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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

How do you say that?

What a busy, long day we had today! Before you read the rest of the blog I want to let you know we are safe and sound in Bellevue, Washington, just outside of Seattle in Trailer Inns RV Park.

Just a quick trivia question for you to think about before you read the answer at the end of the blog. What major company is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington? I’m sure you can guess…

Last evening, just before heading to bed, I booked us entrance tickets to visit the ‘Chihuly Gardens and Glass‘ in Seattle for Monday afternoon between 1pm - 1:15pm. Washington State has an indoor mask mandate and to enter the Chihuly Gardens you must be double vaccinated, or have had a negative PCR test before entering. Knowing this about the Chihuly Gardens definitely made visiting it, a ‘must see’ for us.

As I was about to jump into bed last night, I noticed that my feet were very wet on the carpet next to our bed. In the rest of the bedroom, the carpet wasn’t wet. I decided to pull things out of the bedroom closet to check the closet, which is next to my side of the bed, and sure enough - the bottom of the closet was soaking wet! Oh my goodness! Not what we wanted to find at 10:30pm at night! Both of us were racking our brains trying to figure out how the water came into Newman! We have never had water on our bedroom floor before, only on the bed, when the air conditioning leaked from the ceiling, before we changed the roof. Did we have water on our slide toppers, when we closed the slides in the morning? Did that water run into Newman and deposit itself on the carpet? Was the carpet wet because of the severe slope we were on at Fort Victoria in Victoria? We couldn’t figure it out either way. To help dry things up a bit overnight though, I went and got the dehumidifier from the front of Newman - that was supposed to be drying out the driver’s carpet, and put it next to the bed on my side of the bed. Will this leaking ever end with Newman? Its so disheartening to still be dealing with water issues, when we’ve already changed the roof!

So guess what I did as soon as I woke up this morning?

Ah…memories of Swift Current, Saskatchewan from November 2020!

That’s a lot of water and I also had to stand in the closet and try and mop up that water too! I ended up using an entire large roll of Bounty paper towels, before I was finished mopping up the water out of the carpet. Richard was anxious to get going this morning, so we left the de-humidifier plugged in all day, while we were driving. The floor seems to be a bit dryer now and hopefully when we get further south into the desert, we won’t be dealing with any more humidity issues!

We had another horrible, rainy day for our drive today. We left crowded, Fort Victoria at 8:37am this morning and headed to Victoria International Airport to drop off Kramer the Kona.

Richard decided to back up Newman to leave Fort Victoria, even though we had a ‘pull through’ site. There were too many cars parked in front of Newman, that were too close to the road, to be able to pull straight out. I can’t imagine staying in that RV park for very long, although the wi-if was good and it is very close to downtown Victoria!

Heading north in Victoria towards the airport in Sydney, B.C.

I saw an Esso gas station just before the airport, so I told Richard to keep driving and to wait for me at the airport, while I gassed up Kramer. When I got into the Esso station every single pump had a ‘No Fuel’ sign on it. Now what? Luckily I saw there was a Shell station just across the road, and thank goodness they had gas! I only needed $12.50 in gas, but at least I could return the rental car full of gas.

While Richard waited outside the Departures area of YJJ, I went into the terminal to return Kramer. I took photos of every area on Kramer as well as the odometer so I wouldn’t be charged for any damage or overage in kilometres. The same guy was working behind the counter who rented me the car. He asked me ‘“How the car worked out for me?” And I said ”I liked the car so much I would buy an electric version of the Kona”.

Dropping Kramer the Kona off at YJJ.

Richard pulled up to the Arrivals area of YJJ to pick me up and off we went to the Schwartz Bay ferry in Sydney, B.C. The airport and the ferry terminal are only 15 minutes apart, so we arrived very early at 9:45am for our 11am ferry crossing to Tsawwasen. It’s better to be early, than miss the ferry! Richard decided to have a little nap on the couch while we were waiting the hour to board the ferry.

Arriving at Schwartz Bay Ferry terminal.

The ferry crossing was very uneventful and I read a new book on my Kindle while we crossed.

Richard ’worked‘ the phone as he likes to say, on the ferry crossing. We sat near the gift shop, which had matching Christmas pyjamas in the window. I have to say the gift shop on the ferry is one of the best stores around! They have great name brands, books, souvenirs and really nice stuff. I wasn’t in the mood for shopping though, since I knew I was headed to the USA, where I know the shopping is always good!

A smaller BC Ferries ferry, probably heading to Pender Island.

After we left the ferry in Tsawassen we could see how much more rain they have had on the mainland in B.C. There was a lot of flooding in the fields and way more than we saw on the Island.

It took us about 45 minutes from the ferry to ready the Peace Arch U.S. border crossing in Blaine, Washington.

There is the white Peace Arch. The Peace Arch is actually a Historical State Park located in Canada and the USA. The southern part of the park and the monument itself are owned by Washington State Parks and the northern half, by B.C. Provincial Parks. The 67 foot concrete arch, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was constructed to honour the centennial of the treaties resulting from the War of 1812. These agreements between the U.S. and Britain established a peaceful, in defended border between the USA and Canada. In Fort Erie, we have the Mather Park Arch commemorating the same peace between the two countries.

Mather Park Arch in Fort Erie. I took this photo in March 2020.

No time to stop at Duty Free today for us!

The line up at the border said it would take 40 minutes to get across the border. There was no sign for the Nexus lineup though and since we are both Nexus cardholders, we were allowed to cross the border in the Nexus lane, in Newman!

The only issue we had getting to the border was this guy in the pick up truck who didn’t realize that we wanted to get by him and his mirror would have been ripped off, if we had driven down our lane. He finally realized we wanted to get by and he pulled up to the left a bit, to let us pass. We were holding up the entire NExus lane until this guy realized we wanted by!

Only 6 cars in front of us at the Nexus lane.

When we finally made it to the border guard with our Nexus cards in hand, because when Richard scanned the cards, the card reader didn’t show that the cards had scanned. The border guard though knew who we were. He said “Richard?” He replied yes. He then asked ”How do you say that last name?” ”HOTTIE”, “HOOT”, “HOUT”. Finally after the guard butchered Richard’s last name a few times, Richard replies “It’s pronouned ’HUT’, like Pizza Hut”. Then the guard asked me to confirm my name. He then asked ”where we were headed, and how long would we be gone?” “Any fruits or vegetables?” And “do you have proof of double vaccination?” Richard went to hand the guard our laminated Ontario vaccine passports, and the guard said “No, its ok, have a great trip!” Wow, was that ever easy! We’re really glad we gave my son Josh and his girlfriend Alicia our fruits and vegetables, as it made it a lot easier to cross the border honestly! There is no messing around when you have a Nexus card! Honesty is always the best policy!

The rain kept on falling as we entered Washington State. There was a sign which I couldn’t get a snap of in time, which said “Welcome back Canadians, Eh?” How cute!

Our first destination was Bellingham, and Trader Joe’s!

That’s the happy look of a girl anticipating a visit to Trader Joe’s! Its been so long since I was able to visit a Trader Joe’s. Richard decided to back Newman up into an empty parking lot across from Trader Joe’s and he was going to wait in Newman. He finds it so much easier not having a tow car to deal with. We could never back Newman up when we were towing Jerry. Today, Richard just backed Newman ’jimmy quick’ and what a breeze it was not having to find a place to park with a tow car attached.

Look out! Here I come! I was happy to see that everyone was wearing masks in the parking lot, as they were loading up their cars after shopping at Trader Joe’s.

Lots of interesting things to see. Everyone was wearing masks indoors too!

Christmas goodies are starting to be stocked on the shelves!

After visiting just the produce section, I had to call for reinforcements! I texted Richard to please come and help me because I knew there was no way I was going to be able to carry everything over to Newman on my own!

That cart is really filling up! I was able to pick up a Tri Tip Roast, which our neighbour Bob in Florida first told us about and which we love! We’ll perhaps BBQ that when we are staying in Palm Springs. Trader Joe’s has such interesting things, I could spend 2 hours just wandering around the store and looking at all of the neat products. Unfortunately today I only had 45 minutes to shop, which didn’t give me much time at all. I know there will be more Trader Joe’s on our journey though, so hopefully next time I’ve got more time to shop!

Richard found something he liked today at Trader Joe’s!

Richard picked up a bottle of Trader Joe’s bourbon for $15 and he quite enjoyed his drink before dinner this evening! He would rate this bourbon 7/10 and he is a hard marker!

After we left Trader Joe’s the heaven’s opened again and we were in pretty nasty driving weather. Immediately south of Bellingham, Washington, where we stopped into Trader Joe’s, the topography changed and we had a lot more trees and fog to drive through.

A foggy Washington State Hwy 5.

Washington State has a flood watch in effect at the present time. You can see the flooded field to the right of the highway. There were many flooded farmer’s fields that we drove past on our drive to Bellevue, Washington. Vancouver Island and the B.C. Mainland are not the only areas getting an inordinate amount of rain this time of year.

We finally made it to Trailer Inns RV Park in Bellevue, Washington around 4:40pm. The sky was not quite completely dark, when we pulled into the RV park. Richard checked us in, and we have a pull through site with 30 amp electric service, with water and sewer. The highway is quite noisy near us, as this is the closest RV park to downtown Seattle. The RV park is all paved, so there really is no worries about muddy boots, coming into the RV.

We’re happy we are settled in for the night in Newman. The rain has stopped and it even looks like we might get some partial clearing tomorrow afternoon for our visit to Chihuly Gardens and Glass. And while the border guard couldn’t pronounce Richard’s name, we’re very thankful that the trip over the border - the first one for both of us since February 2020, was an easy one!

Oh, have you guessed the head office located in Bellevue, Washington…..???

A little hint maybe?


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Oct 25, 2023

Hi,I loved reading about your journey on the Viking Neptune. Do you recall who your tour guide or tour company was in Vietnam?

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