Our time in Seattle was coming to an end. Time to check out and start making our way to the Canadian border. It was Sunday morning so traffic was light. We made good time getting to the border, stopping every 50 miles or so. We've tried to make this the norm for the entire trip. stopping at least every fifty miles makes the ride a million times more enjoyable.
As we got closer to the border there are signs that tell you how long a wait you'll have at each of the 2 checkpoints. According to these signs there was a 20 minute wait for the main border crossing and a 5 minute wait at the alternate crossing. I'm in this for the full experience and heard the main border crossing was pretty nice so I figured what the heck, we had time. Sure enough, we got to the border and got in line. Within 2 minutes they opened up 2 more lines and we motored over to one of those. We were next to go and when our time came, we both started riding up together. All of the sudden the red light came back on and the customs agent's head poked out the window with her hand signaling the universal sign for STOP!!. She then held up one finger, indicating one-at-a-time!!! That's a first for me, but whatever. To me it would be no different than when you do customs at the airport. I've never had to go one at a time. You travel together, you see the customs agent together. I guess the difference here is the vehicle. But as you'll see later, when we came into the states, they told us to both come up together. Anyway, we made it through after each of us had to answer what I thought were a few too many questions (how long have you known each other?, did you just buy the bike, etc, etc).
We made it to the tsawwassen ferry and would have been able to hurry onto the 12 o'clock ferry, but elected to wait for the 1 o'clock ferry instead. It's a bigger, nicer ferry so why not.
So, If you knew Stephanie as well as I do, you'd realize that she's as much a savage as she is beautiful. What I mean is that she's a bit rough on her things. To prove this, as she's on the phone with AT&T, drinking a coffee, grabbing her helmet AND carrying her camera (with my lens on it), she dropped it like a sack of potatoes!!! I sat there looking at it for a second. I obviously wasn't happy but just picked it up and headed out. They had just called everyone to their vehicles and we were spposed to board first. The camera had a small hairline crack on the corner but was otherwise ok......so far.
We waited there for a few minutes until they signaled to us to board. I was first on with Stephanie behind me and another 6-7 bikes behind her. We were directed to our spots along the right side of the ship (marked similarly to curbside motorcycle parking spaces). They provide you with these step-down blocks which you place on the right side of the bike, under and next to the engine case. It's stepped down to provide for varying motorcycle clearances/heights. Pretty good idea and one the Washington state ferries could definitely borrow.
We took this ferry ride once before but without a vehicle. These ferries are without a doubt, nice. There is also a lounge in the back of the boat that you can pay a small fee to get into. I can see why you would bypass paying this if you commute often to Victoria, but if you're going just to visit like we are, I say screw it and pay the $12 admission. No screaming kids, no crowds......quiet, spacious, with tv and snacks. Not to mention we were able to go get food downstairs and bring it in there.
The rest of the trip was uneventful and once we were within 15 minutes of the port we were called to go to our bikes. We docked and rode off, heading towards the hotel, the hotel Oswego. It's centrally located, just a block from the harbor. The hotel apparently is also a timeshare type place. I worked my magic and got another room upgrade. The hotel is nice, but with the exception of the lady that checked us in, the rest of the staff was a bit standoff-ish and had an attitude of everything being a bother. We walked in and out several times with nobody even greeting us. Other than that, the room was great and we scored again with the parking. Undergoing and gated!!
A quick note about the people in Victoria. The atitude of the people at the hotel Oswego is definitely not indicative of the rest of thr people in Victoria. Honestly, this is a place I could live in. The town is beautiful and the people are very friendly. We really enjoy going there and look forward to going back. Just won't be to that hotel.
To continue.......After showering and changing we headed out for a snack. We found a cafe right by the harbor and got a sandwhich and a chili. Both were pretty good. From there we walked around the downtown a bit. This guy was on his bachelor party trip with his buddies. I told him it was all fun and games until someone ends up on the internet...and here he is, on the Internet:
We headed back to the hotel to shower and change for dinner. Since it was getting late and our options were limited we decided on a place called the Keg, which we learned was a chain of restaurants in Canada. it was raining a bit as we walked out into the street so we went back in and borrowed umbrellas from the hotel, just in case. Luckily it was just a sprinkle and it let up. There would be no need for them other than for a pimp-like gate.
It was a short walk to the restaurant. It was nice, well appointed place and the food definitely hit the spot. Since it is a steak house after all, we both ordered the NY Strip steak. No complaints from either of us. The whole meal was very good and the service from our waitress was equally good. We passed on desert and headed off to our hotel for some much needed sleep.
(more to come...)