Monday, May 30, 2005

Camano A Go Go

My first couple of days in Washington State have been enjoyably exhausting. After our last post, Kevin and I went to a Capitol Hill watering hole called the Jade Pagoda. It’s an old Chinese restaurant with a bar attached. The place was oppressively hot and stuffy, but that didn’t matter much in lieu of the $3 highballs. Then my cousin Drew showed up with his pals and we were off. We fed the jukebox and the heat gradually became less of an issue as the booze took hold.

I hadn’t seen Drew in over four years, so we had a lot of catching up to do. Being an only child, my cousins are the closest thing I have to brothers and sisters. I really should do a better job of keeping up with them, but it’s cool that we can fall back into that family groove so easily even if we haven’t seen each other in awhile.

I’m not much of a drinker, but I wound up having three bourbon and waters in addition to two pints of beer with our earlier fish and chips repast. Five drinks are about all I can handle these days without having to worry about throwing up. Between the drinks, the late hour (4 a.m. my time), the fish and chips and the Whopper, Jr. at the Phoenix airport, I’m surprised I didn’t redecorate Kevin’s bathroom.

While Kevin played drums at church Sunday morning, I slept off my depravity and didn’t wake up until almost noon. We slowly packed his car and headed off to Camano Island State Park, about two hours northwest of Seattle. This would be my very first time to sleep in a tent.

We got to the campsite around three. Kevin’s friends were out hiking and canoeing, so we headed for the beach to find them. The day had been chilly and overcast, but the sun had started breaking through and it was just about right. You can’t find that mix of water, relief and huge trees in Texas. I apologize for not having illustrative photos, but as amazing as those towering firs were, money wasn’t growing on them.

Kevin’s friends headed back for Seattle after dinner, but they made sure we were more than adequately provisioned. We kept the fire going with charred wood pilfered from previously abandoned campsites and Kevin managed to set up the tent just as we lost the last bit of daylight around nine. I made it my place to stay out of the way, listen intently and learn in case I ever wind up having to pitch a tent or start a campfire myself once America collapses into anarchy.

After a starry stroll down to the sound, we turned in at one in the morning. While the ground was a bit firm even with a pad under my sleeping bag, I managed to sleep until a couple of cranky-ass crows woke me up around six. Bastards.

The upside of rising early was being packed up and ready to go by ten this morning. We drove over to Fidalgo Island and over to Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island. Deception Pass is a swirling gauntlet of water spanned 150 feet above by a bridge you can drive or walk across (if you’re not afraid of heights). We got a decent 1.5-mile hike in, which hopefully compensated for a bite or so of fish and chips.

Feeling satisfied with our physical activity, we went to Anacortes and stopped at an A&W Root Beer stand for a root beer float with soft-serve ice cream that failed to provide the fizzing normally associated with a float. We also split an order of onion rings and a crab sandwich inhumanely slathered with mayonnaise. The plan was to drive up into the Cascades, but visibility was bad and I was getting tired, so we bought two cups of Americano in lieu of drip coffee from a tan, fresh-faced teenage girl I’m damn near old enough to have grandfathered.

“That girl could’ve put a brown crayon in hot water and made me like it,” Kevin lamented just now.

I want to eat a little something and get my first good night’s sleep since Wednesday, but maybe a glass of wine will imbue me with a second wind. Tomorrow, we head back up I-5 to Vancouver, B.C.

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