Outdoors

Roadside Attractions

Treasure hunting in Skagit

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

As per the Lady of the House’s request, we’d spent the entire morning blazing trails through the streets of Bellingham methodically patronizing every garage sale in sight. Although the material effectiveness of this operation couldn’t be disputed, her hesitance to push the treasure-hunting process further afield threatened to unnecessarily curtail a good adventure. 

Henceforth and entirely of her own volition, she momentarily deferred navigational prerogative to me, her intrepid chauffeur. 

Fueled by the lure of good deals in out-of-way places and the ever-insatiable lust for voluptuous countryside, it only took a couple hard right turns off Sehome Hill for us to galvanize a southbound leap.

Peeling off the Interstate onto Riverside Drive in Mount Vernon, I merged fitfully into crushing throngs of Saturday afternoon traffic while my passenger kept her eyes peeled for sale signs, quickly noting a batch of them with urgent anticipation. 

“Even among all these bottlenecks and big-box stores,” I opined, “don’t you feel invigorated to be absorbed by the complexities of such an exotic streetscape?”

“Hang a Ricky at the next light!”  the Lady interrupted. “I’d rather invigorate myself at Goodwill.”

We spent an hour fishing through the shelves in there. She got skunked, but I walked out with a pristine vintage copy of Native Son by Richard Wright and a science-fiction book featuring a furry yeti and a frightened mountaineer on the cover.

“He looks just like you,” she said.

“Which one?” I asked.

“Which one do you think?” she smirked.

Following more sale signs, we backtracked to College Way and headed east. And east. And east.

Finally, almost near the end, I turned to follow a series of signs that guided us several fraught miles to a subdivision deep in the Highlands. The garage we walked into contained infinite treasures and we soon found ourselves beset upon by a pair of octogenarian antiquarians who bombarded us with charm, wisdom and stories to such spellbinding effect that we either had to buy something right away and leave or else remain trapped in their museum for hours. 

It took a concerted burst of wheeling and dealing, but we stuck to our guns and escaped with a $3 candy bowl and a $5 hand-carved ebony beaver.

Eventually—after navigating through more unfamiliar forests and subdivisions—we emerged onto a two-lane highway that I recognized as Highway 9. 

“North to Big Rock and loop back to Sedro-Woolley or south to Big Lake and re-emerge at Conway?” I asked the Lady.

“Either way works for me,” she smiled—not knowing we’d soon discover roadside art made from salvaged metal, an unexpected field full of blooming dahlias, and a historic bank for sale in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town of Conway, and that our adventure was far from over.

“Wherever you go in Skagit, the magic is all-pervasive,” she noted.

More Outdoors...
Water Week
It’s everybody’s business

Just in time for Whatcom Water Week, the rain gods have returned in full force to remind us the vital resource is one we can’t take for granted.

While the recent change in weather might’ve curtailed late-summer plans for one last dip in your favorite swimming hole or caused grumbling…

more »
Skagit Paddle
A river runs through it

Paddling down the Skagit River, the last thing I expected was a current running up the South Fork, pushing me into the North Fork.

My car was at the Conway boat ramp. I’d gotten a ride to Burlington and already paddled three hours against blustery winds. The North Fork leading to La…

more »
Life Lessons
Adventures with a gnarly senior

After three consecutive field seasons leading crews comprised exclusively of high-school-age kids and young adults in Oregon, I got a hankering to stretch my intergenerational horizons and signed up to supervise a crew of adult volunteers who were building an interpretive trail over the…

more »
Events
Today
Vendovi Tours

10:00am|Vendovi Island

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

South Side Stories

2:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Moon Walk

6:30pm

Trove Web
Tomorrow
Vendovi Tours

10:00am|Vendovi Island

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Baker Lake Cleanup Signup Deadline

8:00am|Baker Lake

Wheelchair Gangball

3:30pm|Bloedel Donovan

Acrobat Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Tuesday
Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Seabird Struggles

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

see our complete calendar »

Trove Web Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Acrobat