August 10, 2014 by Briana
Day 57 (7/27/14): Portland, OR | Anacortes, WA
After spending what felt like an adequate amount of time in Portland, we were ready to head up to northern Washington to scope out Seattle. On our way, we were treated to some pretty decent views of Mount Rainier from the I-5 while driving through Tacoma and Olympia. We also encountered more traffic in both Tacoma and Olympia (surprise, surprise). We were expecting to hit some traffic in Seattle, but it’s starting to seem like there’s traffic everywhere.
Is the world just overpopulated? Is it unrealistic to hope for a nice flow of traffic? Is it too much to ask to be somewhat close to a large city and not have to deal with delays from traffic? This is why it’s good for us to visit all of these places in person and really get a feel for them. At this point, the amount of traffic in an area could be a tiebreaker for two similar places we have a difficult time choosing between.
Seattle is a city we’re very interested in possibly moving to at the end of our trip. We had really wanted to stay close to Seattle, but unfortunately, there were no decent campgrounds in the area. We drove by two, and they were both basically parking lots with no room between the sites. We ran into a similar issue in Portland. It seems that there are no good options near major cities.
Also, it’s challenging to find campgrounds at the last minute during the summer (especially for weekends). Long story short, we ended up staying about 80 miles north of Seattle near the town of Anacortes. It worked out though because while in the Seattle area, we had also wanted to visit Vancouver, BC, Canada as I’ve never been to Canada before. Anacortes is about halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, making it a good convenient location.
Day 58 (7/28/14): Anacortes, WA
After our long day yesterday with driving and trying to find a campground, we took it easy today and got caught up on laundry. Doing laundry on the road can be a challenge. While every campground we’ve stayed at so far has had laundry facilities, we’re always on the go. Next thing we know, we have loads and loads of clothes, bedding and towels that need to be washed, and it turns into an all-day event. Once we completed our chores though, we rewarded ourselves with a campfire and some of our favorite wine. Justin has become quite the fire-making pro (he’s definitely come a long way from our first fire attempt back in Michigan). I’m so proud! 🙂
Day 59 (7/28/14): Vancouver, BC, Canada
The time has come for me to finally visit Canada! When we reached the border though, the border patrol officer grilled us! First, he wanted to know where we lived. When we explained that we’re living on the road exploring America, it got a little complicated. He began questioning us, and it went something like this:
- Border Officer: Where do you live?
- Justin & Briana: Well, we don’t really live anywhere. We’re living in an RV while we travel the country looking for our next place to live.
- Border Officer: You have to have a physical address, don’t you?
- Justin & Briana: We’re using an Arizona address for our mail.
- Border Officer: If you have an Arizona address, why do you have California license plates on your truck?
- Justin & Briana: We bought the truck in California while we were living there at the time.
- Border Officer: What kind of work do you do that allows you to visit Canada in the middle of the week?
- Justin & Briana: We’re unemployed.
At that point, he asked us if we had any weapons, such as a gun, a Taser, mace, pepper spray, etc. When I mentioned that I had some pepper spray, he told us to pull over and go into the border patrol building for more questioning. We started getting nervous, imagining they would put us in a locked room with no windows, a one-way mirror and a bright spotlight shining down on us as we waited to be interrogated. Luckily that wasn’t the case. However, we were grilled again by another not-so-friendly border patrol agent who gave us the third degree with more questions.
He started to lighten up after he asked us why we were on this journey, and I said we were having a midlife crisis. He looked at my passport suspiciously, and asked how old I was. When I told him that I’m 29 years old, he said I am too young to be having a midlife crisis, so I responded with “Okay, a quarter-life crisis???” I finally succeeded at making him smile (slightly), and then he sent us on our way.
Finally back en route to Vancouver, we noticed a speed limit sign on the highway for 100 kilometers per hour. Looking at each other perplexed, not knowing how many miles per hour that was, we quickly reached for our phone to Google a conversion for kilometers to miles. However, we realized that we were in a different country and couldn’t use our phones for fear of outrageous cell phone charges. Following the flow of traffic, we made it to Vancouver with no other interference from the law.
We appreciated Vancouver with its nice neighborhoods and craftsman-style homes surrounded by tall privacy hedges. If it wasn’t in a different country, it would rank high on the list of places we would possibly live. We also really enjoyed the downtown area as we passed through it on our way to the renowned Stanley Park. While in the park, we walked around the bordering sea walls to appreciate different views of downtown, the ocean and surrounding hillsides.
After leaving the park, we wanted to see more of the downtown area and decided to have lunch there. Parking is really expensive, but we found a great restaurant called the Cactus Club Cafe located on Robson Street in the fashion district. The hostess and waitress were both really nice, and our Canadian experience was complete when our waitress said “Eh.” Haha!
Justin and I really enjoyed the cafe and our meals. I had The Burger, and Justin went with the Short Rib Sandwich. But the kicker was their blended peach Bellini that they took to a whole new level with the addition of rum and sangria. Oh my! Was it good! In fact, it was so good that Justin ended up having too many, turning me into the Designated Driver who drove us back into the U.S.
Day 60 (7/30/14): Seattle, WA
After visiting a famous donut place in Portland, we wanted to keep the trend going by visiting another famous donut place we had seen on TV in Seattle. Top Pot Doughnuts in downtown Seattle was our destination. We got the day started off right with a sugar-rush from a couple of their donuts.
From there, we drove around the downtown area, past Pike’s Place Market. We didn’t go into the market though as we had both been there before, and with our limited time, had other places we wanted to see.
When we first drove through Seattle on our way to our campground in Anacortes, we had noticed a hillside on the other side of Lake Union across from downtown Seattle. It looked like it would have great views of the city’s skyline. After some research, it seemed like Gas Works Park would be a good place to go to see the view of the city. When we got to the park, our instinct was confirmed as we walked the dogs up the hill and enjoyed spectacular views of both the city and the lake. As we were leaving the park, we were intrigued by the surrounding area and decided to do some exploring. It was a great suburb with plenty of interesting shops and cafes.
From a previous visit to Seattle, Justin remembered another great skyline view of the city from across Elliot Bay. We headed in that direction and ended up at Seacrest Marina Park. We were treated to another fabulous view of the opposite side of the city from what we had seen earlier in the day. We also noticed some interesting yellow jellyfish in the bay as well as numerous paddle-boarders. Justin mentioned how brave the people were to be paddle-boarding in that area surrounded by jellyfish.
Our stomachs started grumbling at that point. It was time to find a place to eat. We made our way up to Alki Beach and were pleasantly surprised by the little beach town that surrounded it. The town reminded us of the beach cities in the South Bay area where we lived back in SoCal. Keeping with the cactus theme from Vancouver, we had a delicious lunch at Cactus restaurant. We sat outside on their patio to enjoy the view of the beach and the nice, sunny weather Seattle was having that day.
For starters, we had some tasty guacamole and squash blossom appetizers as well as refreshing pineapple coconut mojitos. For an entree we shared a braised beef chimichanga. When it came out though, it looked like only half a chimichanga. Thinking they had split the plates, Justin asked, “Is that it?” The waitress said “Yes, but there’s a lot of braised beef in that little chimichanga.” Luckily, it ended up being just enough. Plus, the taste and flavor of the chimichanga were outstanding. Our waitress must have liked us because at the end of our meal, she brought us a free flan dessert! Gracias, Senorita!
With our tanks refueled, we decided to spend the last part of the day in Bellevue. Having thoroughly enjoyed our day in Seattle, we wanted to check out the Bellevue area as a potential place to live. We had some nice views of Mount Rainier from Seattle and on our way to Bellevue. Driving the beautiful shoreline of Lake Washington, our excitement for Bellevue grew. We decided to pull over and walk the dogs since it was such a lovely area. People were lounging on the grass and jumping into the water from the docks. We also noticed some steps that went into the lake where people were sitting with their dogs. They would throw balls into the water that the dogs leapt in to retrieve.
Saucy watched the other dogs with envy since we had left her ball in the trailer. We reassured her there would be other opportunities to play fetch. Her and Meaty really liked the area though as did we. Having lived by the ocean for the past 5 years and dealing with the sand at the beaches, it was refreshing to have nice grass surrounding the water instead.
As we continued up the shoreline, we came upon some cute streets in the city of Kirkland. While driving through, we watched people as they happily walked around the restaurants and shops. Kirkland is just hip enough without being aged. We got a really good vibe from the area and added it to our list of places to consider living in after our trip has ended. After a long and productive day we headed back up to Anacortes.