We may have mentioned this, but when this road trip plan was hatched, it was supposed to be a tour of national parks, with a smattering of side trips to visit friends and family. Well, once our time in Michigan started getting short, and we started thinking about the miles that lay ahead, it became abundantly clear that there are a lot of people scattered around the U.S. we wanted to barge in on, and cramming everything (the national parks AND the side trips) into our short summer wasn’t going to happen. So, it became the 2019 Friends and Family Tour, but rest assured, the PNW was always on the docket, and it was definitely a highlight. And definitely a place where we plan to spend much more time.
Our first stop was the new (to them) terrestrial nest occupied by our cruising buddies, Craig and Krystle, of S/V Small World. While their beautiful vessel rests on the hard in Puerto Peñasco, they’re busily reinventing their lives in a Seattle suburb, comfortably settled next door to Craig’s mama, earning cash and karma in anticipation of returning to the Sea of Cortez someday. They opened their home to us on an evening when they’d already planned on having all of Craig’s coworkers over for pizza and beer – we happily crashed the party. I mean, pizza? Beer? Yeah.
We went on a walkabout to downtown Ballard and wandered around the biggest consignment/thrift store I’ve ever seen – C/K were in the throes of making their house a home, and this was the perfect place to do that. They scored on a couple of really nice pieces, but NOT the silver iguana (see gallery below). We left them at the shop and joined the masses on the highway to Bellevue to meet Charlie for lunch. Charlie is a friend we met at Lake Tahoe who worked with Rand at the Village Ski Loft back in the day. It’d been years since we’d seen each other; a lot has happened in the interim years – Charlie moved to Seattle, we dropped out of daily life in the U.S., Charlie and Jenna got married, they bought a house, etc., etc…life doesn’t stop. We’re so glad we got caught up.
After a much-too-quick lunch with Charlie, we raced back to SW Seattle for birthday dinner with Courtney, Spencer, and Spence’s folks, Dave and Sherrill. Then it was time to settle in with C/S for a few days in their new home and to celebrate her not-quite-30th birthday. It was a flurry of activity, we met a bunch of young whipper-snappers, and enjoyed another round of pizza and beer – BUT, this time there was vegan chocolate cake, compliments of Court’s bestie, Michelle, who happens to be an amazing baker and should perhaps consider a change in career trajectory. Just sayin’.
Timing and proximity smiled upon us, and we managed to squeeze in a night with some of our other Tahoe friends, Jay and Kathy, who happened to be house-/pet-sitting on Bainbridge Island, just off the Seattle coast. Lucky us! Not only did we get to SEE Jay and Kathy and their furry friends, but we also got to visit Bainbridge Island, yet another place I’d never been. So lovely to share some time relaxing on the porch, walking along the water, sharing stories and grilled veggies, and then fancy homemade lattes in the morning before we hit the road yet again. Kath even packed us a little care package to get us through to the next snack spot.
Next up was the ferry from Anacortes to Vancouver Island. We had our sights set on Victoria and the famous Butchart Gardens. According to Nancy Fraser, Rand’s mama, we could NOT go to Vancouver Island and not go to the Gardens, a place that once made her cry because it’s so beautiful. Yes, this is the same Nancy Fraser who explained in great detail how to skirt the entrance fee to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island by hiking around to back side of the hotel and walking in like we owned the place. Indeed, that plan worked. Anyway, Nancy is now two for two, as the Gardens (and the biggest single scoop of expensive ice cream) were well worth the hour-long bus ride from downtown Victoria. Over the course of a couple of days, we walked many miles around downtown Victoria, between the Bedford Regency Hotel and the Stylish Studio Apartment we stayed in, the numerous eating establishments we tried (España, Garrick’s Head Pub, and Tapa’s), the Butchart Gardens, Fan Tan Alley/Chinatown, and Beacon Hill Park where we spied what was once the world’s tallest free-standing totem pole and the Mile Zero Monument. Victoria, like the other Canadian cities we’d visited, is fabulous, and made super accessible by the excellent public transit system.
After one last night in Seattle, we enjoyed a quick hit and run in Vancouver, Washington, to visit my big sis, Diane, and her cuddly hubby, Mike. They treated us to a yummy meal at the clubhouse of their local golf course (and they don’t even golf! But they like to eat yummy food) and a nice little walk about Lacamas Lake. Again, it was way too short a visit, but hopefully, we’ll see all these PNW peeps again very soon.