Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Thoughts About Our Anniversary Weekend
Part 1

Twenty-eight years living in Seattle and we had never been to Roche Harbor in the San Juan Islands. Two or three times we have taken day trips to Orcas Island or Friday Harbor on San Juan Island but never have we spent on overnight in Roche Harbor. With kids and dogs, the trip never happened but this past weekend we left our children in charge of the house and dog and took off without them. I think it is hard for them to grasp that their parents have an existence separate and apart from them. We were married for 12 years before they came into our lives and we have rediscovered how much we enjoyed that time together.

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Location of the San Juans

The San Juans are not far though somewhat challenging to get to. We drove up I-5 for about 45 minutes and exited to a town called Anacortes to catch a ferry. Only about three ferries leave during the day so we parked and waited for a couple hours in line. The ferry ride is only an hour and five minutes to Friday Harbor and the drive from the ferry dock to Roche Harbor is about 15 minutes. We felt like we were a million miles away in a fantasy land.

San Juan Island is the bigger island on the left in the map near the border and directly across from Victoria. The more monied of mainlanders maneuver their fancy dancy yachts into the islands and particularly Roche Harbor or they fly in by float plane. For a cultural observer like me, I found the experience to be a gold mine.

I won't go into the colorful history of the area but let's just say we had a thirteen year war with Great Britain over island ownership. It all started in 1859 when a British pig decided to invade an American garden to eat a potato. In true American spirit, the pig was blown away with gun fire and the stand off began. The whole story doesn't give me much hope about Iraq but eventually with negotiation, the border between American and British soil was resolved. The British part became Canada and the crooked border remained as evident in the map above. In 2007, in commemoration, the Roche Harbor restaurant has a "Pig Martini" that comes with a pig swizzle stick and everything. Furthermore, as a grand gesture, the Roche Harbor Resort retires the colors on the dock each evening at dusk with the Canadian national anthem, the British national anthem and Taps.

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Multiple flags

The Roche Harbor Resort orginally functioned as a lime producing operation. The suite where we stayed had been part of the house of the son of the owner of the company. The restaurant is in what used to be the main house. The old hotel is still the old hotel and of course, several newer buildings have been added as condos. The harbor is almost completely protected which is why the marina is so popular. Dave and I had the best time walking around the docks and looking at the names of the boats. One of them was called the "Red Delicious" of Yakima. It had gold plaques of apples along the side. Obviously, someone did very well in the orchard business. I will think about this every time I pay five bucks for three apples picked by migrant farm workers.

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Our room was in this building.

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Fantasy Island. Dave is on the left in brown and white.

The little boy running with his sister apologized to me for messing up my picture--but I said, "no, no, it's perfect--quite perfect!"

Perfect indeed. More later.