California here we come!
Hmmmph. All that dash to get here and it turns out we now have to wait until the beginning of 2018 before we can even get started on the Mooch Across America Charity Drive.
Well, I for one am not feeling entirely impressed. I just want to get started!
So it turns out that we are going to drive from Vancouver to LA - go figure - all because MPJ wants to do some research, and that it needs to be in Southern California.
Jani gets cross with me for being impatient and tells me that compared to England I can't even begin to imagine how big the USA actually is. Hmmmph, does she think I'm dense? Of course I know how big America is! Sort of. Maybe.
So now here we are, setting off on our 'practice run'. This is our Honda CRV. Check out the car seat she got for me! I was a bit put out that she dubbed it 'The Princess Milly Throne'. Steady on, I am just an ordinary girl, there's really no need to be so sarcastic. Hmmph.
MPJ calls him our 'Trusty Steed' (whatever that means - sheesh) and in true White Family tradition (I'm rolling my eyes) she had to name our car.
We toyed with calling him 'Black Bart' but that just didn't fit, then we tried out Bart Simpson, but that definitely does not fit, then MPJ remebered her favourite Dr Suess character... so (fan fare) please let me introduce... Mr. Bartholomew Cubbins.
It actually kinda works, and when she read these books to me I could see what kind of person Bartholomew Cubbins is, and he pretty much sums up how reliable and trustworthy our car really is.
Road Trip Day 1 - July 10th 2017
Vancouver BC to Whidbey Island Washington
We looked at each other in amazement, laughed and gunned on to the I-5,
heading south on the start of our trip to LA.
We are honest -to-goodness 'Snowbirds' now.
Day 1 is taking us down the Chuckanut Drive - you have never seen blue like it! I am so grateful that MPJ decided to buy me the 'throne' so that I can easily see out the window.
We drove all down the coast, across the double bridge at Deception Pass and now we are on Whidbey Island. Jani hasn't been here in over 40 years! She keeps blabbing on and exclaiming with excitement every time she sees something she recognises.
Luckily MPJ thought ahead and made a reservation in a motel. It was just about getting dark when we pulled in, not too tired and properly feeling quite pleased with ourselves for having accomplished Day 1. Our best experience of Kindness today was the 4 people at the saloon bar who asked us to join them and happily spent over an hour pouring over our maps and giving us top tips of great places to go and see as we travel down the coast. One of the guys rode his Harley Davidson all the way down Hwy 1 to Mexico in 1975, and regaled us with tales of the good ol' days.
Now MPJ is all excited about doing Hyw 1. She's got a full on romantic notion about being on the coast the whole way down to LA. Works for me - I love the beach!
Having safely landed, having enjoyed a cold refreshing beer, having gained a bucket load of travel tips, it was time for something to eat.
Little did we know that Penn Cove mussels are famous all over the country, and lucky us to land up at the Front Street Grill for calm quiet sunset, for THE most delicious glass of Voigner (according to MPJ), for perfectly steamed fresh mussels, ending our day with a clear sense that all is as well as it possibly can be.
I'm not so sure about this motel lark, it's a bit strange to be sleeping somewhere different everynight. I'm so glad MPJ brought my special Canada blanket that her best friend made for me. It helps to make me feel much more settled. It smells safe.
Not an airplane in sight.
The day we experienced a Kindness beyond any expectations...
Well, she wasn't kidding. MPJ kept going on about how much she loved Whidbey as a child, and I can see why. We're on an island in the Puget Sound looking at the Salish Sea, and the super-grin on Jani's face is a bit ridiculous to behold.
The dry wheaten grasses bleached by the summer sunshine, the bluest blues, sky and sea, the particular scent of the west coast - seasalt spray scenting the Shore Pine, Pacific Yew, Western Red Cedar, Madrone, Sitka Spruce - it's a heady mix that can only be the Pacific Northwest. It's a darn shame it rains so much throughout the autumn, winter and spring, cause this is one seriously beautiful part of the world.
We're staying in Coupeville, which turns out to be a bit of a surprise. MPJ chose the Tyee Motel because it's a proper old fashioned 'Mom'n'Pop', family-owned since 1920, local saloon bar, breakfast cafe, proper motel as-it-should-be kind of place.
What she didn't remember is that Coupeville is this really beautiful little fishing port that is filled with lovingly preserved Victorian houses and a proper old frontier town Main Street. We had a fab morning just walking around; my favourite bit was walking down the pier - so many smells!! And there's this old fashioned bell on the end of the pier that you are supposed to ring if you see any whales in the bay.
Sunshine, sea salt, cool breeze, white sails bobbing on the gusty currents, the hum of happy people enjoying their seaside holiday. Life is pretty good today.
So, this is me, in my 'Snoozer'. I properly Do. Not. Like. It.
Well, I guess I must concede that there is rather a lot I would miss if I was just left to hang out alone in the car. So we've come to an arrangement; I'll tolerate it, and, she'll only put me in there when she really has to.
Everyday she has to sit down and do some writing which is usually the point when I'll be unceremoniously dumped into the case. There's something about needing WiFi and coffee to be able to write, and the fact that places that have these things also on the whole usually don't allow dogs... luckily, so far, most people have been really kind about letting me in when I'm all encased.
I see why they call it a Snoozer - there's nothing for it except to concede and use the time to have a nice long nap.
This was our 'office' today, the historic Captain Whidbey Inn, where MPJ used to have family holidays. She says it's exactly same as it was 40 years ago. It was built in 1907, and it's all rustic charm and good food. A perfect way to tap out a few chapters worth of words.
So we hiked out to the sea edge, and then went up and up to the top of the bluff. MPJ had to keep me on lead, as the edge was a sheer drop of 100+ feet down to the sea below. She was scared that I would chase after a bird or lizard or anything that rustles and end up just flying off the cliff. Come to think of it, she probably has a point...
Up and up we went, and when we were standing right on the very edge of the bluff we could see all the way over to the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula, our destination for tomorrow's journey.
After a long contemplation of the stunning view we started back, trekking along the cliff track, back across the long stretch cutting inland through the meadow, back past the old settlers cabin, and finally to the home stretch across the field to the car park. And just as we were ambling along this last leg a girl walked up to us and said "Are you Jani?"
Well I guess you could have knocked MPJ down with a feather! She said, puzzled expression vying with wary concern (HOW does she know my name!) "Uhmmm, Yes, that's me".
And this Kindest-of-Strangers said, "We found your drivers licence and your cash card out on the point. So we went back to the car park (2 miles!) and saw the car with the BC plates was still there, so my husband has taken the inland track of the loop trail, and I'm walking back out the cliff side of the loop."
Well now, MPJ was most truly astonished. This incredibly kind couple had gone back and come out again in hopes of finding us somewhere along the loop trail. Can you believe it?
So Jani and Sarah started back out towards the cliffs to meet up with Jonathan where the forest trail looped with the bluff trail.
I, however, totally put the brakes on.
Hang on! It is so supper time, we are so nearly back to Bartholemew, and that means we are so nearly going back to the motel, and so putting my dinner in it's dish!!
Well MPJ was having none of my resistance and promptly scooped me up for the extra mile back to meet up with Jonathan who was holding the missing cards.
Jani realised that when she'd taken the phone out to photograph the bay, they must have fallen out. I cannot tell you how palpable her relief was, seeing as how that US Dollars bank card is how we are making purchases, and without it we would have been both homeless and hungry until the bank could have sorted a new one - like, as in waiting 10 days to have it sent from head office in Toronto! Yikes!
Thank you Sarah and Jonathan for your outstanding KINDNESS in literally going the extra 4 miles to find us, to help ensure we could travel onward. You will always be remembered for showing us the true essence of American Kindness, standing in the very shadow of a historic pioneer cabin that so embodies the spirit of this land.
Helping hands built this country; caring for one's neighbour and going the extra distance, bonding in community, this, to us, is the cornerstone of American culture.
We are so excited about the opportunity the Charity Drive is going to bring, connecting us with American Kindness every step, every State, of the way.
Kindness is alive and well here today in Coupeville, Washington.
Whidbey to Neah Bay -
Well, that was a great start to the day! Fish heads, a cappuccino, breakfast with a view, a hike to the edge, and now we are back on the road.
It's a run down the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula today, more twisty, winding, tree-lined, swooping roads - destination Westport and the beaches. Yay!
Sigh, it's a long stretch. I hope MPJ has some interesting podcasts loaded...
Hmm, OK, it's not so bad.
I like that I get to run around and explore, and I really like that the other campers are having BBQ's and I can go over, looking all cute, hoping for a titbit or two. I especially like when they have little kids that so obligingly tend to drop their food.
Spending time snuffling around other people's picnics is right up there with chasing squirrels - in my top 3 of favourite things to do.
(getting a belly scritching is #3).