Oh Canada…

Yes! We’ve done it. We’ve  crossed the border into Canada and are now (given that we live in a trailer) home.

However, a bit of backtracking is in order. In the last post, we had left our town on the Pacific west coast of the Baja Peninsula, reunited with our caravan friends and travelled across the country to the Sea of Cortez on the east coast. Your last view of us was while we were kayaking across stingrays, lolling on a beautiful beach and preparing for an upcoming crossing into the United States.

Well, all of that has been accomplished. So now this is the story of a rather eventful trip from California to Canada which has left us weary and so oo glad to be “home”. Read on.

The first sensation on crossing from Mexico into the States was wow, look how clean it is. It’s amazing how downright beautiful pavement and grass can be. Sure, sand is great, but sand belongs on beaches, not in your hair, ears, bed, floor and food. And the trees. Even though we were only a few miles over the border, we were suddenly inundated with greenness, forest, leaves. Beautiful. The next sensation was, “Huh, it’s just boring around here. Where’s that lovable crazy Mexican attitude?” Here in the States, all the billboards were professional, all the signs were from real signmakers, the restaurants had all their walls and ceilings and everything was so ordinary. What the heck?  This sign from the main street in a town called Toto Santos was more like it:

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But, while this part of our travels might have felt familiar and clean, it sure wasn’t restful. The first in our string of “situations” was a dust storm. For awhile along the southernmost part of California near the city of Yuma, the trees disappeared to be replaced by  enormous sand dunes. Interesting scenery, but suddenly it became complicated when the wind came up. And up. Soon it was a howling, swirling devil which was capable of blowing clouds of sand in every direction. Before we knew it we were in a whiteout, no, a sandout  during which we sometimes couldn’t  see more than a few feet ahead. The Airstream was getting sandblasted, Jim was groaning as if it was pelting directly on his bare skin and all of this was occurring while we were on the first freeway (almost the first two- lane road) we’d seen in months. Yikes, what are we doing? Somebody, quick, find the nearest taco stand and bring out the Pacifico.

Well, finally we managed to get out of that storm and start to move north. But now the freeways around San Francisco and Saratoga started scaring the bejesus out of us with six or seven lanes and speeding drivers cutting in and out on a regular basis.  I couldn’t help but think longingly of those Mexican sand roads where the worst danger was getting stuck. Or the one highway that runs right down the whole length of the Baja Peninsula. One lane? Narrow roads? So what? Please God, get us off these freeways safely. If we stay alive until we hit Canada, I’ll quit drinking wine. Well, at least some wine. Honest.

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And then there was the rain. Lots of rain, wind, more rain,  small hail.  This was the state of things a lot of the way through Oregon. Again. Doesn’t it ever NOT rain or be cloudy in this state? However, we said to each other, we’re experienced with this now, we’ve been in lots of rain. Got ‘er aced. So on we went and along the way made a decision that ended up not working so well. Hey honey, let’s boondock all the way to Canada. Park in Walmarts and casinos and go without electricity or water in this pouring rain and wind, what the heck? We can do it. We’re tired of campsites. Let’s go.

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Well. The first night was great. We’d done this lots of times, no problem. Get out the candles and the bottled water. Use the battery and propane to run the furnace. This is fun!

On the second night, parked in the back lot of a huge casino, we noticed the battery was really low. What was going on? Oh well, only minimal use. Still, no problem.

On the third night, the battery numbers were fine when we stopped. But within half an hour, what, they’re down to nothing?? Now what? Suddenly we had no battery, no electricity, no solar power, no power whatsoever. Wow, was it cold and wet here. We spent that evening huddled under the down comforter. Not quite as much fun.

And the final “situation” – the toilet. It seems somewhere along the way, the seal had broken. The fumes started out mild, but quickly built to unbearable. This along with freezing cold and lots and lots of wet. Oh boy, the rain is turning to sleet. And look, there’s snow on those mountains. Omigod. What next?

Thank heavens, on the morning of the fourth day, we arrived at the Portland Airstream dealer. Never has a business or a service manager looked better. Jim gave the man who was helping us a long list of little things and a short list of “priorities”.  I was listening to their talking and loving it every time I heard, “Ok, sure, we can fix that” . Phew. Finally, it really was No Problem.

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And so, after a night spent in our almost repaired home parked in the Airstream lot with all the employees gone for the day (now that was fun!), we celebrated. Everything was almost fixed, we were still alive despite the freeways, and very close to home. This journey from Mexico to Canada was quite a trip. It seems this walking the edge can take many forms and this one wasn’t exactly the favorite. Ahh well, can’t win ’em all. Oh Canada, here we come.

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