in South Carolina. I was visiting the site of Northern State Hospital, a former mental asylum that is purportedly haunted. So far I had visited the hospital’s on-site cemetery, but now I was ready to explore the park that surrounds the hospital. Continue reading “A Visit to Northern State – Part 2, The Recreation Area”

A Visit to Northern State – Part 1, History and Cemetery

Northern State Hospital Ruins

Laura and I were working on her mother’s estate and had an appointment in town with an insurance agent. We arrived a bit early, so Laura suggested that we try to find the old Northern State Hospital just outside of Sedro-Woolley. It had been featured Ghost Hunters, one of Laura’s favorite shows, so she wanted to see it. When we arrived we found only open space and ruins. We had to get back for our appointment, but I had seen enough to know that it warranted another visit. So the next morning I paid a visit to the old mental asylum. Continue reading “A Visit to Northern State – Part 1, History and Cemetery”