The New Year Adventures

Published in the La Vernia News on January 2, 2014

Spontaneous Inspiration Leads To Adventure

Mount Rainier

     What would you think if we said, “Drop everything and get on an airplane to anywhere.” You would obviously think that we were crazy. Well, sometimes you have to think crazy to get yourself moving, doing something different, something that will get you to a better place, a better way of living. 

     That is exactly what we did one day, back in the day when we were anchored down to the humdrum routine of everyday life. Why not? Our kids were grown and on their own; our parents were healthy and not in need of our presence. We had a credit for a couple of airline tickets. Let’s live a little!

                            Throw a dart

But where to go? We decided to throw a dart at the U.S. map hanging in our office. The dart landed in the state of Washington. That’s where we would go. A day later, without any planning whatsoever, we boarded a flight to Seattle.

Everyday Journeys

  Harry and Linda Kaye Perez

                       Mt. Rainier viewed from the air as Harry and Linda arrived in Seattle

     While in the air, headed to the unknown, we could hear a familiar little voice in our heads, getting louder by the second. As Dr. Phil would say in his Texas drawl, “What were you thinkin’?” 

Orca off Friday Harbor

                        Northwest Adventure 

     Upon arriving in Seattle, walking hand-in-hand with smiles on our faces, the first thing we had to do was to find a rental car. That accomplished, we headed south toward Mount Rainier. We had a stunning view of the mountain on our flight into Seattle and with our camera always at the ready, managed to get a great photo. We knew we had to see it up closer. The scenery was so beautiful; the landscape was dotted with small quaint towns.

     We hardly noticed that it was getting dark and we needed to find a place to spend the night. We approached a small “mom and pop” motel. As we entered, we noticed a sign that said, “No Vacancy.” As we turned around to leave, the sweet lady behind the counter asked how many nights we needed. “Just one,” we replied. She said that all her rooms were rented, but that she had a room way in the back that was for her grandchildren when they visited. “We’ll take it,” we said. It was a wonderful, comfortable, cozy room and we hated to leave the next morning.

        Back on the road, we just drove -- let’s see what is down this road. We came to a crossroads; left was our choice. This took us to the small town of Elbe. Off in the distance, we could hear a train whistle, and as we got closer, we saw a train station from the past with an old steam train ready to go, steam pouring out of the engine. 

     Hurriedly we parked our rental car, purchased tickets on the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad, and within a few minutes were chugging along on a two-hour excursion to -- wait, you guessed it -- nowhere.

                                                                                   Whales at play

       The following day, our adventure continued when we took a ferry out of the coastal town of Anacortes, just 88 miles north of Seattle on Interstate 5, to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. The best way to see this historic village is on foot; quaint shops, B&Bs, and great seafood eateries are within walking distance of the ferry landing. Whale watching is a favorite pastime. Orcas migrate to these waters beginning in late May, a must-see.

                                                                                  A sweet finish

       We had heard that there was great hiking at Mt. Baker, so we decided to drive toward that area after leaving Friday Harbor, confident of finding a place to stay for the night. Why not? We had been very lucky so far; we wanted to be in the area for an early-morning hike. Driving 45 miles east of Anacortes, we passed only one motel; there were no vacancies. It was getting late, but we had no choice but to continue; we didn’t want to go back to the coast.

       The paved highway ended at the town of Concrete, Wash. It was just before dark. There was only one hotel there, which didn’t look very inviting, but our only other option was to sleep in our small rental car. A bar occupied the ground floor and there were 10 rooms hugging a single hallway on the second floor and one bathroom at the end of that hallway. In our room, there were no curtains on the window; a single light bulb dangled from the ceiling and the mattress was the old-fashioned squeaky coil-spring. Morning could not come fast enough!

       However, staying in Concrete turned out to be a good decision; Mt. Baker was absolutely magnificent in the early-morning sunshine. As we walked along one of the trails, we saw a group of people picking blueberries. We joined them and filled our water jug with the plump blue beauties, which we enjoyed on our drive back to Seattle for our return trip home.

                                                                                      Take off!

     Travel is an important part of our lives. How else can we get to know the people and places in our world? Not all travel has to be to faraway places; it can be just around the corner.

     A brand new year is waiting in anticipation -- begging for a great start. What are you going to do about it? Planning a trip for a day or perhaps longer might actually be a great idea.

    We are planning our new journeys for 2014 and would like for you, our readers, to suggest places that you would like to read about or travel to, both near and far.

Harry and Linda Kaye Perez are freelance writers from just down the road from Floresville. Together they share a passion for traveling and writing, and discovering the very best in all corners of the world. Email them at 

   © Harry Perez 2012