BY LES McCARTHY
Whidbey Life Magazine Contributor
March 18, 2015
Anyone who knows me or has read my writing knows I’m never short on words. I write easily and can chat up a rock like nobody’s business. This week, however, I found myself stuck.
I was mired in the proverbial muck of the dreaded “Writer’s Block,” bogged down in a rut—too much work and not enough fun! Fortunately, I know the best remedy for both is a change of scenery to clear my head.
So I went for a drive.
I’ve always been one of those people who’d just get in the car and drive, heading whatever direction my car was facing, just going until I arrived somewhere worth stopping. When I lived in the Midwest and Colorado I could drive a very long way before hitting water. Here, um…not so much!
In any case, I decided to just go, packed some water and treats, and the two dogs and I drove off into the sunset, Well, actually we drove north. And it was morning.
Road trips were our necessary method of travel when I was growing up and our preferred method of travel when my kids were growing up. Nothing beats 24 hours in a hot car with ones you love, driving through seemingly endless cornfields in the Midwest and mooing at the 4,287 cows that dot the landscape between Denver and Chicago.
Unless you’re somewhere else. And then, nothing beats that! So, with no real plans, we three gypsies were off to parts unknown on this beautiful island—seemingly, going nowhere.
Our first stop was the Star Store in Langley to get fried chicken. The best fried chicken on the planet, in my book. The dogs, I found out later, agreed with me. I pulled the car over to breathe in the aroma of the flowering plum trees at the north end of town. We could have lingered there all day, sniffing like fools and watching those dark branches, fat with fragrant, pink blossoms swaying in the breeze as they arched over the road, but we moseyed on.
A quick turn down Coles Road and we were in the forest. I love that road. It’s curvy. It’s peaceful. On a sunny day the light filters in—sunbeams reaching down—it’s heavenly. Swinging a right onto 525, we made a pit stop at WiFire to visit my favorite baristas and get my usual blended soy latte and we were off again!
Minutes later we passed Greenbank Farm; had it been lunchtime, and had I not had the dogs in the car, I would have stopped for a tasty bite. Eating at Whidbey Pies is like eating at Grandma’s House. It’s cute, it’s quaint, it’s oh-so-yummy. But the café, galleries and prairie walk would have to wait for another day as we were on a mission.
I turned off the highway to the right and came upon Coupeville from the back way—past the farms and houses along the water. I like going into town that way. Whidbey and Camano Tourism have it right when they say that the islands are “The Shortest Distance to Far Away” because I get the wind in my hair and the water views from the road and I am far away and nowhere I’ve ever been and everywhere I’ve wanted to be.
We drove through town and stopped at my favorite bakery, the Knead & Feed. I hopped in and got a cookie and, as a bribe, fed part of it to the dogs so that I could take ten minutes and jump into Aqua Gifts and nose around a bit. I adore that shop! I could have lingered in others but I felt a pull northward, so onward we went!
And then we were just driving. Admiring the forests and the farms and the beautiful landscape that had turned overnight into blossoming Spring. A flowering pink crab here, a white apple there, ruby quinces, redbuds, others I didn’t recognize. It was lovely. This is my first Spring on the island and I truly feel I am somewhere Oz-like and Eden-esque.
We flew past Penn Cove and up through Oak Harbor and northward to Deception Pass. As we neared the bridge I realized I didn’t want to stop just yet; something inside me said, “Keep going.” I felt we were just minutes away from something even more spectacular—and we were. We drove off-island (oddly feeling like I needed my passport) and east a few minutes. And as I pulled my car onto one of the many country roads in the La Conner area, my heart knew we had arrived.
I got out of the car and just stood there, mouth agape like some big ol’ codfish, and looked upon the acres and acres and acres of golden glory swaying under that blue sky.
The daffodils were in bloom!
I took pictures, called a friend and, before heading back, the dogs and I walked the side roads, taking in those rows and rows of springtime splendor.
A trip north isn’t complete without a jaw-dropping walk across Deception Pass Bridge (so gorgeous and only an hour from home), so I stopped on the way home and strolled up and back, snapped a few photos, uttered a few barely audible, “wows” and then headed home.
It was a good day. I was relaxed. I felt good. My head was clear. And all because I went nowhere.
Les McCarthy is an author, entrepreneur and IPPY bronze medalist for her yearly “Healthy Living ~ Healthy Life: 365 Days of Nutrition & Health for the Family” calendars. She is still somewhat new to the island and the NW and loves every bit of it. She joyfully tends to her geriatric fur factory and is happy the slugs are back!
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