The morning dawned beautiful. If fact it was beautiful from coast to coast. A phalanx of high pressure systems means that weather should not be a factor in our flights from Philadelphia, through Chicago to Seattle and on to Friday Harbor.
Why Friday Harbor? It’s where we pick up the charter boat for our three week voyage of discovery in the waters of British Columbia.
Karen’s left hand points to Friday Harbor and her right to the northern most point of our planned travels. How far is that? I have no idea. I’m on vacation, and one day at a time is about as far as I plan with that much detail.
Unfortunately, dawn came about 3 hours after the alarm signaled it was time to get out of bed.
Fortunately, the positive omen of those high pressures did foretell of easy travels. The dreaded Blue Route was not backed up despite the seemingly never-ending repair crews that choke this major artery. The security lines at Terminal D were almost non-existent. I got through without a “hands-on” inspection despite the fact that my carry-on bags were rammed, jammed and packed with enough electronics to guide the QE2 around Cape Horn and a Radio Shack wall of cords and mysterious looking stuff.
Happy to be through security without a luggage colonoscopy, I glanced back at the other line to see an elderly clergyman, his shoes and pious black suite coat off, his white collar a bit askew, teetering on his cane, trying to extend his arms without falling over. Somehow one cannot help but question how the U.S. approaches our homeland security priorities.
Change planes at O’Hare, just two gates down and one over in Terminal C. No time to pick up some airport food for the flight so Karen and I try the “selection” of $5.00 “meals”. We won’t make that mistake again. However the mysterious contents in the brightly colored boxes may serve the purpose of keeping ne’er do wells from choosing this U.S. airline as a weapon of choice.
Oscar picks us up at SEATAC and, choosing a circuitous route to avoid the parking lot that is I-5, whisks us to Boeing Field to meet our ride to Friday Harbor provided by Island Air.
Our ride, a Cessna Staionair, never ceases to amaze me in how it swallows our back busting array of duffle bags without complaint. Then, without a grunt or shudder, it effortlessly takes to the air. I put on my smug face as I look down at I-5, the only major north-south artery available to the residents and transients of Seattle. The roadway has a severe case of plaque, all those little cars and trucks spending more time stopped than moving. Our 35-minute trip in our blue and white Cessna would be a 4 hour sentence in purgatory if we chose the terrestrial travel option.
The little Cessna 207 that could.
Yes, it does all fit and we do get off the ground. And most all of it is needed.
Upon arrival at the Friday Harbor airport our search for a dentist begins. Karen has been less than happy at the signals one of her teeth is sending her. The thought of being in the wilderness for three weeks is starting to sink in and we agree that a preventive visit to the tooth doctor is the wisest course of action. Our friends at Island Air provide us with the name of the only “good” dentist on the Island. “Oh by the way, there is a new guy on the island but no one knows anything about him”.
The visit to the recommended dentist’s office causes us to lose all faith in the human species. “I realize that you have a dental emergency, but it is not our emergency” was our greeting. Need I say more?
We’re directed to the “new guy” down the street. Karen leads as she walks up the stairs. “Where’s the office, this doesn’t look like any dentist office I’ve ever been in”. Her initial impressions were right on. We walked into an open floor plan space looking more like someone’s tastefully decorated home than the typical, “what is that smell”, sterile dental office. We’re greeted with a warm smile and a sympathetic ear.
They can take Karen in a few minutes. “The new guy is still building his business,” I think to myself. We sit down in the comfy living room style couches and choose from a selection of reading material that offers such fine reading as BW ( a high end photo magazine), Communication Arts (we get that at our office), Vogue and a peppering of French language publications.
A few minutes later, out comes Bo, the dentist. He is Kevin Black’s doppelganger. That description speaks volumes to those who have the privilege to know Kevin. For those of you who do not; suffice it to say Bo is a kind and gentle soul, with a sense of humor always just under the surface that breaks out at the most unexpected but nevertheless charming times.
Karen takes over here to describe the proceedings in the “chair”, I being content to catch up on my reading on the comfy couch drinking the Diet Coke, brought to me in a glass, with ice, by Bob himself.
(Karen writes) Those of you who know me understand that I am terrified of the dentist. I have apparently inherited a good deal of my Dad’s DNA when it comes to teeth, and have my fair share of problems. And, with 2 root canals under my belt, I learned that I “cannot get numb” despite the number of shots and dentist attempts to help. So, I went into this unknown man’s office with great trepidation. Who knows if he knew what he was doing?
I also, sadly to say, knew the “signals” from my tooth were not good. They started the night before we left home (of course) and had become progressively worse as the day went on. I was pretty sure it was root canal time.
But first, let me tell you about the chamber of horrors, which was actually pretty darned nice. The view from the dental chair was out a wall of windows, overlooking gorgeous Friday Harbor and all the boats and ferry activity.
Views from "the chair"
Not too shabby. Bo and his assistant Megan were great, making silly jokes all the time while being seriously committed to getting me numb. For yes, those of little faith, it was indeed root canal time. As Bo leaned the dental chair further and further back, what came into my terrified view? A HUGE plasma screen TV that was mounted on the ceiling for my viewing pleasure. Couple this with rock and roll music, with Megan and Bo singing harmony, and you get the picture. Oh…yes….and Bo had the magic juice to get me numb. I felt absolutely nothing. This was sheer heaven. Bo said it was because West Coast dentists had their act together. Whatever it is, I’d go back in an instant, and was appropriately thankful for finding him. Otherwise, I’d have been one sick puppy on our vacation.
Jump to dinner…at a restaurant called Steps, which is owned by the aforementioned Megan’s boyfriend Madden. He is a terrific chef, and we had a great meal (even though I was totally numb and kept drooling my great wine out of the corner of my mouth).
Great place to dine if you ever get to Friday Harbor.
Madden came over to the table and spent some time chatting with us. The world is so small, he used to be a chef on Nantucket and knows a friend of ours who runs a great restaurant on Nantucket called Oran Mor.
Off to Friday’s Historic House B&B for (hopefully) a good and pain free night’s sleep.
Home for the last night on land.