La Conner Guitar Festival

La Conner Guitar Festival-93

This past weekend was an event which I had been anticipating for several months. This was the weekend of the La Conner Guitar Festival. Unlike the Bellingham Folk Festival back in January, the focus was more on the instruments than the music. Specifically, it was a luthier event. I now own three guitars, so I wasn’t looking to acquire a new one, but I was still looking forward to attending. Continue reading “La Conner Guitar Festival”

Paddling Lake Samish

Lake Samish Paddling-2

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to…paddle.

…to paraphrase Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

I live on an island. You’d think I could just drop a boat in and take off anywhere, but it’s not that easy. The tides, wind, etc., etc., have to be just right. Plus there’s the issue of a steep cliff right in front of us with no easy access for hauling a kayak. If I’m going to put a boat in the water, I still have to load it onto the car and drive it to some access point. This past Tuesday I really wanted to get out for a longer trip but the tides were just not going to work out. I decided to try one of the local lakes instead, so I headed up to Lake Samish. Continue reading “Paddling Lake Samish”

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old-fashioned Southern flea market, the kind where you can find anything from fishing lures to knives to rusty tools to outdated medicines to questionable Confederate adoration.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”

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Roozengaarde Tulips-093

To say that tulips are a big deal in the Skagit Valley would be a massive understatement. Just looking around the town of Mount Vernon one sees a huge smoke painted with tulips and tulip motifs worked into architecture and bridges. Several business are named for the flowers, such as the Tulip Inn. It’s a big business and it all comes to a head during the month of April when the tulips are in bloom. That’s when the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival takes place. Continue reading “Skagit Valley Tulip Festival”

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”

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”