Today, July 29th, our adventure is at a turning point. A directional turning point, that is. For today, we begin heading, at least generally speaking, eastbound. This is a significant milestone for us. We’ve been traveling for four months now and loving it (most of the time). Since April 1st we’ve been getting farther and farther from our adventure’s starting point in Florida. From here on out, we will not only be heading toward our New Hampshire home, we will be getting closer to the end of this awesome journey.
What better way to begin this directional change than with a totally new experience, loading the RV on a ferry to take it to an island in the Puget Sound? What a blast and what a shortcut too. When we drove up to Port Townsend we were unaware that we could take a ferry with the RV. We expected to be driving south all the way back down to Tacoma and Seattle before going back north again to get to North Cascade National Park, a 4.5 hour drive. Instead, taking the ferry turned that slog into a mere 2.25 hours and a ton of fun too.
We decided to stay at North Whidbey RV Park in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island for a few nights to explore Ebey’s Landing National Preserve and Deception Pass State Park. So relaxing, calming, can’t beat it! And, the views.
Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve is a cooperative effort between Washington’s Island County, the Town of Coupeville, Washington State Parks and the National Park Service that protects 17,572 acres on the island. It is the only effort of its kind in the entire country and was formed in response to the steadily increasing development pressures from investors in the 1970s. Due to this unique cooperative in which nearly 85% of the land is privately owned, one can experience today what life was like in the mid to late 19th century. Still, most of the historic homes are residences and the fields continue to be part of active working farms.
When we arrived at the Jacob and Sarah Ebey House we just happened to meet Kristen Griffin, the manager of the Trust Board that oversees this entire effort. She explained that, back in 1970s, the residents were extremely concerned about loosing their way of life. They had been farming their land which had been passed down through generations since the 1850s and were being pressured by investors expressing interest in developing this island for resorts and housing developments. Of course, some people wanted to sell while others wanted to protect their land, their heritage and their way of life for future generations. This debate sparked high tensions among the residents as one would expect. In the end, a unique solution was developed that put this land in a trust. The residents found a unique solution to protect their way of life, prevent further development of their land and preserve it indefinitely for their future generations.
While here, we met Susan at the Ebey House out on Ebey’s Prairie Ridge trail. She volunteers there and is a wealth of knowledge. We picked her brain about this place for close to an hour. It was so beautiful, we wanted to know what the weather was like the rest of the year. Turns out, its rainy or snowy and cloudy the majority of the year. They only get 162 days of sunshine per year compared to the US average of 205 or the Fort Myers, FL average of 271 . Too bad, this place has “let’s move here” potential!
We explored the towns of Coupeville on Penn Cove and Oak Harbor, drove past the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and experienced the deafening sounds of the fighter jets making their final approach to the airstrip as they passed over our campsite. We also hike through parts of the Deception Pass State Park and around parts of Cranberry Lake.
As we wrapped up our visit to this beautiful island we began to look forward to the eastbound segment of our adventure.