San Juan Islands
Anyone who has used Microsoft Flight Simulator is likely familiar with Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands of NW Washington State. It has been one of the quick start sessions since the software began. Having flown out of that area on the simulator many times, it was always a bucket list flight area for me. So we set our sights on the area and based out of the Skagit Airport near Burlington, Washington.
It was clear there would be problems from the start. We were scheduled during one of the worst fire seasons on the west coast in many years. We planned to stay 10 days. We had 2 days of clear skies during that time. The smoke was very nasty causing gray skies that looked like fog. Our air cleaner in the coach worked overtime to keep the air anywhere near clean.
After a frontal system passed through we had our window for a day of air and a day of ground touring. Both days worked fantastic except for the runway at Friday Harbor being closed for resurfacing. So no landing there. Orca whales are known to frequent the western straight and we looked hard for any sign of them, but found none. But it was a beautiful trip around the islands.
Our favorite stop by far was Roche Harbor on the north side of San Juan Island. The Hotel De Haro in Roche Harbor was was built in 1887 and has welcomed Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Howard Taft. The town is small and absolutely charming. In the back of our minds we see a boat in our future. Hopefully one that can spend some time in Roche Harbor.