USA HERE WE COME
It has been over 7 months since we left GR2 in Mission near Vancouver at my cousin’s place. Winter is over in the Northern Hemisphere, and so it is time to head back for some more adventures. Our last few days are filled with spending time with our adorable Sam, Toby & Mia and the usual craziness. Even our kitchen renovation is not finished. Oh well, it will just have to wait. The drive to the airport turns crazy with traffic bottled necked for the entire length of the motorway. At the airport I race inside to get a spot in the massive queue – no we are not too late. We discover our flight has been delayed an hour. Phew.
After 3 flights we reach the local airport in Abbotsford. Kev has to bring the trailer to pick us up. The box with the radiator is huge. Our suitcases are full of truck parts. GR2 is going to get a birthday.
We spend Easter with Kev, thankfully sleeping inside his house as GR2 feels like an icebox after being closed up all winter. The guys get GR2 uncovered and all ready to head off. Sunday is so lovely we head off for a drive to Harrison Hot Springs. Tuesday Kev heads to work and we head off in GR2 to the States.
First stop is supposed to be Harris Isuzu, but I have a detour planned. After clearing customs we head to the tulip growing area just past Bellingham. I drag a reluctant John through the tulips. Magnificent. He enjoys the old cars in the carpark much more. We eventually reach the workshop in Everett and are booked in for tomorrow. So where too now. Yes – the Boeing production plant. It is too late for a tour so we head down to the wharf for a look around, finally returning to the Boeing carpark for the night (and yes we did check first)
The next morning we return to the workshop. John dons his overalls and helps install our new injectors. By 2pm they are all done. We head back to Boeing for the Tour. Sadly no photos are allowed, but I will say the new 787/Dreamliner is very impressive. I hope Qantas have ordered some. We came away with more facts and figures than I could ever remember.
The next plan was to head to Seattle to get a new part for our diesel cooktop. But it is such a lovely day, I suggest a new plan. With the weekend coming why don’t we catch the ferry to Whidbey Island and explore the Olympia National Park. Sounds better than the motorway – so we head to the wharf. The first ferry fills. It will be the next one, but the time is filled with people coming to chat. We meet Josef, who says we can camp in his yard, so after the 30 min crossing we head to his house. We spend a lovely evening chatting & eating. Thank you Josef for your hospitality and the lovely salmon,
We wake to another chilly day (max about 10 deg) & set off to explore the island. There are quite a few cute little towns. We have been told to try the seafood, so we stop at Toby’s Pub for chowder. Then time to explore lots of beaches & finally the lovely Deception Pass with an amazing bridge crossing the golf between islands. Back to yet another ferry port, to head over to the mainland. There is a large queue – and we are told we probably won’t get on, but we fit! Yay! We arrive on the mainland at Fort Townsend. There are some lovely camp spots on the waterfront – but at $30-$45 a night John says no way! So we head on, hugging the waterfront, until we find a pretty spot to stop at Gardiner Beach- right beside the boat ramp.
Sadly our magic weather has vanished. We wake to a cold grey day that eases into drizzle and then into rain. Nothing better than this to put a dampener on our plans. Fortunately it is still clear when we drive up Hurricane Ridge to see the Olympic Mountains. The views are great, but the wind chill factor freezing. We had planned to go to Cape Flattery, but as the rain sets in we gave it a miss. So too the Hoh rainforest. We end up at Ruby Beach for the night. A gorgeous wild, rocky beach (even in the rain). Apparently the whales are going past. We don’t see any, but we do meet a lovely couple Brian & Marie from Seattle. They invite us to their place – we may well take them up on that offer.
The weather improves and we follow the coastline south passing many long sandy beaches & winding through massive sloughs. After a big day exploring we pull off onto a strip of old road right beside a slough – yet another pretty spot. Finally it is Sunday - Our final day on the peninsula. We head as far south as Astoria, just over the border in Oregon. When we stop for diesel John hears lots of guttural barking. We decide to take a look. There are 100’s of sea lions packed onto mooring berths (so much for boats coming in! Squatter rights here). Decide to treat ourselves to lunch and come out feeling as full as one of those plump sea lions! Time to head towards Seattle, but not on the motorway. We instead head through the islands, eventually stopping for the night at Lake Mason Country Club. Sounds posh. The local sheriff directs us here as everywhere else has “No Camping” signs up.
Our Lonely Planet says that the best way to see Seattle is to arrive by ferry from Bainbridge Island, and that is exactly what we do. We even manage to drive straight onto the ferry for the 30 min ride to Seattle, arriving right in the centre of the city. No traffic jams for us. A million dollar view. Pity about the freezing wind. Next destination – Suremarine to get that pesky cooktop fixed. Sure enough they have our part, but don’t know how to install it. So Mr Fixit (aka John) sets to. A bit scary when GR2 fills with diesel fumes. A passing customer suggests Scan Marine. We ring them, and yes they know all about our kind of cooktop. We can go there tomorrow. Hemm. What shall we do? We contact Brian & head to their place, stopping on the way at the famous Pike’s Market in the centre of town. Then we spend a lovely evening with Brian & Marie. The campspot on the street is perfect.
After a very late breakfast/brunch at a local Diner we leave our new friends & head to Scan Marine. Here the expert says our cooktop has been clogged with diesel fumes. Even the ceramic top is full of fumes, and so will have to be replaced. We need more venting to the cooktop so that it won’t happen again. Anyway we have a few hours to fill in, so decide to head to the Sky Tower. Unfortunately our lovely sunny day has just vanished & it starts to rain. Bother! Not worth going up the tower. So we explore. There is an exhibition on: Chihuly Garden & Glass. John is not interested, but I head in. Wow!! I am blown away (pun) by the gorgeous blown glass pieces. Incredible artworks. But time to leave – we need to get our cooktop, but get caught up in Seattle’s infamous traffic. At 5pm Johns phone rings! It is not "where are you", but “Sorry it is not ready yet”. Oh well back to Brian & Maries…at a snail’s pace! This time we will take them out. Brian & Marie -Thank you for your hospitality. We look forward to seeing you in Australia in the near future.
Finally on Wednesday morning we collect our renovated cooktop (half the price quoted). Once John has installed it, we are finally free to head off & explore.
Watch this space: coming next: Mt St Helens, Crater Lake and countless waterfalls