On July 1, the day after we landed at Sea-Tac International Airport after a long flight from Manila, we began our three-week road trip. It would take us through Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Idaho, Utah, before going back home to Phoenix, Arizona.
|my first hammock, Olympia Washington|
Our first stop was Olympia, Washington, about an hour south of Kent. It is the home of Mel and Carolyn Sundby. Sitting on a 2/3-acre lot shaded by tall evergreens and surrounded by flowering plants and shrubs, we sat on their deck. Then they served us much-missed American dinner of grilled chicken, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, and cole slaw at their gazebo. It was so comfortably cool; Puget Sound was the source of the cool breeze. I even learned how to climb on a hammock and rock myself.
|at the Zderic deck in Bremerton, Washington|
Bill sorely needed a rest day, so we skipped a day. We went to the home of another couple friend, Fred and Irene Zderic in Bremerton, Washington, one and a quarter of an hour west of Kent, on July 3 instead of 2. The view of Puget Sound, Bainbridge Island, and Mt. Rainier from their wrap-around deck was spectacular! Fajitas, tamales, and all the trimmings was the colorful lunch after which we Irene and I had halo-halo at the Filipino restaurant while the two men had a root beer float. Beside the restaurant, I found a medicinal marijuana outlet!
|July 4 family dinner|
We went back to Kent, Washington to celebrate July 4 with family. First, we heard mass together and fervently sang, America the beautiful at the end of the service. Then we went home to fix our dinner of pasta primavera and garlic bread, New York steaks with corn on the cob, and apple pie a la mode. In a short while, Deejay began his family painting session cum wine. We followed his instructions and voila, Bill and I were very pleased our very first paintings. Then all hell broke loose with the traditional fireworks much like New Year’s Eve in Manila. We celebrate the day well because not only is it our adopted country’s Independence Day; it is also Philippine-American Friendship Day.
|Northern Exposure Cafe|
But in the morning we were ready to go to Calgary, Alberta Canada through British Columbia. The trip was a total of seventeen plus hours of driving through US 97 that cuts through one of six borders between Canada and the US. But, just sixty miles east of Seattle, the town of Roslyn, Washington beckoned. It is where the TV series, “Northern Exposure,” immensely popular from 1991 to 1995. The series was filmed there even if the story was set in the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska.
Then I was enthralled with the eastern valley of Washington, rich with cherries, apples, apricots, peaches, and other fruit orchards. Five and a half hours after we left Kent, we crossed the Osoyoos border and was led to the Okanagan Valley, the wine region of Canada. Oliver, British Columbia is known as the Wine Capital of Canada. It is where our friends Dan and Lorraine Maskiw live. They took us to Gallagher Lake, the Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, and the NMKip Golf Course and Country Club. After a dinner of ribs, cole slaw, and corn on the cob, we walked the trail by the Okanagan River.
|Oliver, British Columbia|
Soon after breakfast the next morning, we were off again, this time to Kamloops, about four hours away. The entire route is scenic with lakes and rivers through Penticton and Kelowna, taking us to about 5,000 feet in elevation. It was reminiscent of our 2009 trip through the northern part of the province. We have missed such scenes since we are now mostly in a desert landscape. But there were no pictures to be taken, save the familiar logging trucks in this vast timberland. A thick haze had overtaken the skies from the many forest fires that have been raging through the dry summer.
|3 Valley Gap on the way to Kamloops|
Kamloops is the home of another couple-friend, Christopher and Bonnie Goss. It is called the Tournament Capital of Canada and is in the second biggest lumber-producing region of the country. After an afternoon of updates and three bottles of wine from the wine region of Canada, we sat down for the healthiest dinner we have ever had…a quinoa dish, kale salad, green beans medley, and roasted chicken. In the morning, Bill had his dream breakfast-granola with flax and hemp, fresh blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries, almonds, yoghurt, and Morning Glory Muffins. We sat down for more chats that will surely be missed until we meet again in Viewpoint in November.
Finally, we were on the longest part, 7.5 hours, of our drive to Calgary to the reunion with family. The haze finally cleared after we reached Revelstoke, again at almost 5,000 feet. Two hours later we passed the Canadian Rockies through Banff, Lake Louise and Canmore, three great touristy towns in the area. And just an hour later, my sixth grandchild, just over two months old, was in my arms!