Monday 18th May
Throat and cough are worse.
Today we all piled into Jessica’s car, including baby Jaxson and went to Port Orchard where we caught up with a friend from my CMCA days. Claude met us at a chain restaurant known as Shari’s which specializes in pies. Fruit pies of course. Not a meat or savory pie was on the menu. Alecia had the strangest apple pie I have ever seen. It was an apple pie, broken up into a parfait glass and smothered with cream. After an hour with Claude we moved on to a driving tour around the bays then home for dinner.
Something I have noticed here in the USA and Canada as well. Individual letter boxes are a thing of the past. Now they have a box or a wall of letterboxes the same as in say a gated community. It makes an economic sort of sense. The postman only has to go to a central letter box location. The mail is already sorted so all he has to do is ensure it is delivered to the correct box. One stop, one location, one drop and he moves on to the next drop. He no longer has to go house to house.
Tuesday 19th May.
Donnis and I took the car for a look at the quaint seaside village of Poulsbo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poulsbo,_Washington
The area was settled by families who petitioned to have a Post Office located in the village way back in 1907 although the village was settled by Norwegians in 1880. The original submission had the name of Paulsbo (in Norwegian which means Paul’s Place) probably due to poor handwriting the post office registered the name as Poulsbo and so it has been ever since. There is no record if there was a protest over the name. Until World War II most locals spoke Norwegian.
Marina’s are popular in Canada and the States and most of them are in need of repair and maintenance. Poulsbo is no exception.
They are often delightful to look at and have a wonderful variety of boats. Also due to cold conditions they often have a section of covered marina berths.
In the afternoon we called at a few seaside locations with the inevitable marina and funky little stores including food outlets. Most of those seem to be closed as it is not yet officially summer.
Lord knows how the owners of these businesses survive if they can only operate for a few months of the year.
At one seaside town I was surprised to sea four outrigger canoes.
WOT THE! Usually outrigger canoe racing is a sport in temperate to tropical climates. These canoes can be rigged to keep spray out of the canoe but it would be mighty cold on the water at the moment. On reflection I now recall seeing two outrigger canoes being paddled as we entered Victoria Harbour in Canada on Saturday.
In the evening, Donnis, Jessica and I visited a Costco store which has amazing products with amazing prices. Except for laptops and mobile phones. They appear no cheaper than Australian prices, particularly Apple products. However to obtain cheaper prices you need to be a registered member which cots $60 per year or buy some products in bulk.
Wednesday 20th May
John began his fist day of 6 days leave. We took a ferry from Bainsbridge Island to Seattle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle
Seattle, has similarities to Sydney Australia. Both are built on beautiful harbours and many buildings had underground shops, arcades and businesses. Part of our trip today, besides wandering the hillside streets was to look at the fresh food and original art and creative local products in the Pikes Markets on the hill above the harbour and above the elevated railway and roadway.
It was across the street from the Pike Place Markets where we found the original Starbucks store which created an empire. The building looks plain and does not reflect what lies beyond. I have never had a coffee from Starbucks. http://www.starbucks.com/coffeehouse/store-design/1st-and-pike
Again Sydney Australia has the elevated roadway and railway along with the homeless and destitute. Some streets still show the heavy glass panels set into the footpaths to allow natural light into the underground malls. As well some streets have brick paving, almost worn down to a cobblestone from a century ago. Seattle was established around 1852 and in some places in underground shops you can still see the stone, rock and brick used to create the buildings.
We had no time to visit as many sites as we would have liked. As we got started late we were forced to catch a late commuter ferry back to Bainsbridge Island. A US Coastguard Boat complete with a marine in full battle gear and standing threateningly behind a 30 calibre machine gun accompanied our ferry part way to our destination.
Thursday 21st May
Today was a long long day.
We got off to a late start but managed to get to the ferry port only 90 minutes later than planned. Considering there were 5 of us travelling in Doug’s Cadillac, loaded with all our luggage it was not a bad bit of organisational effort. We were heading back across the border to Canada. We caught the car ferry at Kingston and arrived on time at Edmonds north of Seattle. The plan was to avoid the Seattle traffic. More on that in a moment. First we had to get off the ferry. It seems that just outside the ferry terminal is a railway line! Can you imagine that? A railway line crosses the on off road to the ferry terminal? Work was being carried out on the line. Due to an error of some sort the boom gates came crashing down, locked closed and alarm lights flashing and bells were clanging. Donnis and I were due to catch a ferry from Tsawwassen Canada to Duke Point Vancouver Island at 5.15pm and we barely had enough time to travel the 124 Miles in the two hours left to us. We were stuck on the ferry. Eventually the Stop/Slow miracle workers found a way for traffic to be moved off the ferry. Once on land we then encountered the afternoon school traffic and the beginnings of the rush hour. Sigh! So much for avoiding the Seattle traffic!
Somewhere south of Bellingham with three lanes of traffic travelling at 80 MPH, a car in the middle lane beside us suddenly swerved out of control and crossed in the path of other cars, who braked violently to avoid a collision. The car speared off the road and disappeared down a steep embankment, crashing into a stand of trees at the bottom. We simply could not stop but cars behind were able to do so. That shook us up somewhat. At Bellingham we left the highway to buy fuel.
Then after a few wrong turns were back on the highway until we reached the long queue of cars waiting to cross the border. Another delay but we were on our way after a 20 minute delay and somehow arrived at the wharf only an hour late. The next ferry was not until 8.15 and was a two hour crossing.
Thank goodness Joan was waiting for us.
We were ready for bed.
Friday 22nd May
Today was almost what can only be described as a lay day. Joan went to work, I caught up with editing photos and preparing blog entries for our Alaska Cruise and Donnis visited with her mum.
Saturday 23rd May
In the afternoon Joan and I went for a drive to one of my favourite locations on Vancouver Island… Cowichan Bay. It has many funky stores and eateries
and has the feel of an old fishing village from another century…which it was.
Floating houses and covered marina berths draws tourists and locals all year round.
Sunday 24th May
The cough has descended to my lungs but all in all not feeling too bad.
We visited the small coastal town of Crofton.
Like most towns scattered around the bays and inlets on Vancouver Island it has a certain charm and appeal while at the same time a certain air of decreptitude. Lovely old homes lovingingly maintained and cared for alongside houses which have not seen a paintbrush for a long long time and where old cars and other junk adorn the yard.
Crofton has an interesting history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crofton,_British_Columbia It was founded by Henry Croft in 1902 who had a copper mine at Mt Sickler and built a smelter on the coast and exported the refined copper. Unfortunately the residue blackened the nearby beaches and are still black to this day.
Lumps of material, once molten, can also be found on the beaches. A small causeway is almost entirely made from material from the smelter which closed in 1908.
Next came a pulp and paper mill in 1956 which operates to this day. The smell from the mill often pervades the air for many kilometres. The pulp from the mill is stored on barges floating in the bay. Their colourful orange base and cream coloured pulp almost perfectly finished in a roof like shape appear as so many identical floating houses.
A community group commenced a seawalk project some years ago and the final stage was completed in 2014. The kilometre long boardwalk along the foreshore is a delight and is suitable even for wheelchairs. While on the boardwalk we could hear the barking of sea lions nearby but could not find them.