Thursday, September 23, 2010

Trip From BC to Berk

Well, it was a marathon.
Martin and I left Sorrento BC at 9 AM on Labour Day Saturday and set out for Vancouver. The drive was very nice and it was lovely to get to spend time together (alone) on the first leg of our big road trip. I learned from the last time that I traveled from the interior to the coast to check in regularly with the traffic report on News 1130. We knew that we had a really big day in front of us with our plans to drive right into Point Grey to pick up the kids at the Elfert's place. However our heart sank when we heard that the lineups at the borders were 3.5 hours at Peace Arch, 3+ hours at Pacific Truck Crossing and 1-2 hours in the valley. We determined that it would be best for us to do some double-backing so that we wouldn't have to wait for such an excruciatingly long time at the border. We arrived at the Elfert's at around 2:30 and by the time we packed all our earthly goods in the car... it was close to 4. I checked the traffic online and found that the wait at Peace Arch was 5-10 minutes and that the valley crossings were closer to 1-2 hours now. I guess everyone had the same idea as we had had!
Indeed there was no wait at the border at all and we breezed through and all our papers were in order. First stress alleviated. . . .

We drove south to a place called Marysville, north of Everett, where we stopped for dinner. We like to go to places that aren't big chains and we saw some signs for "Boondockers Cafe" along the highway that looked somewhat interesting. I imagined it would be an American-fare place but when we arrived and saw the menu and the proprietors we realized that we did much better than we had imagined. The lovely east-indian family who ran the place had indian food on the menu as a "special". We were delighted! The kids loved it and ate well. The hosts were impressed by our children's adventurous taste and we loved the low key atmosphere and ability to put on jammies and brush teeth before "bed". They gave the kids bubble-gum ice-cream for dessert! At the restaurant I was able to phone La Quinta in Portland to make a reservation for the night. We didn't reserve a hotel room in advance or even earlier in the day as we had no idea about how far we would be able to make it, or if we would have any issues at the border.
The kids slept well while we motored along and we made it to Portland by midnight.

In the morning we had breakfast in their breakfast room. It was pretty crappy but oh so convenient and it is really nice to be able to have pets in the hotel.

The Sunday is a bit of a blur for me now but we left at 9 AM and arrived at 11PM in Berkeley. We stopped for lunch around Medford (?) at a disappointing restaurant that didn't have any sort of fresh veggies unless it was a salad. . . . no such thing as carrot sticks or anything. I imagine all the food there comes on a big truck- pre-cut, pre-sliced, pre-cooked? We had a nice play at a local park We managed to go to the same restaurant for dinner in Redding as we had gone to on the way up to Canada in May. The Black Bear Diner. It is a little local chain- California and maybe into Oregon? The kids really like it because they have the option of getting breakfast for dinner!!!
We stopped at a drive-in cappuccino bar on our way out of town. It felt so civilized to order a really inexpensive and yet yummy coffee without getting out of our car.
One of the spectacular sights we saw was the sunset outside of Redding CA with the black 3D silhouettes of trees, layers of hills and incredibly orange skies.
I think that this night might have been Mimi's first time seeing stars. She was astounded to see them in the night sky out the windows of the car. "Mum, Look! Stars!!!"
We arrived back in Berk at 11, approaching from a different trajectory than usual-via Walnut Creek. Everyone was glad to be back home.

I am sorry to say that I have no pictures of any part of our trip... :(

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