20 July, 2011

The NW passage

'Twas a sobering three weeks and now Team M forges ahead towards the Pacific Northwest. I'm all plumped up from all the eating from Texas and now we officially beginneth our holiday trek. You know what being on holiday means: if'ns I sees cupcakes, I be eats the cupcizzles (or Doritos or Fish & Chips...etc.). Let out another notch on the belt people!
Not really. I'm not letting myself go but it is vacation and I do need to decompress a bit. We stay two nights in Boise, ID. On the way to Vancouver and on the way back. Stayed at this cool, rebuilt Travelodge, aptly named Modern Hotel and Bar. Pet friendly of course, with hip(ly) designed rooms, live music and a bar (no false advertising here). Yea!!
Vancouver! Stayed at the Sylvia Hotel (pet friendly of course!) located in Stanley Park. We arrived on Canada Day.
This is the official day where all Americans have to say, aboot and ootside and any word with letter O, as if it were umlauted 50X during the day for a free Canadian flag and pin that I have to say, I'm wearing proudly. It's basically the Canadian Independence Day. Celebrated Canada by walking to Granville Island from Vancouver to partake in said festivities. You may use a bridge to walk/drive to Granville (as opposed to ferry); we walked...
heading back to Vancouver after a loong day's worth of celebrating and people watching...
Vancouver's pretty hip, clean, and serviceable. Vancouver also has some major traffic snarls so heading around by car can be a biscuit at times. Got the opportunity to talk locally to my Cajun brother Rory. He's picked up just a hint of a Canadian accent after living there for three years. Granville Island was an oasis of people watching, eating, listening to music, drinking Granville Brewery's brews, and experiencing a different country (albeit some things were similar) celebrating their day. Charlie, our one year-old Golden Retriever, was a big hit with the pedestrians (wet Charlie after playing on the beach) whenever I'd wait outside for the girls to shop.
Vancouver's celebration this evening included fireworks. Here's a shot I took from our Sylvia Hotel window.
Here's another shot at night in this vibrant town I took from our strategically located window.
Next day, saw the Capilano Suspension Bridge. High, arboreal suspended walkways between trees or scaffolded onto granite cliffs surrounded by a rain forest. Who doesn't like that? I guess people who don't like high, arboreal suspended walkways between trees or scaffolded onto granite cliffs surrounded by rain forests.

Whidbey Island, WA
(specifically Coupeville, WA)! Decompress, decompress, and more decompression people. Check out the house and location of the house we rented for a week to do nothing but read, beachcomb, nap, run, nap, watch the Tour de France, nap, repeat and rinse! The water (in Camano Bay when)at high tide came right up to the house almost. Nutty but (my) awe (was) full!
Here's our rental home for the week. Notice the Colonial Revival-esque era, Cape Cod styling with gabled roof complete with dormers...
Here's what I mean when I say the water comes up to the house.
This shot I took from our kitchen at sundown over looking the backyard and Camano Bay (which is part of Puget Sound).
This is where I opened my (The) Glenlivet, sweet Melissa purchased for me at the Duty Free Shopping at the Canadian border. In addition to Canada Day's fireworks we arrived on the 4th and I actually purchased fireworks and sparklers for the kids. Not to worry all of Team M still have ten digits.
The kids beach combed shells, made sand castles, played chase with Charlie and climbed steep sand cliffs where I graffitied their names high onto the bluffs next to other people's names etched with a sharp stick. Everyday was a new day doing this (as if it was their first time again) and they loved it while the adults read and sat on their butts on deck chairs looking at Mt. Baker in the distance and the lights at Oak Harbor in Camano Bay. Here's the cache of sand dollars Maricel scored on a particularly good day of beachcombing...
One day Team M (plus mother in-law) minus me went whale watching while I stayed behind with Charlie. When I went to pick them up at the ferry in Anacortes (Fidalgo Island) I arrived early and parked the car down the pedestrian walkway. I was expecting my Dad to come walking down the hill or come around the bend. As I kept thinking about him and all the vacations we took and the good times associated with it, it brought a smile to my face. I think about him all the time. Picked up the cell and dialed my Mom to see how she's doing. She misses him dearly (married 46 years, I'd miss my mate too).
Before I picked 'em up I parked Melissa's 4runner and Charlie and I went photogeeking at this landmark called Deception Pass Bridge. It's where Captain Vancouver (hey we just left his eponymous city!) entered and was deceived by the depth of these turbulent waters as he navigated into Saratoga Passage from the Strait of Johnny Fuca.
Here's the span of it...
Here's what you're walking over (it was super windy and the sidewalk was waaaay too narrow)...
We made a quick detour to Olympic National Park before we checked into the University Hotel in Seattle. Olympic is huuuge so we had time to only check out Sol Duc Falls and Lake Crescent inside this magnificent, old growth rain forest. On my hike to Sol Duc I was snapping away trying to achieve picture one-ness with nature. Here's one of the many picturesque streams on my hike towards the falls.
Here's my attempt at art by keeping the shutter open for an inordinate amount of time to make the water look dreamy...
Here's the actual Sol Duc Falls...
Seattle now. We went first to the Sculpture Park to checkout the Seattle Outdoor Art exhibits. I really dug this metallic tree.
After that we went to the Seattle Center. Built for the World's Fair in 1962 it now houses (just to name a few) the Experience Music Project, the Science Fiction Museum, and the Intiman Playhouse. These three buildings were juxtapositioned and all three had different hues of metallic plates adorning their shells. Oh and the Space Needle's there too.
Here's the reflection of the Space Needle off of the plates of the Experience Music Project building.
Next stop, Seattle's Pike Public Market. Yeah it's touristy but I never tire of people geeking and soaking up the local flavor (literally and figuratively) of a region that's completely novel and is a significant deviation from my habituated, daily, surroundings (Colorado still kicks a$$ by the way). If the Pacific Northwest were to take a chi-square test on its Pacific Northwesterly charm it would pass with 95% confidence and the null hypothesis can kiss me arse (in my bastardized statistical interpretation)! What we really appreciated other than the accommodating weather were all the talented street musicians pedaling their wares.
There was a Beatles knock-off band complete with a left-handed bass player (minus Ringo: peace and love); and a duo called The Jaded Optimists where they both played the guitar. In addition to their guitar playing talent, the dude played a washtub bass and the gal played a saw. Awesome-ness.
They played in front of the original Starbucks (for their elite-ness sweet Melissa and mother in-law got a rechargeable gift card created only at this location). What wasn't awesome was their AM sounding-recorded-in-a-bathroom-quality RW/CD we purchased but at least they earned their money and can eat that night. Saw the Mirror Man too. All of this and a picnic at the wharf? What else is there to do? Oh yeah, the Aquarium baby.
Long live the Pacific Northwest region and Team M! The Pacific Northwest, before we witnessed just a small sampling, always placed this picture in my mind of rugged, glaciated, expansive, coastlines with craggy shorelines (Pacific Plate-Ring of Fire) that butted up to rain forests where the population never strayed too far from its Native American origins (i.e. art, design, clothing) still rang true when we arrived. What a magical region. Could probably live here if I can get over Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to lack of UV radiation during winter.

Parting Shot. Dog is my copilot (at least sweet Melissa's). Charlie always, eventually made his way up front...


Maihan. Haq said...

Amazing photography! Canada, eh?

...it's me!... said...

Yup! Vancouver was amazing Maihan.