DAY 57: Oct. 9 Two months on the road! Pretty sweet. Doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. Stayed in the woods outside Bend. Went for a long bike ride (one of Leigh’s favorite rides thus far, and her first of the trip.) Just enjoying going slow and doing whatever we please.
DAY 58: Oct. 10 Day of errands and honey-do’s. Ran back and forth across Bend multiple times to do laundry, find shops, and get stuff we’d run out of. Made our way into the woods early to find a spot. Leigh made chicken pot pie (again) and Brandon worked. Had to sleep downstairs for the first time because it was going to be so cold… 34 degrees. The girls weren’t happy about us invading their space, but we were all much warmer with the top down.
DAY 59: Oct. 11 Went back to Sisters. Needed to plug into power, so we stayed at our old favorite, Sisters City Campground. Brandon went for a bike ride after working for a few hours this morning while Leigh cleaned the van, folded laundry, and took care of other domestic matters. Grilled up some steaks, then came inside because it’s getting chilly. Supposed to get down to 32 degrees tonight. We’re sleeping downstairs for sure, and are taking advantage of all the power we have with this campsite. Considering moving on to Mt. Hood tomorrow… it’s only going to get colder and we have people/things we want to see in Washington.
Bought Piper a new walking harness in an effort to make her sojourns more enjoyable for everyone. She’s not impressed, but is impressively good at escaping from it while on the move. Her walk through downtown Bend was exciting today… we have no one to blame but ourselves. Hopefully she gets used to being on leash, behaving herself, and we can let her free ball it like she used to.
DAY 60: Oct. 12 Left Sisters and Bend in the rearview today. It’s only going to get colder and we have things we want to do up north. Didn’t depart without first stopping at a produce stand. Stocked up on all kinds of deliciousness - Chantrelle mushrooms, artichoke, tomatoes, and more. Everything was half off as the stand was closing down. We’ll be eating like kings for awhile.
We’re officially closer to the North Pole than we are the equator, having crossed the 45th Parallel. For the fifth time. Always tickles us to do it.
Drove by Mt. Hood several times today. It’s a very beautiful and picturesque mountain. The Oregon mountains are just stunning. Moss and lichen grows everywhere and the streams are crystal clear. Took some serious backroads (Forest Service, mainly) to reach our destination, a dispersed campsite way back in the woods. Unfortunately, someone else was already there, so we circled back around to a campground near Government Camp that was technically closed for the season, but still being used. Our site backed up to a merry little stream that got louder as the night went on.
Why louder? Because a massive storm (the likes of which haven’t been seen ‘round here since the mid-60s is bearing down on us. It’s already started raining steadily. What to do? What to do? Do we rejoin the Bowmans at a friend’s house in Salem (which will require backtracking?) or do we go to Leigh’s cousin’s place in Tacoma (just slightly south of the predicted Ground Zero of Seattle?) and take advantage of her days off from work so we can head south early next week instead of the following week. In either place we’d have a house to stay in and a safe place to weather the massive wind and rain… We’ll make the call in the morning once the storm has been tracked a little farther.
DAY 61: Oct. 13 Ground Zero it is. We’ll spend the weekend in the Tacoma/Seattle area, see what we can see, and enjoy the company of family we haven’t seen in far too long. We’ll even get to meet a little second cousin we’ve only seen in pictures.
Washington is a beautiful state. Even through the mist and rain we loved seeing the Columbia River Gorge and all the trees. Just beautiful. Oh, and you can see through the Bridge of the Gods, BTW.
DAY 62: Oct. 14 Remember those people you sat with at the kid’s table during holidays? The ones you had to be separated from because you were being too rambunctious, or laughing too loud with? They grow up into pretty awesome people. And they marry awesome people.
Family gatherings (sometimes wrapped in grief, others in joy) are not really opportunities for building friendships or for finding out what kind of people your tablemates have grown into. They’re great for showing you just how big your circle of support is, should you ever need it. But they aren’t the same as visits. Time together is what does that. I just wish we’d done it years ago.
Dogs had a great time when the neighbor's chickens flew up on the fence to see who was making all the noise.
Scarfed down steamers and oysters for dinner and stayed up way too late.
DAY 64: Oct. 16 Took a family walk - it only rained most of the time, but everyone felt the need to get out for a bit. Enjoyed a delicious dinner of Green Chile Stew - you fellow New Mexicans will totally get how much we loved that.
Also, apparently we’re going to Canada! Huzzah! What’s the plan? Hell if we know.
We were just sitting around tonight, talking with Kelly and Stephen when Brandon started to seriously look into it. We planned a tentative route and our hosts graciously agreed to take some items we have with us that can’t be taken into Canada (no, not weed.) The dogs are excited to become international travelers.
DAY 65: Oct. 17 Departed Tacoma for Deception Pass. It came highly recommended by Stephen, and now we see why. It’s beautiful here. The jets were certainly busy (flying until at least 10 p.m. right over the park) but even that couldn’t really detract from how pretty it was. The sun came out and we walked along the beach for a bit. The water looks treacherous even from the shore - apparently the tide causes lots of dangerous eddies and whatnot that give the area it’s name. Not sure who was deceived, you could clearly see odd currents everywhere.
Cooked up our artichoke from Oregon and went to bed pretty early - tomorrow is gonna be a long day.
DAY 66: Oct. 18 Because we are law-abiding citizens, we woke up VERY early (after a disturbed night thanks to the jets) and got to the ferry an hour early, according to their guidelines. The agent told us to go buy some coffee or something and come back in more than an hour. Turns out you can get there at 8:32 for an 8:30 departure and they still let you on earlier than the people who got there at 7. Won’t make that mistake again!
Took the ferry from Anacortes to Sidney. It was a 3 hour ride and we got to see dolphins, incredible islands, and meet a fellow Vanagon enthusiast. Did we say enthusiast? Rabid enthusiast might be a better description.
Here’s how it went at Customs: Agent: Good day! How are ya? Us: Great, thanks. And you? Agent: Fine, thanks. Where do you live? Us: Grand Junction, Colorado. Agent: How long will you be in Canada? Us: Uhhhh, a week? Agent: Do you have any guns/ammo/knives/pepper spray/weapons? Us: No. Agent: I see you have dogs. They look healthy enough. Us: We have paperwork… Agent: Nah, it’s raining. Have a nice day! Us: Uhhh, ok. You too! (Depart hesitantly, and WITHOUT a new stamp in our passports.)
Stopped at the Sidney information center and got more information than anyone ever wanted about ANYTHING from the volunteer who helped us. A very kindly lady nonetheless. Got fish ’n’ chips before heading to the grocery store (via a bakery for some shortbread) and then on to our RV park. We knew it had a spot and we didn’t want to drive far. Lots of friendly folks stopped by to talk about Colorado, the van, Brandon’s bike rack, etc. Was by far the nicest shower facility we’ve ever been in. Seriously, delightful. Oceanside RV Park is rad.
DAY 67: Oct. 19 Butchart Gardens. Go there. Go there any time of year, it’s amazing. Seriously, what a place. The pictures speak for themselves, but we’ll only add that if we lived here, we’d have an annual pass. Maybe next time Leigh will get up the nerve to actually RIDE the carousel, instead of just look at it.
Drove to Miracle Beach today… it’s three hours ‘up island’ and nearer the mountain biking we’ve been hearing about. Hoping the trails aren’t too soggy to enjoy tomorrow. There was a bit of sunshine today. Fingers crossed! On the way to Miracle Beach, we pulled off at an overlook and enjoyed a rare moment of clarity. It was so clear, we could see not only the harbor, but Mt. Baker in Washington.
DAY 68: Oct. 20 Went into Cumberland today. We’d heard there was good mountain biking all around, but we didn’t think it’d happen, what with all the rain. Stopped in at a local shop and got some advice, then wandered Main Street for a bit. The longer we dawdled, the nicer it got. Finally, Brandon took off on a lengthy ride that consisted mainly of trail soup - but he still had a great time. These trails were more like what he’s used to at home in terms of difficulty. We didn’t snap a pic, but he was covered in mud, water, and pine needles. Good thing we have that shower head installed, he rinsed off and we wandered off to get tacos at Biblio Tacos (go there, if you have the chance.) Also, swing by the Cumberland Bakery and grab an eclair. Oh, goodness.
Moved on to a campground at Rathtrevor Beach. Again, pretty much had the place to ourselves. Probably because it was raining. Regardless, we were having so much fun the only pictures we took were these.
DAY 69: Oct. 21 Drove from Rathtrevor Beach to Goldstream Beach, where we are spending the night. Took in the amazing sights at Little Qualicom Falls and Cathedral Grove beforehand. It rained most of the day, though the sun did come out for our drive down to Victoria. We had planned to be in Victoria by about noon. As you know with our plans, that didn’t happen. Pulled in around 4:30… too late to get tea anywhere. Or see much of Victoria. Decided to change our plan completely, starting with grabbing dinner in town and stay most of the day in Victoria tomorrow. Tea. Will. Happen.
Had thought we’d leave early tomorrow morning, take a quick sprint through the Olympic Peninsula, and then head back to Tacoma to gather our belongings and say real farewells to our lovely family. The rain, and our slow move today, means we’re taking in the Victoria sights tomorrow (orcas and grizzlies will have to wait until next time), and then take the late ferry to Anacortes and drive straight to Tacoma - skipping the Olympic Peninsula (which will also have to wait until next time.) We’re due in AZ in short order and have a lot to see and do between here and there. Plus, did we mention that it’s raining?
It was difficult to distinguish between the falls and the stairs down to the falls, what with all the water on the path. Once we were down there, we had the place to ourselves, and Brandon had a great time messing about with all the settings on the camera - he’s really becoming quite artistic. The falls were, as with everything here, very beautiful.
Cathedral Grove is a beautiful old growth forest of Western Red Cedars. Not Redwoods big, but certainly enormous and awe-inspiring.