Only One Border

Imagine everyone in the world agreeing to limit their long-distance travel to mitigate the problems associated with climate change. Specifically, imagine everyone agreeing to only cross one border whether state, provincial, or national, in their remaining days on earth.

For example, living in Western Washington State, I could choose to travel only to one of the following places for the rest of my life: Oregon; Idaho; or British Columbia, Canada.

Even though I was born in Idaho, I’m more familiar with and fond of Oregon and British Columbia. Which brings me to a very difficult decision. Oregon has an abundance of beautiful terrain to recommend it. And I still haven’t played Bandon Dunes or any of the adjacent courses. And of course there’s Shakespeare outdoors under the stars in Ashland, cycling in the high desert, running the Deschutes River trail, Batchelor, Hood, the Three Sisters, Crater Lake. Don’t just take my word for it, give this guy’s work a look-see.

Despite the difficulty knowing I will never cross the Columbia River again, I’m going north to British Columbia. For the rest of my life. As much as I like Oregon, I love British Columbia. Victoria, Vancouver, Whistler, the Okanogan Valley, Penticton. Barely scraping the surface of the southernmost part of the province has been enough to tip the balance.

The GalPal and I will stay here a few nights. Here too. And we’ll make regular visits to our private suite at the Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria.

Part of it is a feeling I get in B.C. I’m sure I idealize it, but I like knowing there’s less gun violence, a progressive head of state, a single payer health care system, and often a self-deprecating sense of humor. I hope some of my Washington State friends are down with my decision. It would be a lot more fun to have some company along for the many, many ferry and border crossings in my future.

 

Canada Overnight

Overcast skies and steady drizzle aside, I love living in the upper lefthand corner of the contiguous 48. Among the reasons, the proximity to British Columbia.

Most every summer, the GalPal and I cross the border, usually to spend a few days in Victoria. As a result, we’ve gotten to know it well. We usually go to a movie and a couple of restaurants we like and hit the Galloping Goose trail on bike or foot. The smell of marijuana doesn’t even phase us now. This time I learned what I thought was a napkin is actually a servette.

It’s five hours from our kitchen to the hotel lobby. Beautiful two and half hour drive along the Hood Canal, two hours on a ferry, and a half hour of standing in lines. We stay immediately across from the ferry at the Hotel Grand Pacific which has a nice athletic club in the basement including a 25 meter pool.

The roundtrip travel costs right around $100–$66 for the ferry, $12 for parking in Port Angeles, and around $22 for gas. We pack a lunch.

The HGP used to cost around $150/night, but this time it was $250. Decided to splurge since it was close to the anniversary and we were only staying for one night.

When I checked in they said, “We’ve complimentarily upgraded your room.” Sweet. I’m guessing they have a record of our stays. And I think there has been a dip in U.S. guests since the bump in their prices and our economic downturn and they probably want to generate positive buzz. Mission accomplished.

When we walked into the room, we started cracking up. This was no ordinary upgrade. We were living extremely large in the Malahat Suite. Three balconies provided a 270 degree view of the Harbour and Strait. Sunken tub, steam shower, upscale living room, two bathrooms, fire place, dining room table, music system with CDs, two flat screens, and on and on. We quickly spread out our stuff thinking someone would soon come to the door and say a mistake had been made.

We had dinner with friends from Winnipeg who were visiting Vancouver Island. We invited them back to our room afterwards. The reality of the suite exceeded even our glowing description, so when they entered, they also lost it.

I woke up early to watch the British Open which I love almost as much as the Malahat Suite. I’m sorry to report I was not able to find the Tour de France on the television so I had to watch Meet the Depressed during commercial breaks. I’m still assigning an “A”.

I assumed it was a $500/night suite. When I checked out I asked and was told $1k. That’s a stretch, but not out of the question.

When you stay there, tell them Ron Byrnes of Pressing Pause fame referred you. Anything you can do to increase the likelihood of future upgrades will be much appreciated because it’s going to be tough for the GalPal to ever enjoy a standard room again.

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