Driving: Bend, Oregon to Vancouver, BC (oh no, another border crossing. Will it be like the last one?!)
Food Revolution Challenge:
-we are STARVING, the ferry schedule has been changed, and we're stuck in Horseshoe Bay surrounded by ferry fast food and Subway sandwiches.
This route, driving from Bend to Vancouver, is new to us. Usually we drive a different way, but this year we decided to return through the Peace Arch border crossing (after the orange peel incident, I'm not sure WHY).
We also stop at McDonalds not once, but TWICE.
Oh, I can hear you. You want to know if we caved. In Washington along the I-5 by Seattle, there are few rest stops and we've learned some things about McDonalds throughout the USA. For one thing, the restaurants are everywhere. Also their bathrooms, in general, are fairly clean and make a great rest stop if you are desperate-far cleaner than any gas station we've ever stopped at, and if we really need a coffee, it's always on and not too bad.
Although if your 11 year old asks for hot water in a particular Colorado McDonalds, they will refuse to give it to him because he might burn himself. Even if you offer to pay for the cup. But they WILL serve him a cup of coffee. Weird, huh? (we know this from previous year's road trips)
We stop at a McDonalds by Snoqualmie and make sandwiches in the parking lot. I know, it sounds completely insane but by now, it's routine and we don't even think about how weird it looks to other people. The place is crawling with campers, tourists and the like, and there we are, happily creating sandwiches in our car, oblivious to the looks we're getting.
I just don't care anymore. Stare if you want, I'm eating a sandwich instead of a Big Mac.
(secret: I've only had a Big Mac once in my life. A friend of mine once told me that I have never lived when she heard that, but somehow I don't think I'm missing out on much.)
Closer to the border, we stop once more but this time, we have a mission; get rid of every bit of fruit or veggies in the car. The orange peel incident was bad enough, none of us want a repeat over a few grapes or bit of cheese. Why do we have to go through the Peace Arch crossing again? Are we suckers for punishment? Will they find stem from the grapes and tear apart the car?
We approach the Canadian customs, while I sit biting my nails and hoping they let us back in. Did we get every bit of fruit, including those pesky peels? Are we okay? This time, every station is open. There is no tiny enclosed space with 6 very large men touting weapons looking at us with suspicion. We can take our pick of a bunch of empty windows, because there is no line up at all.
The guard smiles at us and asks us a few questions. Where have we been? Where are we from? Did we buy much? Any alcohol, fruit, tobacco, firearms? We answer them all and she smiles as she waves us through. All in all, it took less than 30 seconds.
CANADA. We are HOME. All three of us heave a huge sigh of relief.
Wait a sec. Is it always that easy? Who ELSE just crossed that border? Nevermind. I'd rather not know.
Road trip tradition usually dictates that we promptly seek out a Tim Hortons and indulge in celebratory treats, because, what's a return to our home country without a stop at Timmies?!? Not this year. No fast food, remember? Plus we have a ferry to catch and any food will have to be from the food bag, where the stores are running ridiculously LOW, since we just had to throw out all our bits of fruit and veggies. With the reception we had at the border I probably could've gone through with fruit piled on my head Carmen Miranda style and they wouldn't have cared. The three of us dive into the Kashi granola bars to tide us over. It's not a big deal, the ferry will get us home soon and then we can get dinner, right?
(note: When I first tried Kashi granola bars I wasn't sure if I liked them, but then I noticed that the reason I thought something was "missing" was that my usual granola bar had 27 g of sugar, and Kashi had 5g. It really was just a matter of getting used to something less sweet. Now I LOVE them. )
A ferry arrives and we are all excited as we watch it turn into the bay. A ferry! Home! We'll be boarding soon! The excitement is quickly replaced with grumbling aimed at BC Ferries when we realize it's a ferry for Nanaimo. Somehow, while we were away BC Ferries decided to change the schedule, just to make things interesting. Our boat isn't coming for another HOUR.
People who don't have to take a ferry to go everywhere don't quite understand the deep seeded irritation that a lot of us west coasters have for the ferry. They are often late, break down, are ridiculously expensive, and the schedules change often. If we could live where we do without a ferry, it would be perfect. As it is, we feel like we are being held hostage in a parking lot packed with cars and cranky travelers, with only vending machines and fast food options around us. Sure, there's an ocean view but we're quickly becoming too grouchy to appreciate it.
I'm hungry. There's a woman next to us holding a Subway sandwich, pop, and chips and my stomach growls angrily. I begin to fantasize what kind of sandwich it might be...Mmm...I love the honey oat bread with turkey, pepper jack cheese, veggies....
STOP. Must not think about the Subway sandwich. Wonder if she'd notice if it went missing? She's not even looking at it. Or eating it. The thing is just sitting there, inviting....
I walk away and try to distract myself with someone's cute puppy in a car nearby. It turns into a foot long before my eyes.
We could just walk down into the village and there's places there....
NO. Just, NO. We can do it. Gotta do it. It's the last day!
Visions of Subway sandwiches are still dancing in my head.
Finally, the ferry arrives and we board, thrilled that we are finally on our way. The smell of diesel and greasy french fries wafts down to the car deck, and Jake catches my eye as he makes a face.
"Eww. What's at home to eat, Mom? Please tell me there's food at home," I'm not sure if there is and rack my brain, trying to think about what might be there. I honestly can't remember.
"There's gotta be something in the freezer, Jake. Hang in there. It will be worth it, I promise."
The ferry ride seems to drag by slowly, but soon we are finally pulling into our driveway and unpacking the car. In the freezer I find some delicious Chicken Goulash, which is promptly heated up and spooned over whole wheat pasta. Greedily we dig in, heaving a collective sigh of..relief? No more searching for restaurants, creatively coming up with lunches in a parking lot, or scouring grocery stores to find something that fits our criteria.
Food Revolution Road Trip is OVER.
Or.... is it?