Love in the Time of Foreclosure

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Day 2 on the island: Beauty all around

Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

Day 2 weather = SUNNY!

We woke up to sunshine. Showered, dressed, made the bed and jumped in the car to get food and COFFEE. (My coffee maker hadn't arrived yet.) We had agreed that Day 2 would be about sightseeing and thrifting.
So much we sold and gave away that we could use now. If only we had known. But we didn't. So now we thrift.

We turned right at the end of the driveway and drove approximately 12 minutes until we couldn't drive anymore. That took us to Roche Harbor.


Pretty, isn't it? It's a resort and a harbor and a very quaint place that does have food and coffee. Score. They are known for their doughnuts so of course we had to try them. Yum. We stopped into the lobby of the hotel to just get some information and talked to the very friendly person at the registration desk who happened to be from San Bernardino. She was very excited when she heard that we had been living in L.A. and welcomed us to the island. 

Driving down the West Side of the island we encountered the Westside Freepile.


I had heard about this from LITTOF reader Joy who said that her husband came very close to snagging a working lawnmower. As you can see in the picture at the bottom right there is a lawnmower... but we didn't test to see whether or not it was working. And that truck? $600. Everyone says we'll need a truck. And we're already seeing why. But not quite ready to make that kind of a purchase. 

Discovering the freepile was such an exciting moment. A pile of free stuff? Just here on the roadside? Cool! I rummaged through what was there (all still wet from the rain the day before.) There was a perfectly good Mason jar just sitting there, so I grabbed that. Perfect. It now contains our kitchen utensils. I love Mason jars. Maybe in the spring I'll make some Blackberry preserves from the plethora of blackberries on the island and that Mason jar will be the ideal container.

Continuing down the road we were treated to the extraordinary vistas the island offers and we were so happy for the sunshine.


We saw a sign for a moving sale and followed it down a long winding road that led to more AMAZING views. Alas, the sale was the weekend before.

Next, we happened upon the dog park. It's located on donated land right across from the airport. (I didn't get any pictures from the dog park or the airport, but will on the next sunny day.) The dog park was a wonderful experience. Luckily Pablo handled himself like a gentleman. It's always a crap shoot the first time you bring a dog into a place where all of the other dogs know each other. Upon entry, Pablo had about six small dogs sniffing him at once. No incident. Phew.

The people at the dog park are lovely. They are a tight community. You can just tell. With each new person we meet, we get another perspective of life on the island. And more great tips. We'll be there often to give Pablo time to play with other dogs. It will definitely become part of our routine.

Lunch was clam chowder and fish and chips. The food on the island? So far, so good. But we really need to get our kitchen set up so that we can cook!

Thrift stores here we come! Okay, the amount of amazing furniture we have found so far at the thrift shops is so good that I am dedicating that to its own post. I hope to get that post up later today. Or tomorrow. Let's just say that the island has way more to offer than I had imagined. And at good prices. I'm actually going to post pictures of the furniture we've found and ask Diana from the ChicagoNow blog Garage Sale Warrior to offer suggestions for how to refurbish them on the cheap. Her motto is "New life for the tossed and found" and that's just what we need.

Day 2 ended with another night in the cabin. More Canadian radio. Missing friends and family. But happy to be in such a beautiful place.



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bluepacifica said:

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Just remember, if you had brought your stuff with you, a u-haul would have been required. It might have cost you more than it was worth. And then, if you brought stuff here, you wouldn't have this rare opportunity of thrifting!!! It's an adventure, isn't it?? LOL You two will have such a hoot!

Ron said:


We have a similar thing on Orcas called the Exchange but they have a lot of the stuff under cover so it doesn't get wet. It's staffed and you pay what you think it's worth.

Drop by the dump (solid waste facility) and get their handout on what can be recycled. This is important because you can recycle stuff for free but they change you for garbage by the bag. It's around $8 a bag. Not sure because I've never paid it. (We save what little garbage we have left after composting and recycling and take it to the main land and drop it in Wal-Mart's trash can.)

Stephanie Walker said:


Hey Ron,

We might possibly be able to come to Orcas this week or maybe even Sunday. And I'm interested in visiting the Exchange because we still need to find a dining room table set and a dresser (among other things.) Is it open on Sundays?

Ron said:


It's supposed to be open on Sundays. "The Exchange is located next to the Orcas Island Transfer Station. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday." This from the San Juan Islander website.

There is a video:

I was going out to the dump today anyway so I'll make sure they are open on Sundays. Will also see if they have any tables and such.


Ron said:


They are open Friday and Sunday 10-4. Closed Saturday since the county closes the dump on Saturdays to save money. Wednesdays and Thursday are also open days.

They had a table which might work for you. Would seat 6 at most. It's buried under a pile of other stuff so it will probably still be there. Didn't see a chest of drawers tho. They did have a lot of floor lamps (lampshades hang from the roof so look up) and even a couple of electric heaters.

Should have taken my camera but forgot it until I was half way down the mountain and it's hard to turn around on that road.

I guess if you are furniture shopping you will need to bring your car but I can meet you at the ferry and show you around if you want. Give me a call 6-1413.


Stephanie Walker said:


Very exciting. I can't believe I'm so excited to go to a dump!

Ron said:


Hope the weather holds for you. We've had rainy mornings and then beautiful sunny afternoons the last couple of days. (I know you are only a few miles away but the weather can be different on the two islands.)

Which ferry will you take? I can meet you there and you can easily find me. I'm the white Toyota Matrix with a Florida Tag. I can park on the right side of the road and wait for you. I'd love to show you around. My wife's not here right now and my cooking skills aren't that great but I can make lunch or coffee and brownies if you want to come up to the house to see the view (if we are not fogged in). (Up because we are at 1200 feet up Buck Mountain.)

I know you've used the ferry to go to Anacortes but just in case make sure you read the sign at the entrance to the ferry waiting area and get in the correct lane for Orcas. Our first time we got in the wrong lane and would have wound up in Anacortes except the real estate lady who had shown us around saw us and set us right.

When you get off the ferry you will turn left to go to Eastsound and the dump. The dump will be on the left a few miles down the road. If you get to the Grange then you've passed the dump. I think the sign says Solid Waste Facility. There are two entrances. The first one is the one you want. There is a parking area in front of the Exchange (surrounded by giant Dumpsters). The second one just goes to the recycling/dumping area.

I'll see if I can figure out how to change my profile to give you a picture.


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