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!

While Peter Lawlor is no doubt playing his melodeon somewhere in the Great Beyond, friends of his gathered at the Sea Biscuit Bakery Saturday Aug. 20 to recall stories about a true Whidbey character who passed away Aug. 2, 2021. Peter’s daughter Gretchen Lawlor organized a memorial for her father, a New Zealand merchant mariner, ski instructor, poet and musician, who moved to South Whidbey in 2000. Singing with the Shifty Sailors, publishing poetry, and performing for 16 years at the Mukilteo Coffee Roasters, whose restaurant is now the Sea Biscuit Bakery, Peter was Langley’s poet laureate. Flowers from friends’…

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“How would you like to wake up to this?” asked Pat Powell, sweeping her arm around a landscape of rolled hay bales in a farm field with Admiralty Bay and the Olympic Peninsula in the background. The spectacular view was from the Whidbey Camano Land Trust’s new Keystone Farm and Forest Preserve, a fitting legacy for Powell, who is retiring this month as the trust’s executive director after nearly 20 years of working to preserve key Island County properties. At $9.1 million, the Keystone Preserve—175 acres of forest, a working farm, and two-thirds of a mile of beach near Coupeville—is…

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The 97th Annual Whidbey Island Fair July 28-31 found David Welton catching photos of what makes it a popular summertime event. David served as the fair’s judge for photography and was the fair’s official photographer. Animals People Awards Horse Sportsmanship Rides and Games

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We are back a little over two weeks from our 3.5 month road trip, which took us to nine states and British Columbia. It was disorienting to get ‘back to normal’ on the island after being in so many places, using public restrooms, and living lean. What brought me home was writing four stories covering the Whidbey Island Fair July 28-31 for the Whidbey News Times/South Whidbey Record. I met Carol Coble, the fair manager for the Island County Fair Association, which puts the fair on each year. With the fair less than a week away, I found Carol in…

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This marks the final chapter in our On the Road 2022 series’ spring and summer road trip with Marion the 1979 Trillium Trailer, and Beatrix the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Every time we filled up the gas tank, we were grateful that Beatrix averaged 34 mpg, even when towing Marion. We felt Canadians’ pain at the pump, paying the equivalent of $8 a gallon. However the US dollar had a 30% advantage to what Canadians paid, so with that discount, we averaged $5.60 a gallon. We noticed our personal energy waning during the last few weeks of our journey, and…

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Welcome to Chapter 14 of our ‘On the Road Series.’ Our travels have taken us across the Southwest, and nearly back again, via the trusty transport of Beatrix, our 2022 Toyota and Marion, our 1979 Trillium Trailer.  Visiting the natural places of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and now, British Columbia, we have learned to trust our instincts and move on if a place does not feel right. This tale tells of our five days’ stay at the Nelson BC City Campground. As it is in most of the places we visited, Nelson is besieged by high…

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Welcome to Chapter 13 of our On The Road series. This leg of the journey takes us through southeastern Washington, up to Spokane, and over the border to the Idaho hamlet of Hauser. Leaving with heartache the beauty of mountains rising from the Wallowa Valley floor in Joseph OR, we drove a short time to our next destination. We had reservations at KOA’s Boyer Park and Marina along the Snake River in southeastern Washington’s Palouse Country. This KOA cost $50 a night and had the worst kept bathrooms of all the 30+ campsites we stayed in so far. When asked…

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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 a 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…

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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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