Continuing the Tradition of Afternoon Drives

When I was growing up I lived with my two sisters, mom and dad, and at one point, three grandparents. We were a busy family and because my grandparents needed help and care we very rarely went on vacation. On some Sunday afternoons, we went on a drive with my mom and dad. We would wander the back roads of Delaware and Pennsylvania, looking at homes and enjoying the wildness of the the back-roads.

I remember looking out the windows at the pretty trees and fields. Sometimes we would stop to visit people my parents knew but usually, we just drove and looked out the windows. I saw farm animals, deer, bunnies, and more. My father had a natural curiosity about the world outside the windows of our car, and house. If we met people along the way, it was not unusual for my parents to get into a conversation with those we met. We learned unique and interesting facts about people’s lives and the areas where they lived. Sometimes we were directed to unique and interesting attractions.

I bet my sisters, like me, remember those afternoon drives. Not only was it magical seeing different places and meeting other people but it was also important family time. There were no grandparents with us and we were able to enjoy family time. The three of us were not always on our best behavior. Sometimes we got bored. Yet all these years later we remember those drives.

Common Crane

I love to drive. I enjoy getting behind the wheel of my sweet little home on wheels and go explore the byways of where ever I am. Two days ago I took a drive. Actually, I was looking for a Common Sandhill Crane that had gotten lost and strayed into unfamiliar territory. I am a birder and I decided it would be an adventure to meet up with other birders. I never saw the crane or any other birders. I did have a very magical afternoon. It would have been a drive my father would have loved.

Deception Pass

There are three points of entry or exit from Whidbey Island. Two are by ferry and the third is north through Deception Pass, crossing a bridge to the mainland. Two days ago this was my exit from Whidbey Island. I went north and east to small towns among the farmland. I never found the crane. Darn.

Chuckanut Drive

I did, however, find the town of Bow and Edison and Chuckanut Drive. The Drive was the most amazing part of the day. It is 24 miles of twisting and winding road riding above the Skagit Flats and bay. I drove through the Blanchard National forest, with the water to the left and beautiful firs and green to the right and all around me.

I paused my ride to visit Larabee State Park, one of the first state parks in Washington. This week has been one of very low and very high tides. I arrived at Larabee State Beach at low tide. As I clambered over the rocks to the shore line I met Shawn. She teaches Marine Biology at one of the local community colleges. She and another woman were exploring the tide pools. I joined in. I was welcomed without hesitation. There are people who are natural born teachers and Shawn is one of them. I saw things that I would have passed over if I had been on my own. The tide pools truly came alive for me.

After spending a couple hours on the beach I returned to my rig and began the return drive over Chuckanut Drive. But, wait my drive was not over yet. I continued to meander my way through the backroads, discovering a wonderful Bakery in Bow before moving on to the end of the road in the town of Samish.

I ended the day at Deception Pass State Park. I hiked out to get a view of the bridge and see the waters that flow through the pass. Ah, I discovered a lake that I have since returned for kayaking. After driving to the other side of park to see the other side of the pass I began the trek home.

Kayaking on Cranberry Lake

It was a successful driving and meandering day. It certainly would have been on my dad’s list of afternoon drives. I guess I truly am my father’s daughter. I love finding the unique and special everywhere I travel. Maybe the locals know about these places but for me they are a joy and wonder to discover and explore.

Continuing with the driving tradition, tomorrow I am off to the Olympic Peninsula to explore and wander more beaches and maybe check out a few mountains. It is time to explore and camp.

Today I am thankful for a father who gave me the sense of adventure.

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