When I was a young boy my mom suffered from terrible migraines. She would shut herself in her bedroom with all the shades down and wait it out, sometimes for hours.

If you lived in Wolfeboro, NH back in the 70’s, you almost certainly remember Rocky Batchelder. Rocky owned the Deep Six in Wolfeboro, which sold lobsters, steamers, fish and produce. He also had a Chiropractic office that was part of his home on Mirror Laker. My mom would go to Rocky for treatment to try to get some relief from her pain. While she was getting treatment, Rocky’s daughter, Debbie, and I would go play and swim on Rocky’s beach. Those days, I at least, look back on with fondness.

Debbie now lives in Friday Harbor, a town on San Juan Island in the Puget Sound in Washington state.

I hadn’t seen Deb since the late 70’s. I managed to get in touch with her to see if she was around and accepting visitors. She was all for it and suggested that we try to get a campsite at Washington Park Campground in Anacortes, very close to the ferry to Friday Harbor.

I tried reserving a site at Washington Park 4 months ahead of time but I was successful in reserving a spot for only two days. I felt lucky to get that! They did offer “first come first serve” spots. But we wanted to stay longer then 2 days. So our plan was to set up camp in our reserved site, then try to find a “first come first serve” spot that was unoccupied. We had 2 days to find one.

We get there and oh my my was this campground tight for Shiny. We managed to back into our reserved site but only because the site across from us was unoccupied when we showed up. I never would have gotten in there otherwise.

Notice the campfire ring right next to our back awning. Yikes!!!

I was dreading that I would have to move out of this site in two days, find another site and then have to squeeze into that one.

But wait!

There were 4 blank days after my name. What did that mean? We called the Park Staff number that was listed. They told us that if the days were blank then no one had reserved the site for those four days and the site was ours if we wanted it. What incredible luck this was. I knelt down and kissed the ground. Shiny Luck!

The 220 acre Washington Park juts into Rosario Strait on the western edge of Anacortes. The park offers camping, a very busy boat launch, and day use picnic sites. A paved 2.2-mile loop road winds through the park’s forested hills and meadows with views of the San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountains. A gorgeous park indeed.

We settled in for the week and had a great time. All that worrying for nothing.

The rest of the Pacific Northwest was in the midst of a heat wave. Not so here in Anacortes!

Except, we had to get out of there. More on that later.

We had fun exploring the park. One day we took the ferry out to Friday Harbor to visit with Deb and her husband Vern.

We arrived in Friday Harbor and Deb picked us up at the ferry landing. She then gave us a tour of San Juan Island. Please enjoy this short slideshow of San Juan Island.

And we got to see Orcas’ for the first time. How cool is that!

We had a great day visiting with my childhood friend from Wolfeboro. Sue and I are grateful to Deb for showing us around the island that she loves so much. It was indeed a most beautiful place.

Me and Deb Batchelder

I had an accident pulling out of Washington Park. The first dent in Shiny I consider to be my fault. All other dings were caused by Mother Nature (that’s my story and I’m sticking with it). Washington Park is great for tents and smaller RVs but boy was it a bear to get in and out of with Shiny. That said, I’d still do it again! In order to get out of our site, the site across from us had to be unoccupied. All the stars aligned and that site was empty when we were ready to depart. I had to swing far to the right to make the sharp left turn. In so doing I hit a tree root that I just didn’t see.

I gotta say it sounded a lot worse than it looks. What a crunching noise! To make matters worse I bent the heck out of that stabilizer. I’ve gotten good at replacing those though. 🙄

By the time we left Washington Park, Shiny’s holding tanks were as full as they have ever been. We decided to spend the night at a local RV park to take care of that problem, take on freshwater, and get caught up with our laundry. Shiny was mighty logy, heavy, and cumbersome on that short drive to the park.

As you can see it was nothing more then a huge parking lot. But we left with empty waste water tanks, a full fresh water tank, and clean laundry.

From here we were planning on heading north to Alaska. Take the ferry over to Vancouver Island. Then north on the Sea-to-Sky Highway. But in the end we decided to head east. The gas prices at the time were the deciding factor.

So over the Cascades Mountains we go. Our first stop on our journey was a Harvest Host called Ovenell’s Heritage Inn.

This Harvest Host stop was simply delightful. It was so appealing we decided to stay an extra day. Harvest Hosts are free but you are expected to buy something to support the business (an argument can be made that they’re not actually free). So we purchased more of the homemade sweet treats that they offered. The things we have to do for a safe place to park.

Ovenell’s is right on the Skagit River. They had lots of acreage to walk around. Big elk here as well, as you can see by the tracks we came upon on one of our walks.

Continuing on east, we made a quick stop at the Cascade Wagon Road Campground in Marblemount, WA . It was a nice dry (no hookups) campground on the Cascade River. The owner came around each night and collected $10 cash.

We left Marblemount and continued east, out of the Cascades, to Omak, WA. Here we stumbled upon an event that was quite remarkable. Have you ever heard of the Omak Stampede?

Well, neither had we. It happens once a year and it just happened to be this weekend!

The Omak Stampede is a western & Native American themed rodeo and carnival. The main attraction is the “Suicide Race”. Horses and riders race 225 feet down a bluff to the river, swim or wade across and then dash 500 yards to the finish line in the center of the Stampede arena. I thought at first it was all hype but after witnessing the preliminary races for this event I’ve changed my mind. This got our attention. Yes it surely did!

Here is a slide show of one of the racers coming down the bluff.

The Omak Stampede reminded me of the time we stumbled upon the Volkswagen rally in Texas. In any case, it was fun while it lasted. We had to leave the event the day before the grand finale because there was not a campsite to be had. However, you can watch a short video on YouTube of the 2015 finale race.

Omak Stampede Finale Race.

So what did we do next?

Movin’ to Montana soon………………………


  1. I remember Rocky & his daughter. I worked cleaning the rooms at Rocky’s place while I was pregnant with Ellen.

  2. You are a wonderful storyteller! Heading to Anacortes on Monday via the Ferry from Port Townsend.

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