A Travellerspoint blog

June 2014

Day 21 - Home Again, Home Again

sunny 92 °F

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As we packed the car, we encountered the hosts' fearsome dog.

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Two packs of Sour Patch gum. Catherine had seen this gum mentioned on Facebook. When we stopped for gas in Redding, the gas station had some!

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Some views as we drove from Shasta into the Central Valley. I believe the small mountain range in the distance is the Sutter Buttes.

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We stopped at a Greek restaurant in Sacramento. It was very good. Daniel got the dolmades as an appetizer, then we both had chicken pita sandwiches. They put fries in the sandwich, which is interesting.

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Back on Orange Avenue.

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Our car in the garage again. It looks rather similar to how it looked before, it just has more souvenirs.

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The vineyard across the street, with the mountains in the distance.

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Our house, a beautiful place to come home to. We joked about what a nice Airbnb it was and how much room we have all to ourselves. It is nice to be back home, but we had an amazing trip. We talked about it, and realized we didn't have a single bad experience with Airbnb, and we didn't go to any city or area that we couldn't happily go to again for a longer amount of time. We would love to take this trip, or similar trips, again.

Posted by danielcatherine 16:06 Archived in USA Tagged vineyard orange sacramento selma shasta redding sutter_buttes central_valley Comments (1)

Day 20 - Forbidden Fruit

(They didn't make us throw away our apples at the California border)

semi-overcast 80 °F

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Some views from the balcony in Redmond.

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Inside the room at the timeshare.

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View of the mountains during our drive.

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The Pumice Desert, which Mt. Mazama covered in volcanic rock during eruptions millennia ago. Nothing has grown well there since.

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Our first up-close look at snow during this trip!

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Mt. Mazama as it looks today. It is now called Crater Lake. An eruption about eight millennia ago resulted in the entire top of the mountain blowing off. Over time, the caldera that was left behind filled with rain and snow. The water in Crater Lake is incredibly clear and clean, as it is still fed exclusively by rain and snow. No rivers or streams flow out either. The lake holds the world record for clarity, as a person can see a hundred and fifty feet under the water.

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Us in front of the lake.

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A little creature enjoying the side of the caldera.

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The island in Crater Lake is called Wizard Island. Wizard Island is a large volcano in its own right, and emerged after the caldera was already full of water.

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The pristine clarity of the lake makes it incredibly blue.

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We went to Crater Lake with Catherine's parents, then parted ways afterwards so we could head home and they could go back to Bend. We had a great time. An avalanche/ road work resulted in a lengthy road closure, during which time we had a "car picnic" in their car. The traffic delay gave us almost enough time to eat. Then, the official said it was time to go and the road was open, sending the two of us rushing back to our car so as not to hold up traffic. It was an extremely fun day.

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Seen near the rim of the caldera...but it is actually just someone's dog.

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Some first views of Mt. Shasta as we enter California. Mt. Shasta is part of the Cascades (not even the southernmost cascade: that is Lassen Peak), and it dominates the sky and the landscape all around the area.

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Our studio in Mt. Shasta. It's very cozy and comfortable, and seems to be the perfect stopping off point on our way home.

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The interior of our Mt. Shasta studio.

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The view from the window of the studio.

Tonight is the last night away on our trip. Tomorrow we will take the longest section of our drive thus far, and go all the way home to Selma. It has been a wonderful trip so far, and tomorrow will surely bring the same fun and adventure that we have had all along.

Posted by danielcatherine 23:09 Archived in USA Tagged california fun clear picnic crater_lake cascades selma mt.mazama mt.shasta Comments (1)

Day 19 - Around the Bend

76 °F

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Some pictures from the town of Hood River, which is very nice and fun. The downtown area is very small, but has quite a variety of businesses and restaurants.

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After that, we went to Catherine's uncle Dooley and aunt Greta's house. They recently built it, and it is very similar to their previous house in Porterville, California.

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The fire pit at their house.

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One of their horses. Put a bird on it! (Note the bird on the horse's back).

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After this, we went to lunch at Full Sail Brewing Company. Michael, Dooley, and Greta all recommended it. We went with Catherine's parents, her mom's cousin Pam and Pam's husband Robert, and their daughters, the aforementioned Kendra and Kaitlyn. It was a very nice lunch: we had great food and great conversations.

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Catherine's parents are staying in Oregon for the next week, at a timeshare in Redmond (near Bend). We were able to stay with them in Redmond for the night.

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The town of Redmond is small, but has a very cute downtown. We had a delicious meal at Diego's, a local restaurant, and then got to bed early so we would be ready for our adventure at Crater Lake tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 21:08 Archived in USA Tagged house lunch bend cascades hood_river full_sail redmond high_desert Comments (0)

Day 18 - In the Shadow of Mt. Adams

sunny 77 °F

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We drove from Hood River, which is in northern Oregon, to the ceremony, which was held in Trout Lake, Washington. Catherine's cousins Kendra and Kaitlyn came with us.

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From left: Catherine, Kendra, Kaitlyn.

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The seating was on hay bales, and there was an arbor that beautifully framed the mountain. Catherine's cousin Elise rode in on one of her family's horses.

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People milling about after the ceremony and before the reception.

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View of the mountain as the sun began to go down on the summer solstice.

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People with heart-shaped sparklers.

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Catherine with a heart-shaped sparkler.

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Mt. Adams, framed by a burnt-out sparklers.

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The female Hein cousins. From left: Julianna, Joanna, Catherine, Kendra, Kaitlyn, Elise, Jess.

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A picture of us with some of Catherine's cousins. From left: Kendra, Joanna, Kaitlyn, Catherine, Daniel.

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Some pictures of people enjoying the reception.

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The mountain as we were leaving the reception. Daniel was driving back to Hood River. Catherine, Kendra, and Kaitlyn...weren't. As we drove past one farm, they asked Daniel to stop so they could take pictures with the llama. Daniel agreed (after a chant of "turn a-round, turn a-round" from Catherine, Kendra, and Kaitlyn), but requested that everyone stay inside the car. As soon as the car stopped, the doors opened. No one even listened to Daniel's brief "primer on camelid behavior" before approaching the creature. Catherine and Kaitlyn were especially bold in approaching the llama (Kendra turned around and returned to the car with some choice words when the beast rose to its feet.)
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To quote Daniel (and to sum up the night) "what is it about being sober that makes a person not want to harass farm animals?"

Posted by danielcatherine 19:00 Archived in USA Tagged family ceremony llamas heart cousins sparkler hay mt_adams bales designated_driving Comments (1)

Day 17 - Northern Exposure

sunny 66 °F

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Leaving Spokane. A picture of us with Daniel's Aunt Barb.

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The countryside between Spokane and Roslyn. Most of it is desert, but there are some very pretty areas.

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Cicely's Gift Shop in Roslyn. Notice the "Dr. Joe (l) Fleischman" sign in the window.

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Some pictures of the KBHR station in Roslyn. In fact, it is now a visitor's center. The volunteer at the visitor's center took our picture in the window where "Chris in the Morning" had his show.

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Roslyn (s) Cafe. Of course, we didn't eat here. We ate at...

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The Brick!!! The exterior looks exactly like the show. Apparently the interior scenes were filmed on a Seattle soundstage, so the interior of the bar looks a bit different. However, it was still amazing to eat at The Brick.

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The building that was the set for Dr. Fleischman's office is now a gift shop. The owner was an extra on several seasons of the show, and told us a lot about the actors and the history of the show. We even got to see Marilyn's desk, which is still in it's place, though turned around the other way.

Correction: the second picture is the Roslyn Grocery Store, which was Ruth Anne's store on the show. It is across the street from Northwest Mining Company/ Cicely's Gift Shop/ Dr. Fleischman's office.
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Another view of the Brick, and telephone pole that is a totem pole. Catherine has been saying all along on this trip that telephone poles should look like totem poles in the Northwest.

In all seriousness, Roslyn was a great place to visit. It has an intriguing history as a Washington coal mining town, and it looks exactly like it must have when Northern Exposure was filmed there. The gift shop owner told us that he sees the actors from the show fairly regularly when they come back to the town for various events. It was hard to not feel like we were in the show (and very hard not to hum the theme song the whole time we walked around). After we finished touring Roslyn, it was off to Hood River for Catherine's cousin Elise's wedding.

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When we got to Hood River, we went to dinner/ drinks with Catherine's cousin Kaitlyn. We ran in to Catherine's uncle Dooley, and her cousins Thomas, Gregory, and Julianna. We had a great time. Tomorrow, we have the wedding and will certainly have a good time again!

Posted by danielcatherine 01:22 Archived in USA Tagged fun hood_river northern_exposure roslyn cicely the_brick Comments (0)

Day 16 - Quilts, Jam, and Margaritas

sunny 76 °F

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Three very generous gifts from Daniel's Aunt Barb: jam (hot pepper, sour cherry, and huckleberry), some books, and a beautiful handmade quilt! We were given our pick of a number of quilts, and chose this star patterned one.

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We then went to Manito Park and toured the beautiful rose garden. It was interesting to hear about all the different types of roses, especially the "old roses" that are more open and more fragrant than more familiar roses.

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A beautiful blue-green tree in Manito Park.

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The Japanese Garden at Manito Park is also beautiful and very serene.

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Us in the Japanese Garden.

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The sunken Duncan Garden, which is more formal and is very warm, due to the shelter from the wind.

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The perennial garden has some amazingly strange flowers and plants, all of which are very intriguing and seem like they would be interesting to plant.

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Flowering onion in the perennial garden. It was incredibly weird looking but also very pretty and interesting.

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The clock tower in Riverfront Park, which inspired the clock tower in the game Myst, which was one of Daniel's favorite computer games and which was made in Mead, just north of Spokane.

Correction: this is the county courthouse. The clock tower is also beautiful, but we didn't get any good pictures of it.

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Some views of the falls on the Spokane River. The restaurant where we ate lunch overlooked the river.

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Margaritas at Clinkerdagger Restaurant. We split one margarita, but they gave us two glasses. We had never really had margaritas before, and they were enjoyable.

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Oil, oil, oil...vinegar, vinegar, vinegar.

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The beautiful Davenport Hotel, which is really an incredible thing to see. It is amazing how similar it looks to the photographs of its early days, but it has certainly been restored and renovated over the years, keeping the original beauty.

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Inside the church at Gonzaga University. Gonzaga has a beautiful campus, and the church is incredibly beautiful. We both felt like the interiors of the buildings were very similar to those of Santa Clara, though of course the exteriors were all grey and gothic as opposed to beige and Mission-style. Daniel was wearing his Santa Clara shirt today, but no one at Gonzaga said anything about it.

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Another building at Gonzaga.

After touring Gonzaga, we finished our tour of Spokane and went back to the house. We had a nice dinner and conversation. Tomorrow we make for Hood River for Catherine's cousin Elise's wedding on Saturday!

Posted by danielcatherine 00:05 Archived in USA Tagged church river books quilts margaritas jam conversation must spokane gonzaga Comments (0)

Day 15 - A Dam Good Day

semi-overcast 75 °F

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Our suite in Keremeos. It was a very comfortable place to stay, and it provided a nice spot for us to stop on the way between Vancouver and Spokane.

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The frame shop where our hosts have their framing business.

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Our delicious breakfast. The ingredients were already prepared, and all we had to do was take them out, toast the bread, and eat.

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The view from outside the room. The mountains are very beautiful.

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When we first checked in, our host said "let me show you the room" and walked into this woodshed. In fact, he was only grabbing the key, but it looked like that was going to be the room at first.

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The actual entrance to the room. Much nicer.

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About to leave. Today we begin driving in the opposite direction, getting ever closer to home.

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The bridge in Keremeos. The suite was called the "over the bridge" suite.

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Apparently, someone in Keremeos lives in a van down by the river.

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The crops and scenery of the Okanagan Valley. We were reminded of the San Joaquin valley by the stonefruit and grapes that are grown here. The mountains are a lot closer together though.

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Forbidden Fruit winery, a winery specializing in non-grape wines. We tried a few of their cherry, apricot, peach, and pear wines. The tasting room was very pleasant, and we had a nice conversation with the employee at the counter. We ended up buying a bottle of peach wine called "Speachless."

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Beautiful Lake Osoyoos. Also, the last picture we took in Canada before crossing the border at Osoyoos.

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On our way to Spokane, we stopped at a Mexican restaurant in Omak, Washington. This was our first Mexican food since leaving on this trip. It was wonderful.

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The Grand Coulee Dam. We had wanted to see it, but we weren't sure if it would be along our route. It is impressively large, and the little town nearby seems very well cared for. We wondered what the people who live there do for a living, figuring that they can't all work on the dam.

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Finally we arrived at Daniel's great aunt Barb and great uncle Merle's house in Spokane. The terraced garden and the house are very pleasant. We had a nice dinner with Barb, her son Tim, Tim's wife Abby and their kids. It was a nice visit, and we are looking forward to touring Spokane tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 23:54 Archived in USA Tagged lake breakfast dam border grand_coulee_dam spokane mexican_food osoyoos Comments (1)

Day 14 - From the Rainforest to the Desert

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Catherine thought that, since Steve Nash went to Santa Clara University, that all SCU alumni should get free admission to his gyms, which seem to be very common and popular.

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After checking out of our room, we went and saw the Catholic cathedral in Vancouver, Holy Rosary. It was shortly before a weekday mass, and people were praying the rosary. The church is beautiful. It looks a bit like the cathedral in Fresno, but seems to be mostly decorated in blue (perhaps in honor of the Virgin Mary).

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Approaching the Lions Gate Bridge, which was built by the Guinness family to connect land they owned in West Vancouver to the main part of the city.

We then went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which is an extremely popular attraction. Catherine wanted to use every photo opportunity there:
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while Daniel showed a propensity towards small injuries.
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(Just a small scratch, but getting the bandaid from the information desk required an interrogation about where and how the scratch occurred.

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The actual suspension bridge is amazing. It is extremely rickety, and it is impossible to walk straight on it. However, it is very strong. At one point on the walk, there is a fallen tree that at one time fell on the bridge. The bridge was not even damaged by it.

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Treetop Adventure and Cliff Walk, both amazing paths that give a unique perspective on the forest.

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Lunch in Stanley Park, and our view of the bridge from the restaurant.

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Maple-Walnut Ice cream in Stanley Park.

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Getting gas in Canada for the first and last time on this trip. Gas is more expensive than in the US, and our tour guide in Stanley Park yesterday said he drives to Washington to buy gas.

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The beautiful scenery on the drive between Vancouver and Keremeos, in the Okanagan Valley. It was all spectacularly beautiful.

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A dome home near a campground in the Sunshine Valley.

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Our hosts in Keremeos operate a frame shop. This is one thing they have framed. It is an unusual piece of Native art using moose hair as the medium.

Unfortunately, we arrived in Keremeos too late to get any food from a restaurant. The restaurant/ pub suggested by the hosts was closed, and the nearest town, Osoyoos, was a ways away. We went back to our room unsure about what to eat. However, we discovered that our hosts had put bread in our freezer, which allowed us to make sandwiches and have a pretty good dinner.

Tomorrow, we return to the United States, and stay in Spokane, WA.

Posted by danielcatherine 00:45 Archived in Canada Tagged bridges rainforest dinner injuries capilano keremeos Comments (1)

Day 13 - Hopping Around Vancouver

all seasons in one day 68 °F

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Vancouver in the morning as seen from our windows.

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We decided to take the "Hop On-Hop Off" bus. It was convenient because that way we wouldn't have to drive and park on our own.

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Some sights from the bus. The coliseum-like building is the Vancouver Central Library.

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We got off at Gastown, and ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory. This was not a "new thing" to try, but Daniel had eaten at Old Spaghetti Factory the last time he was in Vancouver, so it was tradition.

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Some views around Gastown. Gastown is the older part of Vancouver, and has a lot of interesting shops and buildings.

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The Olympic Torch from 2010.

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More views from the bus.

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Catherine loves all the hydrangeas in the area.

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A hidden spot in the rainforest in Stanley Park. We saw someone disappear into the trees, and decided to see where they had gone. The rainforest is very impressive, especially the size of the trees (they're small compared to sequoias, but huge compared to everything else.

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Around Stanley Park. We had a wonderful tour within the park, which was included with our pass for the Hop On-Hop Off.

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Vancouver and the harbor from the park.

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Totem poles in Stanley Park.

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This statue is called "girl in wetsuit." At high tide, the water is up to her flipper.

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Trying to take our own picture in the blinding sunlight.

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Various buildings along the way. The office building is interesting because you can see each floor in detail.

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Granville Island, and Granville Island Brewery, recommended to us by Michael was a nice afternoon stop.

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At the brewery, we got some small samples and a cup of "hot nuts." They were hot as in warm, not as in spicy.

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At home, Catherine always prefers that anyone cooking wear an apron. She has several aprons that she has picked out for herself. All of them are very feminine looking. This apron we got from the Granville Island Brewery is better. (Note the bottle opener and beer holder)

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From Granville Island, we took an Aquabus back to our side of False Creek. It was a nice and convenient way to travel.

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We tried a little diner called Templeton for dinner, since it was fairly late. Catherine had a BLT and Daniel had a grilled cheese with vegetables. The really interesting thing was cardamom coffee cake. This was unique and delicious.

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Vancouver at night.

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Our building at the end of a busy day. Tomorrow we are heading to Keremeos, in the Okanagan Valley. Tomorrow night will be our last night in Canada. We have had a great time in Vancouver, and would love to go back soon.

Posted by danielcatherine 01:08 Archived in Canada Tagged bus bridge stanley_park hopping diner granville_island cardamom totem_pole apron aquabus Comments (1)

Day 12 - It Isn't Manageable

rain 60 °F

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Started off the day with a Traditional Latin Mass in Victoria. It was very nice, and the church was simple but pretty.

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After that we walked along the beach, at a spot suggested by our host. It was beautiful.

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One of the many horse-drawn carriage tours in Victoria going by.

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Eat More: an interesting toffee candy.

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Some views from the ferry. There are a lot of bald eagles in the islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland. At one point, we saw about ten of them flying around near one tree.

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Our last ferry ride for this trip!

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Driving in to Vancouver.

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Our studio in Vancouver. It is yet another great place found through Airbnb.

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View of the city from our room. This is our first real "city center" accommodation, as our other places have all been rural or suburban.

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Nando's Chicken. Apparently this is a chain, but we don't have them in California so it is a "new thing" to try. It is a Portuguese-African restaurant. When we asked about the spicy rice to determine how spicy it is, the waitress said it is "not manageable." We managed just fine.

The mashed potatoes are very authentically Portuguese, exactly what you would get at a traditional Portuguese Thanksgiving dinner in Hollister.

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The beautiful city of Vancouver at night. We walked around a bit after dinner, and it is very pleasant, though much more urban than Victoria was.

Note to Readers: with this entry, we are now caught up to the current day. Expect an entry about tomorrow tomorrow, and, assuming we have internet, we should be able to blog almost every night.

Posted by danielcatherine 01:00 Archived in Canada Tagged victoria traditional church urban city vancouver chicken studio african ferry latin management portuguese mass nando's Comments (1)

Day 11 - What is poutine???

semi-overcast 65 °F

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The city of Victoria in late morning. It is beautiful and extremely well-organized. It feels like an old European city, but with American-style drivability and roads that are sized correctly for cars.

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We went to lunch at Skinny Tato Polish Restaurant. We have challenged ourselves to try new things. The Polish woman who owns the restaurant gave us recommendations/ commands about what we should order. We just went along with the recommendations, and once we had ordered we were not sure what we would get. We got potato pancakes stuffed with sauerkraut and mushrooms, as well as cabbage rolls stuffed with bacon. These were all new combinations to is, but they were actually surprisingly delicious. It was a whole new set of flavor combinations: a bit like Chinese food, a bit like Italian food, but really just unlike anything else we had tried.

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Butchart Gardens. The Butchart family owned a cement plant, and Jennie Butchart created the garden to beautify the area. The family still owns the estate, but it is open to visitors. It is extremely beautiful. It is almost difficult to comprehend how beautiful it is when you are there because of how many different plants you can see.

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Te remarkable beauty of the place. It is wonderful to just walk around and see everything. Catherine feels like the yellow flower in the picture above looks like it is fake and made of wire.

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Us in the gardens.

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Daniel got a cherry amaretto gelato, and Catherine got one that was rose petal flavored. We ate them in the Italian Garden.

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Viking exhibit at the Royal British Columbia Museum. Many of these artifacts are real and are on loan from museums in Sweden.

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The name "Albers" written in runes.

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A wire matrix suspending various bolts. It doesn't look like much, until you realize the bolts are real bolts from a Viking ship burial, suspended exactly where they would have been on the ship.

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Natural History: a mammoth and a sea lion.

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First Nations Exhibit: the highlight of this area is the complete house, formerly belonging to a native chief, which is fully presented in the museum.

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Views of the Empress Hotel and the Parliament Buildings.

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The Pennyfarthing Pub in the Oak Bay neighborhood for a late dinner.

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An "Irish Flight" of beers: Harp, Smithwick's, Kilkenny, and of course, Guinness. Since Daniel's parents flew to Ireland the day before, we thought ordering an Irish Flight seemed appropriate.

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Catherine was intrigued by the menu item called "poutine." Neither of us had tried it, but Daniel had already heard of it an had a vague notion as to what it was. Catherine read the description, then asked the waitress what it was. The waitress was friendly, but reacted somewhat the way an American waitress would if you asked her to explain what this "hamburger" thing was all about. Catherine ordered a half order, and it was in fact pretty good.

Overall, the day went wonderfully. Victoria is an incredibly enjoyable city, and both of us have talked about returning to spend more time here.

Posted by danielcatherine 00:11 Archived in Canada Tagged victoria flower native flight museum mammoth irish vikings sealion poutine pennyfarthing butchart_gardens Comments (1)

Day 10 - Friday the Thirteenth: Our Lucky Day for Ferries

Featuring a stop at Lake Erie Grocery Store in Anacortes

rain 55 °F

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We woke up to steady rain and cooler temperatures. It seemed like perfect weather, and made the island look all the more beautiful in the mist. We were headed back to Anacortes, and had to cross the island to the ferry terminal fairly early in the morning. Despite leaving a bit late, we easily made it onto the ferry.

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Views from the ferry as we travelled between islands, stopping at Shaw Island and Lopez Island before getting back to Anacortes, on Fidalgo Island.

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A mysterious cat puzzle on the ferry. No one seemed to be working on it or even anywhere near it. A similar puzzle was on the ferry we took to Orcas, even though it wasn't the same ferry.

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Mt. Erie in Anacortes. Lake Erie and Mt. Erie have an unusual name: Mt. Erie was named after the Battle of Lake Erie, which occurred in 1813 on the "other" Lake Erie. In the battle, the Americans defeated the British near Ohio. Later, as highly patriotic names were chosen for places in the northwestern corner of Washington, this mountain was named after that battle. The lake that is next to the mountain was called "Lake Erie" after the mountain.

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The Lake Erie Grocery Store next to Lake Erie. This store belongs to Daniel's great aunt Gerry and great uncle Don (Don is Daniel's grandpa's brother.) Daniel had not met them before, but we had arranged to see them while we were in the area. Unfortunately, the original plan (to visit on Wednesday) had not worked out. However, the rescheduling for Friday allowed more people to be there. We met Don and Gerry's son Joe, and their granddaughters Te'onna, Marissa, and Charli.

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From left: Te'onna, Charli, Joe, Don, Daniel, Catherine, Marissa.

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The store itself was very impressive and interesting. Though it is small, it seems to have a huge selection. Also, customers come in regularly (though It was apparently a pretty slow day, actually.) The store is connected to the house, so we just sat and visited and when the buzzer would go off that a customer had come in, either Don or Gerry would get up and help the customer, then come back.

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From left: Gerry, Don, Daniel, Catherine.
We had a great visit: Daniel learned a lot of interesting family stories and some geneological information, and we got to meet several relatives we didn't know before. We spent several hours there, then headed to the border to go to Victoria.

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Speaking of Victoria, a picture of the Kaiserin Auguste Victoria hanging above the counter at the store. This is apparently the ship that Daniel's great grandmother took when she immigrated to the United States.

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Crossing the border into Canada. The border guards are very inquisitive about why you are there and what you are doing. If we hadn't taken the crossing into another country seriously at first, we certainly would now.

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We made it on the earliest possible ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. The BC ferries are incredibly larger and more polished than the Washington ferries, though the Washington ferries were nice in their own way (smaller and more down-to-earth seeming).

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Washington and BC ferries compared.

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Some views of various islands from the ferry.

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The BC ferries are very confortable and well-appointed. More than anything, they feel like airports.

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Canada and the United States are similar in many ways. However, Canada has some odd chip flavors.

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After the rugged accommodations on Orcas Island, this room in an apartment in a subdivided mansion in Victoria seemed like the ultimate in sumptuous luxury.

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Our host recommended Zambri's Italian restaurant. It was delicious. We got the Italian Sausage pizza and the local turnips. Very had never tried turnips before, but they were good.

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Victoria is a beautiful city. It looks and feels clean, safe, and pleasant. There is a lot to do, and we are glad that we booked two nights here!

Posted by danielcatherine 02:43 Archived in Canada Tagged victoria ship border ferry pizza store luck cousins tiramisu groceries relatives anacortes lake_erie zambri's turnips Comments (2)

Day 9 - Orcas and Orcas

sunny 70 °F

First of all, a note about checking in on Day 8: Our host had mentioned that, despite the recent legalization of marijuana in Washington, there were no legal distributors of it on the island. Catherine said "we were wondering about that" since we had been talking about the law and how it would work. However, our host seemed to think that we meant that we were interested in purchasing marijuana (to be clear, we were not). It was difficult to convince the host that we weren't interested, however. She repeatedly apologized that she didn't know any dealers, but encouraged us to go in to one of the pubs and ask around if we really needed to find one. But, she cautioned, we shouldn't smoke anything at all in the house. Despite Catherine's repeated assurances that we weren't interested in buying or smoking marijuana, and that we certainly wouldn't be smoking anything in the house, the host seemed to genuinely feel bad that she couldn't help us find any marijuana.

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We went for a walk on the beach in the morning. The tide was out, and it was amazing how much larger the beach has gotten. Also, where it had previously been just pebbles, the beach now had quite a bit of sand. It was interesting to see the change, especially since the waves are basically non-existent and the tide is thus extremely evident (the waves are probably much bigger outside of the very sheltered sounds and bays around the island.)

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Waiting to go out. We went with Outer Islands Charters, which guarantees whale sightings. If you don't see a whale they will take you out again. However, not all whales are orcas, and we really wanted to see orcas, so we were encouraged that the company seems to advertise exclusively with orcas.

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We wish we could include more pictures of the whales, but the pictures could never do the experience justice. We found a pod of transient orcas in between Orcas and Jones island, and travelled with them up Presidents Channel for about two hours. At times they were close enough to the boat to hear them breathing. It was a small family of five orcas. The matriarch, T-65A (nicknamed Lumpy) had four of her children. Orcas have babies about once every four years (Lumpy has more children than average) and one was a tiny baby. When
they would surface to breath, each whale would arch out of the water. The larger whales would take some time to do this, but the little baby would arch over in a second. It was truly amazing to see these creatures and hear about their intelligence. We both feel that we picked the right charter company, and that the experience was a dream come true.

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Us on the boat after seeing whales!

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The White Horse Irish pub in Eastsound. Beautiful views of the sound and the neighboring islands. Daniel felt like this was a very authentic Irish pub. On a remote island, simple food, a real menu item called "toasted cheese and chips," and a perfect ocean view.

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The beer recommended by the waitress is called Irish Death. It sounds dangerous.

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SummerTime plums from Reedley, California at the store on Orcas Island (for any readers that don't know, we get all our summer stone fruit from a SummerTime grower between Kingsburg and Reedley.

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Some views of the Tiny House from outside and inside. It was cozy and interesting, and it was great having our own private beach.

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To any of our botanically-inclined readers, what is this flower? (Present-time spoiler: it looks a lot like what Butchart Gardens calls foxglove. However, when we described it to the people there they said it was more likely bluebell. Looking at pictures, we think it's foxglove.

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The log on the beach where we were able to get phone service. We referred to it as "logging on."

Next entry, our journey to Anacortes and Victoria.

Posted by danielcatherine 01:31 Archived in USA Tagged boats plants whales botany dreams bluebell orcas whale_watching orcas_island irish_pubs authenticity foxglove tiny_house Comments (2)

Day 8 - So Long Seattle, Hello Orcas

semi-overcast 66 °F

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Our night in Seattle was rather difficult for Catherine. The bed was already tall, and was on risers. Since Catherine is short, she had to jump and fling herself up to the bed. Despite the challenge presented by the bed, the room was cozy and we both slept well. Our host for the night even had fresh baked goods from a local bakery for us.

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When we got up, we headed to Pike's Place Market, which was very busy and interesting. We had both thought that it was going to be mostly fish focused, but in fact they had everything, and it was fascinating to walk around and see all the goods for sale. The one thing couldn't find, at first, was people throwing fish.

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Then, we found it! If you look closely at this picture, you can see a fish flying over the man's head.

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We seem to find a lot of interestingly named car washes.

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The line for the ferry to Orcas Island from Anacortes is rather long and frustrating. We were on "standby one." We weren't sure what that meant, so we were very unsure as to whether we would get on the ferry or have to take the next one, which was hours later.

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Apparently, other people have found the line equally frustrating, and the State of Washington has seen fit to protect their employees.

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But, we made it on! Off to Orcas!

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On the ferry. The views of all the islands are spectacular. This area is incredibly beautiful.

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Arrival on Orcas Island. Interestingly, Orcas Island is not named after orca whales (which are common in the area), but rather after Juan Vicente de Güemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo. Orcas is a shortened form of Horcasitas. Nevertheless, if you look at a map of the island it is sort of shaped like an orca, and it seems like too much of a coincidence.

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The farmland on Orcas Island is beautiful. Everything is so green and clean-looking.

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Some views from the Tiny House on the beach, which was a very cozy and pleasant place to stay, but very rustic. Despite the electricity, Catherine called this the "camping" part of the trip. We had our own private beach, with a nice log to sit on and a great view of Obstruction Pass.

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We made our own dinner. We didn't have any beverages with us besides water and Capri Sun, but it all tasted wonderful.

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Orcas Island is full of deer. The deer have no predators on the island, and they apparently swam there from the mainland generations ago. They have been getting smaller and smaller each generation, beginning the process of insular dwarfism. They are also very fearless of humans, and are willing to walk right up to houses, cars, etc. They don't run away, even when you make noise or walk towards them. Catherine believed that they would move if she clapped, and she approached one fairly closely, clapping all the way. She retreated and went the other way when the deer only looked angry. She says that it growled at her.

The next day, whale watching!

Note to Readers: we are behind on blogging due to the lack of internet on Orcas Island. We are in Victoria now, and have full internet access, but it is getting late and we don't have time to update for both days. Hopefully we can get caught up tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 23:25 Archived in USA Tagged ferry seattle deer pasta orcas anacortes pikes_place tall_bed capri_sun insular_dwarfism Comments (2)

Note to Our Loyal Readers

We are on Orcas Island, and will be leaving for Victoria tomorrow. We have very limited internet access, and have not been able to post. We will be posting tomorrow night, assuming that the wifi in Victoria is better than here. Thank you for your patience, and we love hearing from you in the comments section.
-Catherine and Daniel

Posted by danielcatherine 19:17 Comments (2)

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