Updates from the Road: Road Trip 2001
Well, I've quit my job and have nothing better to do at the moment than hop in my car and drive around. Seems like a good idea, actually, to do this now before gas prices skyrocket this summer. Part I: San Francisco/Bay Area, Los Angeles, Joshua Tree, Lake Tahoe, then back to Seattle and up to Whistler for a wedding on May 5th. Pretty busy road trip, I know. After the wedding I'll relax and figure out what to do next... Part II: British Columbia loop. Up to Prince George, over to Prince Rupert, the Queen Charlotte Islands, then back down via Vancouver Island.
17 Apr 2001 - El Cerrito
Don't Think, Don't Blink
Drive, drive. I spent eight hours on the road yesterday and five and a half today, and I'm now in El Cerrito. Nothing too interesting happened during the ride, but there were a few details worth reporting.
Just after getting on I-5 in Seattle, a moron talking on his cell phone tried to merge into me. I hit the brake and my horn pretty much at the same time. Because it's so rare to have a real opportunity in Seattle to use your horn, I honked a second time after he got all the way in front of me. He gave me the obligatory post-merge wave (at least that's what I think it was -- I didn't notice if all his fingers were raised or just one), and during those moments he then had no hands on his steering wheel. Great.
Got rained on the last two hours before reaching Ashland, Oregon, which always makes driving at night that much more fun, and was greeted at the Ashland Hostel with a No Vacancy sign. So, I ended up at a motel instead. I'd forgotten how nice Ashland is, and it was hard to leave this morning right after breakfast. It would've been nice to stay there the whole trip. Oh well. I'll try to catch a play on the drive back up.
While filling up my tank in Corning (?), CA, next to me was Good Ol' Bubba filling up his and graciously allowing the entire station to listen to the country music blaring full volume from his radio by leaving his driver's side door open. Probably a good thing, though, because otherwise I might have just hung around the gas pump and watched TV on its built-in LCD panel. Fill up your tank and watch CNN. Wild.
I discovered that 764-HERO's Weekends of Sound album is excellent driving music. I listened to it three times in a row -- could've driven forever with it playing. Anyway.
I'm now in El Cerrito at my cousins' house, getting in touch with folks and making plans. It's nice not to be driving.
18 Apr 2001 - Berkeley
Well, I spent the day hanging out in Berkeley and moving my car around every couple of hours to avoid parking tickets. Met up with several old friends and bought a bunch of cd's at the best music store in the world, Amoeba Music.
I'm currently hanging out with M. Strawn, and he's probably getting pretty bored that I'm typing in an update, so I'll cut this one short.
21 Apr 2001 - Pacifica
I crashed at my friend Tom's place in Pacifica last night. His dog, Vegas, used to be, um, a challenge to get along with, it pretty much constantly bouncing off the walls and jumping on guests. Now that it's on Phenobarbital, though, it's a little more mellow and easy to deal with.
Tom's about to head off surfing. Apparently Pacifica is the place to surf in the Bay Area. After I finish up this entry I'll wander around the beach area and then hop into my car again. I'll either spend some time wandering around San Francisco (it's a beautiful day out, after pouring down rain yesterday) or go straight to the East Bay. Decisions, decisions.
Had dinner last night at an excellent little Thai restaurant in the Mission called Suriya. Their pumpkin curry is amazing, and their Chiang Mai noodle dish actually reminded me of a noodle dish I had in Chiang Mai. Good stuff.
The dog Vegas is now passed out by the front door. God bless Phenobarbitol.
23 Apr 2001 - Los Angeles
Happy Belated Earth Day
Well, I'm in L.A. for the moment but will be hitting the road for Joshua Tree pretty soon. Earth Day was this past weekend, and I actually participated in a little celebration, almost completely by accident.
I'd been wandering along the beaches and hills in Pacifica, admiring the pretty coastline and kicking myself for leaving my camera in El Cerrito, when, on the way back to Tom's, I happened upon a group of folks gathered on a little headland just south of the main beach. They were carrying colorful pennants and makeshift drums fashioned from five (ten?) gallon water cooler bottles. It looked like I'd missed the main celebration -- when I walked by it was several people in the middle thanking lots of folks. Apparently, a group of Pacifica residents had formed the Pacifica Land Trust and saved Mori Point (the bit of land we were all standing on) from development. They'd made some t-shirts, too: Mori Point Forever.
After everybody had been thanked, a woman announced it was time for the druidic spiral dance. Those three words ("druidic," "spiral," and "dance") just by themselves give me shivers. Hearing all three together made me flee from the scene as fast as possible. Didn't even try to score a free t-shirt.
So, yeah, that was my Earth Day excitement.
The drive from the Bay Area to Los Angeles was pretty uneventful. Stopped in on my oldest brother and his wife (just married after nine years being together), then spent the night with my parents. It was good seeing the family. Now it's almost noon, and, well, time to hit the road again for Joshua Tree.
23 Apr 2001 - Joshua Tree
I'm hanging out in Jeremy's Beatnik Café, which is now owned by Lowell Kaufman, who I used to work with back in San Francisco. Pretty cool. He has a T1 line coming into the café, even.
It was a short drive today, only two and a half hours from L.A. to J Tree. Again, an uninteresting drive, except for the desert mountains that the I-10 and 29 Palms Highway skirt around or cut through, some with snow still on their peaks.
The desert is in bloom right now. The hillsides looked like they've been sprinkled with purple, yellow and red. Can't wait to head into the park tomorrow. It'll be my third time there, but it's such a wonderful place, and there's always something new to discover.
24 Apr 2001 - Joshua Tree
Myrtle the Turtle
Turtle Days will be coming to Joshua Tree this Saturday. There'll be some kind of Turtle Day Parade, as well, but I think that's not until May 5th. Should be a pretty wild time here in the high desert -- too bad I'll be missing all the festivities. Apparently, Turtle Days came into being to compete with nearby Yucca Valley's Grubstake Days. I'll be missing that one, too.
The point of this is there's a big statue of "Myrtle the Turtle" as you drive into town, just a 100 or so feet east of the Beatnik Café, and I took a nice hat picture with Myrtle. It's a new theme, I guess: the small-town mascot series. First was Ogopogo in Kelowna, B.C., or perhaps the monkey statue in Heidelberg but I don't know if the monkey's considered their mascot...
Anyway, spent the day in Joshua Tree National Park, where they're busy re-paving the road from Trash Can Rock to Cap Rock, with about half or a third restricted to one lane. Made for slow going. Bouldered around for a bit. Pretty fun. I'll go back tomorrow to check out some parts I didn't see today.
It didn't feel very crowded in the park. Mid-week towards the end of the busy season turns out to be a great time to visit.
Oh yeah, there's millions of little butterflies fluttering through the desert. They look like small monarch butterflies, and they all seem to be heading north. Maybe I'll see them all again when I get back to Seattle. Well, all except the ones that fly into my car as I'm going 60. But it's really quite nice, standing on top of a pile of boulders in the park and having butterflies continually fly by me.
28 Apr 2001 - Bishop
I left Joshua Tree yesterday and am now in Bishop, California. I decided to bag Nevada this time around -- too much driving for the number of days I have left.
I found out soon after arriving in Bishop that this weekend is the opening weekend for fishing season, and the town's packed with RV's and fishing freaks. Just my luck. If I'd known, maybe I would have packed along my fishin' pole. Oh wait, I don't have a fishin' pole. I don't remember the comedian who said it, but I'm reminded of a joke: There's a thin line between fishing and standing by a river looking like an idiot.
Anyway, there's lots of other stuff to do around here, so I'll be sticking around today. Bishop's in a beautiful area, the Owens Valley. You get brown, wide, desert mountains to the east and the jagged, snowy, vertical Sierras to the west. It's a pretty drive up highway 395.
After dinner last night, I poked my head into a couple local bars. The first had all flavors of Bud on tap, plus MGD and something else, Coors Light maybe, and the bar was crowded with old redneck types. I continued on and ended up at the Whiskey Creek restaurant/souvenir shop/saloon. They had some microbrews on tap, so I tried one of those. Classier place than the first, but instead of an old redneck clientele, it was a young redneck clientele. Yee ha.
Tomorrow I'll head to Lake Tahoe.
30 Apr 2001 - Lake Tahoe
I'm now in Lake Tahoe, staying at my brother Larry's place. He's taking a little time off work to show me around town -- any excuse to take time off work is always a good thing -- I'm happy to help.
The drive here from Bishop was a long one, up and down windy mountain roads, but very scenic. Stopped at Mono Lake for a couple hours and checked out the tufa formations. Tried to check out Bodie State Historical Park, but didn't have enough time to get there before it closed. Oh well. Someday I'll get there, maybe.
The plan for today is to do a hike and check out some waterfalls. Should be fun.
It's been a while since I was last in the Tahoe area. I'm not used to seeing so many resorts and lodges one after the other. All have vacancies at the moment -- it's the end of ski season and not quite summer, plus it's a Monday. Feels a little empty right now. Perfect time to be here. :-)
2 May 2001 - Lake Tahoe
I'm about to leave Lake Tahoe. The plan is to take 89 north all the way to I-5, with a nice bit through Lassen National Park (assuming the road's open). It'll be two long days of driving back to Seattle, and I'll get home just in time to drive to my friend's wedding in Whistler. Can't get enough driving.
Yesterday Larry, Curtis (Larry's housemate), and I spent some time roaming around the forest behind their house looking for fallen trees to cut up and lug back. I'd forgotten how tiring manual labor can be. Got a nice stack of wood, though, which should last them for a several weeks or so (don't know what their burn rate is -- I've gotten used to thinking in terms of $MM/month instead of logs/week). Anyway, a few hours of hauling logs around helped me regain an appreciation of computer jobs...
This is just a quick entry. Gotta hit the road and let Larry get back to work.
4 May 2001 - Whistler
I'm now in Whistler, British Columbia. It's my first time in this part of Canada, and if it weren't raining with all sorts of low clouds, it'd probably be breathtakingly beautiful here. I'm staying at the posh Pan Pacific Lodge, which I reserved back when I still had a job. If I were planning this since quitting, I'd most likely end up at the Shoestring Lodge, instead. But hey, I'm up here for my friend's wedding, so why not be decadent for the weekend...
The last I wrote, I was about to hit the road from Lake Tahoe. I made pretty good time, as it turned out, getting to Ashland around 5:30 or so. The road through Lassen turned out to be closed still, so I ended up detouring around it to the east. Oh well.
Route 89 was a wonderful road, and it was a beautiful day for driving. I don't think I'd recommend it for RV's or trailers or motorcycles, though -- there's a bunch of hills and the road condition isn't the best. But for a regular car it's great. Good scenery, nice rolling hills, gentle curves, and some long straight stretches where you can really fly. The only cops I saw were all congregated around a wrecked RV. Looked like the driver fell asleep and just went off the road at high speed, plowing into two trees. The front was completely crumpled in -- I can't imagine the driver surviving the crash, actually. As I waited to pass by the wreck, an ambulance showed up. Pretty sobering. Kept me awake the rest of the drive.
After having dinner in Ashland, I thought I'd drive for a few more hours while there was still sun. Unfortunately, the closer I got to Portland, the less I wanted to stop and spend the night somewhere. Sleeping in my own bed was so much more appealing. I convinced myself that I could make it back to Seattle by 1:00 a.m. even though I knew I was just thinking that so I wouldn't actually stop somewhere for the night. Ended up getting home at 2:00 a.m.
Took it easy on Thursday, and then hit the road again this morning. The drive to Whistler ended up taking five hours -- picked the slow lane unfortunately going through Canadian customs, and route through Vancouver was pretty slow (although considering how bad Vancouver traffic can be it was relatively quick). The Sea to Sky Highway was a bit clouded in, so there wasn't any astounding views of the mountains and the inside passage. Maybe on the way back down...
Blah. This entry is long and boring. Sorry about that. Maybe I'll have an interesting one on Sunday after the wedding. Keep your fingers crossed!
6 May 2001 - Whistler
It's pretty beautiful up here. The weather cleared up, and all the snow-covered peaks are out.
The wedding was great. A 30 minute gondola ride up the mountain to the lodge where the ceremony was held. Mostly cloudy, with intermittent sun breaks and snow whipping around -- made for a dramatic setting, especially after the vows when they wanted to get a picture of everyone standing outside on the balcony.
I ended up drinking a bunch of wine, scotch, and beer. Had fun at the time, but I regretted it this morning... Feeling much better now, though.
Spent the day hanging out with Kim and Caroline and various friends and family members. Wandered around Whistler Village, poked around a few shops. Checked out the construction down at Creekside where Kim and Caroline are buying a timeshare. Can't wait to start imposing on them when it's finished.
It was a pretty relaxing day. I'll do a little bit of hiking around tomorrow, then head on back to Seattle, although it'd be nice to plunge further into Canada. Hmm...
20 May 2001 - Seattle
On The Road Again...
After a nice two-week break in Seattle, I'm hitting the road again on a three week trip through the wilds of British Columbia, Canada. I'll spend a week making my way to Prince Rupert, where I'll hop on a ferry and spend a week on the Queen Charlotte Islands. Then it'll be back to Prince Rupert to catch the ferry to Port Hardy, on the north end of Vancouver Island, where I'll spend a week wending my way back to Seattle.
I did something I don't normally do for my road trips: I planned ahead. I know, I know, it's not very spontaneous of me, but the ferry rides can get booked up, and so reservations are highly recommended. Fortunately, though, the BC Ferries has a handy web site where you can make online reservations. Ain't the web grand?
Well, enough. I wanted to leave fairly early this morning, and it's now noon. Stay tuned for more updates!
22 May 2001 - Williams Lake
Canada's such a cool place. It's been a beautiful drive up so far, through mountains and river valleys and rolling almost-desert hills. Somewhere north of Cache Creek my car hit 100,000 miles, and it's still running like a champ. Only took me nine years to put that many miles on it, so I'll look forward to 2010 when I hit 200,000.
Williams Lake is set in a very scenic area: lakes and tree-covered hills. If I didn't have to be in Prince Rupert by next Monday I'd spend more time here.
One annoying thing is there's road construction going on right at the major intersection in town, where Highways 97 and 20 meet, and the whole thing has all been stripped down to a dirt road, and not even a smooth dirt road -- lots of washboard.
Yesterday was the Canadian Labor Day or some such holiday, and Williams Lake was almost a ghost town. Everything downtown was closed, and there were only a handful of people walking around (presumably because there was nothing to do downtown, what with everything closed...). Ended up wandering around the Scout Island nature trails on the north end of the lake. In the evening I did manage to find a restaurant and a pub that were still open, so I was able to scrounge up some dinner and a beer.
But other than that, Williams Lake is pretty cool.
I still haven't figured out what I'm going to do today, though. Some kind of hike, probably.
24 May 2001 - Prince George
Massage My Brain
Well, I'm hanging out in an internet cafe inside a drugstore here in Prince George. Kind of odd, but why not. They also have a computer and software section to the store. London Drugs has it all. I wonder if londondrugstore.com is hiring...?
I'd like to say that I scored another hat picture yesterday during the drive to Prince George in the town of Stoner. I was hoping they'd have one of those small-town mascots, say, the Stoner Dude, and a statue of the Dude crashed out on a couch and holding a bong right smack in the center of town. Unfortunately, the town wasn't big enough apparently to even have a center, and there wasn't even a "Stoner Welcomes You" sign, which would have made for an acceptable Plan B hat picture. Oh well.
I'm only spending one day in Prince George. I'll swing by a museum, then hit the road again for Smithers, a town about half-way between Princes George and Rupert. There's probably not a whole lot in Smithers, but I love the name. The title of this entry, actually, is a line from an old Simpsons episode. After coming up with a plan to build a baseball team or something, Mr. Burns says, "Smithers, massage my brain!"
Smithers immediately says, "Yes, sir. Right away, sir," and begins massaging Mr. Burns' head.
"Excellent!" says Mr. Burns.
25 May 2001 - Smithers
Smithers tries to be one of those Bavarian-style towns for some reason, but doesn't quite pull it off. Ja, Leavenworth is much more Bavarian than Smithers.
Anyway, Smithers is a great little town, in an amazingly beautiful setting. Snow-covered Hudson Bay Mountain rises dramatically to the south, and there's other snowy mountain ranges to the north, west, and southeast. Snow-covered mountains all over the place, basically.
The drive here from Prince George took about four hours and was a goody. Lakes to the left, lakes to the right, and a nice stretch of road in front. After Burns Lake, when the snowy mountains came into view, the scenery cranked into high gear, and it's just supposed to keep getting better.
Got a hat picture in Prince George! At one of the travel infocentres is a statue of Mr. P.G. -- all done up to like he's made out of spruce.
Well, gotta hit the trails before it starts raining. I'll be checking out Twin Falls and hopefully Glacier Gulch.
26 May 2001 - Smithers
Can't Think of a Good Simpsons Quote
Spent yesterday trying to do as much hiking as I could. The two long hikes I attempted eventually got too snowy for me to keep going. Snowshoes would've been nice, especially on the second trail (Silver King Basin?) -- wide, flat, and fairly level. Oh well. At least there weren't any mosquitoes. I guess I'll just have to come back another time to finish those hikes.
Today I'll be heading to Stewart and Hyder, with a stopover in the Hazeltons. I think it'll be about three hours of driving time. So, after I reach Hyder, I'll be able to say that I've been to Alaska. It's a tiny town in an obscure corner of the southeast panhandle, but yeah, Alaska -- been there, done that. Can't wait.
Right. I'm outta here. Maybe there'll be an internet connection in Stewart-Hyder, maybe not. Supposed to be good bear viewing, though, but not for another couple of months. Guess I'll just have to come back...
27 May 2001 - Terrace
Well, I've now been to Alaska. It's pretty nice.
I found out from a woman who just opened the Boundary Gallery and Gift shop right on the U.S.-Canada border that Hyder is 1000 miles from Seattle by road. I ended up buying a small, cinnamon-scented, bear-shaped, handmade soap from her. Bears are popular up there.
Speaking of bears, on my way to the Salmon Glacier this morning (which I didn't get to -- the last six miles of road still had snow on it) I saw a bear's behind disappear into the bush on the side of the road as I rounded a corner. First glimpse of a bear so far on my trip. I was pretty excited. At least, I think it was a bear. Maybe it was a sasquatch.
On the drive back south, however, there were bears galore by the side of the road, munching away on grass. Four bears, in fact, one after another. Now I have a whole bunch of bear pictures.
I got rained on during the drive from Meziadin Junction to Terrace, but once I got out of the mountains and into Terrace, it stopped. Now all I have to do is find a place to sleep.
Tomorrow it'll be a two hour drive to Prince Rupert, and then the ferry for the Queen Charlotte Islands leaves that evening, arriving bright and early at 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning.
28 May 2001 - Prince Rupert
Waiting for the Ferry
I got into Prince Rupert early this afternoon, and even though I had a miserable lunch, I'm kind of liking this town. I'll gloss over the lunch part, but let's just say I don't really recommend the Imperial Palace restaurant. I knew it was a mistake going in, but I did it anyway. I have only myself to blame.
Then I did the smart thing and stopped by the Visitor InfoCentre (although it took me a while to find it -- it's part of the Museum of Northern British Columbia), where I got a map of the town, complete with various walking tours and trails. The helpful Info guy also gave me a packet of things to do in Prince Rupert and one of P.R. accomodations. I also found out there's going to be a pole-raising on the Queen Charlottes next week, starting the day after I return to Prince Rupert. D'oh! Maybe I can get a sneak peak at the new totem poles.
The tour was a nice little walk. Passed by the Cow Bay gift shop and cafe street (I might head back there for dinner), through some multi-level gardens behind the City Hall, and then through downtown and up to a park with nice views of the area. Various totem poles are sprinkled about town, the tour went by four or five of them.
The town is right on the water, and there are lots of little islands in the channel (I want to say Sound...). At one park, there was a commemorative plaque for the Three Island Lighthouse. I looked around, but didn't see it. Hmm. Guess I'll have to ask at the Visitor InfoCentre. It'd be nice to squeeze a new lighthouse in during this trip.
It's kind of cold and intermittently drizzly, but that just gives it a bit of a Seattle feel, which is always nice. I'm hoping there'll be a spectacular sunset during the ferry ride tonight. The sunsets up here are wonderful -- warm, lingering reds on the horizon and snow-clad mountains -- but I haven't had a really good look at one yet.
I'm writing this entry from the Javadotcup internet cafe, a pretty cool spot but not so great on service (they seem to have forgotten that I ordered a chai).
I don't know what the internet access situation is on the Queen Charlottes, so I may not write a new entry until next week, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's in every store over there. The internet is everywhere, it seems. Later.
3 Jun 2001 - Queen Charlotte City
"Come here for the pole raising?"
Pretty much every single person asks me that question because next week is the big pole raising ceremony. One pole a day for six days. I'm getting a little tired of saying that it's just a coincidence I'm here and didn't hear about the new totem poles until the day before I arrived in the Queen Charlottes. I think I might start answering, "Yep. I love pole raisings."
Anyway, I changed my return ferry from Monday morning to Tuesday morning so that I can catch the first day of the pole raisings. Should be fun.
Yesterday, however, I found out there's a two-day tour to the south islands coming up for Tuesday and Wednesday that I can join at a pretty good discount. So now I'm going to have to call the BC Ferries again and see if I can re-reschedule my return reservations. This time it'll be trickier because I'll also have to change the Prince Rupert to Port Hardy reservation. Oy. This'll teach me to make reservations in advance! (I say that every time I make a reservation, it seems...)
The Queen Charlottes are pretty amazing. I've done a bunch of hiking, some of it muddy and slippery and some of it along wind-swept beaches. I was going to look into kayaking, but the guy at the main InfoCentre seems to have taken it upon himself to discourage everyone who inquires about kayaking from actually doing it. 14 knot currents! Whirlpools! Sudden, severe storms! War, famine, pestilence, and death! Then, with a this-is-the-last-time-I'll-see-you-alive look, he handed me a flier for a local kayaking company. I decided to stick to hiking.
The 24 foot (give or take a few feet) tides around here are pretty cool. All sorts of interesting flotsam and jetsam wash up on the beaches. I picked up a few pretty shells, but didn't see any of the coveted Japanese glass fishing floats. Ah well.
5 Jun 2001 - Prince Rupert
Good Ol' Fashioned Pole Raisin'
I wasn't able to re-reschedule my ferry reservations, as it turned out because all the return ferries in the next week are sold out because of the pole raisings. So now I'm back in Prince Rupert. I'll just have to go back to the Queen Charlottes some day to visit the south islands.
The first day of the pole raising was great. I got to help pull on one of the ropes, in fact. So now when I return to the islands I can point to the Taanuu pole and say I helped raise it. Nice feeling. I wanted to stay the rest of the week afterwards, but the ferry situation was not very amenable to that. Ah well.
I got a hat picture with two of the unraised poles. Should be pretty good, but the color might be a little weird because of the blue tarp enclosing them. While I was walking to the community hall for the big potluck dinner (great food), I got the idea for another hat picture with the still-roped Taanuu pole, but by the time the dinner and traditional dance/song festivities ended and I'd walked back, BC Hydro had come by and removed all the rigging.
I don't think I can say enough great things about the Queen Charlottes. You just have to go and experience them for yourself, I guess. The weather's not the best, but hey, I live in Seattle. I'm used to it, right?
It's one night in Prince Rupert, and then tomorrow morning, bright and early, I'll be boarding the ferry for Port Hardy. Just a quick 15 or 16 hour boat ride. Supposed to be pretty beautiful. I'm not sure what I'll do once I get to Vancouver Island, but I'll have plenty of time to thumb through my guidebook on the way there...
The Charlottes became the centerpiece of this trip, and I wish I'd spent longer there. Now that I'm back on mainland, it feels like my trip is pretty much over, so I don't know how much time I'll spend on Vancouver Island. I guess I'll find out soon enough...
9 Jun 2001 - Alert Bay
I can't seem to keep away from the islands. I'm now in the town of Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, which is just off the northern end of Vancouver Island. My tent's set up on neighboring Malcolm Island, in the sleepy town of Sointula. It's pretty quiet over there. I'm thinking maybe I should have set up the tent on this island, instead...
The ferry ride down from Prince Rupert was nice, but mostly uneventful. I did see several lighthouses, which is always a bonus, although I somehow managed to miss the Boat Bluff lighthouse, which is supposedly the most scenic of the lot (and also happens to be at the half-way point between Prince Rupert and Port Hardy). Bummer, eh?
The weather's been mostly unpredictable. Some sun, a lot of clouds, some light rain, some heavy rain. I ended up not doing a couple hikes on Malcolm Island yesterday because of the weather, but maybe I'll get one in tomorrow. You never know.
So, the plan for today is to walk all over Alert Bay. There's a good amount to see and do around here, plus actual restaurants. Sointula is a little lacking in, well, everything, I guess, but it's a relaxing place to hang out. Alert Bay, by comparison, seems much more of a bustling metropolis, even though the population is something like 1200.
Anyway, time to start walking again. Next stop, the U'mista Cultural Centre.
Tomorrow I'll start heading south again, and I'll most likely be back in Seattle on Monday.
10 Jun 2001 - Port McNeill
Well, there were about two hours of sunshine this morning, during which I was able to dry off my tent and pack it up. As I was pulling out of the campground, the sky opened up and poured down rain, with some hail thrown in just to shake things up a bit.
I decided that I didn't want to tent it tonight, and rather than pay for a room or bed somewhere, I'm going to try to make it all the way back to Seattle. I'm hoping to get home around midnight, but we'll see.
Alert Bay was a pretty cool place to spend a day. Sointula would've been a great place to spend a couple days, but the weather kept me from doing the fun hikes around the island. I'm too much a fairweather hiker. I did, however, make it out to the Pulteney Point Lighthouse on Malcolm Island. The lighthouse itself is sort of a modern concrete structure with a modern optic, but it's a lighthouse nonetheless, and the first one I've visited in a long while.
I also got another hat picture. Nearby Port McNeill, the Weyerhaeuser corporation has on display the World's Largest Burl (and I'm not talking about Mr. Ives). For those unfamiliar with arboreal terminology (like me), a burl is an abnormal growth -- one of those bulges you occasionally see on a tree trunk. Anyway, they found a tree with a burl that had a circumference of 45 feet or so at its biggest point, so they cut down the tree and put the abnormal growth on display -- Port McNeill's claim to fame, pretty much.
Well, time to hit the road, if I want to get home at a not too unreasonable time.
11 Jun 2001 - Seattle
In the Land of Cheaper Gasoline
Well, I'm back in Seattle, although I'm not sure what I'll do here. Look for a job? Figure out Part III of the road trip? I guess we'll see...
Actually, the first thing I have to do is clean out my car. It's amazing how messy it can get during a road trip.
For those of you interested in US Customs at the Peace Arch, there's pretty much no line at 11:30 p.m. on a Sunday night. Quick and easy. Monday afternoons around 3:00 also seem to be a light traffic period. Whatever.