We woke up bright and early, packed the car and said goodbye to our wonderful Airbnb hosts and headed back the USA for a few days. It took quite some time to get out of Vancouver (we didn’t want to leave and it didn’t want us to leave.) Eventually we were out of the city and headed toward the Peace Arch at the border. But first …
Susan noticed an Ikea at the upcoming interchange–so we stopped. We wandered through, reliving our many store visits while living in The Netherlands, and then after moving to Northern Virginia. We, only half jokingly, toyed with the idea of how to get a sofa and chairs onto the top of the Toyota for a long trip back to the east coast. Of course, we spent time in the kids section looking at the stuffed animals and wooden train sets. We bought a few things for the grandkids and moved on.
At day 27, we had officially passed the time we spent on our last cross-country trip to the amazing parks of Arizona and Utah (among others). That trip would have lasted a few days longer, but our scheduled visit to Jimmy Carter’s church to hear him give a sermon (which he’s been doing regularly since he moved out of the oval office). Jimmy, unfortunately for us, was called away that weekend to meet with other ex-presidents to discuss important topics of the day–so we skipped a day or two and moved on.
By mid-afternoon, we arrived in Bellingham, Washington. We’d been told a lot about Bellingham. Many friends compared it to a larger version of what we love about Yellow Springs, Ohio. There are some similarities, but we’re not thinking of moving there (unlike some other places we’ve been.) Now Fairhaven (part of the greater Bellingham area) is, I think, much more like the small village of YSO.
After a quick tour, we checked into our Airbnb and were underwhelmed (disappointed is much more like it). The place was touted highly on the website and in comments by other guests. The best I can say about it was it would make a poor college student living in a basement apartment near campus, nostalgic. We were planning on a three night stay, but left after one might. In all fairness, it had all the amenities it advertised–except the clothes dryer was broken–but was very dark, had a moldy smell, and the hosts (who lived in the house above) walked around noisily ’til the wee hours of the morning. We moved to a Best Western the next day.
We spent most of the day in the smaller town of Fairhaven and driving the coast road (Chuckanut Drive or Route 11) past several parks and many scenic overlooks. We could see the islands of the San Juan Archipelago, where we spend time just a week or so earlier. Seeing Mount Constitution on Orcas Island from the mainland was thrilling.
We discussed traveling to Mount Baker the next day, but opted to head back to Canada a day early. This would ease our drive to the Banff National Park area by taking a long day and splitting it into two days. A wise choice.
So, then next day we drove toward the border again.