Mt. Vernon, WA. USA
My experience in the San Juan and the Mt. Vernon area could have been better. For starters I rented an AirBnB, a cute vintage ’62 Shasta trailer. I read over the entire description and reviews when booking but I guess I forgot about the composting toilet. Really not a huge dilemma but it was freezing outside!! The host was super communicative. She was emailing me nonstop about the things she would provide, OK LADY!! It was a little too much, like just do it. Anyway, I arrived at a decent time- a little after 15:00, as I had informed her I would. I went straight to the bathroom (#2). I read the instruction on how to use this toilet and began my business only to find out there was no toilet paper!? How could this be? She kept talking about how she had everything I could need! I ended up using hand wipes- then throwing them in the trash, it was gross.
Anyway, the host and her girlfriend ended up coming by and bringing me goodies and stocking the trailer while I was there. They were sweet overall. The plan was to stay the night to wake up early and head to San Juan to see the whales. I needed to take the ferry there, which would allow me to bring my car as well.
That night I went to dinner at The BLG- a burger. This place has quite a bit of history and charm, although the service is slow in the small town. I went back to my camper and had a beer while I put together a puzzle and sorted my budget. I was using a propane heater to keep the trailer warm and was able to go to sleep after changing the tank 3 times. When I woke up the following morning I was freezing! Not kidding, it must’ve been like 35 degrees and had been raining all night. I quickly checked the weather- the rain stopped and it was set to be 60F degrees for my self-lead “whale excursion”. Before leaving I made myself eggs- fresh from my hosts hens. I also had some of the other goodies she’d brought over the night before. I can’t recall what it was now. I was full, satisfied and ready for the day.
San Juan Island
I got out of there and headed west to board the ferry. I was there for about 3 hours waiting. In this time I ordered my plane tickets for December! I would be going to Iceland and Germany for the Christmas markets. Super productive, I still need to figure out my stays for that trip. Eventually we boarded the ferry. It was windy, but not wet like the Mackinac ferry. I took a few pictures, and went inside… where there was a large group dancing. That was entertaining. It was actually the first and still to this day (Jan 19,2020) the only time I have ever gone live on IG. I grabbed a hot dog for a quick snack before arriving to the island.
We arrived to Friday Harbor and I immediately went to Lime Kiln State Park. There was plenty of whale watching perches and a pretty light house. I was perched there on the rocks for at least 5 hours, no whales. I took many pictures of mountains and the lighthouse while I patiently waited in hopes to see a whale breach. It just wasn’t the season. I eventually made my way back to town for dinner.
I accidently chose an organic plant based restaurant. Naturally I stuck to the normal plant foods I’ve known to love, kind of out of the ordinary, I typically like to try new foods. I just couldn’t imagine what barbacoa/beef tacos would taste like using meat substitute. I ordered a beet salad as a wrap- so scrumptious. I paired it with a Pinot Grigio because this was also a winery and I am a bit of a wine snob (well used to be). Throughout my meal I clearly forgot I was at a vegan restaurant, so when I was offered desert, I ordered the raspberry cheesecake. Barf! It wasn’t that bad… but it was no cheesecake.
I eventually made my way back to my car after exploring the small town and eating- all of the stores were closed at this hour. I waited at the ferry dock, smoked some kush, and listened to The Basement Yard. By the time we boarded the ferry I was ready for a nap. I napped for the duration of the ferry ride and never stepped foot out of my car. Then upon arriving back to the mainland I routed my next stop. 2 hours to Seattle. Good thing I had a nap!
Seattle, WA. USA
I finally have a metropolis to explore. It feels like I have been roughing it in the wilderness a lot and I always felt lucky to find desolate small ‘towns’. I arrived very late and found myself going right to bed. I also woke up super late the next morning because my room stayed so dark. I was happy to have all the sleep I could get! Then I showered and got on with my day; I was ready to explore the city.
Naturally it was raining, but this is Seattle. It’s supposed to rain here; it wouldn’t be the full experience without it! I figured on a rainy day… in Seattle, I should have a coffee- a little pick me up to get things rolling. I walked to the highest rated coffee shop nearby; Artisan Café on 5th Ave.
I was also hungry but not sure what I wanted to eat. When I walked in I saw a sandwich come out I had never seen before, it looked good! I pointed and asked for one of those. It was my first ever Banh Mi. Oh my god, it was delicious. Even since having the best in Vietnam, I have always loved this one most. I didn’t want to eat too much because I planned to end my day at the Pike Place Market for dinner.
The market wasn’t far so I had a few hours to wander. I took this opportunity to get new shoes… at least that was my intention, shoes and sweaters. I ended up with super cute booties (not the type of shoe I had intended), 2 tops, jeans- that I love, and sunglasses. Whoops! I blew a full day budget at the store. I’ve been doing so well on my budget, I kind of deserved it. Next stop: the market, for pictures. I got there while everything was still open, but also within the hour of everything beginning to close. All the flowers wrapped up and packed away, ciders stored for tomorrow, even the chowder place was closed. I never realized the market was as big as it was! I went to as many of the stores as I could on all 3 levels (it might be more!).
Then I finally made my way out of the basement to figure out dinner. Whoaaa!! Everyone had ears of corn in their hands, roasted street corn! I had to indulge. I ate my corn without hesitation- seasoning all over my face. It was tasty, I’ve only had street corn at a restaurant before this. This was not dinner though.
As I enjoyed my cob of corn I Yelped nearby restaurants. I found one called ‘The Pink Door’ it would have a show and had excellent food reviews, so I began to walk. I went in the direction on my map but it was leading me away from all the signs and people. I found a pink door in the middle of all the local shops in the narrow street/alley and I tried the handle…
This is the place. I was greeted with a staircase and went downward, to the host stand. The place was full and without a reservation I wouldn’t get a table. I found out the bar was 1st come, 1st serve. I waited about 15 minutes until a couple left. I sat at the bar and ordered my meal, including a special seasonal cocktail. When it rains… I pour?! Haha. I wasn’t far from the hotel and it would be light out a while longer. I noticed many circus like themes throughout Seattle- at the market and especially here. Then it happened! There was a trapeze artist. She flew around the ceiling and flipped. She danced inside the trapeze hanging from the ceiling as I ate my food. Minutes after her first act, she reappeared with a large hoop and did tricks on it suspended from the ceiling. Pictures were prohibited during the show. All the while a few people were gathering around the bar; my new friends. I met Joyce, Sam, and John right as I was finishing up my tea.
They invited me out to a reservations only bar. The reservations got you into the main bar, and then in the bar you would pick up a pay phone that someone upstairs would answer, then they would buzz you in through a safe. The ‘safe’ was merely only a safe door, this door opened up to a staircase into the speakeasy upstairs- Needle and Thread.
Before we made our way to the speakeasy we went to Zigzag cafe to waste time, and after the speakeasy we went out for ice cream. They had been in Seattle for about 10 days at that point and showed me around the area they knew- to include the gum wall. The next day they’d be headed to Canada, it would be Thanksgiving there. Needless to say, my night was swept away with new friends- breaking all my rules. I made it back to my hotel safely and was ready for the next day. I was glad to have met them, truly. I think meeting them made Seattle more welcoming. I was feeling very odd before they came along.
Chihuly Garden and the Public Market
The next day I set out to try a breakfast place my new friends recommended. I forgot to mention, they’re from New Orleans.
If anyone from NOLA ever recommends a restaurant, ALWAYS try it!
They know food- NOLA has the best.
Off to Biscuit Bitch I went. They were right! This breakfast was incredible; a great start to my day. I went to Chihuly gardens after breakfast to see all the wonderful glass. Did I mention it was still raining? It was. All the colors were super vibrant. I never went up the Space Needle but it’s right there.
Instead, I was on my way back to the market. I’m not sure why I was drawn to the market so much. I got to see the throwing fish this time. I lingered here a bit and met the guy who was throwing the fish over the counter. He did a couple throws for my Instagram story before I moved on. When I go back, I’ll take the underground city tour- I had never heard of this before. I ended my day pretty early and had dinner at my hotel. I planned to have Top Pot donuts in the morning before I was on my way to the next stop.
Did I mention my next stop would still be in Washington and would include an AirBnB where llamas, horses and sheep would come right up to my bedroom window? I don’t think I mentioned it, but I was excited! So excited in fact, I took a day away from Portland to have an extra one here. Before I continue… I did make it to Top Pot donuts and it was good. It was one of those spots you HAD to go to if you were in the town. So I walked a good distance there, and then back in a rush to get on the road. And about halfway back I realized I didn’t have my purse.
I had my phone- I was on it, I was distracted, talking with my sister as I left to walk back to my hotel and checkout before the garage would charge my car an extra day. Now I was practically running back to the donut place to grab my purse and still try to make it back to my car in time. In the end, it all worked out. Someone had brought my purse downstairs to the counter. I had been eating on the second level. I think if I had left it downstairs the chances of things being stolen would’ve been greater. Less people were on the top floor. I digress; my new AirBnb