Friday, April 5, 2013

Pacific Northwest Circuit II

In March 2012 we drove west to Portland then up the coast and around the Olympic Peninsula, discovering many beautiful spots and great local beers along the way.  This year we decided on a slightly different route.

On Sunday we drove to Hood River, figuring that if nothing else we'd have a good meal at Full Sail and stay at Hood River Inn on the Columbia River.  We got a different room this time, #165, bigger, with a fireplace, but still on the first floor, right on the river.  The next day we drove to Gig Harbor, WA, and had dinner with a work colleague of mine who lives on Fox Island.  It was good to see Lars again and meet his family.  What a wonderful place to live.  We stayed at the Inn at Gig Harbor, and found Heritage Distillery, just opened in November 2012, right next door.  So of course we had a tiny taste of their gin.

On Tuesday we drove up the peninsula from Gig Harbor to Port Angeles, and took the ferry to Victoria, BC.  On Lars and Dawn's recommendation we stayed at the Pacific Grand Hotel, right next door to the houses of Parliament.  The room was very nice, and actually pretty reasonable.  We were on the 5th floor and had a partial view over the harbor.  That afternoon we walked around town, scouting out places to go the next day.  We ate dinner at Shima's on Wharf St.  Their sushi and sashimi platter was just the right size for the two of us.

Wednesday day we spent the whole morning at the Provincial Museum.  We've both been there before, but felt we'd never had time to see the whole thing.  So we took our time looking at everything.  There was a temporary exhibit of Wildlife Photographer of the Year pictures that I loved.  I'd still want to go again, but it was nice to not rush.

That afternoon we walked around town poking into shops.  We tried the oysters at Nautical Nelly's, and went into Roger's Chocolates.  I found a yarn shop, but a lot of the better souvenir stores I remembered have closed up.

On Thursday we went to Murchie's for breakfast, then checked out of our lovely hotel and drove north to the ferry terminal.  We took the ferry to Tsawassen, south of Vancouver.  We didn't know where we were going to stay, but thought we'd try a hotel at the University.  Unfortunately that didn't appear to be what the leaflet promised, so we drove into downtown (ugh).  Vancouver is much more crowded and developed than it was in 2005 when we were last there.  So we drove over Lions Gate Bridge into North Van and stayed at the same hotel we'd gone to in '05, on Capilano Drive.

That evening the last thing we wanted was to drive into downtown again, so we drove out to Horseshoe Bay and had dinner at The Boathouse.  It was really good.  We each had different kinds of salmon.  Friday we went to Granville Island to the Market.  The drive in went pretty quickly, thank goodness.  We had a great time walking around the Market and some of the shops nearby.  We bought cheese and bread for a picnic later.  I found Maiwa Supply and got some locally-dyed yarn.  Ken found their dyes and colors, and was able to get a few things he might use on violins.  We ate a late breakfast of Thai food, and visited Granville Island Brewing to sample a few things.

That afternoon we'd intended to go hiking in Capilano Regional Park, but the drive back north through downtown took two hours.  After sitting still in traffic for an hour we tried another route east and over another bridge.  We still went hiking but much later in the day than we'd planned.  It was still nice to get out and walk around.  Again we did not want to go back into town, so we found a place to eat in North Vancouver, Rockford's Wok, Grill & Bar.

The next morning we decided to head east on Hwy 3 along the Canadian border.  We stopped in Osoyoos for lunch, and crossed into the US on Hwy 395.  We reached Spokane that night.

Next day we drove south through Lewiston.  Ken surprised me with the view over the bluff down into the city and the river.  I'd never been there before, so we stopped at a viewpoint for photos.  Wow.

After coffee in Lewiston we headed on and got home around 5:30pm on Sunday.  It was a fun trip.  I really enjoyed Granville Island in Vancouver, and I'm sure there are lots of good museums and things to see, but looking back I think I'd rather have stayed in Victoria a bit longer.

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