Friday, August 24, 2018

Road Trip to Bellingham

Monday we drove up to Bellingham.  The purpose was two-fold.  We're tired of Issaquah, and it's been hot and smoky and suboptimal.  So we thought how about summering in Bellingham instead?  The reviews of the RV parks in Bellingham are not good, so we decided we should go look.  Then we thought, if the RV parks are terrible, how about buying a condo up there?  It's cooler, but it's also closer to the BC fires.  A road trip was in order.  One could stay in an RV park while looking at real estate.

About the RV parks.  There is a KOA in Lynden.  It's incredibly expensive, like $1,000 a month for water and electric.  There are many trees. There are many children and there are many campfires.  It's a great place for a family to go to get away from it all for awhile, but it would drive me crazy.  The drive from Bellingham to Lynden is painful, narrow roads and low speeds.  Lynden is a small town, it reminds me of the 1950's. The KOA was a definite non-starter.

However, the school children were very cute.  This is how they keep them together crossing the street.

Then we went out to look at the Cedars RV Park in Ferndale.  There were fewer trees and it didn't look too bad.   Access to Interstate 5 is good.  It would be a contender if someone wanted to stay in the area.  This is historic downtown Ferndale.  They have a really good Thai restaurant.

The final viewing was the Bellingham RV Park.  It's really unattractive, out by the airport.  However, if one wanted to stay close to Bellingham while looking at real estate, this would be the most convenient.

For this trip we stayed at an AirBNB.  It was very nice, and it was a good spot to be.  This is the landmark for when it's time to turn off the alley to access the parking.

Jim reacquainted himself with match light charcoal.  The AirBNB had an oven large enough to roast an ox in.  The stocking of the kitchen was just amazing.  Pots!  Pans!  Two methods to make coffee!

This is the flavor of historic Fairhaven, which is south of Bellingham by about two miles.  It's a totally cute and foo-foo area.  It's become fairly expensive.  Many condos are going up.

This is a major downside to the Bellingham area, and everything north near the water.  Trains.  The engineers are not afraid to use the horns, either.  This is the Amtrak station down by the Alaska Ferry terminal.  BNSF runs a lot of freight on these tracks as well - all night.

Check this out, look closely at the rear wheels of the trailer.  He took the tires off so they wouldn't interfere with the truck's tires.  I'm not sure what problem was solved here, but it's a novel approach to RVing.

Update to post:  Suzanne sent me this photo she took at Gilbert Ray last April.  You can see it better here.

We did a fair amount of walking in Bellingham.  The air was vile, as you can see.

Attractive orange glow on the water.

The land slopes steeply up from the water.  There are many houses perched on the side of the hill.  These people are having their front yard regraded and terraced.  At the bottom of the picture out of frame is a new five foot retaining wall.  They have a stop work order, the project was not permitted.  So that's bad.  We're also wondering how they get the Bobcat out of the yard once it's done digging.  Do they crane it out or what?

This was taken in historic downtown Bellingham.  It reminds me a lot of Pioneer Square.  Western Washington University is there (across the street from the AirBnB) and the population of potential shoppers greatly increases during the school year.

Georgia Pacific used to have a pulp and paper mill along the water front.  Happy are we that they are gone, the stench is unbearable.  They are no longer there, and the land is now under cleanup and development for parks and open space.  This is part of the old plant.   You can read more about the project here if you're interested.

 This held acid that was used in the production of tissue paper.  It's a very cool structure.

Here we have Whatcom Falls - which is a lovely urban oasis of trees and water.

Tuesday we toured every single available condo in our price range in the Bellingham area.  We liked one that had a view of the water, but it faced west and did not have air conditioning. There were a couple of potential 55+ neighborhoods in the burbs that did have a/c and were in good shape.  However, we have decided that Bellingham is not for us.  It's fairly small.  There are no uphill hikes in the area, most walking would be urban.  They do have a rails to trails conversion, but it's just not that many miles.  So, the search for summer accommodations continues.

1 comment:

  1. I have a high school friend who lives in Bellingham with his family and another friend who lived there for many years (now in St. George, UT). Have heard good things about B-ham but understand your misgivings. My high school friend loves it because he plays hockey and is an avid snow-skier. I am sure he is not enjoying the smoke but loves the winters. Just shows how different we all are. You might check out Minnesota as a place to summer. We thought it was gorgeous -- all those lakes! And there are lots of bike paths. However, they do have skeeters. Some areas we stayed were much worse than others in that respect.