Sunday, July 17, 2011


East Bank TrailThe older I get, the more important my shoes have become.  Flip-flops, high heels, flats with no arch support… I can’t believe I ever wore those, but I did.  No longer is style the primary function of my shoes; it’s all about purpose, comfort and support.  Style is pretty far down the priority list, though not completely off the list if there is any choice to be made.

For my lace-up walking shoes (which fit the niche between “around town” walkers and hiking boots), I always pick Keens.  They fit my foot well, provide plenty of arch support and the boxy toe has lots of space for my toes to wiggle.  I replace them once a year or so, whenever I find the right pair on sale. 

Earlier this year, the pair that fit best and was on sale happened to also be waterproof.  I never purchase waterproof shoes because I rarely walk in rain – and they usually cost more.  This time, though, since they were on sale, the price was competitive – so I ended up with waterproof shoes. 

Boy, have they gotten a workout!

Cascadian FarmsYesterday, rain-induced cabin fever set in with a vengeance, so we headed off to find a hike, rain be damned!  After a quick stop at Cascadian Farms for coffee, pastries, a box of cereal and a pint of raspberries (thanks to readers Barbara and Ron for the tip), we returned east, to a trailhead we noticed when we drove our motorhome west a few days ago, the East Bank Trail.  It rained, and rained, and rained.  Rain dripped from the bills of our caps onto our legs and shoes; our raincoats were heavy with moisture.  My feet?  Warm and dry!   WAY more fun that spending another day watching the rain from indoors!

Today, we had tickets for the lunch and boat tour offered by Seattle City Power/Skagit Tours, and we lucked out with the weather.  Not sunny, but dry… which seems to be the best we can hope for around here this summer. 

Once again, we headed east into the Cascades, then down across Diablo Dam.  I was so surprised that we were able to drive across the dam – that seems a thing of the past since 9/11.  We started the tour with a delicious lunch at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center – an all-you-can-eat buffet of salads (locally grown baby lettuce and homemade dressing, potato salad and coleslaw), two soups (Odel and I both had the Thai Tomato Soup), and a turkey Stromboli, with cookies and brownies for dessert. 

Crossing the dam We drove on that

Yes, we could drive across the Diablo Dam – but check for oncoming traffic first!

We crossed this little bridge just before the dam.  I held my breath on the return trip.

North Cascades Environmental Center Hwy 20 bridge and waterfall

The North Cascades Environmental Learning Center, where we ate our lunch. 

The high bridge over Pierce Falls is on Hwy 20, which we drove when we moved to Rockport. 

From there, you could meet with a National Park Ranger for a ranger-led walk to the boat dock; walk there on your own (our choice); or take a shuttle bus.  At the dock, we all loaded aboard a 70-passenger boat to cruise Diablo Lake, one of several lakes formed by the Seattle City Power-operated dams to capture the hydropower of the rivers of the northern Cascades.  The cruise was narrated by a national park ranger and one of the staff of the Environmental Learning Center, and was a fun, beautiful ride through some otherwise inaccessible country.  We both agreed it was worth the price of admission - $29 for me, $25 for Odel, due to his advanced age.  :)

And guess what?  It didn’t rain!

Tomorrow we are leaving beautiful Howard Miller Steelhead County Park (click here to read our review), moving on to Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, under 100 miles.  That’s my kind of travel day.


  1. Glad to hear the rain held off for your boat tour. That bridge looked really not safe. If you run into a Joe Spiker on Whidby Island, ask him about his cranberry juice.

  2. sure sounds like you made the most of your 'rainy day'..if it is any is raining here in Coquitlam, BC too...I think somehow we have missed the 'summer train' and are stuck with 'summer rain'!!

  3. That looks like a wonderful tour although the bridge does seem a bit scary! I would enjoy the boat tour. It's raining in Oregon as well and we just decided a few minutes ago to get out of here tomorrow and find some sunshine...our first "spur of the moment" trip.

  4. Summer is posting some record high temperatures in the I guess we can feel good about the cool rain.

    Sounds like you enjoyed the day anyway!

  5. We stayed at Pioneer Trails RV Park in Anacortes the summer of 2009. They were planning to 'condoize' the park then, selling lots for $85,000....lovely, but no facilities and we though very overpriced. Don't know what they finally did but it's a nice park. We had a perfect weather summer then!! We loved our stay! Took a train into Seattle from Mt. Vernon for a Jazz evening - Jazz Alley I think it was called. We're getting settled in at Jojoba now.

  6. So what did you buy me? :-D We'll be up in that area in August - I'm taking notes. That boat ride sounds fabulous!

  7. I wish I needed waterproof shoes even for just a day:)

  8. Glad to hear the rain held off for your Boat Tour. As for hiking, you could probably spend another week in that area, hike every day and never see the same area twice.

    Hope your still in Oak Harbor when I get back, would be great to see you guys and share a glass or 3 of Cranberry Juice again.


  9. That lunch and boat trip sounded fabulous. Lots of little old bridges like that in the northwest! As for buying shoes on sale, I'm one that will buy any shoe that fits! Most stores don't even carry what I call "Men's sizes," by which I mean size 14. Had a good deal at a Nike Store (in the Gilroy Outlet area) with good quality, perfectly fitting walking shoes -- on a clearance at $39!

  10. We're in Sequim (the 'sunbelt' of the Olympic Peninsula)and usually it's dry and warm this time of year. Not this summer! Not much rain (a few days over the last two months), but cloudy and cool. Maybe the sunny days will appear in August and September!

  11. Ah, I am now confined to my Crocks RX, or my Saucony athletic shoes (me, athletic??now there is a laugh!)..My foot is still killing me..even after my foot surgery..I thought I HAD surgery to make it better...NOT!! You are are now not for style, but of necessity!!

  12. Happy to hear you made it a day rain-free for the boat tour. Looks like a gorgeous spot if just the sun would come out a bit more.

  13. Beautiful country, the North Cascades Nat'l Park region, isn't it? We wore jackets the whole time we were there! Lucky you to do the Diablo Dam boat tour - our weather wasn't conducive to being on the lake. Loved the Environmental Learning Ctr. Have a great time on Whidby - eat lots of mussels. (It's HOT in Livingston right now - almost as bad as RAIN!!)