Following a restful 6 week hiatus back in Kelowna that was definitely the feeling as we set out Tuesday this week to continue our journey.
So, what took almost 6 weeks you might ask…? Well, there was quite a lot to be done and frankly a good part of it was just some very enjoyable relaxing ‘family and friends’ time since the next segment, as planned, would have us away much longer. Heading out on a more or less indefinite trip requires a great deal of logistical planning and preparation and that consumed much of out time – vaccinations, some over a series of weeks, putting financial and legal matters in place for an extended absence, examining health insurance decisions for an extended trip, making certain camper modifications, and generally just attending to a host of other household minutiae.
First port of call after leaving Kelowna was to stop in and catch up with long time friends Deb and Garth in Chilliwack, an easy 3 hour drive west and directly on our planned route. Had a delightful evening there before heading to Abbotsford where we were fortunate to catch up briefly for a Starbucks coffee with old friends Ed and Mae who had recently moved there from Kelowna. From Abbotsford we crossed into the US – not the easiest of crossings as the wait time was long and the questioning fairly intense; possibly the destination and duration of the intended trip played a part – I just don’t think the border guy could really wrap his head around why anyone would want to do what we had planned !
Having had 5 weeks on the road up north we learned a lot about the truck and camper and it’s “liveability”. We had always planned to use that experience to make necessary modifications, fix any obvious flaws and correct some initial notions of what we really needed to bring along – as with any trip, we took things we didn’t need and forgot some things we should have taken. Ditching the heavy and bulky 2nd spare tire that had been stored inside the truck ( in anticipation of multiple possible Dalton/Dempster punctures ) freed up an amazing amount of space much to our delight. It was quickly filled with other stuff. We also fashioned a few modifications to the camper that we had either seen others use or that we felt would be helpful on the road – better storage for dishes and pots in what for us is a very confined space; an external BBQ / cooking shelf ( useful when camping without a table ); additional tie down points in the truck for securing bulky items; an “in a pinch” internal shower for periods of extended remote camping; and, finally, mounting points for our awning ( on both sides of the camper ) that would enable us to carry the awning inside the truck when travelling and place it outside when camped moving it easily from side to side as the sun moved. It should be hot in the Baja and the awning was something we definitely missed up north. Thanks again to Andy and Jason who helped with all that !
Destination on day two was Seattle and our final ‘friend’ stop. After our visit there with Gary and Mayumi we do not have a single contact between Canada and Argentina so it was wonderful to enjoy an afternoon and evening with these two old friends from our life in Japan back in the mid ‘80’s. While we’d remained in contact over the years we had not seen each other since 1990, over 29 years ago ! Wonderful hosts, and Mayumi, the dinner was delicious. Thank you !
We’d travelled many times to Seattle in the past but it had been a while and we’d forgotten how congested it was – travelling during rush hour as we left our hosts did not help of course. The “I5” took us south through Tacoma, and Olympia before turning west to the 101 – it would be that road which would essentially take us all the way down the three western US states generally hugging the coast all the way to the Mexican border, of course with a few planned detours along the way. Stopped to camp for the night at a quaint county state park in southern Washington where we enjoyed the company of some overlander bikers from Chile. Matias and Paulina ( www.elrovano.com ) had ridden a BMW 800 from Santiago, Chile ( where we are headed ) all the way to the USA and were en route to Alaska ( where we had just been ) – we shared some great tips about our respective journeys over a few glasses of wine and bid them “hasta luego” as they rode off in the morning.
The morning saw us, too, heading out of Washington and ready to tackle the famously beautiful Oregon coast. More details of that on our next post…….