Sideways rain and gloomy skies led to prime couch-surfing conditions. A typical predicament in Western, WA, we pushed our blankets aside, searched for the sun and found a glimmer of it likely shining intermittently one hour away near Whidbey Island.
“Kids, we found the sun! Get your coats and hats; put on extra socks. We’re leaving in a few minutes!”
“But it’s so WINDY! I think it’s a storm. Will it be raining there? What will we be doing?”
“Something outside. We’ll figure it out. Hurry up; get your shoes on!”
A few kid squabbles later, we packed into the minivan, windshield wipers on blast. It was hard to believe the sun was shining anywhere. Gray and blustery, trees whipping aslant, we almost questioned our sanity. It would be easier to stay home, hunker down, and hang out. But we’ve never chosen the Easy Button. Instead, we choose to venture out, create our fun, find our sunshine. We may end up disappointed; we may end up soaked; the kids might fight or complain, but this is our LIFE, and we refuse to lay around waiting for it to happen.
Off we drove on yet another spontaneous quest.
The rain persisted. We approached the iconic bridge at Deception Pass, a year-round family favorite, awestruck as always by the breathtaking view. The wind tossed the van around as we crossed, and we cruised on another ten minutes to a beach we’d never known existed. Ala Spit, also known as Ben Ure Spit, extends out less than a half-mile along the Puget Sound shoreline. This tiny beach with vista views of Deception Pass, Fidalgo and Hope Islands, attracts pink salmon fishing among its turbulent tidal currents and clamming on its shores.
The rain held off; the sun glimmered periodically, and we ran out into the howling 50 MPH winds and along the shores of crashing waves. The kids scrambled up onto the expansive mass of driftwood logs and “tried not to blow away.” Hair whipping, scarves soaring, pants flapping, we walked planks, found rocks, floated wood, collected shells, popped seaweed, and ran blissfully free.
Our youngest, age 3, preferred to seek brief refuge in several log “shelters” built by bygone beachgoers, snuggle in my arms, and ultimately retreat to the van. “I almost blew away, but my shoes were so strong to my feet,” she said.
Through the windshield, we watched a tugboat speed by as the sun shone off the turbulent water, marveled at the birds diving and ascending with the wind, and emptied the nature in our pockets as we waited for Daddy and the three “bigs” to finish their Ala Spit adventure.
Red-faced, windblown and rejoined, we continued, just minutes away by car, to Fort Ebey State Park to explore the abandoned bunkers, dark underground rooms, Gun Battery, trail system, and waterfront.
This is an expansive park, originally built as a military coastal defense fort, boasting 649 acres of camping, beach exploration, bird-watching, paragliding, surfing, and a network of 25-28 miles of biking and hiking trails.
Being that this was winter and our second stop with four kids, we briefly explored the area and earmarked it for another visit in warmer months. There is no shortage of things to do outdoors, or in town. Only five miles east, in downtown Coupeville, the hub of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, visitors may easily find information, tour museums, browse antiques, shop, dine, and identify the 64 historic downtown buildings via the Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historic Coupeville.
We’ll be back, Coupeville! Until next time, we’ll keep searching for sun.
You should, too.
Meanwhile, please subscribe and leave your comments. We’d love to hear from you. Where have you found sun? Where are your favorite places? Any funny stories?
~Angela, Chris and kids