Our epic road trip has begun! Excited? I'm over the moon.
This was the trip we were supposed to take last year, but... covid. This year it's even better: a celebration of my mother's 90th birthday, with all her children, grandchildren, their partners, and her great-grandchild, all converging in southern Oregon to celebrate together. Thanks for coming along.
On Thursday we were up early, packed the dogs and the car, and hit the road. Everything took longer than expected, as it usually does, but we made a few mistakes. Most notably, we should have called ahead and picked up our food at Ideal Cafe (our must-visit as we drive down-Island), but instead we hit this extremely popular joint it at lunch hour. The wait there was just enough to mess up our timing for our ferry reservation. The next later sailing was full. Rut-row.
Allan did some fancy driving while I checked all the different ferry sailings and came up with Plan B. We pulled up to the ticket booth exactly two minutes after our reserved time. And... we were the last reservation allowed on the ferry. The kindly BC Ferries worker admonished us but let us in. Whew!
Taking the ferry from Nanaimo to Vancouver is not the preferred way to make this trip. Ideally, we would take the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, Washington, saving many hours of driving. That Victoria ferry, however, is an international trip, for tourists and travelers, and is still not running. So we're driving more, but we can still get to Southern Oregon in two days. We were pretty happy to be on that boat!
And here comes my second mistake, albeit one I could not have anticipated. I turned off my phone to conserve the battery. When I turned it on, it began an update... then crashed. And died. It would not turn on, and none of the tricks I know would revive it. I tried and tried and tried... nothing. It's a rock.
So now we're traveling without a paper map, and all the information -- where we're staying, directions, and so forth -- are in my email. On my phone. I look back fondly at the days when I used to print out all our reservations, directions, and whatnot, and put them in a plastic sleeve. (Yep, I've always been a librarian waiting to happen.)
So we have no map and no information.
Allan's phone doesn't have data. In fact we have a data blocker on his phone.
I have my laptop with me, but obviously for that we need wifi.
So we land in Vancouver and figure we'll follow the signs to the border. From there, I know we're staying in Everett, Washington, just north of Seattle. And -- only because I saw the subject line of a reminder email -- I know the name of the chain hotel we've reserved! I didn't even open the email, but I did remember the subject line.
There's only one highway all the way from the US border to southern Oregon: I-5. So all we need to do is find the border, and get I-5 south. From there, we'd exit the highway in Everett, and if we don't see the hotel from the highway, we'll ask at another hotel where to find ours. If that didn't work, we'd find someplace with wifi and get my email on the laptop.
We pulled in to the first hotel we saw, and the desk clerk printed directions, and we were only 10 minutes away. (This was our first reminder of how friendly people are in the Pacific Northwest US. I had a friend in Seattle who called it pathologically friendly, a phrase I loved and immediately adopted.)
It wasn't much of a room, but we were quite glad to get there.
I was still stressed about my phone, but I came up with a plan. And we were exhausted and then it was morning.