So, Calgary is off up the Trans-Canadian Highway running east. A quick look at this route would give about a thousand kilometres of mountains and rich valleys, and places called Chilliwack, Hope and Kamloops. Who wouldn’t want to visit these places?
Instead, I venture out of Vancouver and head south through Surrey, which reminds me of where I started, and through White Rock and Blaine. White rock is named, strangely enough, for the huge rock stuck in the beach near the promenade. This is a great example of what’s called a glacial erratic, brought here by the last glaciation. This granite boulder weighs a staggering 486 tonnes, but gets its name from the seabird deposits that covered the rock, although now a coat of white paint each month does most of the work.
I head south on route 5, stop for a short while to go through the border in the US, and then pass through Blaine and past Ferndale. Canadians and Americans can pass easily from either direction, unless you have a criminal record, where things get a little more formal. In many cases, all the locals need is a valid driving licence and wave of a passport, much as we have in Europe. As a visitor, I can get by on a short stay visa, but this is not a great deal and easily arranged before I get here. I carry on. It’s a gentle, patchwork scene on both sides of the highway and there’s a simplicity to the roads and houses. Bellingham arrives in no time at all.
The name of Bellingham is derived from the bay on which the city is situated. George Vancouver, who visited the area in June 1792, named the bay for Sir William Bellingham, the controller of the storekeeper’s account of the Royal Navy.
Bellingham around 1909.
I stop off near the sea front for a walk and a bit of lunch. As would be expected, there is plenty of seafood on offer and stop off at the Fino Wine bar to take in the view and have a little something medicinal. Each table has a set of binoculars, which I use to watch the birds on the wet sand. A nice thought.
Back in the camper, I head back onto the highway for Seattle. The trip down is only another hour or so, and I pass over countless river tributaries and sand banks. This is a gentle place and could be a little warmer, but it is April. As I drive in I can see the Space Needle, probably the most recognisable landmark in the city. No need to sleep in the camper tonight. I have booked a room at the Hotel Five for $87, on 5th Avenue, that includes breakfast. Not only does it have ample parking for my lovely companion, but they have free bicycles to use in the downtown area. Just what I need to take a look around the area for an hour or so.
I get something simple for dinner and retire to my room and the large flat screen as a friend. I’ll take a couple of hours in the morning to have a look around, and then head south to my next destination.