A Little Too Much Excitement – Whidbey Island

Taking advantage of what little good weather there’s left for the year, here in the Northwest, I took a roadtrip up to Anacortes and down Whidbey Island yesterday. I’d been to the Cascades and hiked in the shadow of Mount Rainier, so I thought going to the water would be a nice change. What I expected to be a nice, relaxing drive turned into one of the most harrying of days.

We set out pretty late in the day, and stopped by Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood. The I-5 to Mount Vernon was uneventful, but it was around 4pm by the time we go to Anacortes, where there was some sort of biker convention. The streets were lined with motorcycles of all sorts. I hopped onto the rocks at Cap Sante Park and snapped a few photos. As our final destination was to be Fort Casey State Park, we didn’t spend much time in this area.

Sailing

Coming up Deception Pass, we parked at a scenic lookout and walked across the first bridge. The bridges were probably close to 100 meters above water level, and were quite the sight. This was also apparently a tourist attraction, as there were quite a few people walking about in the area, looking out across the water, essentially to the Pacific Ocean. As we stood there gazing at the cliffs, I heard a loud snapping sound, and whipped my head around to look at the cause. What I saw next made my heart leap into my mouth.

Close Encounter

An old pickup truck was shooting skyward in a shower of concrete powder on the second bridge, as it had run off the road onto the sidewalk, which was sectioned off with metal poles and tensioned metal cabling. I was certain it was about to plummet into the waters below, but fortunately, the forward momentum was greatly reduced by the walk-way barrier. The truck came down, and impaled itself on one of the metal poles, blocking one of the two-lane bridge. Everyone stood aghast at the scene, with some folks closer to the accident starting to make their way over to see if the occupants were okay. Fortunately, the only person in the car was just fine, although his truck wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

Impaled

Police reached the scene quickly and blocked off the bridge, although that was hardly necessary, as cars both ways had stopped after the incident and people were milling around all over the roadway. I walked towards the scene, D90 in hand to grab some shots of the destruction. A good 7 or 8 guard poles had been pulled clean from the concrete walk, and the truck was still partially in the air, sitting on top of one of the poles. Traffic piled up for miles in both directions.

Police opened up traffic on one lane, so after some time, we made it across Deception Pass, and headed towards Fort Casey, hoping to make it there by sunset. The fortifications there make up one of the three points in the ‘Triangle of Fire’ at Admiralty Inlet, a network of forts originally designed to protect Puget Sound. There, we found a series of barracks built into the ground and two large artillery pieces. We walked out onto the beach, as the sun was setting, and saw several groups fishing along the shoreline. A young child sat on a piece of driftwood, crying, as his father fished further down the shore. It was pretty chilly and I’m sure he was bored out of his mind. I looked over and gave him a smile, as I set about photographing the sunset. He stopped crying, as he watched me.

Fort Casey sunset

After the sun had set, we left the beach. I glanced back at the child and saw the father return, packing things up, and consoling the kid. Poor guy.

It was getting late, so we went looking for food, driving towards the ferry terminal in Clinton. As the rest of the occupants of the car started to fall asleep, somewhere along WA525, a deer ran out onto the road. I braked sharply, and fortunately, it didn’t pull a deer-in-headlights move, continuing across the road. An instant later, a second deer ran out, this time much, much closer to the car than the first. I swerved and was able to avoid it. Needless to say, the other two in the car were instantly awake. My heart was racing as I couldn’t believe my luck. The deer didn’t look fully grown in the instant I saw them, but I’m sure would have done some serious damage to the car, nonetheless.

Thanking my lucky stars nothing actually happened on the road in the middle of nowhere, we pulled up to a surprisingly packed restaurant, named Gordon’s on Blueberry Hill. It was out of the way, but the number of guests there made me hopeful. The decorations, both inside and outside the restaurant were fantastic. After a short wait, we got our table, and ordered. I got the filet mignon.

Hands down, best steak I have ever had.

The meal wasn’t cheap, but it’s nice to indulge oneself every once in a while. If you’re in the area, I’d highly recommend it, especially during the day, when the view is apparently spectacular. It was dark when we got there, so I can’t verify the claim.

We took a ferry back to the mainland, and that wrapped up the eventful day. All in all, Whidbey Island was full of surprises. As I look at the terrible weather breweing for the next 10 days, I’m not sure when I’ll have the chance to get out into the country again.

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