Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Highway 20 Road Trip

This weekend took a major turn Thursday night with a surprise contest win. Our trip to Anacortes was put off for a few more weekends while we took advantage of a great prize. This left us the very difficult task of filling an entire day with an activity that wouldn’t take us too far from home – but at the same time, got us away from home. The weather didn’t help either, it was cold and wet…


We decided to take a trip over to Clinton and take Highway 20 up the island. We hit Mukilteo to jump on the ferry, with about the best timing possible – we were the last car on the ferry. The drive started out with a drive through the small town of Clinton, then on to Langley where we found an amazing coffee shop for lunch.


The Useless Bay Coffee Co. looks innocent enough from the outside, but when you get a bit closer, it gets really interesting.


You jump inside the old building to find one of the most amazing cups of coffee and food that would put most 4 star restaurants to shame. The selection of cold salads, burgers and other hot dishes made this place easily worth the stop. Langley is a little out of the way town, but going over to visit the Useless Bay Coffee Co. is worth the 10 mile trip off Highway 20 all by itself.


As we were leaving the café, I found that there were little hearts sunk into the sidewalk all over. Given the reason for the trip, I found it interesting that they were there. Always check out the surroundings when you travel, little details like this might go unnoticed.


Next up, Fort Casey, or so we thought. We were moving down the road and really missed the sign for Fort Casey, but we went the direction we thought it said to go. We hung a left off the highway and travelled onward until we came to the Audubon Trail right along the highway.


This trail ran along the highway for a very long period of time. We finally saw a place to pull in and check it out. The trail runs along the water and is simply gorgeous. It’s one of those things we didn’t even know was there, but it was beautiful.


The area near the road was a nice grassland, but a nice 100 yard walk took us right up to the drift wood filled beach. The tide appeared to be coming in, so we only had a few minutes on the beach itself – plus the fact that it was 40 degrees and windy made us want to make a quicker than usual exit.


We still had enough time to check out the sights and sounds of the area. We saw some amazing drift wood pieces, some gorgeous rocks and even a few herons!


One of the highlights of the water was this amazing driftwood fort that someone had put together. Evie loved it, but didn’t want to climb all the way in. They even put wood on the floor. This thing was built to last.


We finally had to depart the beach and continue through Keystone to try and find Fort Casey. Evie didn’t want to go, but a few rocks later, she was extremely happy to hop back in the car.


We did happen to guess right and finally ran in to Fort Casey State Park. Fort Casey created what was known as the triangle of fire that was comprised of 3 different forts that protected the entrance to Puget Sound. Fort Flagler and Fort Worden were the other two parts of the triangle.


The fort was originally designed to prevent against sea attacks to the ports in Everett and Seattle. The defenses at Fort Casey included 10” artillery guns that disappeared behind then walls when not firing and mortar defenses for shorter range attacks.


The construction on Fort Casey began in 1897 and was quickly finished by 1901. The fort provided it’s part of the Triangle of Fire for only a few years before its artillery was dismounted and sent to Europe to fight in World War I. It’s 10” guns and mortar arrays were attached to rail cars and used as mobile weaponry. In 1935, with aircraft beginning to play such a crucial role in military activities, Fort Casey had it’s weapons removed and was placed on inactive status. Fortunately, the fort had one last call into duty as World War II approached. The fort was retrofitted with new walls and equipment and was ready for battle once again.


The history of Fort Casey is amazing, and the fact that during the 1960’s two of the original 10” “hiding” guns were able to be brought back to the fort makes it even cooler. If you look carefully while you are there, you can check out how the guns actually worked by comparing the position of the #1 and #2 guns. #1 is in firing position while #2 is in the loading position. It really was an incredible defensive structure for its time.


Fort Casey is now a nearly 500 acre camping and marine park. The Admiralty Head Lighthouse is also located there. We’re definitely putting this one on our list of places to camp at in the near future.


Next up on our trip was Coupeville. Coupeville is an adorable little waterfront town with some fun shops, though it looked to be a completely summer based destination as most of the shops were closed when we arrived on Friday evening. We did find a great gift shop at the wharf and some amazing views from the pier.


One of our last stops before leaving was the Far From Normal toy/oddity shop. If you happen to hit Coupeville this summer, make sure you stop in here and see all the fun stuff. This shop had so much fun stuff and great gifts for that person that has everything.


This was a view back from the pier towards this amazing home overlooking the water. It was breathtaking to think about waking to this every morning, right up until we thought about that poor home sliding down that hill eventually.

From there, we hopped the highway back to Burlington and headed down I-5 to get home for our adventure on Saturday. Of course, if you are an avid reader, Saturday should be posted right in front of this, so you know what happened that day. All in all, it was a great day and a gorgeous drive.

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