Thursday, August 22, 2013

Vacation, Days 7 and 8 - Qualicum Beach to Bend, via Renton

We had reservations on the noon ferry from Sidney, BC to Anacortes, WA.  However, it's a long drive to Sidney, especially because you have to go around a bay instead of being able to go directly there.  So we woke up at 6:30.  Well, I woke up then, and tried to get Nathan to wake up, but waking him sometimes seems like an exercise in futility.  (It's slightly easier in the morning, at least, when it's light out and his body clock is a little more ready to get up.  I've had to wake him late at night or in the middle of the night before (to take medicine, etc.), and it's nigh on impossible.  He's a SOUND sleeper.)

Anyway, we got up, got packed in less time than I thought it would take, and hit the road.  We didn't stop for breakfast along the way, but rather high-tailed it to the ferry and hoped for the opportunity to grab breakfast while our car sat in line.

Well, it turns out the Sidney ferry port is more remote than I anticipated, plus their system is WAY less efficient than that in Port Angeles.  In Port Angeles, we showed up, lined up, went through a booth and showed our reservation info, paid the rest of our fee, then parked as instructed in line for the ferry.  We were then free to roam around until 10 minutes before boarding time, and there were a few coffee shops and tourist shops and such nearby.  In Sidney, we lined up, showed our papers to a guy, and he gave us a slip of paper that told us what lane to park in.  Ultimately.  But in the meantime, there were two lanes (compared to Port Angeles' one, but it was still less efficient) of traffic through the booth where we actually paid.  I tried to hand over our passports and such, but she didn't want them, just the reservation info.  Paid the remainder, THEN still had to wait in line for another booth, this one for customs and immigration.  Finally made it through THAT, and then we were ushered into our final lanes for lining up and parking.  Luckily, there was a little gift shop on site, because having gone through Canadian customs/immigration, they weren't going to let us back out into the real world even if there HAD been any shops nearby.  (We still had to go through US customs/immigration in Anacortes--on the other trip, the people on the WA side looked at our paperwork briefly while also processing payment, then we had customs/immigration on the Canadian side, but it was much more efficient at every step, in addition to having fewer steps overall.)

The little gift shop had freshly baked pastries, including scones, and hot chocolate, which tided us over fine.

Finally, we boarded the ferry and found ourselves a window seat with a table, and played cards for the entire journey.  Unlike the prior journey, which just went straight across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, this journey wound through the San Juan Islands, so it was quite scenic.

Finally, we were within site of Anacortes.  Nathan and I stood at the front of the car deck to watch the approach as long as they let us.

After clearing customs, it was 3:00, and we'd only had our small breakfast snack at the ferry dock.  So we moseyed through Anacortes looking for places to eat.  We stopped at a Greek place, but they close between lunch and dinner, so we continued on.  Finally, we found an Indian place that was open.  The food was delicious, though Nathan's salmon was originally undercooked (but they fixed it quickly).  My eyes were bigger than my stomach, so I ordered samosas, papadum, and entrees for each of us, THEN found out that Nathan doesn't like either samosas or papadum.  Sheesh.

From there, we headed to my dad's house in Renton.  He's done some remodeling on his house, so we got a tour, then settled in and chatted a while.  My brother wasn't supposed to get off work until after 9 p.m., but he got off early and came over, so that was nice.  Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to see him much, if at all, on this trip, as he also had to go to work first thing in the morning.  We had a late dinner at Red Robin, chatted some more, then headed to bed.

In the morning, I finished up the laundry I'd been doing (so I wouldn't have to do it at home before heading to work the next day, and Nathan's laundry, too, as he was staying at my dad's for the coming week as well), we lazed around and chatted and had breakfast, then I hit the road.  I had some geocaching trackables that I'd picked up in Bend but hadn't yet gotten rid of on the trip.  I wanted to leave them somewhere somewhat far from home, so I looked up some caches that had trackables I could take home (also if they HAVE trackables, they're more likely to be able to fit trackables--LOTS of caches out there are tiny!).  The first one was not far from my dad's house, and claimed to be a "puzzle" cache.  I'd solved the puzzle at his house, which gave me the coordinates, so I thought it would be pretty straightforward.  However, when I got to the coordinates, near this pond:

The container I found had a key and instructions to go to different coordinates.  The first container had been along a paved trail.  However, after crossing a road, the trail split into a paved version and a non-paved version that nearly paralleled each other.  I chose the paved version because that was consistent, but the compass was pointing me away from the trail, toward the un-paved trail.  So I backtracked to that trail.  (In western WA, it's MUCH more difficult to go off-trail or take shortcuts, due to all the underbrush and the threat of some of that underbrush being stinging nettles or devil's club.  It's much easier to bushwhack in central OR.)

When on that trail, I was closer, but the arrow still pointed off trail.  However, there was a "game" trail (or "geotrail" as they call it in the geocaching world) heading in the right direction, and some of the previous logs mentioned things that matched this trail.  The "hint" on the key tag was that it was at the base of a maple tree.  There were a TON of maple trees in this area--not helpful.  I poked around quite a while, getting sweatier and sweatier in the humidity, but eventually had to give up.  Not only did I have to give up, I also had to backtrack to put the key back into the first container.

I drove around to a few more caches, and found those, at least, and swapped some trackables.  The only one I had left from Oregon was one that wanted to be placed in a cache starting with J, K, Q, X, or Z.  With restrictions like that (plus it needed to be a large enough size, plus I needed to actually be able to find it), I had to search a little harder for a cache that I'd be able to use.  I hadn't seen one in the Kent/Renton area, so was hoping to find one along my journey.

I finally set off in the general direction of home, driving through the towns where I'd gone to high school and where I'd grown up.  Both have changed a TON, but especially so the 15-minute drive between them.  I stopped by the house I grew up in, and which my dad built.  There used to be some small aspens growing weed-like around the small pond.  Now the aspens are multiple stories tall, and shade the pond so much it seems dark.  The other properties have changed a lot, too.

I went over White Pass, and while I don't remember seeing "The Mountain" (Mt. Rainier) before then, so it must have been overcast, I finally got a glimpse of it at a viewpoint turnout.

Later, from the "dry side," I got an even better, nearly complete view, but it's of the "wrong" side of the mountain.  :-)

I stopped in Yakima for dinner, and for more geocaching.  While eating, I located a couple caches with names that fit the requirements for the last trackable I had.  The first was called Juggernaut, and was located in a cemetery.  Seems like an ordinary cemetery, right?

However, not many cemeteries, even those honoring veterans, sport this kind of ornamentation:

The cache is supposed to be somewhere within reach from outside the chain fence, but I couldn't find it.  :-(

I went to a different cache that also met the criteria, and DID find that one, so I was finally able to drop the trackable I'd taken with me on the whole trip.

Finally, I hit the road for the home stretch, with only potty stops planned for the rest of the trip (did stop once, in Biggs).  Here's a photo of the nearly-full moon I took without looking through the viewfinder, while driving, outside of Goldendale.

I got home at about 11:45 p.m., having driven 1831.5 miles (some of those were driven in kilometer form, though), found 24 geocaches, NOT found four geocaches, visited one state and one province in addition to our own (for Nathan, Canada was a whole new country), and had a wonderful time.

1 comment:

  1. that side of the mountain always looks odd to me too: )thanks for sharing the trip!