Sunday, July 02, 2006

A stop on the Journey

My brother Jerry and my sister-in-law Laura live in Arkansas and are on a cross country journey to see the sights and attend an early 90th birthday celebration for our dad, and a mini family reunion.

Jerry and Laura left on the 16th of June visiting friends, national monuments, unique shops, wineries, and trying to find the ultimate halibut dinner.  Laura could eat halibut every night if it was prepared correctly.  I think this could be the basis for a good travel book.

And speaking of books, they don’t leave on a trip without planning.  Now most people think they plan well with reservations for hotels and what to do when you arrive at your destination.   My brother has a three ring binder that puts AAA to shame in planning.  He not only knows where they will be staying each night, he has reservations for the restaurant which usually is a fine dining establishment, knows all the sights along the way, where each gas stop is, how many miles between each stop, and he has maps and guides for every detail of the trip.  And, if this isn’t enough he also a GPS navigation system in his new SUV that tries to keep him on track.  Laura says he doesn’t always listen to the GPS system but they always get to their destination.

Larry and I were quiet impressed with the book and the amount of detail it took in the planning, only to find out that my brother doesn’t keep these books after he returns home.  So while we are talking about where they have been and where they are going after they leave California, he is already telling us details of their trip to CA next year.  Waiting for him at home is another travel book waiting for the finishing details.

I used the AAA trip guide when Larry and I went down the Oregon coast several years ago, wandering through all the little towns and browsing the stores looking for treasures and exploring art galleries.  My whole trip itinerary would have fit in his first day slot with room to spare.

Laura had wanted to see where Barlean’s was located.  She uses their flax seed products and was surprised to find out several months ago that they were located right here in Ferndale and only a couple of miles from our house.  To our surprise Dave Barlean gave us a tour of the operation, explaining how he got into the business, the research he has done, how the business has expanded and will continue to grow, and the new products they are selling.  We saw where the flax seed is delivered to the plant, the bottling process, and the packing and shipping department.  To our surprise he even gave us free samples of several products.  Not those little plastic one serving size samples you get in stores.  Mr. Barlean handed us full size bottles of products to take home.  What stuck me most about Mr. Barlean is that he doesn’t just market a product, he truly believes in his product.  To meet him on the street you never know that he runs a multi million dollar business.  He is just the guy next door and in this case the guy down the road from where I live.

Larry barbequed steaks the first night Jerry and Laura were here after serving us freshly cooked Dungeness crab and French bread for appetizers.  None of us are big morning eaters so after a light breakfast we hit the road to La Conner for shopping and lunch.  We drove down Chuckanut Drive and across the flat farmland in Skagit County to our destination.  We found a parking spot, had our walking shoes on, hats for some of us and we wove our way down one side of the street going in and out of the shops and back up the other side.  We had lunch at the Calico Cupboard Cafe and Bakery where the desserts in the glass display almost made us forget about soup and sandwiches.  We drove to Deception Pass after we left La Conner to enjoy the magnificent views of the Puget Sound and Mt. Baker.

We drove back to Bellingham and gave Jerry and Laura the driving tour of WWU and the city downtown.  We had dinner at the country club because Larry had just been told by a friend that they had a great halibut on the menu and Laura later confirmed it was good.  Larry had his usual prime rib and Jerry and I opted for the strawberry salad with mascarpone cheese with vinaigrette, and crab cakes--without all the fillers--topped with a corn relish and which is now my new favorite dinner selection.  

Saturday morning came too soon.  Jerry and Laura were off on their adventure to Pike Street Market enroute to Beaverton, Oregon to visit friends and wineries before traveling on to CA.  I’ll see them again in a few days but it was wonderful having them here.

I have been put in charge of planning a trip to Arkansas next year to visit with them and see the sights.  Jerry and Laura even promised a lunch in Springfield with the cousins.  Since Missouri is where I am from, I have lots of cousins that I don’t see often and it has been eight years since the last trip. Springfield, to Larry, means Bass Pro Shop!<

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails