Category Archives: James in his Jeep Getting Java

James in his Jeep Getting Java – Langley, WA Edition

This is going to be a classic edition of the blog, as these photos are from the several trips I took last year driving down to Langley, Washington on Whidbey Island. While there are many small towns along the way to visit, and I’ve been to almost all of them, today I’m going to focus on Langley as that was where I spent the most time.

First, the Jeep. It’s a 2014 Wrangler, and this is what it looks like those few times when it’s clean. Always good to start the road trip with a clean vehicle, and end with it dirty. Last spring when I made all my road trips to Langley, I was fortunate to have sunny skies and hot weather. So I drove with the top down the entire way playing classic rock on the stereo. The soundtrack song for these trips is Def Leppard, Pour Some Sugar On Me.

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The drive through Deception Pass is stunning. Every time I drive over it, I have to stop to marvel at the view. There are trails for hiking, if you’re into that sort of thing, but if you’re more like me you can still get a good look at seals playing in the water or eagles hunting along the shore. Amazing.

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Along this particular road, I drove through Oak Harbor and Coupville, both of which I stopped and spent some time in. More on them another time. Langley, WA (not to be confused with Langley, Canada, which is another great place,) is a quaint little place on the water that reminds me of Steveston.

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There’s lots to do in this town. There are three bookstores to choose from for one thing. Kids Books & Puppets pairs up a great book and puppet for your little one, Gregor Rare Books specializes in rare books, and Through the Reading Glass has a plethora of used books to suit whatever your taste.

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But a road trip just wouldn’t be a road trip without a great place to get a cup of Java. Here’s where things get strange – the best place to sit and have coffee in this village actually only makes tea! It’s true! Kalakala Mercantile does make a tea that tastes like coffee, but it isn’t coffee. It is, however, darn good. This friendly spot is the kind of place that you can walk into, and have a conversation with the employees whereby you tell them what flavours you like and they will suggest a tea for you. So far, I have had a dozen teas from them and they have been spot on each time.

 

The photo of me in what I think is a red shirt but probably isn’t was taken one sunny afternoon when I was sitting on the tea house’s patio and I met the woman who is in charge of the town fair. As we sat chatting, she introduced me to everyone who passed by us and I wound up having this amazing afternoon of unexpected shared stories. I loved it!

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The best lunch spot in town is the Useless Bay Coffee Co. They have indoor seating, and a HUGE outdoor patio. Their burgers are yummy, and I even quite liked the American Iced Tea (for those of you who don’t know, Canadian Iced Tea is mostly sugar). I return to this spot every time I’m in Langley.

There’s also a great spot to walk along the water and sit for awhile on a bench. And if you see a whale, there’s a bell to ring so the whole town can know and rush to see.

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The theme song:

Road Trips

I’m certainly no stranger to the road trip. In 1997 (still can’t believe it was 11 years ago), I took a road trip in a ’68 Beetle from Vancouver to Kelowna, then over to Banff, up to Jasper, across to Edmonton, then down to Calgary through Drumheller, and over to Winnipeg.


The entire way I slept in a tent, and ate food that I cooked over an open fire. (I had a Coleman stove, but couldn’t ever get it to work.) It was the best time I ever had, and probably the most adventurous thing I’d ever done.


Back then, my goal was to inspire myself as a budding writer. I wanted to find my creative spark, and to get in touch with my creativity so that I could one day be an author. Though my friends and family thought that was a little far-fetched, I did it anyway.


Here I am, 11 years later, with three books published – one that’s going into reprint and a fourth due out this Christmas. Life is pretty awesome. The best part – I’m planning another road trip! Granted, there will be some changes this time around. First, I won’t be going on it alone. kc dyer, friend and fellow scribe, will be sharing the experience with me! Second, I won’t be sleeping on the hard ground in a tent. Comfort all the way!

The best part of this trip is that we have destinations planned. Stops in Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Banff, Cochrane, Calgary and Red Deer. We may even have one more to completely fill our itinerary.

Another difference from that first trip is that Comic Life will be along for the ride! kc dyer and I will be blogging our trip through comic, using this easy and fantastic program. (It’s what I used to create my book video, and many of my past posts.) Comic Life has agreed to let us give away a copy of its program to each of our stops – not a bad value for those who come out to our events! Hear two popular authors, eat some chocolate, and be in a draw to leave with a free copy of Comic Life!