Trans Can HWY #16: Welcome to the U.S. of A.

Two years ago this past August, my mother and I ventured on a cross country trek in my brother’s Jeep across Canada. We drove west from southwestern Ontario to Vancouver, BC over the course of two weeks, and then down to northern California to meet up with the men in our family. The following are taken from emails I wrote to family and friends.

Day 16: Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Needle drive-by

Needle drive-by

Today we leave our homeland behind and make our way to meet the men in our lives in Port Oreford, Oregon. I’m not sure if I have made you all aware of why we’re meeting said men (my two brothers, dad, and uncle), but to surmise in case I haven’t, or recap, in case I have: the boys are trekking across the states on the Trans America trail (made up of old logging and pioneer trails). Seriously off-roading, encountering a lot of wildlife: animals and people; breaking down; falling off, breaking bones, cracking ribs, going through passes high up on mountains/hills with no guardrail, etc., like nobody’s business. They started somewhere in Tennessee, July 15, and we hope to meet them August 17. It has not been a fun ride for them. Personally, I’ve enjoyed our trek in the AC cooled Jeep.

Currently sailing US waters on the “Black Ball” ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, WA. I still have IMG_4039phone service, and will be quite sad once I don’t. Last time I was on a ferry, besides a few days ago to get to the island, was on a trip from Morocco to Spain, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar. That was not a fun trip, some of you may recall we almost went down as a lot of those ferries do in those waters. It was a treacherous 6-7 hour trip when we did it in 2 hours going over. Anyway, I digress. The waters here are quite the opposite of the waters in my Spain/Morocco memories. Although the gentle to-and-fro is leaving me feeling quite nauseated. Bring on the Gravol.

IMG_4046Seattle in half a day: drive by Space Needle. Nifty. Park close to Pike Place, get out and enter Seattle’s Market for lunch at Three Girls (operating since 1912!) – best tuna sandwich of my life. Not kidding. Happen upon Gum Wall; chew gum; take obligatory stick-gum-on-wall photo. Walk by original Starbucks; photo-op. Stroll through the Farmer’s Market some more, buy fruit. Borrow eavesdropper’s cell phone to book an Underground Tour. Drive to tour.

The tour was phenomenal. Seattle has such an interesting history with regards to the start of building the city. If you have a chance check out Bill Speidel’s Sons of the Profits (Wikipedia covers nil of what we learned). It explains how three men, along with Chief Seattle of two tribes (Duwamish and Suquamish), and Thomas A. Crapper all come together to help make Seattle

Seattle underground!

Seattle underground!

what it is today. By going on the tour of some of the tunnels that are leased to the Tour (due to Bill’s avocation back in the 60s – the old Victorian buildings were going to be destroyed, but he fought for them and started up this tour) by the people that own the establishment on today’s modern street level, we were able to see where the city once was built after a massive fire that burnt the city down to the ground in 12 hours (back in the 1800s) – their fire chief was off in San Fran to learn about fire prevention. Ha. Within Pioneer Park, if you happen to walk across some pretty purple squares of glass at street corners, these are in fact, sky lights to let in the light for what eventually became their underground. At one point in Seattle’s history (after the fire) this is where the sidewalks were and the streets were above them. In order to get to a shop or whatever, you had to walk all the way to the corner of any given street, to climb a ladder, anywhere from 8-30 ft high, climb to street level and cross… For a Victorian woman of the day, this is not practical in the slightest.

What once was

What once was

Said goodbye, hopped on HWY 5 south and tried to get as far south as possible. Unfortunately, having woken up at 4 in the morning, we packed it in way too early. Ended up an hour and a half north of Portland in the 7 West Motel, 50 km away from Mt. St. Helens (couldn’t tell you in what direction) at Castle Rock.

The men are somewhere near Crater Lake, Oregon, and we will try to meet them at Grant’s Pass.

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