Saturday, June 21, 2008

Due North

These are some journal entries from our road trip up to Canada from California, I wrote them along the way, and transferred them into my blog once we reached Canada (that's why the dates are all off). Danny changed his flight to come home early from England and joined us on the drive up....Josh picked him up from the airport Wednesday afternoon, and we left Thursday morning.

June 18th and 19th:

After work I came home and gave our cottage a good clean. Then cleaned myself up and waited for the boys to arrive back from the airport. in due time they did, and I was greeted at the door by my woolly haired brother. His hair had grown long and blond and framed his face perfectly. Without even sitting down and catching up, we grabbed our long boards and headed out to meet the Kings around the corner (at the Reynolds, friends of theirs who were out of town) for Strawberry shortcake, and a chance for them to see Dan Boy again. After Dan had caught them up on his travels and we had suitably traumatized Baxter, the dog (a Rhodesian ridge back), we headed home to stuff our golf until it was bulging. Eventually we crawled into bed at 11:30pm, only to wake up again at 3:00am. Josh was surprisingly awake and chipper, ready to hit the road, with dune quading clear in his sights. So Dan and I dragged ourselves and our droopy eyes out into the dark morning and squeezed ourselves into our car positions. Luckily before leaving the cottage, Josh remembered our passports, something that had completely slipped both of our minds. I sent a silent prayer up, thankful for the reminder. What a disaster that would have been! And so we hit the early morning road with the brand new Coldplay (Viva la Vida) blaring for the first time (Josh surprised me and bought it the day before our anticipated road trip and hid it in my purse for me to find).

So far we have seen a number of different beautiful sights. One being the full moon guiding us along even as the sun rose to our right, painting the sky in brilliant colours. Around 6:30am, much to our delight (and need), we we sighted a Starbucks. We purchased some much needed coffee for our driver, a Caramel Macciato "BREVE" for the Dan boy, who had been deprived of this concoction for three months, and my regular old Tea Misto, as well as a couple of lemon "Pepper" seed scones (as Dan called them). The next amazing sight we saw, and it was only a glimpse, a flash, that all three off us saw, was a hawk rise above the road to our left with a snake in its beak. If only my hands were as quick to pick up the camera as my eyes are to focus. Although, thinking back I don't think my eyes even had time to focus properly, but I saw it. The coastal drive takes you through a redwood forest, with beautiful trees towering over us. Reminded me of the Knysna forest in South Africa, and I thought about the lone elephant that was thought to still be roaming around in it. Then we glimpsed the rocky coastline, stretching out, waves lapping and splashing the grey shoreline. One rock looked like the profile of a head, a face, wearing a hoodie. I swear it looked like it had been carved by someone, a surfer mount Rushmore...ha! wouldn't that be awesome!!

And so we continue our journey due north, looking forward to our dune adventure. Listening to Coldplay over and over again, excited to be heading towards Canadian soil again, and to get out of the cramped car.
We twist, we wind, we chatter, gasp and snap (the camera), we eat delicious monster cookies -fast becoming monster crumbs (thanks Jeanette!!), we are travelers.

Later that evening.....

Well it is now 8:35pm. We are snuggled inside our tent. All 3 of us on one Queen air mattress. Danny (with Jet lag) is fast asleep already, snoring ever so quietly, wrapped up in my red mummy sleeping bag, its a hoodie sleeping bag. On my other side is my husband, dozing gently, sleepy after driving all day, both on the 101 and the sand dunes. Then there is me, piggy in the middle, wide awake but warm. It is still light out (hence why I can still write) and I suspect it will take me a little while to fall asleep, even though I only had 3 hours of sleep last night, a long drive and a fun day. I am awake and wired right now. The original plan was to watch a DVD on the lap top (an episode of lost) to make it a bit later. But the DVD wouldn't play, so after a round of minesweeper each (we all lost), the boys rolled over into dream land leaving me to entertain myself. Writing always helps. Its a good way to process the day, leaves less whirring and buzzing in my head.

Well we finally arrived in Winchester Bay, Oregon, at 3:00pm, a couple of hours earlier then what was predicted by our driver. So we headed straight to our campground, figured out the self-service check-in (eventually) and set up our tent and mattress, ready for us to crawl into later. Then we made out way to the ATV rental store, where we signed our life away for 3 250cc quads, 3 helmets and 3 goggles. At this point my tummy was doing a few twists and turns. I have driven a motor bike only once in my life. My friends brother taught me on one of their family vacations I had joined them on. However I don't think I was ever on the bike by myself......
These quads looked enormous to me. Even though the kid helping us kept saying that they weren't powerful to go up this hill or that one, to me they looked powerful enough to climb Everest. I feared my life just imagining myself on it (I trust other people driving more then I do myself in these situations). As for all the gadgets and throttles he casually pointed out to us, you know "easy stuff", lit left my mind boggled and slightly panicked. Josh kept smiling at me reassuringly, "you'll be fine", he kept saying. Sure thing, I'll be fine, just as soon as someone gives me a lesson on how to ride the ridiculous red machine. Nope, it never happened, instead the kid stood and waited expectantly for us to climb on and go so that the could start the clock. So we donned our helmets and goggles. Well at least I looked the part now, and my fear was contained and hidden behind the star bangled banner helmet. And we climbed onto the beasts. Dan was off. Josh was slowed down a bit because the first quad he tried kept cutting out on him, and oh yes ...his wife was clueless as to how to make the thing go. Throttle and brakes are only words until you show me. I got a brief lesson on how to start and off I went.

I had THE best time ever! It was an amazing experience. It is so incredibly beautiful out in the miles and miles, and piles and piles of sand to play in. Beautiful. It was much quieter then in Pismo, probably because it was a Thursday evening, which I liked. Not as many crazy people to worry about, or rather for them to worry about "Miss amateur".

So I did get stuck. It took all three of us to get me out. My Role in it all (besides getting stuck in the first place) was to push the yellow override button (big, I know!). Immediately following my release, both the boys got stuck, might I add that Josh got stuck in the exact same spot I had been. Its all part of the experience. So we raced around, and up and down, grins permanently pasted to our faces, and sand gritting between our teeth and toes. After getting stuck a couple more times, I discovered and decided that I much preferred the flatter areas with fun small bumps running consecutively, instead of climbing the hills.

I returned with no fear (and finally relate to the logo). I believe my very words were "this is my new favorite thing". We snapped a few shots to capture the memory that will be sand blasted in our minds. Then headed off to find some needed supper. We stopped off at a place called 'Bedrocks Pizzeria', and had the place to ourselves. So we sat by the window letting the sun stream in and warm our chilled fingers (well my chilled fingers). After studying our menu for a few minutes we could not find any pizza's. We doubled checked the sign....."it says Pizzeria???".

Confusion all around. We asked the waitress, and she brought over a separate pizza menu,..." Ah of course! Why didn't we think to ask for the Pizza menu?". We gobbled down a delicious Hawaiian pizza and dinner salad (got our fruit and veg in). Laughed and giggled until our tummies hurt from satisfaction and joy. Then headed back to our tent (after hugging a couple of wood carvings of course!). Where I find myself now, wedged between two of the most important people (and men) in my life.

The light is dimming, and I really should go to the bathroom. One pet peeve with camping is having to go to the loo at night when you are warm and snug in bed already.

This was a great day, this is a great journey. I am so happy. I will sleep with a sandy smile on my face tonight.

June 20th:

After I fell asleep last night I slept well all through the night. Not even Dan's snore (which became a much more pronounced sounding snore) or the crackling fires and chattering campers kept me awake. We all woke up at 5:15am, so I climbed out of the tent and headed towards the bathroom to get ready. We packed up our dew damp tent and our car, and headed off on the second leg of our jounrney, our adventure, with our viva la vida theme music blasting.

Just when I thought it wasn't possible for the drive to get more beautiful, it did. This part of the trip we are passing through one cute beach town after another. In between each town the road winds around the cliffs with the sea to our left. Of course we stopped for a Starbucks breakfast, and at a viewpoint, for a stretch and some photographs. The morning mist hugging the coastline. Well we thought it was morning mist at 6am, now at 10am, we are beginning to think otherwise. We reached Lincoln City, and the promise of outlet stores. As Oregon has no sales tax we were determined. Arriving in the parking lot at 9am we learnt it only opened at 10. So we drove down the road to a little local coffee shop called 'Cyber Gardens & Coffee House 'with WIFI. Which is where I am writing this from, sitting peacefully in this chilled coffee house, chai tea at hand in its colourfully striped mug, hanging out. Josh is doing is school work (oops the battery died on him and he lost his response he just typed, poor guy, second time that has happened to him).

The code to get on their WIFI is 'repletion'. The lady working here gave us a little piece of paper with their code written as follows:

repletion / rih-PLEE-shun / , noun:

1. The condition of being completely filled or supplied.

2. Excessive fullness, as from overeating.

I haven't overeaten, but I feel in a state of repletion, completely fulled and supplied for. At peace. Joyful. Thankful. Content. Excited. I am going home.


We hit the outlet mall close to 10am (the parking lot was now full), and walked away an hour later with a couple proud purchases. Danny invested in a long board so he could join our long board club. Long boarding around Langley is much different to Modesto as I am going to have to learn how to negotiate hills (eek!).

After spending a chilled 2 hours in Lincoln City, we hit the road again with an estimated 8 hours drive left ahead of us. For lunch we stopped for a snack on the beach in Seaside, a cute little holiday town, much bigger then I had imagined. We headed for the beach, sat on a log, ate some sun chips, apples and granola bars. Then away we went again.

Before hitting the I-5 we stopped for supper at Quizno's and Starbucks. Once we were all fueled up we made the last leg of our journey. That last 3 hour stretch always feels longer then the entire trip. It involved more Coldplay, of course , and chatter.

What would a trip be without a visit to secondary inspection at the border? Ever since December 06, when I was refused entry into the states, my heart goes into a flutter whenever I go through customs. And of course these days, most times I seem to be pulled into Secondary inspection for various random reasons. Which does not help my nerves the next time I am crossing. In the end the reason I was simply because there was a confusion about my residency and I was informed that in the next year I would have to surrender my Canadian Residency if we choose not to live here. The customs officials were very helpful and informative. I am actually thankful I went in, because now I know that I need to do that. I didn't before.

From the border it is a 15-20 minute drive to my house. We devised a plan to drop off Dan at the corner and arrive a few minutes after us. The reason for our sneakiness was due to the possibility that they might know Dan had come home early and was coming with us. We would still surprise them. So Josh and I pulled into my parents steep drive and where met by my Dad. I could tell he looked a little puzzled and was peaking into the car (our new car he hadn't seen yet) for 'Dan evidence'. My Mom was upstairs, so I had to get her down so she would not miss Dan coming in the door. At the same time I had Chester, our dog, excitedly launching himself at me, giving me hugs and licks. He does this thing where he sits on your feet and leans his back against your legs and looks up at you for cuddles. I was so caught up i the "Dan Surprise" that I almost forgot about Chester. He hadn't forgotten me. He was leaping off the stairs, vying for my attention. Ah Chester, how I miss you.

A few minutes later Dan walked in, snapping a photo, blinding us. My parents looked like they were trying to look surprised. But I can read my Dad like a book, and he knew all along, and had apparently told everyone already, much to Dans disappointment (however he did get to surprise his best friend later on). We settled in with cups of tea and chats. Turned out the gas had been turned off, which meant no water, and no BATH!! I was so looking forward to a bath after two days of traveling, the thought kept me going the last stretch.Thankfully the gas man came at 11:30pm (weird) and fixed it for us. I was too tired to bother. My bath this morning was amazing!

Home again. Home again. Jiggidy jog!


mrs. b said...

so fun to be updated on your life the past few days! Please do it again soon! I love you! Have a great time! Take lots of pics!!!!! Miss you bunches!
hugs and kisses!

James Moes said...

We look forward to seeing you!