January 29th -31st

We toured the Fort Stevens park after breakfast, accidentally taking a turn into a residential area, populated mainly by a herd of elk.

We got re-oriented and made it out to the ocean. However, it was very windy, so we didn’t linger long on the beach.

After having lunch and packing up, we headed out through Astoria and over the very long bridge across the mouth of the Columbia River to Washington State. Miwa was very happy to be awake for it this time, having had a nap while we crossed it southbound last year.

We passed through Cape Disappointment, and, fittingly, were disappointed. The beach just was not as dramatic as most we’d passed thus far, and the campground appeared to be mostly flooded.

Then there was a long drive through coastal marshes to Raymond where we got some cupcakes and the girls rode on a cheesy carousel outside the store. They loved it though, it was just like the one in Pismo.

We hit a Safeway in Tacoma, just before we got to our rest-stop destination for the evening. We had our go-to favourite meal of roast chicken and rice and had a couple more cakes, of somewhat higher quality than the cupcakes of the night before. The rest stop was pretty busy, but generally nice. The only fly in the ointment was the motorhome next to us that ran their generator until midnight.

January 30th.

We rolled out of the rest stop around 8, and headed to a Trader Joe’s to stock up on fun stuff to take home. Then we drove to Ikea for breakfast, which was pretty good and cheap. The girls got to spend an hour in the play area while Jill and Ben did a little shopping for hooks and storage stuff for the Trillium. Sadly, Miwa spent the whole time watching TV.

Finally we were on our way to visit our friends in Sammamish. The parking lot in Ikea was a nightmare by that point, there was a fierce competition for parking spots, and I think there may have been some sharp words exchanged after we pulled out and 5 cars tried to pull into the two spots we’d vacated right by the entrance.

The kids (all 5 of them: 7,6,3, and 2 at 2) got on famously, and the adults got a nice evening in with relatively little active parenting required. Miwa decided to sleep in the house, Ben, Jill and Ru retired to the Trillium at the end of the day.

January 31st

Miwa and her friend woke up first and had the TV on by the time Ben came in to start the bacon. Everyone had great fun until it was time to go. The rain on the drive north reminded us all that the vacation was over, but between the border and the ferry, the sun came out and things were looking pretty glorious as we set sail.

Ru was asleep before we made it off the ferry ramp, and Miwa was out by the Parksville turn off. The morning’s play finally caught up with them, it would appear. We made the 7:30 to Quadra, put the girls to bed and left the clean-up for the next day. Our long trip is finally over. Next stop Japan!

Ben McGuffie
SouthEnd farm & vineyards
319 Sutil Road
Quadra Island, BC