Author: Kate Poss | With Photos by David Welton

Kate Poss This Is Whidbey was founded by Kate Poss for readers who are interested in cultivating our island’s quality of life, including its land, sea, and air; its people, plants, and animals; and the bodies, minds, and spirits of its inhabitants. You may know Kate from her work in island libraries through May of 2016. Her background includes a career in newspaper reporting in Los Angeles for various weeklies and dailies, including The Los Angeles Times. She was a frequent contributor to the online Whidbey Life Magazine and still writes for the biannual print magazine. David Welton Stories are highlighted by David Welton’s excellent photography. David is a retired physician who was a staff photographer for Whidbey Life Magazine since its early days. His work has also appeared in museums, art galleries, newspapers, regional and national magazines, books, nonprofit publicity, and on the back of the Whidbey Sea-Tac Shuttle!

Greetings from Cactus Kate and Bajada Bill as we send you inspired news from eight days in the heavenly land of Joseph, Oregon. You may recall from our 11th chapter that we were ‘Bundied’ in Emmett, ID, which, a friend later told us, is town where some of the folks are a ‘whiter shade of hate.’ We encountered a dark cloud of this while visiting Emmett’s cherry festival and saw gun rights booths with angry words posted. We detoured from a continued week in Idaho, and chose to stay in the town of Joseph OR. Lucky to find campsites during…

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Note: Whidbey Island lost one of her best funny men June 19. Jim Freeman passed from his body a few days before his 75th birthday. I heard the news in Joseph, OR, from David Welton and our friend Sydney Wolcott. Jim Freeman was one of the funniest people I’ve met. I liked the way he included others in his humor. I will miss his ‘On Track’ column. Fare thee well, Jim. Hope all is well on the other side. Thanks for all the fun times. You are loved!  –this story was originally printed in April 2019. This interview took…

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Welcome to our On the Road Series with Beatrix the Toyota Highlander, and Marion, her Trillium trailer sidekick as they take us—Bajada Bill and Cactus Kate—through the western states. On the road for 11 weeks so far, our last story was all about Aspen, a peak experience in many ways. On this leg of the journey we camped in many places: Fruita CO, Midway UT, City of Rocks ID, Montour, ID, and Joseph OR. It’s June 20, the day before the Solstice, and the day after Father’s Day/Juneteenth. We are sitting upstairs in the lounge of the delightful Kokanee Inn,…

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Welcome to week ten of our ‘On the Road’ series. In Aspen CO as of Sunday, June 5. Aspen welcomed us as if we always belonged there. Yes, it has its Beverly Hills section of town and yet it fits. The genuine friendliness we found from the many people we met here, along with camping among aspen, listening to the music of the Wild Fork River, walking in mountains that captured our spirit, and the progressive bend of the city of 7,000 people, will remain always with us. In fact, we’re thinking of returning when the aspens are in their…

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Welcome to Chapter 9 of our ‘On the Road 2022’ series. We are in Colorado. “Everywhere I go, I’m in your shadow.” These words borrowed from the late Chuck Pyle’s song, ‘Colorado,’— his homage to the mountains of his state. In fact, there are more than 300 mountain peaks over 13,000 feet in the San Juan Mountain range where we camped near Telluride for five days. There are12 peaks higher than 14,000 feet here as well. They are magnets for the 14ers, premier climbers who bag peaks at that height. Here’s our take about one of the most beautiful towns…

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You may notice groups of women dressed in red robes and hoods walking around town these days. They are so dressed to make a statement, to wake us up, to remind us that a dark fictional tale could become reality. It is unsettling to see these figures walking silently through our farmers’ market and our grocery stores. That is the Handmaid’s purpose, to stop us long enough to stir curiosity and raise awareness about disturbing decisions our government is making. This is not about further dividing us, it is about having the necessary uncomfortable conversations within our community. The Handmaids…

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Welcome to the eighth week on the road with Bajada Bill and Cactus Kate. We have traveled more than 6,000 miles through the Southwest with Beatrix our 2022 Toyota Highlander, which pulls Marion, our 1979 Canadian-made Trillium.   We had returned to Abiquiu and the welcome camp at the Army Corp. of Engineers Reservoir at Abiquiu Lake. The Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak wildfire was still burning national forests and had torched more than 300,000 acres, about 470 square miles, a New Mexico state record. Fortunately the west-prevailing winds kept the smoke away from camp. Meanwhile on Tuesday May 24, while I…

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I am writing this story from a bench outside an historic building in Abiquiu NM. Sharon Garcia, the librarian here, said the casita once housed her grandparents, and she lived here as well. Her parents later donated this home to be used as a library. It is now part of the New Mexico Rural Library Initiative, and, because of its rural nature, has no access to municipal funds. It is 100 percent community supported. Sharon has always loved to read and now shares her avocation with library patrons old and young. Sitting here across from adobe buildings, and the Santo…

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Welcome to Bajada Bill and Cactus Kate’s seventh week on the road with Beatrix, our 2022 Toyota Highlander, and Marion our 1979 Trillium trailer. For the past two weeks we’ve enjoyed north-central New Mexico, a geologic ‘triple junction,’ comprised of the Rio Grande rift, Colorado Plateau and northern Jemez Mountains’ volcanic field. The result? We’re embraced by colorful geology up to 1.2 billion years old, sandstone with dinosaur fossils, and a rich history of indigenous people and artists.  The area national forests were closed May 19, in the face of New Mexico’s largest wildfire, burning more than 300,000 acres, about…

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The Shimmy Mob is fundraising for the month of May to raise funds for CADA, a Whidbey Island non-profit, which provides free, confidential assistance for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, rape, child sexual abuse and sexual harassment. This is Whidbey’s David Welton photographed the event earlier this month. He wrote in an email: “My thoughts: this was a fun event, there is a lot of camaraderie and no body shaming. Some were older, and some were younger. Some were tattooed, but all were proud and comfortable with their body habitus. Dancing, maybe can save the world.” Tessa Karno, organizer…

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