Friday, June 07, 2013


It's been over a week since I last posted on the Blog.  I'll try catching up with what's been going on.

We crossed the Cascades on the North Cascades Highway raining most of the way.  There are supposed to be some nice views along the route, but not for us with the low clouds and fog.  When we arrived in Oak Harbor, which is on the Island of Whidbey in Puget Sound, the rain stopped and the sun came out.  Whidbey is an island because of a narrow strait between it and the mainland.  You can view Deception Pass by either walking across the highway bridge which crosses it or from a nearby beach.  We opted for both views each of which are pretty spectacular.

Continuing our sightseeing we took the ferry over to the Olympic Peninsula and the town of Port Townsend.  The Washington State Ferries ply the waters of the Puget Sound and the San Juan Island with 22 ferries.  At about $30 for a round trip it's well worth the cost considering that the non-ferry option is a 225 mile road trip around the southern in of the sound.

We paid a visit to Fort Worden State Park where when the kids were young we went camping.  The old fort with it's gun emplacements and officer quarters still exist.  Part of the fort has been converted to a campground while the officer homes which surround the parade grounds are available as vacation rentals.

We spent sometime walking around the town then after lunch caught the return ferry to Whidbey Island.  Next we stopped at Fort Casey another army fort taken over by the State Park Department.

 Located on Admiralty Inlet, Fort Casey was considered so strategic to the defense of Puget Sound in the 1890s that three forts, Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, Fort Flagler on Morrowstone Island and Fort Worden at Port Townsend, were built at the entrance of the sound with huge guns creating a "Triangle of Fire." This military strategy was built on the theory that the three fortresses would thwart any invasion attempt by sea.

Designed as part of the massive modernization program of U.S. seacoast fortifications, construction on Fort Casey began in 1897. In 1901, her big guns on disappearing carriages, which could be raised out of their protective emplacements so that the guns were exposed only long enough to fire, became active. However, the fort's ammunition batteries became obsolete almost as soon as their construction was completed. The invention of the airplane in 1903, and the subsequent development of military aircraft made the fort vulnerable to air attack. In addition, the development of battleships designed with increasingly accurate weaponry transformed the static strategies of the nineteenth century into the more mobile attack systems of the twentieth century. Most of Fort Casey's guns and mortars were removed and sent to Europe and the Pacific during World War I, where they were mounted on rail cars to serve as mobile heavy artillery.

Two of the fort's 10-inch (25-cm) seacoast artillery guns on their carriages were salvaged in the mid-1960s from their final active duty location at Fort Wint on the U.S. Naval Base at Subic Bay.  The guns showed visible shrapnel scarring from the effects of the Japanese bombings in the Philippines at the opening of World War II.



After 4 days on Whidbey Island we figured it was time to start heading south.  Not by much though as we stopped in the Seattle area to see friends Mark and Lynn.  Lynn had worked with me on the USS Midway, but upon Mark's retirement they opted to move to the Seattle area to be close to their daughter.  They moved into their new home a month before our visit and as their first guest we were treated with a great lunch and a tour of Edmonds their new hometown.

We managed to push ourselves away from the table and found a place to camp in a county park in the small town of Carnation.  Out in the country, but close enough to the city for a visit which we did the next day.

First on the itinerary was a stop at the REI Flagship Store to return my hiking boots.  While hiking in the snow in the Tetons, the left boot leaked soaking my foot.  The right boot was fine, it was as though the Chinaman who did the waterproofing missed one.  Anyway the boot were exchanged for new ones with no problems.  REI had a very liberal return policy letting you return an item at any time for any reason.  That was until the next day.  Now items purchased may only be returned in the first year.  Of course we had to buy more stuff while we were there.


Our tour of Seattle will be continued.......

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