Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Down and Up Vacation

Phew!  I am home for at least three weeks.

While I love, love, love to travel.  I also love my home and need a little down time to unpack my suitcase, sleep in my own bed and cook some homemade meals.

Our June vacation was crazy and mixed up and horrible and wonderful all at the same time.  We were supposed to go to Alaska by private aircraft (ours with my husband as pilot) in a group of about 6 other planes.  But things began to fall apart in early June.  I realized I didn't really like some (most) of the people on the trip.  The people I did like decided not to go.  A VP called a VIP meeting for right in the middle of the trip - about my husband's project.  The plane broke down.  The first and the last reasons had more to do with our decision to cancel than the others did.  We fixed the plane, but by then the excitement had worn off.

So we took our two kids, our packed suitcases and headed to the West Coast.  Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle and Idaho.

The downs came first ... we didn't really like Vancouver.  It didn't help that we had to wait for three hours in traffic and drive through the worst part of town after 11 hours on the road to get to our hotel.  It also didn't help that it rained constantly and that the hotel charged $35 a night for parking.

We did enjoy the aquarium and the float planes, but if I never see another totem pole in my life I think I will survive.  Granville Market was wonderful (although it did spoil us for Pike Street market in Seattle later in the trip), but we were happy to head to the ferry after just two days.

Yes, we did walk across that bridge.  No fear of heights in this family.

Then came the ups.  We spent three glorious, sunny days in Victoria on Vancouver Island.  The museum was better, the hotel was better, the view was better.  We spent more time outside.  We hiked.  We saw whales.  Sometimes all on the same day.

Butchart Gardens

Whale Watching.

Hiking the Juan de Fuca Trail (a feeder to the West Coast Trail).  That my friends is the US int he background ... the Olympic peninsula.

We hiked 6 miles - which put us over 100 miles in less than a year - with next to no elevation gain.  In the mud.  That was a new experience, and I am not sure the cleaning staff of the Fairmont Empress appreciated our tracks.

After Victoria, we headed to the states and landed in Seattle.  Pike Street market was a let down after the beautiful Granville Market of Vancouver.  Yay, the first Starbucks!?  I guess this is one of the drawbacks of being well-travelled.  I was not impressed.  But then I have seen the antiques markets of San Telmo in Buenos Aires, the seafood markets of Seoul, the fake good markets in Shanghai and the and the food markets in Thailand.  Pike Street did not impress.  I am a little ashamed to admit that we spent more of our two days in Seattle at the mall and eating than we did being tourists.  Hey, when you haven't eaten at Chipotle in a year, you put your priorities in order.  In Seattle's defense, the Museum of Flight was wonderful. 

The best part of the trip came at the end.  We ended up, by pure chance and because the roads in the United States are much, much better than the roads in Canada, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.  And I fell in love.  I think I could live there forever.  Granted it was beautiful and sunny.  The people were friendly. We ate the best steak of our lives.  We flew in a float plane.  Kind of hard to beat.

What are the odds?  Could you hit that green?
I told you it was beautiful.

At the end of the day we learned quite a bit about ourselves.  We probably aren't the best people to ask to go on a group vacation.  We have been traveling by ourselves for so long that we are just used to each other.  We don't like people making decision for us.  We also probably aren't going to visit too many cities on our vacations in the future.  Maybe Rome, maybe New York.  that is about it.  Wide open space and blue skies for our family.

Where are you going this summer?

Juan de Fuca Trail:
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation: Negligible
Miles hiked in 2012: 35
Miles hiked since arrival in Canada: 104

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