T R I P   J O U R N A L

W E E K   # 2

DOWNTOWN SEATTLE - Monday, July 12, 2004

Today I spent the day in Seattle, WA, bopping around downtown on my mountain bike. During my tour I experience plenty of sights, sounds, and people. Two folks in particular, Alexander and Ted, are good sports and allow me to profile them on my website, the first two of my trip.

After my ride is complete the evening arrives and I settle in for some beer and music at the Hopvine Pub on 15th Avenue E. I stay at the bar until the wee hours of the morning then stumble back to the van to retire.

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ROAD TRIP TO SAN JUAN ISLANDS - Tuesday, July 13, 200

Today is a road trip day, I'm heading to an island paradise. Where is such a place in Washington State? Well, there are plenty of island paradises north of Seattle. The one I have my sights set on is San Juan Island. The goal of my visit is to do a bit of road biking.

From Seattle I drive up to Anacortes, WA to catch the ferry. The 60 minute ferry ride is both pleasurable and scenic. After unboarding on terra firma I drive around Friday Harbor, the port of call, for a little looksee. Once I get a fill my new surroundings, I find a suitable parking spot then settle in for the night. Tomorrow will be a big biking day, have plans to circumnavigate the island.

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SAN JUAN ISLAND - Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I wake to a picture perfect day; 75 degrees, partly sunny, calm. Today I have plans to bike the island's perimeter in a counterclockwise direction. In the end, the bike ride turns out to be nice and long, over 50 miles.

During my two wheeled island excursion I visit posh Roche Harbor followed by laid-back Snug Harbor, meet two sets of folks, Christine & Ingrid who are selling lemonade and cookies from a temporary roadside stand, then Paula and Rosemary, sisters who are touring the island. The island has a few interesting things up its sleave and reveals a few oddities to me as well.

After my bike ride I clean up then set out in search of some fun in Friday Harbor. I end up settling into Herb's Tavern for the evening, a noisy, smoky bar where I have my fill of beer, listen to karaoke, and play catchup with my website.

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ROAD TRIP TO VANCOUVER, BC - Thursday, July 15, 2004

Time to leave San Juan Island and drive up to Vancouver, British Columbia. I board the ferry a little before noon for the 60 minute ride back to the mainland. During the ferry ride, by coincidence, I run into Paula and Rosemary again. The boat ride is accompanied by foggy weather, but the boat stays afloat, for no icebergs are encountered during our water foray.

After reaching the mainland at Anacortes, WA, I make a beeline northward to Vancouver. On the drive up I find myself a little apprehensive about crossing the border, I don't want Canadian Customs to tear apart my van is search of illegal sundries. Not that I have anything to hide of course. At the border I do get the dreaded wave to pull aside for an inspection, but luckily it just involves a quick inspection with a scent dog. Having found nothing, they happily let me go. Yea!!!

I continue my way northward and reach Downtown Vancouver by nightfall. After buying a city street map and a little driving around, I find a great place to van-camp in, of all places, a multi-million dollar neighborhood. I may not be able to buy here, but at least I can camp here, street style!

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VANCOUVER WATERFRONT - Friday, July 16, 2004

My first full day in Canada! Funny, Canada is so much like the US, I don't feel at all like I'm in a different country. Vancouver is such a big city, there is no way I can see it all in just a few days, so I have to be selective in my venues.

My venue pick for today is Vancouver's Waterfront. To get there from my on-street campsite, I mountain bike a little ways to False Creek which is a harbor of sorts, home to a multitude of expensive yachts and other smaller watercraft. I ride along its northern shore, passing an impressive array of towering glass skyscrapers as I make my way to Stanley Park, a rather spacious park considering it's just a stone's throw away from the Vancouver Metropolis.

I do a once around the perimeter of Stanley Park, then relax to experience a colorful sunset from one of Vancouver's many sandy beachfronts. I then wander along Denman and Nelson Streets, where I run into Monica who gives me a tarot card reading.

I eventually grow weary and return back to the van late at night. Tomorrow is another day of touring, I have my sights set on Vancouver's Chinatown.

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VANCOUVER CHINATOWN - Saturday, July 17, 2004

Today I have plans to venture into the heart of Vancouver's Chinatown. After a satisfying breakfast of oatmeal and eggs, I mount my trusty mountain bike once again for another day of Vancouver adventure. After a few miles of riding, I find myself passing through an ornate entrance that ushers me into the heart of Chinatown. Comprising many square blocks of city real-estate, the Asian community quickly envelopes me, I actually feel like I'm in China (not that I've ever been to China, but it more than satisfies my imaginations of what it would be like).

Strange sights, sounds and smells abound. Both colorful and ornate, this little piece of China is not only alluring, it also harks back to perhaps a simplier time, to a place where people work together, love together, stay together. This is a "true" community. It promotes a warm feeling of welcome, even to an outsider such as myself.

After riding around for a bit, I decide to park the bike and tour Dr. Sun Yet-Sen Classical Chinese Park and Gardens. Turns out, the tour is both fascinating and educational. I really gain an appreciation for the subtle architectural affects of yin and yang, as eloquently played-out within the beautifully gardened environment.

After touring the gardens I head over to English Bay Beach to grab dinner. Soon the day relents to evening and after working on the website at a coffee shop for a few hours, I decide to head back to the van and call it a night.

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DAY OF REST - Sunday, July 18, 2004

Today I rest from the tourism bit, I spend the entire day couped up in the van travel writing. I figure it's better to stay cloistered in the van than wandering around Vancouver looking for a peaceful place to write. The temptation to goof off would be too great for me if I was away from the van, so, in the best interests of my travel writing, I staying put. You know, this trip of mine isn't all fun and games, although, I do have to admit, I do enjoy the writing aspect. So, maybe it is all play after all!

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Mount Chocorua, White Mountains, NH
Arches National Park, Moab, UT
Bed and Breadfast, Coochs Beach, Kennebunkport, ME
The Whitehouse, Washington, DC
Rose Parade, Pasadena, CA
Reflecting Pool, Washington, DC
The Jungle Room, Graceland Mansion, Memphis, TN
Crashing Waves, Mission Beach, CA
Somewhere in Northeastern Arizona
Hope Diamond, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC
Point Loma, CA
Glacier National Park, Logan Pass
Meteor Crater near Flagstaff, AZ
United States Botanic Gardens, Washington, DC