Sometimes a long bike ride is as relaxing as lying on the beach with a cool beverage. Today was one of those days. I rode 28 miles roundtrip to mow the lawn at Fry Lodge Mud Bay.

The one-hour-fifteen-minute ride from one end of Lopez Island to another was a good opportunity to reflect on life. It’s interesting how my mind wanders on these long rides that put me into a meditative state.

My mom turned 77 today. After mowing my lawn, I called to wish her happy birthday. She was in Colorado, about to enter a restaurant for a birthday party of a friend whom she’d driven 1000 miles to surprise. It wasn’t even her friend’s actual birthday. Celebrating somebody else’s birthday on her own birthday. Classic Kaye.

My trip to Lopez was bookended by ferry rides. Such a beautiful way to travel – especially when a bike allows you to skip the hour-long car line to board.

It was a very relaxing, thought-provoking day. I think I need a cool beverage on a beach to recover.


A Fry Lodge Father’s Day

I had to squat on the beach to get the perfect shot of Kristine and the kids as we took a break on Crab Island during our family kayak outing. It’s usually a challenge getting all three of them to smile at once during one of my photo shoots. But for some reason, they all broke out into hysterics. I wondered why, until I felt the dampness in the seat of my shorts. Apparently, at that moment, a clam decided to spit water vertically from where it was buried in the sand – directly underneath me.

It was perfect timing on the clam’s part. It broke the tension created by a certain reluctant kayaker, who will remain nameless.

The Fry Family Quartet was having a very nice, well deserved break. The previous two weekends were spent getting Fry Lodge Mud Bay ready to put on the market, which had included pre-dawn ferry journeys, lots of elbow grease and a few sore muscles.

A little spray paint does wonders

After the squirting clam incident, we visited our good friends, the Rovente family, on their awesome little Lopez farm. Kristine was hit with a double whammy of cat and hay allergies, but we had a wonderful evening all the same.

We woke up this morning to a clear-as-glass Mud Bay and decided it was time to head back to the mainland. Our ferry karma kicked in as we barely squeezed onto the 9:30am ferry (the 33rd car despite a 27-car quota).

We spent the rest of our Sunday test driving F150 pickups, napping and grilling ribeyes. A great Fry Lodge Father’s Day.

Burying Saint Joseph

It was 8:30 a.m., Saturday –Tour de Lopez weekend. The Fry Family Quartet was looking forward to a day of biking and a visit from our friends, the Kielys. The weather was cooperating. Oysters were ordered. At 9:30, we would head to the village to pick up our friends. At 8:34 a.m., I got a text from our real estate agent, saying, “I’m showing your house today at 11:45.” Spoiler alert: Fry Lodge Mud Bay is on the market, and we’re very excited to be moving to Bellingham, WA.

We had less than an hour to get Fry Lodge show ready: dishes done, counters wiped, floors mopped, carpet vacuumed, laundry hidden. Henry and Ruby were banished to the yard, while Kristine and I literally ran from room to room, wielding rags, picking up toys, making beds and decluttering the place. There might have been a few F-bombs dropped. More than one person cried. I heard somebody with my voice say to Kristine, “you need to work faster.”

I texted the Kielys to let them know we might be a little late. We got the place spotless by 9:40. As I did my final inspection of the house before leaving, I spotted the statue of Saint Joseph on the mantle. We’d purchased the statue from Amazon the week before, buying into the Catholic superstition that we should bury Saint Joseph, upside down in the yard, if we wanted to increase our chances of selling the house.

At 9:41, the two adults who had just been yelling at each other, gathered their two children in the yard, dug a hole, and buried a 6-inch plastic statue of Saint Joseph. At 9:42, we made the sign of the cross and I read – out loud – the prayer of Saint Joseph for all of Mud Bay to hear (think Griswald family in Vacation after leaving their dead Aunt Agnes on their in-laws’ back patio).



At 9:43, we tore out of the driveway in the minivan and sped to Lopez Village, trying not to hit the bicyclists who had shown up for the Tour de Lopez.


Laundry goes in the RV before house showings.

Fry Lodge Creativity

Half days of school all week means lots of extra time at home to do all kinds of things. We started the afternoon with logo design for our upcoming summer ProjectWA road trip. Ruby was particularly interested in this assignment. We like her design so much, we’re considering using it for our official ProjectWA tee shirts. I think Ruby has a future in graphic design.


This afternoon, we moved on to Henry’s science homework, which involved creating a device that would count 60 seconds consistently. Henry and Kristine took on this assignment, using sand from the beach, a funnel and a plastic bottle. After several attempts, they determined the exact amount of sand that would take 60 seconds to fill up the bottle. Well done, Fry Lodge engineers.



Number 9

Fry Lodge hosted nine of Henry’s friends for his ninth birthday party today. Big success – complete with capture the flag, foursquare, cupcakes and corndogs from Tommer. One of Henry’s sweetest gifts was this homemade sign from his buddy Silas – hand painted and milled from a Lopez Douglas fir. Happy almost ninth birthday, sweet Henry.


No Good Deed Goes Unpunished


We had a bit of a bumpy start at Fry Lodge today. Damage report: one bruised head, a downed fence, and two lost kayaks. Henry will be totally fine – His bandage makes his injury look worse than it is. We’ll repair the fence. And, the kayaks have been recovered.

It all started when Ruby woke me up at 6:30 this morning by saying, “Dad, the boat’s in the water.” That’s normally not a cause for alarm. Unless your boat isn’t supposed to be in the water, which was the case with our boat. High winds and an extra high tide had dislodged Emotional Rescue III from the beach. Knowing our boat was tied up, I wasn’t too concerned. Until I realized that our kayaks were not tied up. And, they no longer were anchored by being full of water – thanks to the work Henry and I did last weekend. No good deed goes unpunished. I shot out of bed to look out the window. The kayaks were nowhere in sight. Damnit.

I quickly pulled on my pants and boots to inspect the beach, where the wind was pushing water up onto the yard and trying to blow me over. As I looked down the beach, I saw a hint of yellow about 200 yards away; so I ran up the driveway and down the road. Luckily, the wind was pushing both of our kayaks against the shore. I scrambled down the bank and hauled up the red kayak, which was about 100 pounds heavier than normal due to all the water in it. Just then, Henry and Ruby showed up. Did I mention it was 6:30 AM? A little excitement gets anybody dressed, I suppose. As I moaned about the shape our kayak was in, Henry said, “well, Dad, at least we still have a kayak.” Always the optimist, that Henry.

The next challenge was how to retrieve the yellow kayak, which was further down the beach, stuck into a steep bank of brambles. I decided to get a paddle and crawl down to the kayak so I could then paddle it back to our beach. There’s nothing quite like sitting down into a seat of icy water first thing in the morning. It took some effort to paddle against the wind, but I eventually got the kayak back to Fry Lodge beach.

Back on our property, I noticed the wind had knocked down part of the fence.


That was the second piece of bad news of the morning. What was the third? Just then, Henry came stumbling back into the house holding his head. On the walk home, a tree branch fell and hit him on top of the head. He was OK – until he noticed the blood streaming down the side of his face. It really was a minor scrape, but head wounds tend to produce more blood than other cuts.  Kristine was ready with the first aid kit.

Once Henry calmed down, the first question he asked was: “Does this mean I can stay home from school?” Fry Lodge policy stipulates that any head trauma results in a day off from school.  Ruby, ever the empathetic sister, made the case she should stay home, too; but in the end, we decided she could soldier on while Kristine and I took care of Henry for the day.

All of this activity happened before 7 AM.  We’re glad to have retrieved the kayaks, which we would gladly sacrifice a million times for a healthy Henry. We’re glad he’s OK. From now on, we will all be extra careful while walking during windstorms. Oh, and maybe I’ve learned enough lessons about what happens when you don’t secure a vessel.



Springtime Boundaries


After a fairly productive Sunday that included a run to the dump and preparing Ruby’s bedroom to be painted, I settled in to do some work on my laptop – looking forward to some time off my feet. My butt had just hit the chair when Henry and his buddy, Rudy, came in and asked if I’d get the kayaks out so they could paddle around the bay. How could I say no? I’d much rather have them outside than have their noses in screens playing Minecraft. I’d been thinking for weeks about how I needed to empty the water that’d collected in the kayaks over the winter. The boys helped me scoop and sponge out the ice-cold, algae-filled water, and then they were on their way. They had a great time, and I’m glad I didn’t succumb to the screen time alternative.


As soon as I sat down again, Ruby and her friend, Audrey, came in. Ruby said, “Dad, can you mow the lawn?” That’s where I drew the line.