San Juan Islands
August 28-September 1, 1991
The weather front was beginning to move in as we boarded the bus at 7:45 a.m., leaving S.E.H.S. park blocks at 8:01. Rain and wind stayed with us throughout the trip until the fourth day coming home! However, there were some periods when it wasn’t raining. It poured hard between Portland and LaConner. Arrived at the LaConner Country Inn at 3:30 p.m., sprinkling off and on. Everyone wandered around enjoying the picturesque fishing village located on the Swinomish Channel with its unique arts and crafts and galleries, and eating places overlooking the channel.
Day Two: A delicious continental breakfast served at the inn in the home-like lounge with a fire burning in the fireplace. More time to explore before lunch and casting off at 1 p.m. (and only a few sprinkles) on the “Viking Star”. The route was changed by skipper Ken McDonald because of the storm front; we cruised north, through Swinomish Channel instead of south to avoid the stronger winds which at times were 25-30 knots, and 5-6 foot waves. Spirits were undaunted; in fact many said they preferred the excitement of the storm and some sat on the outside forward deck along with the weather. We cruised through Guemes Channel, Obstruction Pass, arriving at Rosario Resort late afternoon. A few went swimming, and most heard the concert on Rosario’s magnificent organ.
Day Three: We shoved off at 8 a.m. for the enjoyable “Viking Star” breakfast while cruising the islands, inlets and bays, arriving at Roche Harbor on San Juan Island for a 1½-hour visit of the historic McMillin Estate and Hotel DeHaro, where presidents and famous people (such as John Wayne) visited in the early years. Departing Roche Harbor, we feasted on cracked Dungeness crab and all the trimmings as we cruised around more islands. Returned to Rosario in time for the ride to Mt. Constitution in the vans, but the rain prevented viewing and seeing the 172 islands.
Day Four: Again departed at a a.m. for another “V.S.” breakfast. Weather improved but considerable fog. We meandered through the islands, crossed Rosario Strait, around Whidbey Island, Skagit Bay, past Hope Island and through Deception Pass. The narrow passage between Whidbey and Fidalgo Island often features swirling currents up to 9 knots in force, but the “Viking Star” had no problem entering the south end of Swinomish Channel, and finally passing under the Rainbow Bridge that crosses to Fidalgo Island from LaConner. The bus was waiting for us at the LaConner dock and we departed shortly after 11 a.m. Jay Campbell, a friend formerly from Eugene met us, taking pictures and a large box of cookies for us. We canceled the stop at Coupville and just in time for the 1:15 ferry from Keystone to Port Townson where we scattered for lunch. This gave us time to enjoy the lovely quiet waters of Hood Canal driving south on Hwy. 101, arriving about 4 p.m. at Alderbrook Resort, near Union, at the end of the Canal. Only a few scattered clouds for the evening with a view of the many cruisers tied at the floats. Heavy fog moved in as we departed at 9 a.m. A rest stop at Gig Harbor for a look around the bay — and snacks — and continued on Rd. #16 through Tacoma, Parkland and #507 through Tenino to Centralia. Lunch at Kelso and home to Eugene by 4:45 p.m.
Everyone enjoyed the change of pace and the excitement of the storm, and the “Viking Star” treatment was the best. John Goddard was our excellent driver from Charter Bus Lines of Eugene. We had 30 travelers (18 members, 12 guests): Mary Battin, Caroline Boekelheide, Ingrid & Tom Carmichael, Elizabeth Fox, Geri Haller, Betty Haralson, Dorothy Hayes, Marian Hessel, Patricia Kocher, Doddie Leppman, Mary McLaughlin, Maude Nilsen, Janice, Erin & Scott Pattison, Virginia Prouty, Howard & Marjory Ramey, Myrtle Sagen, Maryelton Schutz, June Smith, Patricia Smith Ray, Louise Thurber, Ellen & Bob Tracy, Paula Vehrs, Mary Stanford, and leaders Jane Hilt and Evelyn Hile.