Monday, January 19, 2009

San Juan Islands Trip, Part 2: Orcas Island

Our favorite gas station.
The latter 3 nights of our vacation were spent on Orcas Island. The day we arrived the weather instantly improved from the fog & overcast. We stayed at the Resort at Deer Harbor which is now run by a travel club my dad belongs to. It is only through him and some quick thinking by Ken that we secured this fantastic little bungalow, situated on the water. With a gas fireplace, king bed, Jacuzzi tub and private outdoor hot tub, cable tv & VCR/DVD player—we were set.
The night we arrived, we could not think of anything more enriching to do than watch the classic and much praised Citizen Kane. I’m still not quite sure why this movie is regarded as so revolutionary except that Orson Wells directed, produced, wrote and starred in it under a contract with exceptional creative control in a time that studios did not give that up. His negative parody of newspaper magnate W.R. Hearst caused an all out media blackout of anything regarding the film in the many national media outlets controlled by Hearst. Clearly Orson Wells and the studio took a huge risk with this film and probably didn’t make very much at the time of its release. But now it’s very highly regarded. Check out this song by The White Stripes called “The Union Forever”—recognize those lyrics? First order of business on our first full day there was charging up Mt. Constitution. Normally you can drive all the way to the top but because of winter, they closed the road 1.5 miles from the top. We parked and trudged through melting slush and compact snow. The sun came out in late morning and there were odd warm breezes that came over us. They say the islands have a micro-climate all their own and I would agree. Ken and I were the only ones up there as we reached the lookout--the exclusive taking-in-nature party that no one else was invited to. We called Dad and told him we made it to the top, he couldn’t believe that I had voluntarily agreed to go on a three mile round trip hike. Little did I know that we would be doing another hike the next day too but it was welcome physical activity. The next day’s hike had a steeper ascent, no magical viewpoint payoff and took us longer. But there were a few cool things along the way. The restaurants on Orcas are plentiful and, unlike San Juan, tend to function year-round. We didn’t have a bad meal out the whole time. However, our complimentary continental breakfast at the resort left quite a bit to be desired due to the spoiled OJ and lack of options. But it was free and not heavy so we were fine with it. Shopping is better in Friday Harbor (San Juan Island) but that wasn’t really our focus. I think we only ended up buying a book of sudoku puzzles, a cat toy for Oliver and some postcards/stamps on Orcas. Friday night was a banner evening because Ken got to have his favorite thing for dinner (crab) and I got to watch my most favorite show (Battlestar Galactica) which aired a new jaw-dropping episode. We’ve decided this vacation was a total success. While it didn’t start out exactly like we thought it would, good fortune and the “spirit of vacation” took over. We were surprised too because neither of us had even looked a computer in a week and yet the world did not end... But it came to our attention via concerned emails and voice mails that many of our friends and family didn’t know that we were away. Oops.

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