In early spring of 2007 I decided to quit my job, sell my house along with nearly everything else that I owned, and to live out of my car while traveling the country. These are my stories (and pictures) of life on the road.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I like to stop at the Duty Free Shop

Saturday was to be my last full day in Canada and to fill it we hopped a Ferry out to Vancouver Island to go see the Butchart Gardens. The island is quite large so most people ferry over their vehicles so the ferries are huge and carry hundreds of vehicles on each trip. It took about 1 1/2 hours to cross to the island and loading and unloading the vehicles went extremely smooth.

We all took a leisurely stroll through the gardens and it was very relaxing; the weather was perfect for a stroll. Steve and Lyn had to take off early to fly back to Florida so we wrapped up our walk and piled back in the cars to go south to the one large town on the island, Victoria.We were all getting real hungry so we decided we'd just stop at a fast food joint to tide us over until we got back home. The first joint happened to be a McDonald's, which I hadn't been to about 4 years or so. It didn't take long to remember why I don't eat their anymore. Although it was nearly empty a couple of the tables right by the door were covered with trash from people that hadn't thrown any of their stuff away and it was falling all over the ground. They screwed up my order by giving me the wrong sandwich, the bread was stale, and the tomatoes were small, wrinkled, and tasteless. Ahh, another typical McDonald's visit. At least the fries were good and I wasn't hungry anymore!

We only had about an hour in Victoria because we had to get back in time to catch the last ferry to the main land. We walked along the waterfront and checked out the parliament buildings for a while. It was a fun area and there were plenty of vendors setup selling food and trinkets along the side walks. We stopped to watch a juggler do some performances for a while before heading back to the ferry. It was another late night by the time we all got to bed but it was a fun day.

The next morning everyone started preparing for departure and I got out of town about 3pm. As I was heading for the border I realized that I still had about $5 of Canadian money in my cup holder that I hadn't spent yet. It's been there for about 2 years from when I drove to Maine and back. I was close to the border and figured I'd stop at the Duty Free Shop to spend my money, I'd never been to one before.

I was trying to think of what I'd buy and couldn't think of anything I really wanted for $5. Then it hit me, deodorant! I'd been out for about a week and I kept forgetting to buy more. The only time I remembered was when I was out hiking or something and caught a wiff of myself. By the time I got back to civilization I'd forget all about it. I was super excited to finally get some but once I walked in the door my hopes of finding any deodorant dwindled. There were big fancy displays for expensive perfumes, booze, and maple syrup. You know, stuff you'd normally just smuggle across the border anyway. Nowhere did I find any normal stuff like deodorant. I looked and looked and was finally able to find something to spend my $5 on. I felt kind of out of place standing in the checkout line full of people with bags of booze. But I got something I wanted and I got rid of my Canadian $. Thankfully the next morning I found a Safeway, remembered my dilemma, and bought a stick of deodorant.

Monday I drove to Olympic National Park and I plan to spend most of the week here. My knee is improving day by day and while I was at Albin's in Washington I took some small hikes to test it out, which went fine. Last night after I got to Olympic I found a nice flat trail following a river and took a 6 mile hike. It felt great to do something other then sit on my ass and shove my face full of food like I'd been doing the last couple weeks (though that was really fun too!) This morning I got up and took a quick 3 mile hike and now I'm sitting in a public library in Forks to rest for the rest of the day. My knee did good on the hikes but it still hurts and I should rest it. My feet aren't used to be up and walking around and they started to get some blisters; so they'll appreciate having the rest of the day off.

The forests around here are amazing! They're amazingly green, lush, and huge! I was surprised at the size of many of the trees, and everything is covered in moss. As I reached the turn around point on my hike I stopped to rest on a large section of tree trunk that had been cut off a dead fall. I started counting the growth rings and found it was over 300 years old; and as I was sitting on that piece I was staring at an even larger tree straight ahead of me that was even larger. It was a pretty awe inspiring experience, thinking about how much had happened sine that tree first sprouted. I felt very small in that forest.

Follow the links if you want to see a few more pictures from the Vancouver area or from Olympic National Park. More to follow

If you're wondering who these "we" people are I keep referring to you'll find out in a couple days when I finally get around to summarizing the 4th of July festivities.


debbieuu said...

Hey if you've still got that wrapper from the Kit Kat candy bar, save it for me. I'll add it to my Kit Kat wrappers from Italy and Spain and I'll have a collection.

Alan said...

I remembered you had that and it's actually the reason I bought a Kit Kat. I haven't even opened it yet but you'll get the wrapper when I'm done.

You've reached the end of the page but that's not the end of the stories. If you want to read more (and who wouldn't!?) then click on the archive links to the right hand side of the page. They're listed by month; the adventure starts in May.

The February archives aren't actually from this trip but are previous adventures I've had, which are worth reading as well.