British Columbia and Washington - Sept 21 - Oct 6

There are a number of routes you can take across BC from Revelstoke to Vancouver.  We chose the route through the "Napa" of Canada in the Okanagan valley on highway 97 and then along highway 3. The desert type landscape was quite a contrast from where we've been recently.  Fruit stands and vineyards in every directions. Unfortunately most of our pictures were somehow lost during a week period so the pictures in this posts are mostly taken by JAK. One of the pictures included the FULL DOUBLE RAINBOW that brought us to tears;) (youtube it)

We spent one night in Oliver, BC and the next night just east of Vancouver.  Back to the land of free overnight parking at Walmart!

The third day of driving brought us to Squamish, BC. The drive on the Sea to Sky highway (99) from Vancouver north was breathtaking.  It would be hard to imagine 3 days of driving with more diverse scenery - desert mountains, mountain passes, ocean cliffs. 

We enjoyed 5-6 weeks of sunshine and almost perfect weather.  It was time for a change.  During the past two weeks the sun has been elusive and the rain prevalent!  

We set-up in Squamish at the Eagle Vista RV resort after a night at Walmart and some exploration of the town.  

The pink salmon were running and the river next to the campground was FULL of them. If you've spent any amount of time pursuing any type of fresh or salt water fish, you will understand the excitement that can come when you see a river so thick with 5lb fish that you can almost walk across it!!!  

The next AM during a morning run that included a stop to gawk at the salmon, Jason turned around to find a fellow salmon admirer 25 yards behind him.  Thankfully he wasn't too hungry and more interested in the highway traffic than the salmon/river behind him. (he stands up to look onto the highway)

The next day we were excited to have our first house guest and visitor from 'home'!  A long-time friend from MN flew into Seattle and then took the bus into Vancouver.  We headed back down to Vancouver enjoying the first sunny day in a while.  Our BC "meal" goal was fish & chips and after asking around for the best place, we picked a place in North Vancouver called Montgomery's.  Very good.

We took a picture of this yacht (the Attessa) parked across from the open air market by Montgomery's. We looked it up later and it is supposedly the largest private super yacht launched in North America at 333 ft.  

JAK is too young to remember this Nike ad with MJ so this was a natural pose (Vancouver in the background).

A visit to Lynn Canyon and it's suspension bridge

We picked up Dave and headed back to Squamish where we scoped out a fishing spot for the next day. The scouting paid off with 21 pink Salmon. 20 of which were caught by the kids.  They had tired arms after 1.5 hours.

Dave had the largest.

After fishing we headed to Whistler where Dave and Jason went mountain biking.  Intense!

After two great days of weather/sun, the rain started on Friday again with what we were told was one of the largest storms in two years - it lasted about a week.  

On Friday, Dave, JAK and Jason completed a hike to one of the three peaks of "The Chief".  This hike wasn't particularly long, but included >1500 wooden and rock steps, and a ladder and chain claim to crest the peak.  

We haven't mastered the art of using a dutch oven as an oven when used on top of a camp grill, but we are getting better. Dave and Jason made the equivalent of 6 loaves of bread that turned out to be more like a giant focaccia.

The kids were also excited about having a substitute teacher!

On Sunday we headed back to Vancouver where we visited a number of neighborhoods and Granville Island public market.

The kids said goodbye to Dave on Sunday night because he had an early train to Portland. It was so fun to spend time with him.

We were camped about 300 yards from the US border. In fact, so close that Melissa "accidentally" crossed over the border when she ran errands. It's not easy to cross borders without a passport these days.  3hours later she and the girls made it back to Canada.

We had a great family parked next to us on a similar journey.  We didn't take it personally, but once our kids found out there was someone their age next door, we didn't see or hear from them for about a day:) We hope to meet to up with them again.

Finally, it was time to enter back into our land of the free, home of the brave, and place of reasonable cheese prices. We gave away all fruits and veggies and made inventory of all meat. 

But wait....not so fast, they made a special parking spot just for us so we could go visit with the food and agriculture folks. (pic lost)

After they completed a full search and seizure of the RV, we were informed of two things.  First, the large bag of rice we'd recently overpaid for, did not have a country of origin. No problem, they can 'destroy it'.  Second, those 5 pieces of firewood....can't destroy those and can't bring time to detach the jeep so Melissa, who is now very experienced at crossing the border can drive back into Canada and find home for the wood, this time with a passport.

But alas, we meet up down the road and find our next home near Anacortes, WA. We decide to visit the town and find ourselves attracted to a local microbrew/restaurant where it happens to be 'kids eat free' night. It's good to be home!

The next day we needed to decide between going on a boat whale watching or visiting one of the San Juan islands by ferry.  Because of the weather and cost, we opted to go to San Juan island with the jeep. The ferry isn't very busy.

After paying over $5/gallon for fuel and gas in Canada, even this looked like a great deal (and the smallest station we've seen). The leaves started turning since we left.

This Catholic church (Our Lady of Good Voyage) is located in Roche Harbor.  It's one of the only privately owned Catholic churches. 

We were told that at one point the island had a rabbit problem so they introduced the fox.  It appears they fixed the rabbit issue, and hunters are looking for food elsewhere.  They would come when called.

Glad we were home, but this isn't what we wanted for a welcome home gift.

The state parks are still open, and there was one on the island called Lime Kiln so we headed there.  As we were walking in the rain down to the lookout area, the one other couple braving the elements came walking up the trail and informed us they had seen Orcas!!  We had been told it was our best place to see them, but the odds where slim.  We sprinted to the beach and were treated to a private 20 minute show by a pod that stretched 1/2 mile. 

The next day we departed for Seattle where we would meet up with cousins and Melissa's parent who were flying in from Evansville.  We received another welcome home gift when a family friend, whom we had never met, graciously offered to let us park and stay at their home half way between Seattle and Tacoma.  It was a wonderful set-up complete with covered fire place cabana and heated floors.  Good people exist across this land!

Our cousin Roger gave us a tour from the 27th floor of his office Friday evening. 

And we headed to the beach for some chicken and sunset

The next day Roger, Reed, and Alexis met us at 9am sharp and we did a full-on power tour of Seattle.  It was awesome.

We recommend the underground tour of Seattle.  It includes a wealth of information about best practices around sewer management systems and incoming tides!    

The next day, we quickly rinsed and repeated, but this time in Tacoma!  We were fed and toured around like royalty.  It was so good to be with family.

We've been spoiled and have not cooked our own "local" meal in our last two stops.  This time our "Washington" meal was made by our gracious hosts - an amazing King Salmon, olive bread, sautéed brussel sprouts, salad.

In all the excitement of the past two weeks, we failed on the kids quote front this round.

One good American sign:

Until next time, may God bless your family.