[click images to get the bigger picture]
We're so close now: a tearful farewell to Denman was followed by a one night stopover back in Courtenay (for what I’m fairly sure will be the last time on this trip). A leaving party BBQ was planned by Bonnie and it was a strange realization how many people we knew stopping there. We got to see our friend Helen again – which was lovely - who has just started teaching yoga classes and as the evening drifted in we were most pleasantly surprised when Linda & Simon from the Quadra episode made a re-appearance! We didn’t think they were coming and it was so nice to be able to say goodbye to them. Simon (from Germany) had been on Quadra since before we got there and was not far from sailing off in to the Sunset (well, to Vancouver) with another friend, Darrell in his yellow boat… good luck fellas! Simon had been working in a fish processing factory during his time on Quadra and he proudly showed me his salmon filleting skills on his video camera. They were a marked improvement over the first time I saw him hacking away at a poor fish in our kitchen!
We awoke the following morning pretty much packed and ready to go. Tim was treated to breakfast cooked by Bonnie - eggs and coffee… mmm! Finally time for goodbyes; Linda & Simon had to head back to Quadra and Bonnie was having a garage sale, so we said goodbye to everyone and started the trek down to our border crossing point. We’d originally presumed that we would cross into the states at via the main land below Vancouver, but hey things change and we ended up back in Victoria at the bottom of Vancouver Island, where we’d had the hideous stay in the awful hostel months before, its truly amazing how a place can look 100 times better in the sunshine rather than the torrential rain. So we got to the ‘Coho Blackball’ Ferry, paid for our one way ticket and got in line with plenty of time to spare, the customs chaps came round checked our tickets and passport asked us where we going etc. all fine there. It wasn’t until the third such inspection that we were told that we needed to get our forms approved… by this stage the boat was in, and people were about to start boarding. The rather large official pointed out that we should shift our butts get inline and go and get our finger prints taken, and forms stamped or we were going nowhere. To cut a horrid 30mins short, while we waited and the cars filtered past (presumably with some annoyance at the big red van in the way), we we’re finger printed, photographed, questioned and allowed to board the boat. As we left the office, it was such a sad sight - poor Jeremy was the only vehicle left in the (big) parking lot and he was quite a way back. We legged it and managed to get on with no time to spare before they shut the doors…oh the relief! Now all we had to do was get into the States with Jeremy hopefully without too many, “what are you going to do with your Canadian car when you leave the USA?” questions. So glad to be onboard, Tim celebrated with a milkshake that you couldn’t suck through a straw and I had a chicken wrap, which lacked chicken, but we were using up our last Canadian dollars so all good. The boat trip was rather non-eventful thankfully we just sat up on deck sunning ourselves and watching Canada drift away ready to start our new adventure in our second country.
Time to enter the U S of A, look smart, don’t be cocky or sarcastic, (very hard for us both!) and answer all the questions honestly but don’t give anything away, especially about Jeremy’s fate. Thankfully we had a lady who was official but nice and she let us in after just a few brief questions, thank you Lady!
We had booked a motel in Port Angeles to have somewhere to stay for our first night, the Allview Motel was literally only minutes away from the port, we parked up Jeremy moved in and then went out to find something to eat, not easy when you have a fussy Katy on your hands (apparently). Now what we didn’t realize is that we had landed in Twilight country, as neither of us had ever seen the films or read the books it became very apparent that we needed to have info. on this place. So picking up the local free paper, we sat with our pizza (Katy – veg, Tim-meat) and read up. That night on a whim we decided not to head straight to Seattle, which was our original plan but to explore the Olympic Peninsular. Let’s go the long way round to Seattle…
Up early the following morning, I went for a run - I was on a mission to get to the end of the “spit” I had seen, which turned out to be nearly 11 miles loop. Then we packed up Jeremy, Tim got his free coffee and off we went, to our next stop: Forks. Now for all you Twilight lovers out there, it’s where they film all the movies (and yes, it really is a proper town), we had been told the visitor centre was a really good and we should have a look… we did and it was. I’ve never seen so many people in Twilight t-shirts and paraphernalia, Tim & I did stand out somewhat as we didn’t ask all the questions that the fans were asking we just wanted info on where to go from here really, which campsite was nicest and cheapest. But we dutifully filled in the guest book Tim put a pin in London (they have a map you see) and I had a few pictures taken with the cast!!!! I have to say, if it wasn’t for the fact that there was a major motion picture or three filmed there, you wouldn’t bother to stop – nothing bad about it, just nothing particularly good either!
So off we went to find our first campsite with Jeremy as our home for the first time… We ended up in a national park campsite of Kalaloch, just pass Lapush (another twilight place to be). We got our space, parked up Jeremy, realized that we were in the middle of nowhere and the only place that sold camp food, was hideously expensive and I wasn’t eating any of it. With the realization too that we were lacking in cooking utensils and wood for a fire we decided to eat out at the only hotel within a 40 mile radius. Luckily it was a very nice place overlooking the sea, we ate fresh halibut & chips, the cheapest item on the menu and then headed off to our new home. We had managed to inflate our bed, put up the awning had a very chilly walk on the beach and as there was nothing else to do we were in bed by 9:30pm, when we awoke the following morning it was wet, we could hear the rain bouncing off Jeremy’s roof. It was loud, so we packed up our camp and headed off on our long drive to Seattle fearing that we had brought our rain curse with us.
The weather was gloomy and wet when we hit our first traffic jam for months, but it was so exciting to see the sky-line, well sort of see it through the clouds. We made it to the centre of the city and after we had tried four places that all said, no sorry, no room we we’re a tad panicky, but we found a motel a bit out of town and parked up Jeremy, and then as usual we went to find food – a good Mexican in a nice looking part of the city’s University district (I think there students have more spare cash than ours judging by the shops). The following morning after I’d been for a run, we had a surreal breakfast in a really small room, full of Japanese tourists, but it was free and needs must... After breakfast we had to find somewhere to stay, so off we went into town on a mission with an address. There is a standing joke that the people who live in Portland, (our next stop) only do so because that’s the closest they can park to Seattle, and it’s true Seattle is not the place to be with a vehicle, luckily we managed to find the place we were looking for: The City Hostel, a really lovely place, and there was a parking lot behind, at the time we thought the parking was really expensive, at $12 for 10 hours but actually that was quite good when we looked round. So with a new home and Jeremy all parked up, it was time to explore the city. And what a city - we loved it.
With so much to see and do and the weather had become sunny and warm, we did what every good tourist who gets to Seattle does and went up the Space Needle to have a look at the view, it is an amazing building, very cool indeed. We then went on a wander down the pier pass the SAM (Seattle Art Museum) to Pike’s Place Market, which is fantastic - brilliant people watching and the home to the first Starbucks, which was heaving. Our room at the hostel was very quirky; each room is painted by different artists, ours was very cool, apart from the birds on the ceiling, thankfully they were only painted shapes not real………our second day after I had a lovely long run along the harbor and through the outdoor SAM, we headed to the music hall of fame and the sci fi museum, which was great, a real laugh, all you sci-fi geeks would love it. They had the original Startrek chair from the bridge (replete with wooden arm-rests), Captain James T Kirk actually a sat in it! Next we saw ET, a Mutant Ninja Turtle and Terminators robotic head and hand… very cool! Sci-fi flowed into the music exhibition and Tim & I hung out in the recording rooms, trying to master the keyboards, then I hit the drums – literally (Mike? Russ? You'd have been so proud!) and Tim played the opening cords to Wild Thing. We finished off with a quick spin on the record-decks, we truly are gifted….not! For our final night in the city we went to a bar where we actually got ID’d, which was nice, had a drink then headed back for our last supper. So, a bit of a whirlwind stop but we know it’s a good place to return to if we ever have money again!
Distance: 815km... Next stop Portland.
[beam me up!]