Sunday, March 18, 2012

Just Another Family Outing!

Yesterday my sister and I spent the day with our aunt, uncle, and cousins in Oakville. The purpose of the trip: to go shooting. Yep, that's how this crew has fun!

The drive south took a little longer than normal because of snow and pouring rain, and Alice started to complain about being in her kennel for so long. We made a quick stop at Millersylvania State Park to stretch our legs and cross another park off the list!
We went to an old rock quarry to shoot and set up clay pigeons to aim for. 
Yep, that's me, takin' aim with the .22!
And here with the M-1 garand. 

Gun totin' sisters!

For a short while we were blocked in by this train when it stopped on the tracks to make a switch somewhere up ahead. Just as we were getting worried about how we'd get out to our cars and go home it started on its way again.
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Whidbey Island Day Trip

You may or may not know this already, but back in the fall I set a goal to visit every one of Washington's State Parks. There are 142 of them. This is a goal that will not be met easily, and will take quite a bit of time, but I've been chipping away at it! So far my favorite park has been Dash Point. There is a pretty long stretch of beach there that Alice loved running on.

Two weeks ago I found myself thinking about an adventure, and missing the smell of salt water.
So I composed a plan of driving up to the north end of Whidbey Island, then driving down the island and visiting its 5 state parks before boarding the ferry in Clinton and returning home. While Alice makes a grand companion for such trips, I needed a person. Luckily, my friend Krista is the short-notice-adventure type and was more than willing to come along! We set out on Sunday, just after noon, and got to driving!

The first park we visited was Deception Pass. This is a very good-sized park, and easily the most popular of Whidbey's 5 state parks. We hopped out of the car, walked on the beach a little, then packed up and moved on to our next destination!
Our next stop was Joseph Whidbey State Park. It has some nice looking picnic areas and a good stretch of walking path along the beach.
And, well, we can't do without a picture of Alice!

As we were leaving Joseph Whidbey I slammed on the brakes and exclaimed "cool!" Krista then hopped out so I could take her picture with this otter crossing sign. The road we were driving has Puget Sound on one side, and some sort of marsh or inlet on the other, and I guess our otter friends like to walk across instead of swimming!

Fort Ebey came next. This park covers 645 acres and was home to a WWII gun battery that was home to two 6-inch guns during the war. The guns have long since been removed, and all you will see are earthworks and concrete. We didn't actually visit the battlement site, but instead continued on to the beach. Like I said, I was looking for saltwater here!
Then came Fort Casey! This was my favorite park of the day. The first use of this park site was in 1858, when the U.S. government purchased 10 acres to build a lighthouse on. In 1890, the Army took over the site and built an artillery site. Fort Casey is one point on the "Triangle of Fire" or "Iron Triangle" of forts that were built to guard the entrance to Puget Sound. The other two parks are Fort Worden and Fort Flagler.
Fort Casey is home to two 10-inch guns and two 3-inch guns. The part of the battlement that houses the guns has definitely been restored, while if you walk farther along things fall into more disrepair. You can walk in and around the battlements, though I might suggest a flashlight! There was a time or two when I intended to see where a hallway went and turned around after finding nothing but complete darkness ahead of me. Volunteers lead tours of the battlement late May through September, and I might just have to go back another time to get the inside scoop!

Our final park stop was South Whidbey. You can't tell by the photo, but it was close to dusk so we had a quick look around before the park closed, took our picture, and headed for the ferry.
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Just another rainy day

With the first day of spring coming up soon we're getting a final lashing of wintry weather. We  had some snow today, and a bit of hail, but a good part of the day was spent in total downpour.
I had a rather cinematic episode this morning as Alice and I were getting ready to go for a walk. She was bouncing around on the porch, eagerly waiting for me to walk her down the driveway, clip the leash onto her collar, and start our little jaunt. I turned my back on her to lock the door, and heard a strange noise. It had gone from absolutely clear and dry to torrential downpour in seconds--that strange noise was the sound of thousands of raindrops hitting the porch all at once. So much for our walk. Shelving our disappointment we went back inside and found something to watch on tv. The rain worsened, and I was glad we hadn't gone outside. Then, just as suddenly as it had started, I looked out and realized it was no longer raining. Not a drop. Without wasting a second I put my jacket, hat, and gloves back on, leashed Alice, and we were off! While I was waiting for it to start raining the whole time we were out, we did not have another spontaneous downpour and made it home, safe, sound, and dry.
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