Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Deception Pass

Deception Pass State Park was created before the Deception Pass bridge was built in the mid 1930's. Today, the bridge is an icon and still serves to carry the only road to Whidbey Island although there are two ferry routes that also serve the island.

The original facilities, including miles of stone and log guard rails, were built by the Civilian Conservation Corp. After 70 years, many of the logs were needing attention.

In order to meet current standards, new railings faced with continuous logs, have been placed so that the original stone piers remain but don't provide any structural support.

The park is located on both sides of Deception Pass. In many ways, Bowman's Bay on the Fidalgo side is nicer with much less traffic. There are camp sites at Bowman's bay, but they're really designed for tents. Teardrops and trailers like Scamp 13's might find a spot there.

Camping on the Whidbey side is very popular. They have priced campsites based on that popularity. Tent sites start in the mid 20 dollar range with RV sites running as high as 40 dollars. Day use will cost $10 unless you have a Discover Pass which costs $30 per year and is required to access any State recreational land.

There weren't many people on the beach but with the sun out and the dandelions in bloom, at least one animal was busy.

We drove to Oak Harbor for old times sake. Oak Harbor is home to NAS Whidbey and has hosted the Grumman A6 and EA6B aircraft for years. Now they're old enough they've become pedestal adornments.

Oak Harbor has a city operated RV park on the beach with a flock of supervisors. Half of the sites are held for First Come - First Served while the other half are available for reservations. Full hookups cost $25 daily this year. This location is not far from downtown and is 10 miles from Deception Pass.

As a child, on special occasions we would frequent a drive-in that made wonderful beer-battered pawns. I've carried a vision of those "gold standard" pawns in my head for over 50 years. I found some at The Shrimp Shack that were clear contestants. Likely as good but perhaps not quite as large. Still, well worth the stop.


  1. I spent 10 great years on Whidbey Island. I started by living out by Cornet Bay, later at the end of Jones Road on the spit (rental house), downtown Oak Harbor for a while and mostly at the end of West Beach Road down by Fort Ebey SP. Loved it there, but had to move for employment reasons.

    1. Whidbey holds a lot of good memories for me, but like anything else, it has changed a lot in the past 40 years.

    2. John ... I agree about the changes. Besides employment, change in logging laws in 1993 was also a factor. I was shocked at the changes during my last visit to the Island.

  2. The new railing system actually removed the old stone support columns, and used many of those rocks to build the new ones that look original but which actually hide a very sophisticated rebar and brace system for the logs, in the rock column and tied together in the asphalt underneath. It's actually very cool, and worked when a dump truck hit one at 35 mph.

    1. Thanks for the back story. I knew the stone supports looked fignew but I figured they acid washed them as part of the conversion job.