‘Dump Day’ means a Lopez Island adventure

IMG_20191011_140203081.jpgScattered on and around vintage farm machinery — some of which might still be used on occasion — October pumpkins are offered for sale at Horse Drawn Farm on Lopez Island.


Those words don’t carry magic for most people, but we love our trips to Lopez Island, usually prompted by the need to dispose of trash and recycling at the Lopez Dump.

We buzzed the three miles across Lopez Sound on a pristine autumn Friday with a cloudless sky, calm air and flat waters. After a couple weeks of idleness, WeLike’s new Evinrude purred the way our cat Bosun does when we’re dishing up his favorite fishy Friskies. Once we arrived at the Hunter Bay public dock, Ranger Rick, the teenaged Ford pickup that serves as our Lopez wheels, started on the first crank. How many 15-year-olds are that cooperative?

I quickly settled in to the wave-a-friendly-index finger mantra of Lopezian driving each time we passed another car. Whenever I drive on the mainland now I have to quell the impulse to wave at passing drivers. It’s too bad, really.

We took care of business at the dump, then picked up a cinnamon roll and some cookies from Holly B’s and Americanos to go from the Lopez Coffee Shop, next door. (While I was waiting for the coffee, a local teen came in the back door and asked the owner if there was any little job he could do in exchange for a free drink. He was soon emptying trash cans. A nice little slice of island life.)

We then drove toward our favorite lunch spot at the Fisherman Bay Spit to enjoy the Kicken Salad sandwiches Barbara had packed. “Kicken” is a term recalled from our daughter’s toddler years, when she couldn’t say “chicken.” We now use it to refer to  imitation chicken made from mycoprotein. With mayo and chopped green onion, we can’t tell the difference, and it’s our new favorite picnic food. No hormones or cholesterol, and no cluckers bought the farm.

Along our route, great blue herons waded in shallows edging the narrow isthmus between San Juan Channel and Fisherman Bay. The heather-like ground cover on the tideflats shone with colors of amber and cranberry in the bright October sunshine.

As we munched at our customary bench, where we usually see nobody else, a couple suddenly appeared from around a rock and strolled directly in front of us, stopping a short way down the embankment for a lengthy drinking in of the view of sparkling water, moored boats and autumn colors at the entrance to Fisherman Bay. “Hmmm, whose personal space can we invade today?” I mimicked snarkily, sotto voce, to Barbara.

When they finally departed, the woman apologized for intruding. “It’s a beautiful view,” I said, forgivingly. Starting to walk away, she suddenly turned on impulse and asked, “Do you live here?” We explained that we were from the next island over. “We’re from Montana, and this is all new to us, so we’re just taking this in for the first time,” she said wistfully.

“Enjoy your visit!” I called after her, feeling about two feet tall.

After lunch, we made our October pilgrimage to Horse Drawn Farm, our favorite farm stand, on Port Stanley Road. I picked out a pumpkin for our Halloween jack o’lantern and Barbara filled a bag with field-fresh produce.

A stop at the wonderful Lopez Library, a bit of supermarket shopping, then back to the boat for a smooth ride home with a full-on view of snowy Mount Baker looming beyond the opening of Lopez Pass.

Just a Dump Day. 1-anchor

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