Monday, September 5, 2011

On the Road Again...

Benjamin and I decided to take a our first real holiday together over the July long weekend. We had originally planned to go to a family reunion of his in Seattle area, but when it was cancelled, we ended up keeping our plans for a Washington state holiday anyways.

We left Wednesday night and drove to Fernie, BC. We drove through several large rainstorms on the way, so we were not hopeful that our campsite would be dry or that we would be able to light a fire. When we arrived, the last rainstorm had been through almost an hour before and the sky was clear, so we had a lovely evening around the campfire (once Benjamin got it going with the slightly damp wood we had picked up – about an hour's effort).

The next morning, we drove to Spokane. I had offered to drive the first leg of this portion of the trip, since Benjamin had driven the entire way from Calgary to Fernie. This meant that Benjamin was in charge of getting the directions from my iPhone. After entering in the address of my cousin in Spokane, he directed me onto a highway heading south and we were on our way. It wasn't until we were crossing the border at Eureka, Montana that I realized that we hadn't gone through Yahk, BC, which my original trip research had indicated was the fastest way to Spokane. Turns out that the iPhone had confused Upriver Drive, Spokane with Riverside Drive in Eureka, Montana. We ended up taking quite the detour south through rural Montana to make it over to Bonner's Ferry and back to the main highways to Spokane, but it was a beautiful drive! We drove right along Lake Koocanusa for over 100 km and passed the huge Libby hydroelectric dam.

Spokane was great. It was so fun to see my cousin Karen and her family, Doug and Charles, again. Little Charles was adorable. We ate delicious food and had a fun Canada Day picnic in a park by the river. We also were very lucky and got to see my other cousin, Monica, and her husband, David (whom we had never met before).

Since the highway from Spokane to Seattle is fairly well-travelled and well-marked, we avoided a scenic detour on that leg of the trip other than to stop at the Petrified Gingko Forest site in Washington. It was so amazing! A really small little National Parks site where they've found some of the only petrified gingko trees in North America. I love stopping at random roadside attractions.

We spent the 4th of July in Lynnwood with Benjamin's cousin. I enjoyed visiting the temple in Seattle, one I've never been to, and it was great to meet so much of Benjamin's family.

Throughout our entire drive through Montana, Idaho, and Washington, I had noticed stands set up in parking lots everywhere selling fireworks. I love fireworks. I love watching them and have always wanted to be able to buy my own and set them off. We made a stop in a parking lot in Lynnwood and bought a ton of sparklers, Roman candles, and spinning ground flowers. Lighting them on Independence Day was one of the highlights of the trip. We attended a 4th of July party in a neighbourhood where everyone seemed to be competing over who could put on the best fireworks show. Everywhere I looked, there were fireworks, and they started at 8 pm and went almost constantly until 11.

After staying up late watching the fireworks, we had to get on the road before 7 the next morning to get home in time – a 12-hour drive. It was incredible to go for such a fun trip together and squeeze so much into 6 days, but we were glad to get home again. I almost wished I had left a day afterwards to recover from our vacation!