I’m not sure where the last couple of weeks have gone. Maybe we packed them by accident. I can’t tell anymore. Once we got back from our first test run, we started going fast and furiously on packing, getting rid of things, finding tenants for our house, and final preparations for the trip. Before we knew it, the night before our trip to Alaska arrived and our heads were spinning.
Our initial plan for this second test trip was to take two weeks to drive up to the Yukon and Alaska, with the idea that we could extend the trip by a couple of days if we wanted/needed to. In the time since we made that plan we ended up moving the departure date for the main trip forward a couple of days and we found ourselves a little less prepared than we’d hoped to be at this point. Combine that with a postal strike that’s threatening to throw a wrench in some business plans, and we found ourselves thinking that, if possible, maybe it would be better to try to come back a day or two earlier rather than later.
The end result of all this was me sitting in front of the computer on Sunday evening with a calendar and Google Maps wondering what the hell we were thinking. We decided that trying to go up to Alaska in that short time frame was foolish—we would have to drive some really long days and would not have much time up there—so a change of plans was in order. Once the decision to change destinations was made we both felt a weight off our shoulders, so all that remained was to decide where to go instead, and we settled on Yellowstone National Park.
Monday morning we took the 9:00 ferry to Vancouver, had lunch with Pia’s Aunt and Uncle, then went for our Nexus interviews. The interviews were surprisingly easy and mostly consisted of confirming information, looking at our ID, and taking our photos, fingerprints, and retina scans (it was pretty James Bond). We were approved, and off we headed South.
We spent the fist night in Lynden, Washington, home of “America’s best pie”, at a lovely little KOA with a fishing pond. It was a beautiful evening, and I spent some time working at the picnic table next to the pond with the occasional visit from a mother duck and her ducklings. It was pretty darn idyllic, and the only thing that would have made it better would be if we didn’t have to hear the trashy neighbours drunkenly yelling at their TV while they watched the hockey game.
The next morning we had a brief visit to downtown Lynden where we looked though a great little antique shop (where Pia wanted to buy everything, but was unable to because we’re packing up the house), then had breakfast and shared a slice of that famous pie. Then with pie-filled tummies we then headed on our way.
We then spent a windswept night in Ellensburg, cozy and warm in our van, though chilled every time we needed to venture to the bathroom, then an afternoon and night in Spokane. What can I say about Spokane? Well, I think this headline from their official tourist map sums it up: “It’s true. Spokane is the second largest city in the state of Washington.” That’s right, even the Spokane tourism board couldn’t come up with much to say about it. As near as I can tell, it basically is a nice little park (with a very short gondola ride over Spokane Falls), next to a few blocks of OK downtown, surrounded by bleak, sketchy areas overflowing with fast food chains. I don’t recommend scheduling your honeymoon here, but if you’re on a tour of the nation’s second-largest cities, you’ll not want to miss it.