Monday, September 14, 2015

Day 16 - September 13 - Victoria, BC to Seattle & Aberdeen

Starting mileage:  4481 Starting time: 6:45 am

Ending mileage: 4757 Ending time: 6:15 pm
Travel mileage: 276 Travel time: 11:30 hours

We got organized early and got to the ferry terminal in Victoria at 7am and waited for them to open at 7:30, hoping that we would be able to get an unreserved slot. At 7:30 we were told that we had a 50-50 chance of getting on and would have to wait until 10:20 to know. We decided we didn't like the odds and sped up to the BC Ferry terminal in Swartz Bay, about 20 miles away. About 5 miles away there was an encouraging overhead sign saying that the 9am ferry was only 68% booked. We were able to get on with no difficulty for the 90 minute trip to Tsawassen (Vancouver). Unfortunately, this took us considerably north while the original ferry plan would have taken us south to Washington - but this was the best option.

This was another huge ferry with hundreds of cars, some buses and tractor trailers. The ferry route goes amazingly close between the many islands along the route. In some places the rocky shore was only a few hundred feet on each side. It must take quite some skill to navigate. Although the ocean was quite calm, there was still a slow side-to-side rocking which made me queasy - I was glad to be back on land.

Once we got off, it was about a 30 minute drive to the U.S. border which only took us a few minutes to cross.

Since our route now took us through Seattle, we called our friends Andrew and Serena and amazingly, they were available for lunch. We went to a brew-pub that had 80 different beer on tap, especially many local brews. We had mussels again for lunch which were good but not as good as the ones in BC. We don't think we will have more mussels for a while but we are still open to seafood.

The traffic through Seattle was very heavy, even for a Sunday afternoon although it helped that we could use the HOV (carpool) lane. We certainly wouldn't want to deal with the rush hour traffic on a regular basis.

Our friends suggested staying near Aberdeen which was on the Pacific coast and a reasonable two hour drive. We booked a room at the Econolodge in Hoquiam, just a few miles west of Aberdeen. 

Hoquiam was the largest  lumber and mill town on the west coast in the late 1800s but the last mill closed down in 1951 and the logging industry has been in decline for many years. The hotel clerk blamed Al Gore and the Spotted Owl for the decline which has resulted in high unemployment, drug abuse and alcoholism.    

After getting to the hotel we took a walk along the riverfront which had interesting interpretive plaques about the history of the area.

Day 16 route

Friends Andrew and Serena with Hudson

 Ferry to Tsawassen (big one in the back)

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