Our plane landed at the Seattle airport at 5:30 on Monday, and we went to get our rental car (Dave got the car, Ray got the luggage, for efficiency). The reservation printout specified “Generic Car or Equivalent”. It’s a Chevrolet Sonic, your basic tiny four-door hatchback too small to hold the big duffel bag, the small suitcase, and the backpack all in the trunk, so we will have to avoid dangerous places. But it has cruise control, a backup camera, several speeds of intermittent windshield wipers, and USB audio, all features you wouldn’t have found on a generic car even two years ago, so it’s pretty nice. We left the airport at 6:30 with trepidation about making our 9pm-be-there-30-mins-early ferry reservation. But with the carpool and express lanes we were able to zoom through downtown Seattle and reach the ferry at 8:04pm, giving us time to have a bit of S. E. Rykoff prefab at the little ferry-dock cafe. The area between our car and the cafe was briefly closed to quarantine an international arrival from Canada, but we got onto the ferry just fine.
When we arrived at Lopez, our hosts Randy and Karen, friends from Menlo Park with a summer home on Lopez, greeted us with a crab they’d caught that day, perfect tomatoes they’d brought from Menlo Park, and fresh French bread from a local bakery. Yum.
Tuesday was spent watching the red-breasted nuthatches and chestnut-backed chickadees and downy woodpeckers at their feeder, and the rabbits out on the field they’d cleared to create a beautiful view of the sound. Later in the day, a humane cage arrived, which Randy set up with carrots. The rabbits didn’t seem interested. Our friend James came down on his boat from Crane Island, about 20 minutes away, and he and Randy spent much of the afternoon talking about shrimping, construction, and island life. Meanwhile, Karen and I assembled a BRIMNES bed from IKEA for their “chalet”, which had ingenious interlocking slats allowing its use as a single or double bed. Randy grilled some delicious lamb chops from Horse Drawn Farms, and took James back to his 20 foot aluminum fishing boat.
Wednesday we drove onto the 10:45 ferry back to Anacortes, and from there onto Whidbey Island. Deception Pass at the north end of the island is quite scenic. We visited Ray’s cousin Gail at her wine shop, then proceeded into Seattle to while away some time with shopping, have dinner with my step-nephew Aaron, his wife, and young children, and crash at my college friend Jeff’s apartment.
Thursday morning we arrived in Kirkland, where we will hang out with other wedding guests for the next three days. As we found ourselves driving our rental car across the Lake Washington bridge, we worried about the unconscionable fees we would be charged; a phone call to Dollar revealed that there will be a $10 administrative fee covering the entire week-long rental, regardless of how many crossings we make — that was a relief, and an improvement over how rental car companies used to treat you even three years ago.