Wash / Van Trip [part 7]

We tried to pack a lot in for the only full day we were in Vancouver. Our first stop was at Lynn Canyon Park where the main attraction was the suspension bridge, however, there were many other great things about this park as well.

The exterior of our Airbnb was absolutely gorgeous. I need a bigger version of this 'lil house immediately.

In the afternoon we stopped by The Whip for some salmon fritters and then walked around the corner to Brassneck to try some beer. On the same block was Cartems Donuterie where we stopped to pick up a couple doughnuts for the following day. If I suggest any block in Vancouver to you, it might be this one. It has it all.

After picking up the doughnuts we drove straight to Kitsilano Beach Park. It took a little while to find parking, but once we did we made our way quickly to the beach as the sun was setting. It was a great night with beautiful colors and a bright moon. 

Wash / Van Trip [part 6]

On the sixth day of our trip we made our way off Vancouver Island. We left our cute little cabin and stopped at Coastal Kitchen Cafe for a delicious breakfast before heading to the ferry. 

The ferry ride was beautiful. Again, most people sat inside reading or talking while we walked around the whole ferry taking in all the sights. 

Once we arrived in the city, we stopped at Lucky's Doughnuts for a treat and coffee. Their salted caramel old fashion may be my favorite doughnut ever [that is some high praise!]. 

The Airbnb we stayed at wasn't too far from Lucky's. It was a cute little place which worked perfect for us.

It was the middle of the afternoon and we didn't feel like driving after we had spent most of our day already in the car and on the ferry. We ended up walking to Queen Elizabeth Park which was about a mile and a half away. The gardens were beautiful and the views of the city weren't too bad either. On our walk back home we were treated to an amazing sunset which was quite nice too.

We ended the night by eating at Tacofino, a restaurant which originated as a food truck in Tofino [on Vancouver Island]. 

Wash / Van Trip [part 5]

On our last full day on Vancouver Island we began by going to Avatar Grove after breakfast. Before arriving at Avatar Grove, the road turned into mainly big gravel, with lots of potholes. At one point we almost turned around since it didn't seem we were headed the right direction. We eventually found it, which was quite worth it because we got to see Canada's Gnarliest Tree. 

We ate our packed lunch at Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. There were a bunch of Steller's jay birds hanging out by us. They were really excited when a couple got done eating so they could go scrounge for crumbs. I think they were waiting for us to leave as well. 

We walked the trail which took us to Botany Bay and Botanical Beach. We saw some tide pools and unfortunately a deceased octopus. 

After a few hours we took a break and headed to the Renfrew Pub for a beer. It was a little soon for supper, so we went and walked a shorter trail to the water for some more spectacular views. 

For supper it was back to Renfrew Pub. Before leaving we walked the docks a bit trying to get a closer view of an otter out in the water. 

On the way home we made a few stops to get a better view of the sunset. Even our little cabin welcomed us home with a beautiful view.

Wash / Van Trip [part 3]

Day three was a busy travel day to Vancouver Island and it almost didn't happen.

The inner-island ferry we needed to take was cancelled last minute. There was a lot of back and fourth between two of the workers [both on completely different pages about what was going on] as well as us calling to make sure we wouldn't get charged the a fee for not showing up for our ferry to Vancouver Island. 

After a lot of confusion and ferry rides, we got on the ferry we originally were planned to be on to get to Canada. Long story short, there was A LOT of inconvenience for other ferry riders to accommodate about 15 people who were stuck due to the cancellation. 

We eventually arrived in Canada at our scheduled time and continued on the road to our Airbnb in Jordan River. On the way, we stopped at 17 Mile House Pub for lunch where we also got to see the last quarter of the Packer game. 

The roads to Jordan River were twisty and beautiful, however, it was nice to finally arrive at our destination and get settled in. 

Although our cabin was quite remote, we were right in between lots of beaches and trails. The first area we checked out was China Beach where Eric discovered a waterfall that was a bit off the beaten path. Next we went to Sandcut Beach. 

Before heading back to our cabin, we went to Sooke [the nearest town with a grocery store] to pick up dinner. As we left the grocery store the sun was starting to set. We found a beach near the road, parked and ran down the trail to get a few pictures of the end of our first day in Canada. 

Wash / Van Trip [part 2]

Normally we spend a few days on Orcas Island, but for this trip there was so much else we wanted to see that we decided to keep our time here short. This means we had only one full day to do everything we had planned. 

For breakfast we ate at Cafe Olga. Finally. We had tried to go the last time we were on Orcas, but they had just had a fire a few months prior. 

After breakfast we headed to Moran State Park. We made the drive to Mount Constitution, the highest point in the San Juan Islands. The view on the top is fantastic and a must visit for us. 

We didn't have much time before whale watching, so we kept our trip short so we could drive to Deer Harbor in time. Of course we made a quick stop at Brown Bear Baking to pick up an orange morning bun for later. 

We arrived 30 minutes before our whale watching tour with Deer Harbor Charters and unfortunately found out we had accidentally scheduled it for the wrong day. Luckily two others didn't show, so we were able to go! 

This was our third time whale watching and the most successful. Our first time we saw a few orcas and even had one swim under the boat we were in. Our last time, we saw many marine animals, including minke whales, but no orcas. 

I took plenty of pictures of all the whales we saw, but also did put my camera down to enjoy the moments we had with the beautiful creatures. 

[I'm still trying to identify who we all saw from the J, K AND L pods, so I'm limiting my pictures for now and will do another post just about whales later.]

After our time with the orcas, we stopped at Island Hoppin' Brewery. It was a nice way to relax, as well as try some new beer. 

As dusk began to creep up on us, we made our way to Rosario Resort. We stayed at this resort a couple times in the past and it's my favorite place to be before sunset because of all the deer that make their way out around the grounds. 

My deer friends did not disappoint and I got to hang out with a few of them before heading back to our favorite spot to watch the sun set. 

Eric especially wanted to visit this particular spot since the last time we were on the island we got to watch a couple of silly otters sitting on boats. I honestly didn't think we get the same show as last time, but one was waiting on the pier for us...until I scared him off [by accident of course!]. 

We eventually headed back into Eastsound to have dinner at Mijitas, however, not before I took a picture of the yellow building I take every time we visit our favorite island. 

Wash / Van Trip [part 1]

It had been far too long since we traveled to Washington, so earlier this month we made our way once again to places we love as well as new places to explore. 

We arrived in Seattle and before heading to Anacortes to catch our ferry, we met up with an old friend to borrow a bike. He gave us a tip to check out Tweets Cafe on our way since we had a few hours to spare. 

Tweets was the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat in the little town of Edison. It had a great atmosphere and fantastic locally sourced food. After we ate we walked around the town [all three or so blocks of it!] before continuing on our way to Anacortes. 

The drive out of Edison was beautiful. Plus, it was so nice to have fresh air after a 4 hour stuffy flight. 

We arrived plenty early for our ferry to Orcas Island and were greeted by deer. We parked the car and took a walk on the trails that lead to the beach. We reminisced how last time we were here we were calling people to announce our engagement. 

Taking the ferry at 7:00 PM is equally awesome as it is terrible. Leaving that late means you get to the island when it's dark and there's not much to do [except go to the only place serving food and get stuck sitting next to people singing karaoke]. But on the other hand, watching the sunset from the ferry is one of the best things ever.

We walked in circles around the ferry for most of the trip taking in all the views. As we did so we wondered at what point this ferry ride would ever become dull. Do locals just sit in their cars bored by the view? I hope not.

santa cruz, part 3

On our second full day in Santa Cruz, we left the hotel early in the morning. The last two nights of our trip we stayed at Hotel Paradox. It was not on the beach, but it was a nice hotel none-the-less. The check-in desk was part of a huge redwood and there were nature-esque decor all around, which I'm a big fan of. 

The morning was cloudy and rainy but we were hoping it would clear up by the time we got to our destination to do some sight-seeing. 

Our first stop was at the Baylands Nature Preserve in Palo Alto. It was not raining, so we got to walk around for a bit. The goose below did not like me taking pictures and tried to attack me. 

Because we were still craving tacos, we drove to downtown Palo Alto to go to Tacolicious for lunch. It was still a little early, so we browsed the farmer's market and did some window shopping before making our taco stop. 

The drive to Big Basin Redwoods was beautiful. VERY curvy roads and almost every other vehicle we passed had a Christmas tree they were hauling home. We didn't get to hike that far into the woods since we didn't have much time before we needed to head back. Also - surprise! It started to rain again. 

The only thing I'm bummed I did not see was a banana slug. Maybe next time. 

Before heading to supper, we went to watch the sunset at Steamer Lane. Many others had the same idea and the beach was filled with couples and families trying to soak up the last of the sun before it set. 

Finally it was the night I had been waiting for - the Aimee Mann Christmas show. It was held at the Rio Theater [iPhone pictures below] which was a bit smaller than we had expected. There were a bunch of seats in the middle-front which were reserved but all others were general admission. We decided to sit on the right side, second row. Yes, we were right by the speaker but knew it wasn't going to be deafening. However, we overheard countless people complain before the show about how it was going to be too loud, or they weren't even going to chance it. Wimps! 

Also pre-show, I enjoyed other overheards like:

"I think it's a small band, her husband is here.", referring to Ted [not her husband].

"Who's the opener?" "I don't know but it will be good since she's a music snob."

The show was filled with both comedy and music. The main story was that Santa was murdered backstage and it was Aimee and Ted's job to find the murderer. The opening for the show was an amazing video of "Murder, She Sang". [I just tried to search for the video since I keep hoping it finds its way online. It hasn't but I found the skit from Wits which must have started this idea?]

Along with being excited to see The Both [Aimee and Ted] I was also excited to see comedian Tim Heidecker. I'm pretty sure no one at this theater understood his humor. We, along with maybe one other guy, were the only ones laughing. Santa Cruz - stop being scared of loud music and comedians! 

Anyway, I just want Aimee, Ted and Tim to know - we enjoyed the show! We laughed with you and also at you [well, mainly just Ted in his baby New Year outfit].