Travel Website Logo
Travel Journal
Dan Walker’s Travel Website
Travel Photos

Travel Journal

Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Journal Entry:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 11:06:45

New Mexico 2008: 3 - Wellington, Utah to Victoria BC Canada

Total mileage to date 3,889 (6,259 km)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We drove to Mountain Home in Idaho - no mountains but lots of prairie. The Best Western Foothills Inn was great, as was the restaurant next door. We climbed over one treed mountain during today's drive where the air was a bit cooler, but otherwise it was semi-desert & flat farmland in 100F+ (38C) temperatures again.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Today I promised Marilynn shopping time in sales tax free Oregon. We covered 100 mi (161 km) before crossing the Oregon border and pulling into the town of Ontario, where we had breakfast at a local restaurant. It was a typical prairie small town, with only the essentials in the shops, but some local farmers recommended a body shop who fixed a loose hub cap.

We checked a couple of other towns, but as the largest place on the whole route had 14,000 people and the towns were separated by miles of flat prairie farmland, so not much shopping was available. The air pollution looked like China, but pillars of dust created by farmers ploughing fields caused the dense haze. In the last town before crossing into Washington state we found a Wal-Mart, which Marilynn had to settle for to do the promised shopping.

We decided to overnight in Yakima, but by the time we arrived hotels near town had no more desirable rooms left. We decided to try the other side of town, but went one exit too far and found nothing but prairie & desert until Ellensburg. Everything in Ellensburg was full as there was a big two day concert on - the receptionist at Best Western said the closest accommodation we would find would be Seattle, so we mounted up again in the oppressive heat and headed towards Seattle.

We were soon in forested mountains, a nice change after the conditions we had been driving through, but after about 20 miles the freeway was closed and traffic stopped because of a forest fire. Not wishing to repeat the experience in California I entered the exit from a rest area and found a shady area to park. The rest areas through Oregon and Washington have been frequent and excellent. This one even had free coffee and home baked cookies provided by the local chamber of commerce!

I set up my computer on a picnic table, and agreed when some other travellers from Russian and Kazakstan asked if they could share the table. They didn't speak a lot of English, but were very surprised to learn that Marilynn and I had visited their countries. We politely declined an offer to share their picnic, which now covered the entire table except the small space occupied by my laptop.

The road was opened again after an hour or so and we found a room in the next town, Cle Elum, at the Cascade Mountain Inn. We were very tired by this point and gratefully accepted a second story room!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The morning temperatures were cool and the mountain scenery beautiful on our last day of driving. Speed limits in Washington State were 70 mph (113 kph) until Seattle, where freeway speed heading north away from the city dropped to 60 mph. The very heavy traffic was not moving at more than 40 mph, so it didn't much matter. At least it was well below where the front end shudder kicked in that made driving on this trip so unpleasant!

We had arranged to meet with Ashton & Kristy Palmer, friends from the days when they were tour leaders on the ship Explorer. They currently have a successful travel company specializing in adventure and exploration cruises in Seattle. Ashton suggested a brewpub for lunch in the historic old town of La Conner. Google Earth predicted a 2-½ hour drive, so we left Cle Elum at 9:30 AM and rolled into La Conner exactly 2 hr 28 minutes later.

After a good lunch, a walk around town and a bit of shopping on Marilynn's part we made the short run to Anacortes, where we had booked a room at the Ship Harbour Inn. It had two separate bedrooms and a balcony looking through the trees to the ferry terminal from which we will sail in the morning. It was a perfect final stopping spot - there were even deer grazing on the lawn.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

We drove two minutes to the ferry terminal, where we had a reservation, and were soon loading onto the boat. Breakfast on board was somewhat limited - we had hot dogs, but the two-hour trip through the San Juan Islands is beautiful, the duty free shopping on board good, the ferry staff friendly and the weather was perfect. Customs at Sidney on the Canadian side were quick, efficient and friendly. After a $350 stop at a super market for essentials we drove to the home of Brian and Pat Martin, where their guest cottage will be our home until the end of September.