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Old 08-25-2015, 09:39 AM   #239
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We arrived at West Bay Marine CG at noon yesterday—it took 2 hours to go 35 miles. Victoria is very busy and growing and now has an obscure parking meter system downtown that confuses us. Evan and Jane picked us up at our trailer and we spent a very pleasant evening together. We last saw them 5 years ago in Moab, Utah. We went to Il Terrazo in Victoria and then Evan drove us around downtown helping us better understand where things are. The wind was blowing from the west and it was quite cool. I don't know why it was blowing from the west, but the smoke had apparently blown back to where it came from. We capped off the evening sitting in our trailer and telling stories and finding out how similar we were.

The most memorable and pleasant parts of our quest story have been spending time with people I met through the Forum. Like every quest story, it has featured challenges, illness, fighting evil, enlightenment and forging life-long friendships.

Today we find a way to get to downtown. A water taxi appears to be quite expensive, a walk quite long and driving doesn't seem to be anything but difficult. Though the ferry back to Pt. Angeles is quite close, it may take an hour to drive there in 2 days. We want to see the renowned museum, the old and very Canadian hotel (steep copper roof now green) quaint streets. The CG is very busy with houseboats tied up along part of the shore—they are 2 or 3 stories high, boxy and look very unseaworthy. Adequate and there is a price for everything from showers to wifi. I'm getting Verizon wifi which is expensive and impossible to tell just how many Mb. I am using (it is part of the evil faced on a quest).

Gene
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Old 08-26-2015, 12:36 AM   #240
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Last night we spent the evening with Evan (eheffa on the Forum) and Jane. We hadn't seen them in 5 years, but it was like we'd seen good friends last week. Had a good dinner at a downtown Victoria restaurant (Il Terrazo), got a tour of downtown and then came back to the trailer and talked and talked. Great to see them and find out how much we had in common. They just returned from Alaska and we compared notes. We hope they can visit Colorado, but both are medical professionals and very busy.

Today we took the water taxi into downtown, walked a lot, saw the parliament building (technically the legislature; "parliament" is the national legislature in Ottawa), a late Victorian building with much artful detail and then went to the provincial museum. Very good museum with lots on BC Indian language, culture and art plus stuff on early settlement of BC and the role of gold worldwide. Very interesting, but my back doesn't like me stranding and reading and viewing the displays. I experienced great pain and Barb was very worried, but I pressed on for 4 hours. She helps me a lot and I try to reassure her that while I hurt, I want to stay active and so I do. Took the water taxi back all the way (saved $10 going to town by walking half a mile extra, but couldn't do that going back. After a two hour nap, I felt normal for me. Aging is not fun, but you have to keep moving or you are consigned to the couch and decline.

Tomorrow we do a test drive to the ferry terminal to see how long it will take and tour more of the area. Hope to see Chinatown and Old Town and now know how to find parking garages and not have to deal with the dumb parking meter system here. Then upon return we will start preparing for hitching up early Thursday and going to the terminal and face the US customs and immigration fruit police who mostly have bad attitudes and suspect all us bearded men of criminality. A week and we are home and back in our grove of remodeling and our version of normality.

I have scores of photos and will wait 'til I can upload in Wash. and Oregon.

Gene
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Old 08-26-2015, 07:29 AM   #241
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canoe cafe for a lunch is worthy. the Provential museum is a must with revolving exhibits, we often ride the black ball across as walk ons and spend the day. Victoria Iron is also an interesting place to look in to. a sort of one stop shopping experience from way back when. lots of other things you can walk to so your vehicle will be best left at the CG. does the small water taxi stop at that campground?? if not you can walk along the water until you find a stop that they make. your host should be able to answer that question for you.
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:40 AM   #242
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That old hotel with the green roof is The Empress, one of the signature CP (Canadian Pacific) hotels. A Victoria harbour icon. However, I've always found it stuffy and over-priced.....and the management is not fond of beards either. (My sister, along with her bearded purse-carrying companion and yours truly were "overlooked" while standing in the afternoon tea que).

This is what we were after.....but never did get.
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Old 08-26-2015, 01:16 PM   #243
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We aren't sure what to do with our one remaining lemon. Maybe we can mail it to ourselves. Otherwise we are pretty much out of food—that will be a great disappointment to the fruit police. As for my beard, I am getting a Santa Claus suit and tell them I am bringing Labo(u)r Day gifts to America's children to make up for no food stamps, low wages and no more Social Security. The gifts will be Landed Immigrant status in Canada.

Cool and less humid today. Canadian TV anchors seem confused about the shootings in Virginia this morning—just normal for us.

Gene
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Old 08-26-2015, 02:32 PM   #244
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We aren't sure what to do with our one remaining lemon. Maybe we can mail it to ourselves. Otherwise we are pretty much out of food—that will be a great disappointment to the fruit police. As for my beard, I am getting a Santa Claus suit and tell them I am bringing Labo(u)r Day gifts to America's children to make up for no food stamps, low wages and no more Social Security. The gifts will be Landed Immigrant status in Canada.



Cool and less humid today. Canadian TV anchors seem confused about the shootings in Virginia this morning—just normal for us.



Gene

The fruit police captured my wife and I at Coutts, Montana in the winter of 2012. My Jeep was loaded to the gills because we had just spent a month in Alberta without the Airstream and we no longer have any idea on how to travel without a copious volume of space for my wife's stuff. The nice border security agent asked why we had such an overly packed Jeep and I thought I had best keep quiet since it was a no win situation. "Do you have anything to declare?" "No." "Go over there please". We were shuffled off to a nice warm building where two Border Security Agents, complete with enough weapons, vests and paraphernalia, to protect the Capital, emptied the contents of the Jeep onto several tables. "Are these two oranges yours? (excellent oranges from California) Yes, I forgot I had them." We got a lecture for about 20 minutes, mostly about all the awful things they could do to us. I apologized for my forgetfulness and they allowed us to repack the Jeep. Cost us an hour of time. Throw out the lemon. Jim


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Old 08-26-2015, 06:26 PM   #245
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OK, so I gotta ask........what is the weird fixation with the Frontier Guards and citrus fruits? Is it an excuse to look for other stuff? Or are some folks just on a little bit of a power trip?? I don't get it.

Dazed and confused,

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Old 08-26-2015, 06:59 PM   #246
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OK, so I gotta ask........what is the weird fixation with the Frontier Guards and citrus fruits? Is it an excuse to look for other stuff? Or are some folks just on a little bit of a power trip?? I don't get it.



Dazed and confused,



Jim

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Old 08-26-2015, 07:38 PM   #247
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Some fruit may harbor pests and crash the California fruit growers who aren't growing much anyway because of the drought plus we're all taking fruit to eat ourselves and not throw into an orange grove. No doubt they are afraid Canada fruit (which comes almost exclusively from the US and Chile (Chile fruit is ok in the US) will end Californians ability to sell rock hard, tasteless fruit in the US. The good stuff goes to Canada where we see really good fruit in the stores, even in towns as far north as Whitehorse, Yukon. Plus, they are on a power trip. There are a lot of newbies in the US Fruit Police and they seem to think being tough and nasty shows they are doing their job. They are unable to say simple things like "hello" or "welcome back home" because that would show vulnerability. Some of the older ones are nice, but they are greatly outnumbered. Congress keeps authorizing more and more Fruit Police to keep out people from the southern border who aren't coming here anyway and the excess Fruit Police are stationed on the Canada border where they have nothing to do but harass people over fruit. At least they could install a car wash on those massive yellow radiation detectors. They say you can leave the fruit labels on fruit so they know it came from an ok place, but how do you properly wash fruit with paper stickers on it (some don't even have the stickers on them?

We did a test drive to the ferry terminal and it took 11 minutes. Tomorrow we leave at rush hour and have to cross a bridge that hopefully will not be up and that could make us apply for Landed Immigrant (or is it Emigrant?) status—like a green card. Maybe we'll give them the lemon and that will convince them we are good citizens. Then we went to Chinatown and ate at Don Mee's restaurant. Very good flavors and blends—much better than any restaurant in Grand Jct. The waiter used to own his own place, sold it and has been helping out his friend for 5 years. Very good waiter who helped me at getting just what I wanted. It was second floor restaurant in business for 96 years. Reminded me of the first Chinese restaurant I ever went to during WW II in New York's Chinatown.

Walked around and then had to get out of the parking garage ("parkade" here). Because Canadians generally have smaller cars and trucks than we have, the spaces are narrow for a full sized pickup. If I were in a parking garage chase movie, I'd leave fenders all along the way out. Barb went to the Hudson's Bay Co. to shop and I read all about vampires in LaPush, Wash. in some tourist brochure (from some movies I never wanted to see). Now we're getting the rig ready to get out fast in the morning.

Other details: the restaurant we went to the other night was spelled "Il Terrazzo", two zeds, not one. Gaby's Restaurant at WestBay Marine is pretty good for breakfast and has the best wifi for free you can imagine. When at French Beach I did pick up a Verizon tower across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but here in Victoria, can't. Speed limits are low by southwest US standards, but unlike years ago, Canadians don't pay attention to them. But they do stop for pedestrians and travel around city streets is very slow. Downtown, there are buskers in the tourist areas and when you walk in front of them (where else can you go?—crowds block most of the way), they insult you just like in Key West. Sitting on a bench, a tourist information lady came up to us to ask whether we needed any information—we didn't, but had a good time talking to her. She is as intimidated by the new parking meters as we are. At the legislative building, a woman dressed as Queen Victoria (short and stocky like Victoria was) does a turn for the tourists. I asked her for a knighthood, but she declined. Though Victoria is the most British part of Canada, it feels like it is being Americanized. The bridge we go over tomorrow will be replaced by a very expensive one years behind schedule. The steel they bought from China was subpar and they had to get new, good steel and that added years and many dollars. And we heard about the helicopter pilot who once worked for The Donald—we were told by our very reliable informant that The Donald's helicopter was adorned with porn inside. And if all the people who we spoke to about the Canadian election are going to vote, the present PM (who they all hate) will lose in a landslide. People here are just as disgusted with politicians as in the US—big change may be ahead in both countries if people who have given up do vote this time.

Gene
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Old 08-27-2015, 11:53 PM   #248
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This morning it took 17 minutes to get to the ferry terminal compared to 11 the day before. None of the paranoid fantasies I had did happen—cars blowing up, earthquakes, the bridge was up, then collapsed and monumental gridlock. Most of the time we waited. Finally Fruit Police came, looked at our passports and had us fill out a simple form (name, date of birth, gender, citizenship) and told one of us to get on line at a building to have our passports scanned. He said no fruits or vegetables which contradicted what it said in the building or on the internet. We wanted to give him our lemon which has started to get some mold, but he said to throw it away on the ferry (we did), but miraculously blueberries appeared in the fridge once we were on the road. No one actually asked us what we had in food. An uneventful crossing on calm waters and we went through the radiation detector. A Fruit Cop was waiting and mumbled to me to stop, then chastised me for not stopping exactly where he wanted—two feet off. I told him (he had an accent) I didn't understand him; he laughed then mumbled something like "no mumble, mumble, 10,000 dollars, mumble, mumble" (with an accent) and I laughed "no $10,000 dollars". He asked if we bought anything and we showed him a list; that was fine. He said to go on and we were back in the US unharmed.

We filled up with $2.94 gas instead of $5.00 Cdn. gas and drove on. US 101 to and down the coast is a tree tunnel (except where there are numerous clear cuts). The weather was cool and tonight there is much hoped for rain. We are at Hoquiam CG, fairly tight (but all CG's are tight except at parks), but everything works though the ok wifi died. Watching CBC news after watching US TV earlier. Both feel like home. We don't have to use math to figure out the signs and we are going home, though many miles to go. We go down the coast for two days (Wash. 101 is mostly inland). Feels good.

Gene
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Old 08-28-2015, 07:29 AM   #249
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Hi, Gene; we are now border gun-shy. We now stay clear of the sacred white line and wait for the signal for us to move. We noticed the border guards stick their hands out of the booth and wave you on. Not wanting to get in trouble, we wait until the border guards get completely out of their booth, and have actual eye contact with us, before we pull forward. Lee said that the guards now wave vigorously at us before we move.
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Old 08-28-2015, 08:42 AM   #250
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That isn't "waving" Bob, those are hand signals to a corps of Fruit Police. The hand signals say: "Here comes today's bearded terrorist". You just can't get a break in Canada. We've had good times and met many nice people in Canada, though Vancouver Is. seems a bit Americanized—heavy traffic, expensive, fees for everything, constant construction, and some people aren't so nice. We visited Montreal years ago and didn't find it all that interesting and weren't really clear on where we were at any one time.

Glad to read Bar Harbor was a good stop for you. I've always wanted to go to the northern tip of Maine just because it is there and be at mile zero of US 1 (been to mile zero of US 1 in Key West and both mile zeros of the TCH). We've been to mile zero of US 101 in Olympia, but probably not the southern end. Once you've been to the end of Maine, the temptation to go New Brunswick, then Nova Scotia and onward may be too much to resist.

Gene
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:46 AM   #251
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Somebody has to come up with things for the border patrol to do. When the Mad Cow thing was going on it was beef products. No one took the time to think about it because if they had it would be plain that the stuff they were concerned about was still present in my bowels and would be left in the States if I had eaten any beef in the last 2 days.
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Old 08-28-2015, 11:49 AM   #252
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Somebody has to come up with things for the border patrol to do. When the Mad Cow thing was going on it was beef products. No one took the time to think about it because if they had it would be plain that the stuff they were concerned about was still present in my bowels and would be left in the States if I had eaten any beef in the last 2 days.
I hope the beef industry in the US is not feeding their stock something that contains ingredients that were once in some trans-border crossing human's bowels. However, if proven true, that would greatly reinforce my already strongly held conviction to never again eat red meat.

Although, I guess there is the possibility that crossing into the US from Canada may induce an uncontrollable urge to poop in the nearest cow pasture.

Gene, did you feel that urge?

Ken
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