Pandemic Summer Drags on

Sigh. 2020 blows, and not in a way sailors like.

After knocking out a few boat projects, we started to get itchy to get off the dock and spend some of the waning summer in the San Juan Islands. We hadn’t been to Fishermen’s Bay on the West side of Lopez in a while, so that was the first destination. After a few days there, we hopped over to Parks Bay on Shaw. That’s a little bay just across the channel from Friday Harbor. You can’t go ashore here as it’s a UW research area….but it was peaceful.

Next up we thought hey if we sail way out toward the US/Canada Border, then tack back North we’ll be able to sail up to Patos Island to check in at the tiny bay there to see if we luck into one of the State Park Bouys, and if we didn’t get that it was an easy cruise around to Echo Bay on Sucia….where there is always room. Again, there was no room at Patos (Sigh, one day we’ll get to visit) so we motored over to Sucia for a few nights to start Labor Day weekend.

By Sunday the forecast for the Islands called for 40 knot winds out of the North that night. Looking at the chart we said, “Best way to hide from this wind is snug up to an anchorage facing away.” So we sailed down Orcas Island to West Sound and went all the way up to Massacre Bay at the top of the Sound to drop the hook next to Skull Island, put out the big bridle, and batten down for a blow.

The winds were late….but they finally came with a vengeance on Labor Day itself. We spent the day reading, cooking, and monitoring the radio and internet. There were so many stories of boats having problems, going on the rocks, bucking really high winds and current driven waves. It was a day everyone should have just stayed put…but people with a schedule who needed to get back to work will often make the wrong choice and go any way. We are blessed not to have to make that choice.

Tuesday winds were back to normal in late summer. The forecast said “Winds 5-15 kts, variable” Which is kind of the meteorological equivalent of saying “Uh, we don’t know. We know there will be weather.” Sadly, those winds that blew up Monday also sparked the round of wildfires in Washington and Oregon and the smoke was really starting to get set in even in the islands.

I also started to wonder about our upcoming weekend plan to meet Jen and Monica and some other friends for our 2nd Annual Cruisers Campout. Jen and Monica have a little piece of land over by the Columbia River the other side of Wenatchee. The plan was to meet there again, pull the RVs in a circle and tell tall tales. With fires blazing the entire West Coast I wondered, “Is this really a good time to go there?”

When Jen sent around a photo of firefighters setting backfires at the Highway 2 corner where we were all supposed to turn to go to RimRock Meadows the answer to my question was clear. No, this is not a good time for camping in Eastern Washington. But no worries. Jen and Monica also have a little cabin at Lake Tyee near Concrete on the Western slope of the Cascades. Everyone could just go there, and they had a neighbor’s RV spot about 100 feet away where we could park.

So we transfered our flag to Dewey and headed up Highway 2, stopping only to fill the growler with beer at the brewery in Birdsview.

Lake Tyee was a hoot. It’s basically an RV park in the woods around a lake, where most of the RV’s have had covers built over them. Their installs where semi-permanent. They get to stay up there 6 months out of the year, and store their RV there when they are back home. Each site has power, water and a sewer dump. There is a clubhouse and pool, but those are Corona-closed. Still, it made a great spot to use as base while we all struck out with kayaks and canoe to poke around nearby, and much bigger, Baker Lake

Baker Lake is long and narrow, and the fire smoke was definitely making it a big hard to see the vistas. But we set out with three dogs and 4 boats to check it out anyway. It was still lovely.

Back at the cabin, we ate, drank, made ribs, and played a massive game of Train Dominos. Hint, just don’t play with Karin. She’s really a shark.

Monday morning it was back to Anacortes and the boat. This week we’ll see Jim and Shirley who are staying in their RV nearby. And at the end of the week we host Christian for a night on the boat before he heads off for a 5 month stint in Hawaii working on a museum. I know, tough assignment for him. Less tough though as his girlfriend Kim is going to go there and spend the time there with him. Company is paying for his apartment and has no issues with a guest.

We were thinking about running down to Idaho to see kids play football and soccer, but Camas County has had an outbreak of “The Rona” finally, and it hit school kids. So everything there is in a hold. We’ll see if we get to actually go.

Sigh. 2020 blows, and not in a way sailors like.

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