August 30, 2004

British Columbia – Victoria

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 2:24 pm by diandy2004

Victoria is on Vancouver Island and is in British Columbia, Canada.

What a beautiful city. Everyone kept telling us, but you can’t appreciate it until you visit it. Old brick or stone buildings with ivy creeping up the sides. The city is surrounded on three sides by water. There are ferrys, taxi-boats, and seaplanes filling the harbor. The streets are filled with bike-cabs, double-decker buses and horse-drawn carriages. And flowers are everywhere: hanging baskets on every light pole, flower beds on every corner, flower pots and small and large gardens to walk through. Unfortuantely all of the flying caught up with us and we succumbed to some nasty colds. So we did the best we could – played tourist in the morning, napped in the afternoon, and walked the city at night to enjoy the lighted buildings. The parliament buildings are all dressed up with lights and look like gingerbread houses.

Parliament Buildings at Night

Parliament Buildings at Night

Buskers Entertain

Buskers Entertain on Inner Harbour

We did get to see most of the attractions, but couldn’t manage anything too physical like a whale watching trip, bike riding, hiking or kayaking. We’ll just have to go back, that’s all!  We visited Crystal Gardens (a greenhouse and conservatory), walked Beacon Hill Park, took a drive along Dallas Ave and visited a tide pool, went to the Mt. Tolme Lookout, and the rest listed below…

Thunderbird Park

Totem Poles at Thunderbird Park

Butchart Gardens was beautfiul, but we went on a Saturday when they do fireworks at night. The mass of humanity was smothering. It was the second to last fireworks display (they do it in summer only), and we think everyone on the Island was there. Next time, I’d go during the week and hope to have more space to walk around and take pictures without the claustophobia setting in.

Butchart Gardens

Sunken Gardens at Butchart Gardens

Water Fountains at Butchart

Water Fountains at Butchart

Brentwood Bay/Mill Bay

Brentwood Bay/Mill Bay

At Undersea Gardens we got to see large pacific octopus (which grow up to 25′), a sunflower star (which is a 20-legged starfish), and a wolf eel (which has a face like an old bald man).

Craigdarroch Castle was beautiful with dark wood walls and ceilings and stained-glass on almost every window. It was built in 1880’s with old coal money.

Inside Craigdarroch Castle

Inside Craigdarroch Castle

Hugo’s Brewery offered a beer called the Super G. It was made with Ginseng and Ginger for spice. We tried some hoping it would help kick the colds 🙂

Now, before going to Canada don’t forget to practice your math to help with conversions. You’ll have to convert your money to Canadian dollars, the temperature from celsius to farenheit, and the gas from liters to gallons ($3.76/gal CA$).

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August 25, 2004

PA-FL-WA-CA-WA

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 3:30 pm by diandy2004

Pennsylvania – Florida – Washington – Canada – Washington

That’s what those code letters mean.   What a whirlwind trip in the past three weeks…three states and two countries within a twenty-four hour period…

Washington…We left Spirit at an RV service center to have some warranty work done while we were on our trip.  They agreed to hold her for the two weeks we’d be gone.  Whew!

Philadelphia…Spent 6 days visiting with family and friends and had a great time as always.

Boca…Then flew directly to Boca for another 6 days.  Not enough time to do what had to be done. Weeding, trimming, cleaning, repairs, visiting with friends and family, soaking in 85 degree ocean, etc. Wished we could’ve seen everyone, but there just wasn’t enough hours in the day.  This is the price we pay for keeping our house while we are on our Trek.  Eventhough we’ve hired people to maintain the yard and pool, and check on the inside of the house, we just felt more comfortable coming home to check on things and complete tasks that weren’t on anyone else’s ‘to-do’ list.

Seattle…Had another hellish travel day, but all went as well as it could have, I guess. Flew from Ft Lauderdale to Phila to Salt Lake City to Seattle. Only took 12 hours this time. Surprisingly, on almost each leg of our trip our planes pushed back from the terminals early! We stayed at a hotel near the airport that first night back. Since our RV parts hadn’t been delivered yet, we decided our first touristy adventure would be to head over to Victoria….

I’ll put our Victoria visit and more on our Washington explorations in separate posts…

August 14, 2004

Seattle and Sequim

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 3:27 pm by diandy2004

Driving through eastern Washington I was surprised to learn it was desert-like.  I guess I just never thought of it being on the ‘other side’ of the mountain range and that it wouldn’t be wet like we’re expecting Seattle to be.  We had one overnight stop along the way to Seattle.

Seattle
Our first impressions of the northwest coast were some of the simple things: large starfish, cold waters, and city streets like San Francisco. Seattle is a pretty city, but I had to quit my job as navigator – there were just too many one-way streets, and no left turns allowed, that had us constantly going the wrong way. It’s more fun to walk the city than try and drive it.

Seattle Space Needle

Seattle Space Needle

Flowers at Pike's Place

Flowers at Pike's Place

Shopping Pike's Place

Shopping Pike's Place

We rode 21 miles on our road bikes on the Burke-Gilman Trail.  Outside of the fact that there were a lot of driveway crossings and the path was cracked and raised from tree roots, it was a pretty ride.  Our views were of the houses that are on the edge of Lake Washington and the boats and docks in the lake.  There were trees and berry bushes lining the path.  The berries were ripe and people were out picking them, but we didn’t know what kind.

Burke Gilman Trail

Burke Gilman Trail

Biking around Lake Washington

Biking around Lake Washington

On the only rainy day we had in Seattle, we visited the Boeing factory. The largest building in the world by volume. I wasn’t sure if seeing the factory where airplanes were made was a wise thing to do days before taking a flight…but it was fascinating, and I didn’t see anything too scary. Regarding its size, it is almost too big to fathom. But they gave us a comparison to consider: you can put Disneyland inside the space, and still have 12 acres extra.  The doors are as large as a football field.

The Boeing Factory

The Boeing Factory

Sequim (“skwim”)
The ferry to Sequim was great (the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry). They are efficient, fast, and its a beautiful ride across the waterways. It was cheaper for us to take both vehicles on separately, versus towing, so Andy drove the RV and I took the Element. Andy had to park within inches of the wall on one side, and other vehicles inches away on the other side.

We took our RV to Eric’s RV performance shop in Sequim.  After attending Life On Wheels, we decided to upgrade to the Bilstein shocks and to a larger sway bar.  While we waited for him to do the work on the RV, we walked along the Dungeness Spit – a 5.5 mile long sandbar.  It was a great place to see birds, seals, and otters.  And the sound of the water was different – it popped and fizzed as it rolled over the rocky beach.  I also enjoyed the sounds of the small rocks as they clinked when they rolled with the gentle waves.  Much different than the sounds on our sandy beaches.

Dungeness Spit

Dungeness Spit

We haven’t seen much of Olympic National Park yet. Plan to do it upon our return, but we did spend a day at the Hurricane Ridge section of the park. Beautiful views of the mountains…we could see Blue Glacier on top of Mt Olympus and Carrie Glacier on Mt Carrie. Went for a hike, but some “killer bees” took the enjoyment away and we turned around sooner than we would’ve liked.

Hurricane Ridge - Mt Olympus

Hurricane Ridge - Mt Olympus

We’ve read about some great scuba diving sites in the vicinity – with seals, otters, large octopus, shipwrecks, etc – but with water temperatures averaging a “warm” 45-55 degrees, we think we’ll have to pass (we don’t think a dry suit would be enough for Andy).

Here are two other pictures I took in the area that I wanted to share:

LadyBug

LadyBug

Solar Circle

Solar Circle

Can’t wait to see many of you soon during our travels back East.

Philadelphia
Well we made it safely from WA to PA. It only took several car rides, one ferry, two planes, and a train but 24 hours later, we finally made it! Two days later, and our bodies are still trying to recover. We have more sympathy now for our west-coast friends & family who travel east frequently. The fun part of the trip was seeing meteors Wednesday night from the plane.

August 4, 2004

Couer D’Alene – A City I Can’t Spell

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 3:25 pm by diandy2004

One of the difficulties of being here in Coeur d’Alene is trying to remember how to spell the name of the town correctly. I’ve probably spelled it three different ways, so forgive me. We’ve been enjoying our stay here even though we haven’t played as much as expected. We’ve spent a lot of our time on the internet taking care of business (bills, blog, pics, research, etc) or making phone calls and other mundane tasks. We do have our plans regarding the car and RV for Seattle which is a relief and the good news is that the local Winnebago dealer will hold our RV for 2 weeks while we’re traveling and they’re performing some work for us. Free parking!!

Upon arriving in town on Saturday we learned they were having an arts & crafts show. This is by far the largest we’ve seen – tents were in the streets, on the college campus, and in the city park. Two outdoor amphitheaters were set up with rotating bands all day. The downtown area sits right on the Coeur d’Alene Lake and there are beaches, marinas, biplanes, and sailboats all creating such a pretty scene with the evergreen covered hills as a backdrop.

Beaches of Coeur d'Alene

Beaches of Coeur d'Alene

The best surprise we had was visiting the Erlendson Glass Studio with live glass blowing. Their working area is a glass enclosed room attached to the gallery and a coffee shop. So you could have a drink and a seat and watch them work. We watched Steve, one of three artists, make 2 tulip-shaped vases. Steve even brought us into the working area and toured all of the equipment for us. The glass-furnace itself is kept at 2,400 degrees, and then there is a working fire pit where they put the object in to re-heat and re-shape. So you can imagine how hot this room was. When he opened the furnace doors to show us, you instinctively stepped back from the blast of heat that came out. No wonder he was dripping sweat as he worked. They offer one-day classes to “get your feet wet” or two-day intensive classes. If the timing was right, we would’ve taken a class with them – just for fun.

Glass Blowing

Glass Blowing

Glass Blowing

Glass Blowing

On Monday night we experienced an incredible storm. Warnings earlier in the day alerted us to possible 60 mph winds and hail, but what we saw was quite ominous. We were eating at a floating restaurant (the dock and restaurant more or less jerked about than ‘floated’. Andy should’ve taken his Triptone) when over the hill across the lake we saw an orange-brown cloud coming. It’s speed was so fast you could see it enveloping the trees and houses in front of it like brown flood waters. Once it crested the hill it appeared to reach hundreds of feet skyward. We decided to get our checks, get on our bikes, and race home to the RV which was, thankfully, just down the road. Amazingly enough, the cloud arrived at our RV the same time we did. We figured that once it hit the lake there was nothing in its path to slow it down. The winds kicked up, the flags in the park went poker-straight, and the RV rocked. Some of the winds were blocked by a big Class A parked next to us, so we were protected somewhat. Apparently the ugly color of the cloud was dust that the winds picked up and carried with it. Luckily the rains and winds weren’t as bad where we were as we saw on the news. But that cloud was something I’ll remember for awhile.