We spent the first 2 weeks of January getting ready to depart. Actually, we scrambled to complete what we needed to while making time to spend with family and friends. Why is it that regardless of the amount of time we have to prepare for a journey, the last few weeks are always crazy? Why do we always leave exhausted?
We outfitted our motorhome with the essentials, working off an inventory of the S&M Motel that we compiled before leaving Europe. Diane bought those items that she could from charity stores (pots, utensils, cups, etc.) We retrieved what we could from our storage locker, but were restricted to items in the first 10 feet due an impenetrable maze of interlocking furniture and persistent wet weather. We frequented dollar stores to find storage containers, wine glasses, and other odds and ends. We bought one set of sheets and a comforter from our niece Dara’s shop.
We loaded our motorhome in the driveway of Diane’s brother Wayne’s house, where we had stayed during our intermission back in Canada (in the house, not in the driveway).
Basically, we tried to get the essentials before leaving home, but left the non-critical and more expensive items to acquire in the United States along the way, hopefully at a lower cost.
We had planned to leave on January 14th, but stayed an extra day to support a friend. We had our last early morning coffee with our sister-in-law Tania, and began our final packing and preparations. We wanted to get on the road as early as possible, but as usual, things were taking longer than planned. We switched from careful packing to a stuff-and-go strategy. I really didn’t want to still be there when Tania got home from work! We finally got going around 2:30 PM and went first to our storage locker to drop some things off, then to our house to pick up some mail, and finally to a bike store in Langley to buy a cover for the bikes on our rear bike rack. It turned out that in order to install the cover we had to remove both the bikes and the rack. And so it was that I found myself kneeling in a parking lot at 5 PM in the dark under a light drizzle, wondering if we’d ever get on the road.
With the dark gray bike cover on, we found that our license plate and tail lights were completely hidden. We couldn’t do anything about this safety hazard (and guaranteed ticket generator) at the time, but apparently we thought that yelling at each other in the parking lot might help. We did drive to The Unique World of Princess Auto to buy a reflective safety triangle, similar to what was on the back of the S&M Motel, then I went back in to the store to buy some duct tape to attach it. I mistakenly bought camouflage duct tape, and the irony of attaching a high-visibility reflector with camouflage tape was not lost on me.
At 7 PM we crossed the border into the United States. I thought there was a good chance we’d be stopped there because our license plate and tail lights weren’t visible. Fortunately the cameras at the border that read license plates are at the front. We crossed successfully, and drove south on I-5 for a couple of hours, stopping at the Walmart in Lynnwood where I’d stayed a couple of weeks earlier. It was late, and our RV was still winterized, so we went out for dinner to the 13th Avenue Pub & Eatery for our first greasy, delicious American meal (Philly cheese steaks and beer!)