Tag: Annacortes

624. Monday 18th to Wednesday 20th June 2018. In the USA, Poulsbo, Battle Point, a Birthday and a tragedy…

Monday 18th June.

So begins our last week away from home and we have finally found summer.

I got a bit agitated at a bank where we wanted to exchange Canadian dollars for US dollars. The teller was totally confused as to how to proceed so she called on her supervisor/manager to help out. He looked at our Canadian dollars Visa card and declared he could not help as it is not recognised by the Canadian Banking system. WTF! WTF! I told him we have used the same card all over Canada at ATM’s, shops, Banks, trains, airlines, WalMart and Costco without problems. He insisted that the card has a little symbol on the back and that tells him it cannot be used in an ATM – anywhere. I then asked if I went to an ATM and got cash would he organise US dollars for us. NO! We are not customers. The ATM is inside the banking chamber and in his view so I walked over, drew out cash using my card which according to him would not work. I waved the cash at him as I left. Linda is a customer of this bank so I gave her the cash and she got our US dollars. I have some strong words I would like to use about this bank branch and manager but this is a family blog.

Why did I need US dollars and where did I find summer? We drove to Poulsbo near Seattle in the USA to visit Linda’s daughter Jessica. It was summer weather when we arrived and everyone is struggling with the under 30° heat.

Going through US Customs at the border was painless. The officer asked me to take off my sunglasses and if I still lived in Australia and then we were on our way. Instead of driving in afternoon peak hour traffic to Seattle then catching the car ferry across the bay we turned off to Annacortes, then Coupeville and finally arriving at Fort Casey for the car ferry to Port Townsend . Along the way we passed the Whidbey Island Naval Air Base and the nearby town of Oak Harbour is a busy place servicing the base.

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Outside Whidbey Island Naval Air Base.

This is a really scenic drive and unfortunately we were on a tight timetable and unable to stop and take photos. Constant road works and even an accident caused delays. As it was, we arrived at the ferry terminal with only minutes to spare.

After leaving the ferry on the final leg of our trip we noticed a small rural airstrip. It is known as the Jefferson International Airport!!!???   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_County_International_Airport     I suppose if a small plane flew to Canada from this rural airstrip it would be an International flight.

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We saw a couple f these in Canada but in the USA they are popping up all over. It seems good espresso coffee is becoming more popular. Regular coffee outlets such as Tim Hortons and Starbucks are not responding quickly enough. These places offer a quick drive through coffee but do not supply cakes or pastries.They keep the menu simple and the service quick.

Not long after leaving the ferry we reach Highway 101. Turn right to Port Angeles and follow the Olympic Mountains or turn left to Puget Sound and Poulsbo. We turned left.

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The USA like Canada seems to sell colourful chairs on the roadside.

We arrived in Poulsbo in time to see John before he left for work. After dinner we sat around talking and getting to know the children, Silver, Jaxson and Emma.

Although I was not driving, I think I used my foot all the way on a phantom clutch and brake pedal. It’s hard to be a passenger sometimes.

I am tired.

Our bedroom has half- life size figures of a Star Wars Storm Trooper

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No batteries no power. Donnis was not kept awake by flashing lights, stamping feet or bursts of laser ray gun shots.

and Darth Vader beside the bed.

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Darth Vader was on my side of the bed, Luckily his battery was flat and not plugged in so I was not kept awake by flashing lights, a glowing light sabre or a deep sepulchral voice.

I am not sure if I have to call on “The Force” before I go to bed. I like the Star Wars movies but John is a real fan. Tomorrow I will get to see the rest of his collection.

Tuesday 19th June

It is young Jaxsons 4th birthday.

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A candid cupcake pose. Happy 4th Birthday Jaxson.

He was able to celebrate with a playgroup at Battle Point Park.

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Emma at only 15 months tries to keep up with big brother.
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Jaxson climbs the old fortress.

After singing Happy Birthday and blowing out the candle on the cup cakes, I had a look around the park. It is called Battle Point, neither because of a Civil War battle nor any other US military battle. It was from a native American battle, around 1900, between the local Suquamish Tribe and a marauding tribe from Canada seeking women. History does not tell us about the outcome. It just records there was a battle.  The area was once owned by the US Military and Fort Ward was created as a super secret radio installation. It was here that a decoded message about Japans plans to attack Pearl Harbour was handed up the line but sat on an officials desk over the weekend. History tells us the message was never acted upon. Or acted upon too late.

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Old naval base water tower.

Some of the original buildings have been retained and put to new useful purposes. For example the radio transmitter building complex is now used for a planetarium and celestial telescope and has regular information and viewing sessions for the public.

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Battle Point Astronomical Observatory.

Another building is now used as a gymnastics auditorium.

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Bridge over the Hood Canal at Port Gamble.

Along the road we saw several places selling fireworks. Not small shops but huge solid timber buildings with counters 40 mtrs long. Yes, they sell fireworks in the USA. Some of the stores also sold marijuana or cannabis. Imagine. Let’s have a fun weekend. Buy a load of weed and fireworks, smoke the weed and set off the fireworks.

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Enlarge the photo. On the left hand side you can see the fireworks for sale. These type of stores were everywhere around Bainbridge and Poulsbo.

In the afternoon Donnis and I took John’s Ford Mustang Convertible for a spin to Poulsbo.

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2006 Ford Mustang V6 3.7 litre motor. Although I have always wanted a Mustang Donnis looks rather chuffed to be in the drivers seat too.

The city, yes city of Poulsbo (despite only having a population of 9,200 persons at the last census) was originally inhabited by the Suquamish nation for somewhere around 5,000 years.

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Parts of main street of Poulsbo

Poulsbo was more recently settled by Scandinavian settlers (Norwegians) around 1880.

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The Mustang took us to a German Bakery in Poulsbo.

Locals still claim a strong relationship with the Vikings. Many of the original buildings along the shores of Liberty Bay on Puget Sound have been maintained in a quaint representation of a Norwegian Village of a century ago.

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Poulsbo waterfront picnic area. Note the Norwegian flag.

Even the sign, “Velkommen til Poulsbo” is in a nice Norwegian twang.

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What is an old Australian/British telephone box doing in the USA?

Although we like the City of Poulsbo we liked driving the Mustang even more. We would have enjoyed following a coast road around Puget Sound for a few hours but regretably John wanted the car to go to work.

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Birthday cake for Jaxson at home.

Wednesday 20th June

One of Jessica and Johns employees was badly injured in a car accident early yesterday morning. It seems he started through an intersection on the green light. An Audi travelling at 100MPH in a 40 MPH area drove through a red light and ploughed into his car, rolling it and trapping him half out the window and his car burst into flames. Meanwhile the other car also rolled and the 18 year old driver managed to crawl clear while the car owner was trapped as his Audi also burst into flames. We know from eye witnesses at the scene, Sheriff’s report and drivers of both cars he was screaming for help as he was incinerated. At the time of writing John has visited his employee who was airlifted to Seattle but was unable to speak as he is now in an induced coma and scheduled for several operations. Both drivers are still in a critical condition and we will not know the outcome for several days. We know that Gerard has been conscious once since arriving at the hospital but has been kept in an induced coma ever since. He is scheduled for several operations but miraculously was not burned.