Saturday, November 24, 2018

Bellingham's Chuckanut Drive

On sunny fall days, Wayne and I like to take road trips. Recently, we chose Chuckanut Drive from the Skagit Valley to Bellingham. We were heading back to Bellingham from Skagit Regional Airport where our Piper Arrow is getting her annual inspection.

If you choose the other direction, heading south does give you the best views of the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands.

Skagit Valley is well known for tulips in the spring.
Heading north from Skagit Valley, take the Chuckanut Drive (Highway 11) exit from I-5 and make a right turn at the traffic circle on the west side of the freeway. From the north, take the Cuckanut Drive (State Highway 11) exit from I-5 in Bellingham.

The road passes through Old Fairhaven, an interesting destination of its own with lots of quaint shops and restaurants.

All along the drive there are spectacular views. This is particularly true south of Larrabee State Park. Turnouts are available to stop for pictures. There is also trailhead parking for a variety of Chuckanut Mountain Trails and the Interurban Trail that runs all the way back to Fairhaven. Some trails allow mountain bikes.

On this trip, we didn't stop at any restaurants along the drive. Well known ones are the Chuckanut Manor Seafood and Grill, The Oyster Bar and the Taylor Samish Oyster Bar and Shellfish Farm. Parking is limited along the busy road and both are somewhat pricey. If you've been to either of them, maybe you can leave a comment with a review.

Rock formation at Wildcat Cove.
South of Bellingham, is Larrabee State Park. Follow signs to the Boat Launch in Wildcat Cove for unobstructed views of Samish Bay. Parking is free and $5.00 to launch a watercraft. Gates close at dusk.

There are restrooms, picnic tables and rocky shores to explore or bring a kayak to paddle the headlands. There's also a nearby year-round campground for those who want to stay a little longer.

Old Fairhaven
We continued on Chuckanut all the way to Fairhaven. It was a nice fall afternoon trip. One resource I use for travels and activities in Bellingham is the Insider's Guide: Bellingham and Mount Baker. It covers just about every topic you might want. You can check it out at

Do you have any favourite day trips around Bellingham? Let us know. -- Margy

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

USC Basketball Sports-cation

USC Galen Center basketball court.
Wayne and I enjoyed lots of USC basketball last week on our fall sun and sports-cation. Because Wayne's a USC alumnus, we plan trips around their sports events.

Both men and women play home basketball games at the Galen Center. It's a great venue for basketball, volleyball, concerts and other shows.

The Galen Center is freeway close and parking is easily accessible just after the Exposition Blvd. exit off the Harbor (110) Freeway.

We fly to Los Angeles International Airport and take a cab. It costs about $50 one way plus tip. That's cheaper than renting a car and paying parking. A bonus, most cabs have transponders to use the freeway express lanes which really cuts down on travel time and headaches.

USC women's basketball at the Galen Center.
Now that we live up north, we stay at the USC Raddison. that's right next door. There are several eating establishments within walking distance including The Lab Gastropub. We also take our mobile meal kit and go to Trader Joe's at USC Village to get breakfast items, salads and snacks for room meals.

We enjoy both men's and women's basketball. Last week we saw one men's game and two women's.

It was pre-conference so good tickets were easy to get. We especially enjoy women's games because the crowd is more supportive, and the women perform as a unified team, each player working with her peers to do the best that they can.

"Our bench" for sun in the USC quad.

In between games we grab some of that wonderful Southern California sunshine to revitalize our tans and spirits. The location of choice is the USC quad where we can student watch while we read our Kindles.

Wayne multitasking watching football and basketball live,
Last week was the annual rivalry football game between USC and UCLA. It was at the Rose Bowl this year so we didn't attend.

But we did experience the on-campus pep rally and the duct tape wrapped mascot statues.

 This year SC was successful is spray painting the UCLA bear on their campus, but Tommy Trojan and Traveler survived unscathed.

USC mascots before and "under wraps".

Vacations are great for so many reasons. What are some of your favourite destinations and activities? -- Margy

Monday, November 5, 2018

Float Cabin YouTube Video Reaches Over One Million Views

Back in 2012, I sent pictures and video clips about off-the-grid living in our float cabin home to Kirsten Dirksen in Spain. She has a YouTube channel that focuses on tiny homes, simple living and other interesting topics.

A look at the YouTube page with our 1,000,000+ views.

Kirsten took the raw images I sent and put them together into a video for her channel. Little did I know that the video she created would become so popular. This week it just crossed the 1,000,000 views mark.

In case you haven't seen it yet, here it is. You can view it right here or go to YouTube for a larger version.

Thanks Kirsten for sharing our story with so many people.

Do you want to learn more about our float cabin home and off the grid living? Visit the Powell River Books blog or check out some of the books in the Coastal BC Stories series.  -- Wayne and Margy