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