We were happily reunited with Ginger on Saturday at Krista and Steve’s in Maple Ridge. Ginger was despicable with dirt and covered in bug guts and bits, so we decided to treat her with a much deserved scrub and pressure wash.
For dinner we were treated with Krista’s homemade perogies- yum!
Sunday was a bit of a maintenance day, when we caught up with our laundry, cleaned, oiled and fixed up the bikes, as well as checking and topping up all the fluids in the van, etc… We also met up with some of Christine’s friends, Marilyn and Doug, for a coffee and chat.
Monday we hit the road again and actually went back east. We picked up a fishing licence and some local flies for Dave, and headed for Skagit Valley Provincial Park, just passed the town of Hope. Unfortunately it was a 60km long rough and heavily corrugated dirt road into the river and campsites. Dave thought some humorous comments about how great the fishing must be would make the drive more enjoyable. It didn’t.
Once we finally made it to camp we were swarmed by clouds of mosquitoes as soon as we opened the van doors. Not fun. We hid ourselves in the van for most of the evening to avoid the mosquitoes, which was also a good way to force ourselves back into our Spanish lessons after slacking off in Vancouver. Dave managed to get in a full morning of fishing the next morning, but sadly no fish to report yet. It was a beautiful river to fish though!
We had planned to have 2 nights in the Skagit Valley, but the mosquitoes drove us out early. They were honestly that bad!!
We then planned to head towards civilisation, but found ourselves instead at Abbotsford Walmart parking lot. Because we still had fruit and meat that we had planned to eat in Skagit Valley, we thought we’d camp out at Walmart and prepare for our first international border crossing early the next morning. Some scary looking neighbours here! We gorged ourselves on the fruit we had that we thought wouldn’t get over the border. A long and noisy night with lots of local hooligans and cars revving and tire squealing…. I guess Walmart camping may not always be such a great idea.
Oh, and gorging on fruit is not the best of ideas when you have to share a 19ft van all of the next day… I won’t name the culprit, but it wasn’t Dave.
The border crossing was uneventful, as one would hope. The only thing we lost was a couple of potatoes! They took a quick look through the van, mostly for our fruits and veg. Dave had to do an immigration form, and surprisingly they still let him in. Took exactly 1.5 hours. We then headed South past Seattle (amazingly awful traffic) towards Olympic National Park, kind of in the north west corner of Washington State. We had a quick stop at IHOP to celebrate our first border crossing with a true American sized meal. We finally pulled into a campsite about an hour after dark, and were quickly in bed after an unexpectedly long day!
We didn’t actually make it to our Olympic Park destination and with the looming Labour Day long weekend we decided to change course a bit. We headed to the Washington Coast and to Ocean City where we found a campsite near the beach. Here the highway is actually the beach too! We drove on it a bit with Ginger and then on our bikes. Beautiful but freakin cold and windy!
The next day we went further south along the coast and went to Long Beach, which claims to be the longest beach in the world. This is in fact false and when we got the chance we googled it and found that the longest is Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. But it was a pristine beach, especially in the state park area.
We opted to stay at a Walmart to avoid the search for a campsite with all the other long weekenders. It was a 24 hours store and after a shop we had a good night sleep.
Today we visited Mount St Helen’s. Christine’s seen it a couple of times over the years but it’s always cool to see the changes and re-growth. We did the visitor centres and got pretty close but didn’t make it to the end of the road. It was very hilly and would have been a big climb for an ’88 van! Especially when we could already see into the crater from a lower view point.
We are now sitting in a McDonald’s and watching the “home community” as Christine’s mother would say.