Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Anacortes and Caravan Rally

Monday morning Trisha and I rode our bikes along a trail that runs right through the RV park, into downtown Anacortes, and for about a mile or so the other way out of the park.  So, we just did several laps to make it a 20 mile ride, but it was very pretty riding along Fidalgo Bay.  The sun was bright, it was in the high 60's and just a great day for riding--just gorgeous!

We had our first orientation meeting with the caravan group, with the wagonmaster and tailgunner giving us lots of information on how the caravan will go.  It was very informative, and, like so many situations where you get seemingly too much information to take in, I'm sure a lot of this stuff will be learned for sure only when we start out and encounter the various things they talked about.  They explained how the trip log book works, how to read their directions, etc., and talked about the various things they will do as staffers for the tour.  They are very safety conscious, and are really attuned to trying to make sure everyone not only has a good time, but that problems are minimized.  They had a very nice welcome to the caravan dinner that evening, and they had prepared special vegan meals for Trisha and me--lovely vegetable stew with barley, and roasted asparagus--yum!  We met more of the people on the tour and so far the folks we've been able to visit with have all seemed quite nice.  There are several people who have been on other Fantasy caravans, as well as some other rookies like us.

Tuesday morning they had the first wagon master's briefing, which they will do every time we're preparing to travel from one location to the next.  They explained how the tailgunner comes around early in the morning to check tires, how we'll use our CB radios to notify him when we pull out of the park, and how we'll check in as we get to the park where we'll spend tomorrow night.  They are really big on insisting that we stop periodically to do a safety walk around our rigs, and told some stories of how on previous tours, some folks were able to spot potential problems by doing this before the problems turned into something major.  They have the trip log book set up with landmarks along the way, with mile markers, where fuel stations are, rest stops, etc.  We are very impressed by how much work they have put into organizing the tour--the wagonmaster and his wife drove the whole trip last year, checking out campgrounds, arranging for a special restaurant to be open for us that otherwise was going to be closed, etc.  They are really on top of things and we are so relieved to not have to worry about finding campgrounds, where to get fuel and supplies--so glad we decided to do this trip with a caravan company who has this kind of experience.

After the meeting, Trisha went for a long walk with Sophie, to try out her new fitbit that Karen had given her.  She's excited about this new little device to help her track her exercise progress, and it was so thoughtful and sweet for Karen to give that to her.  I went for another bike ride while she was walking.  Later in the afternoon the staff had a social for the group and we got to meet some more of the group.  Had a lovely dinner outside, looking at the bay, and then got things packed up, ready to pull out first thing in the morning--though it's been so helpful to have this couple of days here learning about how the caravan will work, etc., all of us are itching to get on the road!  We'll make it into British Columbia tomorrow, so everyone is a little anxious about the border crossing.  I think we'll be fine, as I checked the Canadian immigration website as to what you can and cannot bring into  the country re: fruits and vegetables and we should be fine, but you never know.  The story goes that the border officials have an unwritten rule that they stop every tenth RV to pull aside for an onboard inspection, but who knows if that's true.   Last year when we were coming back into the US from New Brunswick, Canada, the US border guards came onto the RV and confiscated a bag of apples and some tomatoes we had just bought, but left lots of other fresh veggies alone.  We've always thought it just may have been that he called home and asked his wife if there was anything particular she wanted for dinner that night!!  Anyway, we'll see.  I'll be prepared with Santa pictures to ask the border official if they have kids or grandkids I could sign a picture for--maybe that will help grease the skids!!

This is the view of Fidalgo Bay out our front window--Sophie is enjoying looking at the bay from her perch on the dash!

Sophie with her new friend, Mattie, a little yorkie from Arizona.  Scott and Julie spent most of their lives in Portland, OR, but retired to Arizona.   They've been on another Fantasy caravan and had high praise for them

 This is the trail from the RV park, pretty nice place to ride, don't you think??
 Some murals hung on a building along the trail, commemorating lives lost in an oil refinery fire some years ago

 Totem pole in the RV park
 We have really loved watching the sunset through our front window each night we've been here!  An absolutely fabulous place to start our adventure

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