Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Motoring West

We’re home! We actually  got home Sunday afternoon, but after 15 days on the road and 5180 miles, (That’s 8336 kilometers), we had a lot of unpacking and laundry to do. It’s not easy unloading sticks, rocks, t-shirts, sweatshirts and trash out of the car after such a journey.

We had great fun, and we actually went to places we have never been to before as well as the more familiar haunts revisited, and driven on roads I have never driven on in both familiar and strange
Lake Christina in British Columbia

Canadian flag at the Roosville border crossing

We got an early start and left Sunday afternoon and made 265 miles to Fargo, North Dakota. We spent the night there and avoided driving through St. Paul and Minneapolis in Monday morning rush hour to head West. Monday morning had us on I-94 and well into Montana, Great Falls to be exact, by Monday evening.

Provincial Government, complete with totem pole on the far right of the photo.

From there we traveled North through Glacier National Park and rode the Going to the Sun road before meeting the Canadian border at Roosville.

Our border crossing was totally uneventful and besides the showing of passports to the agent, there was no difference from the numerous times we crossed into Canada when we lived near the border in the very early 1990’s. I got a kick out of the question, “Do you have anything with you to protect yourselves?”

I answered, “No, should I?” 

That response was greeted with a smile. I’m glad he had a sense of humor. We had no guns, ammo, plants or items we were going to sell in Canada.
Mrs. Spadoman and Bigfoot are old friends. Who knew?

We got to a town in Eastern British Columbia named Cranbrook and got a motel room. It was very hot, over 95 degrees, (That’s 35 Celsius). The room was cheap enough, and so was the old almost expired air conditioning unit. We did get some air to move around and got a good nights sleep despite the heat and headed out early the next day to travel on the Crowsnest Highway, British Columbia Highway 3.

BC 3, Crowsnest Highway

We were in the mountains the entire journey towards the coast and Vancouver. Beautiful vistas overlooking large expanses of fertile valleys, deep blue lakes, rivers plump with water and pine laden mountain tops. We stopped for the night with an easy 2 hour drive to Vancouver in sight, but we were sorry we made reservations on the ferry lines as we saw many roads that we wanted to take. We even missed a chance to meet a blogger friend from that way that hinted to us that there were not one, but two, great coffee shops in thew town near where she lived.
We took time to smell the flowers.

We did get to eat at a couple of great little cafes that we found along the way. I’ll write about there in depth later when I do separate restaurant reviews. One was the Dragonfly Cafe in Salmo, BC, the other was The Round Up Cafe in suburban Vancouver. I wasn’t aware of the Russian/Eastern European influence in this part of the continent. I had fried perogies, eggs and potatoes with Ukrainian sausage for breakfast, complete with sourdough toast and local jam.

A shot through the sideview mirror in a tunnel, Vancouver, BC

We took a ferry from Vancouver to Victoria Island and the Provincial capitol of British Columbia, Victoria and had a wonderful seafood dinner at Nautical Nellies where I satisfied my craving for raw oysters. We took another ferry to Port Angels, Washington, USA later that evening, just in time to see firework displays for the Fourth of July. On some level, we both wondered why we didn’t stay in Canada another night to avoid the noise!
Ferry service!

The next morning, we traveled the Olympic Peninsula and took yet another ferry to Seattle after a great breakfast in Port Townsend at The Owl Spirit cafe. (Yes, this place made one of the top three that I will review in the days to come). In Seattle, we were greeted by a fellow I have known since I served in Vietnam as a young soldier. I hadn’t seen him inn44 tears. We have been in touch via e-mail for the past year or so. It was a delight to connect with him.

A lot of places named Joe's or Joey's in Canada. I like that!

Although we only spent 24 hours as a guest of my friend Howard, we came away feeling grand for the experience. We shared the highlights, and maybe a few lowlights, of out lives since we parted company in 1969. We made a pact to get together again, within the next year. Either at my place or his, or maybe in between somewhere.
Raw oysters on the half shell with tabasco and lemon. A real treat for me.

From Seattle, we traveled South through Oregon and spent the night in Grants Pass, a great town with great scenery and weather on the Rogue River. Found yet another fantastic eclectic eatery called Ma Mosa’s for breakfast. This one also made the cut as one of the top three.
My friend Howard after breakfast at one of his hometown places.  Friendships have no time limits.
(Howard on the left)

We drove into California and spent the next 4 days at our lifelong friend’s place where I got out on one of Hal’s motorcycles, played music with Hal and another friend from long ago and visited friends and friend’s Grandkids.
Actually a color photo taken in the morning fog along the Northern California coast

It was time to go home as all good things must come to an end. Took us four days, with the last two being long drives, but that’s because we spent the first two days on the road towards home cruising through parts of Oregon, Idaho and Montana we had never been.
Another business establishment with that great name!

We made it, and vowed that next time we make a spontaneous road trip, we would make no reservations for any motels or ferry boats and would call our friends we were to visit when we got to town.
My friend Steve with his new Fender Stratocaster 1962 reissue guitar.

We took over 275 photos and several short movies that I have yet to edit. As I said, restaurant reviews are to come along with more photos.
Catching up to a thunderstorm while traveling at sunset gave us this rainbow as we entered North Dakota

Inn the meantime, It was good to get back out on the road. It has been a while. Health concerns have kept me from doing what I love, driving through the country, and now, through the continent. Did you know there is a whole ‘nuther country North of us? They use strange numbers to figure things out like kilometers, celsius and meters. How do I know this? I got a “courtesy” parking ticket in Vancouver because my vehicle was over three meters. (metres) in length. They have weird money too. Loonies and Twonies, (or is it tooneys?) Did you know they got rid of pennies?

Canadian Sunset on the straits

Peace to all


Jean said...

Nice to see you back!

We changed to metric when I was young but many things are still in imperial in common usage- height and weight, most recipes - although buying food is in metric so there's some double think going on all the time when shopping and following recipes. I used to think I was still firmly entrenched in imperial but I find that I really am mostly converted - I prefer the celcius scale for temperature now and on the road - well - my husband's truck used to be American and I got really messed up trying to obey speed limits when I had to drive it last week.

The loss of pennies is pretty recent and it is actually so much better - my wallet doesn't weight 4 lbs any more.

Kim Mailhot said...

Welcome home ! looks like a great vacation - such lovely sites to see. Looking forward to seeing more !
Peace and happy landings, Man !

susan said...

I'm delighted to read about (and see) what a great trip you and Barb made so recently. The west coast is truly spectacular at every time of the year but best to see in summer. Some of these roads you traveled are very familiar to me too. Nice memories.

Mel said...

Wow--fantastic shot of that misty ocean. And who wouldn't love those road signs. NOTsomuch about the oysters...*gak* But the photo of the Mrs. and her long lost buddy made me giggle. LOLOL Oh, it sounds like a glorious, freeing time the two of you had. And getting to see and be in new places (with or without working air conditioning) had to be so wonderful after this stint of being grounded.
I'm pleased for you. And for Barb. It's good to keep making those memories and spending time exploring and having adventures. AND taking lots of photos, of course! LOL
Ohhhhhhh...and you saw rainbows! :-)

Dawn Elliott said...

What no pennies? I think they might be smarter than us up north!
What a great overview of what sounds like a perfect vacation. You guys make tracks! It included everything that a person could want...save exploring just a few more back roads. Seems like you did really well. So glad you've gotten back on the road...to your heart's desire!

Spadoman said...

Jeannie... Nice to see you here.
I think Canada has a good idea to not use pennies and change the 1 and 2 dollar bills for coins. You Canadians, always on the cutting edge.
Thanks for stopping nby.

Queen of Arts, (and hearts), Thanks for stopping by and paying my blog a visit. I need to get towards the East one of these trips. Thanks again.

susan... Lovely to see you visiting here. I know you lived near Portland, USA in the past. I suppose you would be familiar with these BC roads. I will return that way, the sooner the better. I loved it! Thanks for stopping by.

Mel... Thanks for stopping by to read about our adventure. Thought of you often drinking coffee, looking for trains and quilt barns. (Even Mrs. Spadoman is looking out so we can photograph the sights for you.)

Peace to all

Spadoman said...

Dawn.. Thanks so much for stopping by Round Circle. Yes, the penny deal in Canada. If the amount is 2 cents or less, they round down, if it's 3-4 cents, they round up. They also use 1 and 2 dollar coins, no paper bills for these denominations. Makes perfect sense.
We wish we would have had more time to spend. We made reservations when we really didn't need to, and to keep them, we missed a lot of fooling around that we saw that we would have liked to do. Next time, no reservations, no schedules.
Thanks again for stopping by.


Unknown said...

Joe, great to see that you are back in the saddle again. Just getting back on my feet myself so you are my inspiration right now. My Barb & I are thinking of driving to the Canadian maritimes. Have you been there and have any suggestions?
As much as I like pennies the Canadians are right about retiring them. We should reduce nickel's size as well but the vending machine folks would complain about that. Jim

Spadoman said...

Jim... Thanks for stopping by. I have been thinking of you lately. Time seems scarce, but I like the little bit of connection we have made. I'll try to e-mail soon.
Take care and be well.