Connections of Two: Corners and VQ

My two major duty stations during my time in the Navy were with VP-17 in Barbers Point, Hawaii and with  VQ-2 in Rota, Spain.  I know, I know, those are really arduous duty stations!  For all the drawbacks of social media, it sure has been a great tool for keeping in touch, or reconnecting, with old military friends.  A few of the guys I flew with back in Spain have been following my travels and reached out to put a bug in my ear about meeting up for a meal if I find myself in their area.  It’s not always easy to schedule a meet-up on the road, but not only did Leo arrange for him and Jason to meet me at one of the best seafood places in town, he pulled off a surprise appearance by Willie and a video call with Tater! 

  
The three of them met me at Seabolt’s Smokehouse in Oak Harbor, WA for a leisurely lunch of Pacific Northwest seafood and visiting.  So many stories of shenanigans from our younger days- thank goodness there was no internet access or cell phones with cameras back then! It was so great to catch up and to see that everyone seems to genuinely be doing well for themselves and for their families.  It truly was fascinating to hear the twisty, winding paths each of us took to get to where we are in life now.  Families, careers, travels, shipmate updates. . . we covered it all.

Reunited with fellow aircrew members from VQ-2 after 25 years!  Leo, Willie, me, and Jason were all stationed in Spain and flew together in the mid 90s.

After saying our goodbyes and going our separate ways, I cruised north on WA-20 and stopped at Deception Pass State Park to walk around the base of, and across, the bridge that connects Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands.  It’s amazing that I had never heard of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) until my dad mentioned a few years ago that my grandfather had worked in a CCC camp in North Carolina during the Great Depression.  Since then, I’ve seen evidence of the contributions of the CCC in just about every National and State park, forest, and recreation area I’ve come across during my travels.  It just goes to show you, you don’t know what you don’t know!   

The 28-foot wide Deception Pass Bridge, a cantilever structure, was dedicated in 1935.  Though the bridge was built by a commercial bridge fabricator, two Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps provided the manpower that built all the supporting structures that made the bridge possible. –Whidbey Camano Islands website
I was fortunate to have great weather on the day I visited Deception Pass.  The views were stop-you-in-your-tracks stunning!  And as a bonus, a couple of jets from nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island flew overhead while I was on the bridge 🙂

Continuing north from Whidbey Island, I visited my second “corner” on my quest to visit the four farthest corners of the contiguous United States- Blaine, WA.  Technically, Point Roberts, WA is farther northwest than Blaine, but it does not meet the definition of contiguous (ie, states whose borders touch each other without another country or body of water coming between them).  Although I wasn’t able to go to the Peace Arch on this trip, I did walk the beautiful waterfront area and even had a scrumptious seafood dinner at Drayton Harbor Oyster Company. 

Unlike the first corner in Madawaska, ME, Blaine, WA did not capitalize on its status as a “four corner” city with a park and motorcycle-friendly signage to take a pic in front of.  No problem, I did as advised by a local, and rode my motorcycle a few feet onto a sidewalk and snapped a quick pic in front of one of their beautiful welcome signs.  The nice lady at the tourist welcome city said she’s been petitioning the city to place a “Welcome to Blaine, WA” sign someplace with parking in front of it, but without much luck.  Nonetheless, the visitor center representative still supported my “four corners” effort by giving me a pin and a certificate to commemorate my achievement 🙂
Enjoyed a leisurely dinner of shrimp and oysters on the waterfront at Drayton Harbor Oyster Company. Delicious!

With this northwest achievement under my belt, it’s time to make a slight detour to the east…

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