For weeks, we’d planned our Memorial Day weekend get-away. At the back of mind, however, I had doubts. Unfortunately, my premonitions turned into realities when the front brakes of our motor home seized up about five miles into our trip!


The plan was to get up early on Saturday morning, throw a pile of clothes, reading materials, and food into the car, drive to Mount Vernon, pack up the motor home, zip over to our lot in Anacortes, and spend the next two and a half days hiking, gardening, talking, watching the sunset, and enjoying “RVing.” The last time we used the motor home was when we drove it from Texas to Washington in December 2006!

The first part of the plan was a breeze. We got out the house early and had a pleasant trip to Mount Vernon. It promised to be glorious day. Once we arrived, Rich got the motor home refrigerator and generator charged up, checked the systems, and tossed in some lawn chairs and numerous garden tools. I went to the store for necessities – ice cream, cheese, crackers, fruit, pasta, pesto, eggs, frozen potatoes, granola, fresh vegetables, fruit, and Orbit Citrusmint gum (yum). We even dropped off Rich’s truck at Les Schwab to get a tire repaired.

After a quick lunch at Taco Del Mar, we picked up Rich’s truck and double-checked to make sure everything was ready for our big adventure. Driving towards Anacortes, Rich commented on how well the motor drove. Five miles down the road, we spied some discarded large plastic bins by the road – perfect for transporting bark dust or loading up stuff for the recycling center.

We spun around and I leapt out to get the bins. When we turned back onto the road, Rich’s face went white. The motor home was pulling towards the right. A few miles down the road, we smelled burning rubber. Ten minutes later, we were turning into Les Schwab.

The prognosis was bad. The calipers, which had given us trouble in Texas, weren’t working improperly. Two weeks before, we’d spent a small fortune to have the brakes and front-end of the motor home inspected and worn out parts repaired. The calipers had been cleaned, but not replaced. Scream!

Deeply (what an understatement) disappointed, we drove back to Mount Vernon and unloaded the motor home. I then expressed my fury by mutilating weeds in the lawn and shaking the dirt out of clumps of grass that I’d dug up the week before to enlarge the flower bed in the backyard.

Rich was much calmer. He constructively repaired his bike’s flat tire. Two hours later, we were back on the road, this time to a hike- and-bike trail by the Skagit Regional Airport. We rode for an hour or so then headed to the Tommy Thompson bike trail in Anacortes. Part of the trail was formerly a railroad bridge that crosses the bay. As we biked, I looked over the side to see a giant seal gliding under the bridge. We smiled at each other. My heart skipped a beat.

Moments later, we saw several Canadian geese and their younglings paddling across the water. One grouping was in a perfect row with a mother goose in front followed by seven or eight babies with another full-grown goose heading up the back like a caboose.

After crossing the bay, we biked around part of the islet then crossed back over the bay and peddled to downtown Anacortes and the marina. We walked around the beach for a little bit, looking for interesting pieces of driftwood. We found many painted pieces; Rich thought they came off of boats that had broken up at sea.

It was 8:30 when we got back to the car. We hurried back to Mount Vernon, made a quick dinner, took a shower then tumbled into bed.

The next morning, we drove to our lot in Anacortes and hiked for a few hours around Whistle Lake, which is accessible from a trail a few minutes from our lot. It was a splendid day and the trail was relatively flat. Stopping for lunch, I saw an interesting wildflower, Harsh Paintbrush, which has pretty green leaves that turn red at the tips so from a distance, they look like flowers. This photograph is from Deception Pass, which less than ten miles from where we were hiking.

After hiking, we rehydrated and started on the work-of-the-day… ripping, cutting, weed-whacking, and gathering plants, trees and grasses on our lot. Going down our curved driveway is a rock format. My job is to remove most of the vegetation off of the rocks. In a couple of years, I anticipate finishing the task!

Rich routinely weed-whacks the driveway and our septic drain fields, which need to remain free of deep-rooted weeds and flora. He’s also fond of cutting unnecessary branches and chopping down small trees that we don’t want on the property. There’s no point letting them grow if we’re going to be chopping them down once we start building and landscaping. Plus, at this point, we want to encourage the growth of the madrone rather than cedar and fir trees.

We’re also clearing spaces for trails and to plant flowering bushes like lilac, azaleas, and rhododendron along with a variety of maple trees.

After a full day of hiking and gardening, we drove back to Mount Vernon for a leisurely evening, watching DVDs and the sunset. The next day, Memorial Day, we headed back to Kirkland… for gardening, unpacking, cooking, laundry, and other weekly chores. Even though we spent most of the day working, it was nice being together in our house in the Pacific Northwest!