Anacortes, Washington, USA: Around The Sound

My buddy, the bird.It’s been a busy few days. Much to my dismay, I’ve found myself getting up around 6am, getting ready to go and being out the door by 7:30am. Much to my great pleasure, the company has been excellent and my hosts have been wonderful.

Now, to fill in some details! Over the past year and a bit I have been doing some side work for a company in Seattle. They have a great product and I have been doing some contract coding for them. We’ve been working closely for quite a while now and I thought it would be nice to finally put some faces to the names, and emails. That is part of the reason for my starting my trip in Seattle. Additionally, I’ve never been to Seattle or anywhere in the northwest of our great country and I figured that since my flight to Melbourne starts in L.A. this would be a great chance to do a little exploring in my own country before I go around exploring a bunch of other ones!

One of the people I’ve been working with has a lovely home on Bainbridge Island and he kindly offered to let me stay with him during my time in Seattle. That offer has been a great thing for several reasons. One, Bainbridge is absolutely beautiful. It reminds me very much of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Trees as thick as you can imagine and water available everywhere. The island is just a 30 minute ferry ride from Seattle across the sound but it instantly drops you into a wonderful small town feeling place and you quickly leave the bustle of Seattle behind. It’s great!

I’ll go back a bit now, since I was tired when I made my first post about Seattle. When I arrived at Sea-Tac Airport Wednesday afternoon my friend picked me up and we headed down to the city. I got to meet the people I’d been working with and then we headed out to dinner. This is where it gets scary!

All of you know that I am the pickiest eater in the world. It’s basically burgers and fries for me, which explains my Adonis like figure. In particular, I don’t eat seafood. Well, we started walking and eventually ended up at McCormick and Schmick, which is a very top end seafood restaurant! I swallowed hard and went in, fearing the worst.
A brief aside: One of my goals for this trip is to break out of my very confining walls and get rid of my hang ups. My food fears are at the top of the list and I have vowed (to myself) to at least try to eat everything I am served.

Anyway, I scanned the menu and saw several things that didn’t sound too scary. I eventually decided on fresh grilled Albacore tuna with a peanut something sauce over it. I figured, “Hey, I like tuna from a can. I should like it from a grill.” Let me tell you, it turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. I devoured the tuna, the rice, some of the veggies and even the crunchy ricey thing that I was completely unable to identify. It was delicious. So, a thank you to my host for getting me to try something new, even if no one knew! 🙂

After dinner, I got set up in my room and hit the sack early. It had been a long day and that was the post you saw on Wednesday evening.

Thursday I spent the day in the office doing some debugging and such of some of the code I’ve written for the company. We also took a quick side trip downtown to find me something warm to wear. I packed for summer and it’s still what I would consider super early Spring weather here. Kinda rainy and cold and I was doing a lot of freezing. It was a relatively quiet day and we wrapped it up with a great Thai dinner right on the harbor of the island. Incredible views and excellent food.

Today I had big plans to strike out on my own and start my exploration. I found the location of a Budget rent a car place that was close to the ferry port and my friend walked me up to it first thing. A few minutes and dollars later and I was sportin’ a lovely white Pontiac G6, which, I hate to say, I really like driving. I set out with a plan to find an Apple store to either get a new battery or get mine fixed under warranty. The life on it has sucked recently. I picked the Apple Store in University Village which is near The University of Washington (U-Dub to the locals) and didn’t have much trouble getting there. I ended up getting a brand new battery under warranty, so that was awesome. I also picked up a nice fleece from North Face which I desperately love.

Next up I headed back to town to meet up with my friend and take care of some last minute mail business and then took the ferry back to Bainbridge to pick up my gear and head off on my own!

My friend and his wife had told me a million great things to see while I was here, so I decided to just hop on a road and head north and see as much as I could. I definitely wanted to visit Vancouver and the San Juan Islands. My friend also told me about a great mountain pass on the North Cascades Highway that sounded right up my alley!

So, I drove! I took a different ferry from the island this time, landing in Edmonds which is north of Seattle. So that saved me the downtown traffic. After a brief stop at REI (dissapointing) and then Best Buy to pick up a Garmin Nuvi 350 (Ouch!) I hit the serious road and eventually found myself in Anacortes, which is where I am typing right now! It was dark when I arrived and I had no plans or reservations so I just stopped at the first decent looking motel in town and settled in. Happily, it’s a nice, clean room with free Wifi and a good price. Score! I haven’t been able to see anything of the town or water or anything, but looking at Google Maps I should be in for a hell of a view when I wake up tomorrow 🙂

My plan tomorrow is to… dun, dun, DUN: Do some laundry! I didn’t have time before I left Kansas. After that I’m going to take the ferry to Friday Harbor and spend some time soaking up the island life. Eventually I’ll head into Victoria, B.C. and then up to Vancouver.

And that’s it for Wednesday through Friday! I’m having a wonderful time and I’m in love with this place. I can’t wait to see what the weekend brings.

There’s pictures from my Seattle adventures on Flickr (click the birdy at the top) if you’d like to see what I’ve been seeing.