I haven’t used an ATM in over a year. I realized this, on our ten hour journey from Washington to Canada, when we stopped to get Canadian money at a 7-11. (Travel Tip: check on your bank’s website to see which international ATMs are in their partner network. ) We wanted some cash in case we visit farmer’s markets, local souvenir shops, or need to tip tour guides. At home, without such needs, I never use cash so I can carry $17 around in my wallet for months.
Canadian money is so pretty!
I also haven’t been in a 7-11 for years, but they look exactly the same as they did when I was twelve. Even though this one was Canadian. Big Gulps, beef jerky, bathroom on a long wooden key–same.
This particular day’s leg was long and, though scenic, didn’t allow for any leg-stretching. We traveled from Lakebay, Washington, home of the True Friends who get up and cook you breakfast then go back to bed because it was so early–that one filled up the karma bank for me! Plus, advice on how to practice my Spanish, a look at some jaw-droppingly beautiful handmade quilts, and a phenomenal sunrise. I give that B&B at my friends’ house six stars.
We had to get to Port Alberni, Canada which is about two hours northwest of Victoria. Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, but it’s on the island across from Vancouver, the island named Vancouver Island that doesn’t have Vancouver on it. Also, we’re not going to Vancouver on this trip. Does that make sense?
Curiosities of Sequim
The drive required a couple hours winding around the bays west of Puget Sound up to Port Angeles through Sequim. Several years ago, we had friends planning to retire who had bought property up here as well as in Arizona, on opposite ends you might say. It is gorgeous. When we drove into town, in front of the Welcome to Sequim elk sign, a white-haired fellow was sitting at a card table by himself. It was in the middle of a meadow, not even near any road or parking, so I spent a few minutes trying to figure out what he was doing there, how far he had carried the table, and where he had put his car or if he had come on a bicycle.
Many other retirees seem to have followed my friends. Let’s just say traffic in the tiny town of Sequim reminded me a great deal of Florida. In the local McDonald’s, waiting to get a soda, we stood in a surprisingly long line where another elderly bearded gentleman at the front had to explain at great length why he needed eight strips of bacon and how he just wanted his biscuits. I went across the street to buy my DMD and my traveling companion told me she peeled off to use the self-serve kiosk. Remind me Not to retire in Sequim.
A Glimpse at Olympic
One of our side goals was to swing by Olympic National Park to pick up a sticker. We are filling the back side of the Fun Car with them, and I will post an updated picture with the ones we acquire at journey’s end. We are rather selective and limiting ourselves mostly to national parks that we’ve visited. Today, we didn’t have time to go further than up to the vista point in front of the pay station. But we really did drive all the way around it once, way back in 198-something, so that does count as a visit. Sticker and picture acquired, we drove back down into Port Angeles, which is both the gateway to Olympic and the site of the Black Ball Ferry.
We fortified ourselves with a couple of sandwiches from the nearby New Day Eatery, a Cuban panini and a tofu banh mi, both excellent with homemade sweet potato chips. There might also have been a scone with lemon drizzle and a brownie with peanut butter frosting, but no evidence remains as proof. The ferry ride was only a little more than an hour, but there was the getting in the car line (do make a reservation!), the driving on to the ferry, finding a seat, going back to the car, waiting to go out, etc. It was over 3.5 hours by the time we were poking along through Victoria traffic with another two plus hours drive to go. *Sigh*
Driver Wants a Krispie
The meander up the east coast of Vancouver Island from Victoria was, again, one eye-popping view after another, but it was raining, which made stopping for photos problematic. Photos from the bridges in the car rarely come out. Just this one.
The leaves are turning already, so it reminds me of our trips to Maine and Banff, a few other Octobers ago. Come to think of it, we’ve been journeying while the leaves turn five years straight and no sign of stopping. The drizzle was getting thicker, and we passed a fellow in front of an open vending truck, cooking something under a tarp on an open flame. Since it was a Fireworks Here! trailer, that was a little curious.
Then there was the 7-11. We had a lengthy debate about whether we’d eventually stop for dinner or just skip it, so we did need a snack. I grabbed Rice Krispie bars thinking that the lack of chocolate would make them somehow more wholesome. Of course, they turned out to be double chocolate Krispie bars. So sue me.
Morteaux doublement chocolates—doesn’t that sound like death by chocolate? “Driver wants a Krispie…” I urged my companion, who was trying to see if she could catch Pokemons on the way.
The hotel, as it turns out, was serving pierogies so we did stop for dinner. They were fried in bacon and onions. There was also an extra large spinach salad, with goat cheese. Goat cheese spread on toast is also delicious.
There will need to be hiking tomorrow.
9 Replies to “Reflections from a Nanaimo 7-11 (Day 6)”
This was really entertaining to read! It made me chuckle aloud at least 3 times. The rice krispy part was my favorite.
DMD? Diet Mountain Dew?
DEFinitely. My one really bad habit. Not counting bacon or Rice Krispies of course.
But did you have a Nanaimo bar?! I am envious. I will be back in Victoria November 15 for three weeks, long after the leaves have turned. To no one’s surprise, this is a beautifully written, evocative travelogue.
Gosh, thank you! We did not have a nanaimo bar, so we MUST find one.
At least a nanaimo bar, a Canadian Reward for surviving Canadian traffic.
We are still searching…but relished the evil brownie, still swoonable a few days later.