Sunday, August 23, 2009

Road Trip FAIL

Well I guess I shouldn’t write off the entire trip yet completely but I feel fairly confident in declaring the first 14 hrs of our road trip to Portland a FAILURE. We have done this trip before except that last time we took the Coho from Victoria to Port Angeles and drove the rest of the trip down the Olympic Peninsula and straight to Portland in about 4hours. The whole thing including ferry time took 7 hours. So when I tell you it took 14hrs today that may go some way to explaining why it was a day from Hell.

To start, we thought it would be smart to take the Anacortes Ferry from Sidney to, well, Anacortes which is somewhere south of Bellingham, and north of Seattle. Don’t ask me exactly where because frankly I wasn’t paying attention. More on that later. But anyway it wasn’t smart at all. First of all, I thought it would be smart because unlike the Coho, it does not leave at the crack of dawn (6:10am) and does not, therefore, require you to be there at the butt-crack of dawn, 5am. No instead it leaves at the very reasonable hour of 11:20am. Oh, you have to be there at 10am and spend 90 minutes crawling through lanes of traffic and answering inane question from the customs officers, but otherwise it leaves at 11:20 and deposits you in Anacortes at 1:20pm.  And while the ferry itself looks like a rusting hulk that was last used as target practise in Beirut, it’s more or less fine inside and the fact that you can order a beer and bring your dog make it feel a little more relaxed than BC Ferries. Not that I have a dog or drink beer for that matter but there was a Lhasa-apso that looked like it was enjoying its Pabst anyway. No I’m kidding. It was a Stella. No self-respecting Lhasa apso would be caught dead drinking a Pabst.

Anyway, I made it through the ferry trip despite Zoe trying her hardest to make it a miserable experience for all involved by fixating on the fact that she was denied a pop in the restaurant. I’m such a terrible mother. The trip was also improved by a t-shirt spotting (I’m always on the look out for excellent t-shirts – send me your favourite t-shirt sightings!) This one was purple and said ‘When I was your age, Pluto was a planet’. Excellent.

So after some lovely scenery, we headed back to the car and got ready to get off the ferry and on the road to Portland. So we sat in the car and waited, suffering slightly from ‘is my lane moving yet’ syndrome which can be identified by a slight craning of the neck and a complete disregard for anything anyone else is saying, coupled with an anxious twitching of the hands on the car keys. And we sat and sat. And sat some more. Finally our lane was ready to go and we drove off the ferry…and into another line up. Apparently even though our passports were checked before we got onto the ferry, the US department of Homeland Security considers it highly possible that we somehow  changed our identities and/or smuggled contraband en route as they deemed it necessary to check them again and ask all the same questions again except this time it must be done in the burning heat and only one car lane may go through at a time. It took us an hour and a half to leave the terminal.

All was well for some time until we hit a slow-patch of the I-5 just north of Seattle. 3 hours, and several psychotic episodes later, we made it past Seattle. When we finally rolled into Portland it was 10pm and I had come within an eardrum of jumping out of a moving vehicle, and had seriously considered whether or not it was feasible to relocate myself to the trunk by pulling the rear seat forward and climbing through to the back. There’s a light back there. It’s carpeted. How bad could it be?  It certainly couldn't be any worse than sitting in the car with Zoë freaking out and Jacob trying to stretch his ridiculously long legs and Kent trying to listen to the radio with the volume at 11.

Well I didn’t climb in the back or out the window and we survived and it was a treat to arrive at the floating cabin. We’ve stayed here before and I LOVE it! It’s a cute little cabin with a loft and a deck and it sits looking out on the Willamette River. The kids can fish right off the deck for catfish, bass, and trout, and the swimming is excellent. The only thing that mars the peace is when a train comes roaring along the tracks that run up behind the cabin but whatever!

Stay tuned for more on how I went from road trip to hell to food heaven at the Portland State University Farmers Market.






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