I love road trips. I grew up going on them, and have many fond memories from those trips. Since I had the time, this summer, I decided to go on one to see family and friends.
Destination: Canada, BC, the Vancouver area. Round-trip Mileage: 3,033 The trip up to B.C. would take 3 days on the road.
Early morning on the August 3rd, before the break of day, I set out on my trip to Canada. I’ve done this trip many times with my family as a child and adult solo trips too. The first day was a long one; I made it to Yreka, a 14hr day of driving. It started off ok until I noticed one of my warning lights go off on my dashboard when I got into Sacramento. Fortunately, it wasn’t serious. I didn’t know there is a sensor that monitors the sensor that monitors the tire pressure. That warning light was that sensor. I checked my tires, they were just fine. That light kept going off and on throughout my entire trip. It was more of an annoyance than a problem. That first night on the road was a hot one. For the night, I stayed at a safety rest area off Interstate 5 in my vehicle. I bought a blow-up bed to put in the back seat to sleep in my Honda CRV for that reason. It was quite comfortable and a safe area; unfortunately, the heat was unbearable. If it wasn’t for my personal fan and a cooling towel, that I packed on a whim, wouldn’t have made it through the night. It felt as if I spent the night in a sauna, was soaked through with sweat.
The second night I decided to get a hotel, needed a break from the heat. I made the reservations at a Motel 6 in Centralia, Washington on Expedia a few hours before getting into town. When I tried to check in, they didn’t have my reservation. It turned out it was for the next night. It also turned out they were all booked up. I didn’t want to spend another sweltering night in my vehicle. The front desk clerk took pity on me when I burst in to tears. She found a room for me. It turned out that this Motel 6 was good. It was recently remodeled and had a European /Ikea décor feel to the room.
On Final day before crossing the border at Peace Arch in Blaine Washington, a funny thing happen to me. At the time, I thought it wasn’t. I was hungry and needed to get dinner. When crossing the border, you don’t know how long it will take. I’ve had it take a little as 15 min and as long as 2hrs to cross into Canada. So, I found a place to eat in the Bellingham Mall in Bellingham, Washington. I had dinner and checked out the mall a bit with no incidents, headed to my vehicle, and it wasn’t there. I couldn’t believe it. Then I realized there were more than one entrance to that mall coming from the Macy’s store entrance. FYI, I parked just outside of the Macy’s. So, I headed back in to the store to exit another entrance. Guess what? Still no car, and at this point I was starting to panic. I thought to myself, at least I had the foresight to take my passport with me and not leave it in the vehicle. My plan was, to call my mother to pick me up, as my mother was my first visit in Canada. Then I would be able to decide what to do about my missing vehicle. Something was nagging at me in the back of my mind. I thought maybe there was a 3rd store entrance from the parking lot. I walked back into that store, low and behold, there was. I exited Macy’s with trepidation, it was as if, the heavens opened and there was my Honda CRV, just where I parked it. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t pay enough attention what entrance you go through. I made it through the border without any problems. It took 45mins this time, not bad.
The first couple of days on my road trip turned out to be a foreshadowing of what my trip ended up being. There was a “monkey wrench” to everything I planned for my trip. Some of it wonderful and some, not so much. Let’s start with the good. I’m so grateful got to spend, precious, time with my mother, brother, sister in-law, cousin, and friends. I had a few more people to see, but it didn’t work out due to an unforeseen accident that my mother suffered.
One of the nice moments was a “once in a lifetime” experience while driving through Seattle, Washington. The entire Blue Angels flew over me while driving through downtown Seattle, not just once, but twice. There was an event happening that weekend in Seattle called, Sea Days. The Blue Angels were performing their maneuvers for the event.
Another early highlight was also in Washington on the way up north. I loved that I got to spend some time shopping in my favorite bead store in Lacey, Washington. Shipwreck Beads is considered the largest bead store in the world; think of a warehouse sized place. Have some pictures to share.
I swam in the gorgeous Lake Cowichan for the first time; matter of fact, it’s been years since I swam in a lake. It was warm at the shore but cold in the rest of the lake. I got to experience beautiful scenery and walk among the thick, greenery of moss, ferns and tall trees along walking trails that lead to lakes and rivers. I was amazed how the ground felt as I walked. Some of the trails felt, as if, I was walking on a bed of moss carpet. We don’t get that in Southern California.
Of all the times I’ve spent in Victoria, Canada, I never went to the grounds of the Government House. It’s the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. The grounds are open to the public to tour the museum and breath taking many gardens. I even spotted some deer there. Those deer were not the only wildlife I saw. I saw a fox, bald eagle, hawks, squirrels, other native birds to the area and beautiful majestic family of elk. I wish I was fast enough to take their picture; however, I did get one of the deer.
Now, for the not so pleasant things of my trip. My mother and I were going to take a little road trip to Kelowna to visit some family and friends. Our first stop was at my brother’s place in Squamish. We were going to stay for the night in a hotel and continue to Kelowna the next day; unfortunately, that didn’t happen. As soon as we got to my brother’s, my mother stumbled on a step and fell onto the ground covered with gravel. We took one look at her ankle and knew it was broken. Her foot was one direction and her ankle was another. I don’t have a picture of that but, I did take one of the temporary cast. We got her to the local Squamish hospital with help of the ambulance. The doctor confirmed what we suspected. They temporary set the ankle. She was told she needed pins to set her ankle. At that hospital, they couldn’t do the surgery. They were not equipped for that. It had to be done at Lionsgate Hospital in North Vancouver.
Now this is where the Canadian medical is good in one way and not in another. We were told we had to wait for a call when they could do the surgery. This accident put an end to our road trip. That meant I had to make new arrangements. I had issues with cancelling the hotel in Kelowna and the hotel we were staying at in Squamish. When I asked at the front desk clerk about staying another night due to my mother’s situation, they couldn’t accommodate us. They were all booked up. Heartlessly, they wouldn’t make any changes for us. It was an emergency. They basically kicked me and my 76yr old mother with a broken ankle on the streets. I was willing to pay but, my request was denied. I was upset. We had no place to wait for the call. My brother’s place was, way, too small to have us stay. This isn’t a criticism about his place, just a fact. We ended up at a mall hanging out at the food court. By the end of the day, they didn’t call so we went to the hospital only to find out there would be no surgery that day or the next day. It was 3 days my mother had to wait before she could get surgery on her ankle. That’s where the Canadian medical sucks. If it’s not life threatening, you must wait. On the other hand, at least you don’t go bankrupt or lose your house if you need any medical attention.
It was an emotional ride dealing with my mother’s situation and my brother’s attitude. We were all stressed. I tried to stay positive, but it was hard. It know it could have been worse. She could have broken a hip or fell when we were in Kelowna. I was bummed that I couldn’t see my friend, Cat and a Great Aunt and Uncle. Hopefully I will get to see them in the future.
I managed to go to Vancouver Island to visit with my good friends Teresa and Jerry. This happened when my mother was having surgery. She needed to stay a few days in hospital so, I had no place to stay. I wasn’t going to stay with her boyfriend alone in her apartment. It would be creepy. Besides, he was not being nice to me. The wait for the ferry was long. The ferries were so busy that it was a one sailing wait. Even then I wasn’t promised I would make the next ferry. Fortunately, I did, and was the 2nd to the last car on that ferry. I even have a photo of that to share with you. My friends just bought a rustic home in YouBou overlooking Lake Cowichan. I was looking forward to having a nice visit with them. They just started a Bed and Breakfast business in their home. The room that I was supposed to stay was occupied with guests, so I had to stay downstairs in the main room with them, their 3 cute Wheaten Terriers and share a small bathroom that would make some RV bathrooms look spacious. I still had a great visit with them. We just made the best of it.
It seems my trip was about making the best of a not so nice situations. I think it was the universe testing me and teaching me to look for the positive when it is not obvious. I have a tendency of being slightly negative in my thinking. Hey, I like to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, but some part of me feels a little guilty. If I didn’t make this trip, my mother wouldn’t have broken her ankle. This trip didn’t go exactly as planned, but that’s life. As John Lennon said in the song, Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy), “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”.
UPDATE: On my mother’s condition.
She is doing well, considering the circumstances. She got the staples remove from where they inserted the pins. She has to stay off her leg for a month. The main concern is infection happening where they inserted the pins. She wearing one of those air cast now too.