Outdoors

Skagit Sojourns

A tale of tulips lost and tulips found
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Last year, I wrote about how I haven’t always had the best track record when it comes to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

In short, I either come too early and miss seeing the swaths of flowers in their full glory, or arrive too late in the blooming season and spend time grousing to my travel companions about the fact that, once again, we timed our trip incorrectly. I did emphasize, however, that no matter what, we always found things to do and ended up having fun.

Shortly after writing that article, my boyfriend’s brother and his wife-to-be flew from Minnesota to see us, and we were pretty sure our timing was spot-on to capture all the acres of tulips standing around looking pretty. Due to our past mistakes, we made sure to check the bloom updates on the Tulip Festival’s website before setting out on the short road trip, and were confident we’d have something to show the Midwest tourists.

As we set out from Bellingham, a light spring rain was tapping against the Subaru’s windows, but there were hints through the clouds that the sun was nearby, and we were optimistic the weather would be a little better in Skagit Valley. (No, we did not bring our umbrellas.)

By the time we made it past Chuckanut Drive and arrived in Edison, the seasonal sprinkle had turned into a storm, and the rain was what could aptly be described as “torrential.” A wind had picked up, and the temperature seemed to have dropped 10 degrees since we’d left Whatcom County.

But we persevered, and continued on our way.

Complications set in when I gave the driver the wrong directions and set us on a course that veered away from the tulip fields and instead deposited us near the Burlington overpass. As we backtracked, I kept my mouth shut and my eyes peeled for indicators we were finally going the right way.

Soon enough, the sign for the RoozenGaarde display garden made an appearance and, as we held our collective breath, the tulips did, too. Bright acres of purple and yellow and red welcomed us, and I gave a yell of victory. At long last, we were at our destination.

Once we got out of the car, though, we realized a boat would’ve been a better choice for touring the verdant fields. The angry rain soaked us within seconds, and none of us was dressed for what felt like winter. Even if we’d had umbrellas, they wouldn’t have done much good, as the wind was causing the rain to attack us from every angle. Pictures of the tulips would be nearly impossible, as none of us had brought waterproof cameras.

After a short pow-wow, my fella’s sibling ran to the booth where they were selling flowers and bulbs, and brought a couple bouquets to take back to the house. Meanwhile, the rest of us got back into the car and turned the heater on.

Not long after, we were ensconced at a cozy table at the Edison Inn talking about how beautiful the tulips we’d seen from the car had been. We ordered a round of oyster shooters and beers, and toasted to the fact that we were warm and dry. I told them if they came again the following spring, I’d be sure and make the experience a perfect one.

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