And Making a Run for Yellowstone!
01.08.2011 - 19.08.2011
I am sitting in a Holiday Inn near the airport in Spokane, Washington. We bid a poignant adieu to the mountains, the Pacific Ocean and Seattle late this afternoon and started our drive east. As I sat behind the wheel this afternoon, I was gifted with a very quiet car; Simon was reading the paper, Max was buried in the very back seat and the two little guys were quietly watching a movie with their headphones on. I had almost two glorious hours to drive through beautiful country and reflect on the past 18 days since we left Vancouver for Salt Spring on August 1st.
Our time on Quadra Island felt like a complete unwind; our own house, great sleeps, lots of family, abundant exercise and tons of fun! The weather Gods certainly followed us out west because we also had 10 straight days of sunshine and perfect temperatures.
Our visit to Quadra Island/Campbell River was actually the original reason behind our trip...being the youngest child of seven, Simon’s parents are significantly elderly and in failing health. Over the past winter they were both in and out of hospital and Simon flew out in January when his mom was hospitalized for congestive heart failure. One night while Simon was away I had a tearful bedtime with the kids who asked me if they were going to see Grandma and Grandpa before they died. When Simon got home from Campbell River we discussed a trip out west during the summer holidays to see G’ma and G’pa and that was the genesis for this cross country excursion.
We did not see Simon’s parents for long visits and never descended upon them en masse but the visits we did have were delightful. One of the highlights was a Sunday afternoon lunch with the whole extended Geoghegan Clan at our house on Quadra Island. Si’s parents were in great form and thoroughly enjoyed having their family around them (particularly watching all the boys, big ones included, play baseball after lunch out in the big backyard). Saying goodbye last week was very sombre for all of us and still brings a lump to my throat and a prick of tears to my eyes. I am well aware that every time I say goodbye to someone it could be the last time, however, saying goodbye to an 88 and an 83 year old felt very hard.
When we were not ‘grandparenting’ we were playing at various beaches, eating yummy family meals, mini golfing and spending tons of time at a variety of skateparks (as our pictures will attest). The highlight of our stay was the last afternoon at the Tsolum River playing in the Nymph Falls with Simon’s brother and nephew, Nikolas. Nikolas discovered a natural water slide and the kids had a ball sliding down and feeling the pull of the white water (who needs Wild Water Works when you have a river like that!!)
We left Quadra Island with heavy hearts early the morning of Friday the 12th to return to Vancouver for the weekend. The closer we got to Vancouver the more excited I got as we were just about to be reunited with my parents after a five week separation (going a week without seeing my parents is long enough for me!) We all bunked in at my brother’s house and had a great three-day weekend together eating, laughing, catching up and basking in the company of family!
On Monday morning we packed the van (yet again!) and headed to Seattle for a three-day stay. Simon had two days of meetings booked so his business paid for a great two room hotel suite right beside the Space Needle. On Tuesday morning we slapped on the sunscreen and headed out to discover Seattle. We decided to start with a Duck Tour (a 90 minute amphibious vehicle tour of Seattle). We had a blast touring the city, singing, clapping and grinning from ear to ear the whole time!!! It was an awesome way to start our visit because we had seen a quick preview of all the things we wanted to see while we were in town.
In two days we saw Pike Market, The Seattle Aquarium, The Space Needle, Pioneer Square and the Toronto Blue Jays play the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field (the Jays won 13-7!!!) The kids and I visited more Starbucks than I care to admit and particularly enjoyed the novelty of Seattle’s first Starbucks at Pike market. We were also lucky enough to be beautifully fed by two wonderful families (friends/colleagues of Simon’s in Bellevue) who were brave enough to tackle our gluten-free and dairy-free dietary restrictions!! We all fell in love with Seattle and look so forward to returning!
After a quick stop in Bellevue at The Microsoft Store and The Lego Store we headed for Spokane, Washington for a night at the Holiday Inn.
Writing the next day (Aug 19/11)...
We had a fitful sleep last night (five people in one room is a bit tight!!) and awakened feeling a little groggy and out of sorts. However, after a hot shower and a cooked breakfast our spirits were restored and we hit the road for a long day of driving. We have been in three states today (Washington, Idaho and Montana)and will be sleeping in a fourth (Wyoming). We have had an absolutely stunning drive through Montana and have been joking that we keep expecting the cowboys to come down on horseback from the hills to ambush our wagon!! We are making a run for Yellowstone National Park and are attempting to complete over 500 miles of driving to get to Mammoth Hot Springs at the northeast corner of the park. It is already after 7:00pm, the sun is starting to set behind us, we have not had dinner and we do not have a campsite booked. If our calculations are correct we will be reaching the park just before dark to set up camp.
We are fully trusting that the Universe will provide exactly what we need and also prepared to sleep in the van if we have to...this is all part of travelling with no plan whatsoever. On to Yellowstone...
To be continued...!!!