Road Trip Wrap-Up

The last days of our trip were hectic, and I didn’t get a chance to write about them.

In Kelowna for one night, we didn’t have time to do anything fancy about dining out. We walked to Cactus Club Cafe. I don’t usually write up chain restaurants, because we’re more into finding the unusual or at least the individual. However, I will say that after visiting the franchise wasteland that is Federal Way, Washington, the restaurant scene in Kelowna was a breath of fresh air, even in the mass-market vicinity of the airport. The Cactus Club was comfortable and the food was quite good. The ceviche was nice; refreshing and delicate. I made one last attempt to have salmon on this trip, but they had just run out. I had the Ahi Tuna Club instead, and enjoyed it even though I ordered it without bacon. Caroline ordered the fish tacos. They were large, and she could only eat one. For wine we ordered something called Feenie Goes Haywire. It’s an odd blend of white grapes conceived by the company chef, but quite enjoyable.

Tuesday we slept in a bit, and the hotel’s breakfast buffet was packed. We drove to Cora’s, because you can get fresh fruit there, and we were craving.

Went for a walk, packed up and drove to the airport for our afternoon departure to Winnipeg. Car return was a snap. Check-in was fine. Once again, my suitcase weighed exactly fifty pounds. Robert J. Sawyer, this is your fault: I must not buy hardcovers for you to autograph when I have to fly. If I hadn’t ditched some toiletries, I’d have been paying an overweight baggage premium because of Quantum Night.

Security was lined up, and I managed to get myself singled out for an X-ray. They spotted something at my right hip, which was a loonie I had overlooked when emptying my pockets, and something in my left armpit area. I believe that was my stents. They don’t show on a metal scan, because titanium is not a ferrous metal. An X-ray, however, could detect them. Total Recall, anyone?

Airport food. Num. Boarding began early, but went on and on. I suspect some of the last to arrive were delayed by the long lines at security.

Jonathan was waiting for us in Winnipeg, so that was easy. He and Caroline went for pizza after dropping me off at my critique group for the monthly meeting. Yay, no late-night drive or work the next morning!

Drove to Kenora Wednesday, arriving home shortly after noon.

I’m going to sneak in one more book recommendation here. I mentioned Arabella of Mars the other day, and I actually read the whole thing while we were in Portland, which is home to the author, David D. Levine. He, however, was off at WorldCon, signing autographs and receiving much love for his book. I thoroughly enjoyed this Young Adult Spec Fic tale that mashes up Age of Sail, Clockwork, and Martians. You might want to check it out.

I’ll be back to work next week, and then next month we’ll be taking a long weekend to visit Ottawa for Can*Con 2016. I’ll be moderating a panel about exciting new books in different sub-genres, and I should be on the schedule for a reading, too. With the release of Avians less than a year away, I’ll be on the hunt for book reviewers that lean towards YA and SF.

 

Seattle to Kelowna

Federal Way is south of Seattle, so our clever plan was to wait until the morning rush-hour was dying down, and then get going in time for a late lunch in Merritt, BC, where Caroline has family.

It worked, mostly. With two of us in the car, we could use the HOV lane, which had lighter traffic and sometimes higher speed limits, and we got past the city in an hour or so.

Border crossing was okay. Advance signs said five minutes for customs, which was like the trip south: no line at all. Well, no. It was twenty-five minutes, but aside from the line, no hassle. Apart from three bottles of wine, which are duty-free, we spent just five dollars in the US on things that we brought home. To wit, some stainless steel coffee filters for my Keurig. I have one, and it lets me to use my own coffee beans, but it allows grounds into the mug. My exciting new five dollar filters have lids. We’ll see.

Side note. Drive-through espresso shacks have the best names/worst puns in America. Case in point: Brewed Awakenings. My favourite from this trip.

Nice lunch in Merritt, at Lynda’s Cafe. Full disclosure: I am related by marriage to owners. Still, good burgers, soup and fries.

Pulled in at hotel just before 17:00, so the drive was a full day’s work. Now laundry, then late supper.

Kelowna to Seattle

You can get a t-shirt that says you drove the Coquihalla. I have no idea why. Caroline has made me drive over every mountain she can find, and the Coquihalla is a piece of cake.

Lunch in Hope, at 293 Wallace. Fabulous burger, delicious salad. Full marks.

Road coffee from Jungle Juice down the block. New-wavy atmosphere offset by AC/DC on stereo at till. Manager formerly from Winnipeg. French Press dark roast with Almond milk. Best coffee this year. Yes, seriously. Wish I knew what it was, I’d buy every bean.

Border crossing very quick: Pleasure, Portland, one week. No fruit, one bottle of wine. Thank you, you too.

Seattle, at the start of rush hour? That, I want a t-shirt for. Dingbat kept us in the right lane as the I-5 tried to fake him out by designating random lanes as mandatory exits, with emergency vehicles as wild cards to keep you from sitting in the middle.