Rolling Rolling Rolling Through the Summer

July 25, 2017

For the first time in many years, we went on Summer vacation without taking the helm of a sailboat. Instead, I took the helm of the motor van San Clemente for a tour of the Pacific Northwest. We started out north of Seattle, ferried through the San Juan Islands of Washington, crossed over the Vancouver island in Canada. From there, we crossed British Columbia and visited several Canadian National Parks in their Rocky Mountain range. Finally, we circled back into Washington for a few days before heading home.

It was an excellent trip. The people of Washington and British Columbia must be like "aw, yeah, hmmmm..." every time they go somewhere for the scenery, as it's very hard to match what they left behind. A lot like us in Louisiana sampling food at our travel destinations. (I will give the nod to Pacific oysters over Gulf oysters, but on the other hand, you pay for them.)

Several times, I've said that you could pick the ugliest two mile square of British Columbia, plop it down where the town of Shreveport sits today, and you would have a U.S. National Park that would draw millions of visitors every year. We did better than that, by accidentally falling into a promotoional year for Canadian National Parks where all admission fees were waived for their sesquicentennial. Woo hoo.

Flipping through the photo galleries is going to be the best place to follow our journey. Click any little pic to see more.

Pacific Northwest Pt. 1Pacific Northwest Pt. 2

On our last night camping, we passed a woman who had locked herself out of her vehicle. She waved us down to use a phone, but she couldn't catch her friend. We wished her well and went to set up our campsite.

Once we were all set up, her boyfriend called back. He was something like six hours away and wanted us to bring a phone back to her so they could figure out what to do. I already had the tent up on the van and a hammock tied to the luggage rack, so the boys and I started to walk. We were right by a pretty little river, so I brought my camera along.

We were almost there, when K started screaming, "BEAR! BEAR! BEAR!"

Sure enough, a skinny black bear was crossing the road about 50 yards in front of us. I had the presence of mind to tell the kids to start walking away backwards. (Fuck that locked out lady!) Noise wasn't a problem -- never is with Kolya around.

She looked right up at us, but then moved across the road with little apparent interest. I decided to brave a picture. I fumbled with the camera forever, but finally clicked off a pic. It should have been natural. I had taken right at 1000 pictures with that camera so far on the trip. But I apparently was so freaked out of my head that I couldn't work it. Here's the shot I got.


Once we got out of bear eyesight, we nosily made our way back to camp, undid the van, and drove the phone to the woman.

Stats and quick hits
Song of the Summer, Radio Desposito, which we heard 3 times while based out the city that gave us Hendrix, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana. What a shit song.
Song of the Summer, iPhone Our House, by Madness. V took a liking to it. I remember it being my song of the summer during a family vacation when I was just a year or two older than he is now.
Song of last Summer Spirits, by Strumbellas. I don't know if we heard a pop radio remix or a Canadian specific remix, but we heard one where every mention of "gun" had been replaced. "I got dreams in my head, and they won't go. Spirits in my head and they won't go." Made some of the other lines not make sense and turned a good song about dealing with dark thoughts into a cheesy piece of trash. Who'd have known?
Wildlife sightings Bears (of course), Orcas, seals, bald eagles (including a cool attack on a songbird while we were canoeing though a lake devoid of others), a wolverine, elk, and a variety of chipmunks and squirrels
Number of keeper pictures 943. Don't worry. I didn't post them all.
Number of keeper pictures where you can see at least part of Lake Louise. 60
San Clemente mileage 155000
Number of ports for charging devices 2, early in the week. One later, after one of the cigarette lighter adapters went missing.
Boats taken 7. 3 ferries, a canoe trip, a rafting trip, and 2 guided wildlife excursions.
Highways on our route closed due to forest fires 1