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Wanderlust cured’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 14 Oct 2009

Location: Kitsap Memorial Campground, USA

MapGoodbye Canada (p.s I love you) - Hello U.S.A!

2187kms total so far

Victoria to Washington State

Spent yesterday tying up loose ends in Canada, cleaning out the van, getting rid of anything we thought we couldn’t take over the border. We saw 2 National Geographic IMAX films last night ‘Under the Sea’ and ‘African Serengeti’; both brought tears to my eyes as both ocean and land continue to be adversely affected by humans yet their beauty and fight for survival remain.

Awake early as the nerves started for our impending U.S border crossing. Now we have nothing to hide, we have visas, passports, a valid ticket out, real reason to be there, we are not going to work but something about the U.S officials makes me cringe. I think being gruff & nasty is a large part of their training. First up for the morning was a shower which saw me both in the women’s and a mad dash in my towel saw me in the men’s cubicles (when you say 50 cents give you 5 minutes – mean it!). Then a quick drive through Tim Hortons for breakfast bagels with cream cheese mmm mm and hot chocolate before taking a wrong turn to a completely different Ferry terminal before we turned around and found the right one. So we had thrown out milk, eggs, butter, almost threw out all my yummy Okanagan fruit, all the rubbish, cleaned up the whole van and still the nerves made me feel anxious as we waited in the customs & border control line. They barely checked then van, wanted our passports, asked us a few gruff questions, we filled out visa waiver forms and we were on the boat! We still had the other side to contend with, but the boat ride still saw me worry free, hanging over the edges to see if any Orcas or Whales were hanging about. There were 6 people with touring bikes all packed to go on the boat and I looked at them wishing it was me, or that I was apart of it. I think once I am back in Australia that I will be planning some bike touring of my own, it seems like my kind of pace to take in another country.
Only a short ride to Port Angeles, Washington and the next gruff U.S border control asked us questions, peeped in the van, didn’t even want to see our ID and shoved us off. We drove out of there both screaming for joy  We also didn’t have to do anything for old Lester, they just said we could take it to a wreckers when we got to L.A! Sweet.

Currency exchange and some nice old ladies at the tourism centre helped us on our way to a nice camping spot. On the way we visited a big game park. Rhino, Kodiak Bears, Black Bears, Cougars, Tigers, Lions, Wolves, Elk, Bison, Wilderbeast, Zebra (to name just a few) and you could drive around the whole park!! The bears were merely behind a 2 foot high electric fence, the cats and wolves in cages but the rest roamed free in the area. I enjoyed it alot except the small cages the predators were in, made me sad and I couldn’t enjoy the rest. All the others had wonderfully big areas to romp around in with their buddies but the wolves had no pack, the lions just fat and hung in their little boxes. I hate seeing the pride and elegance taken out of these amazing creatures. Not once in 9 months did I glimpse a wild cougar – they don’t want to be seen, so to parade them in front of thousands of humans who pass through here in a big metal cage – to me its disgraceful.

The drive here felt like we hadn’t left Canada, the countryside and scenery felt the same. The 6 churches in one small town reminded me where I was. As we pulled up to the camping spot recommended by the nice old ladies I realised that the sun feels warmer here which is a nice change. J wanted steak but settled for tinned baked beans as we have a stock pile to get rid of over the next month.

Seattle tomorrow, we are going to park on this side of Washington, catch a ferry over, stroll along the waterfront and meander through the market and come back over to start heading towards the Pacific Highway.