Piling on the miles

We arrived today in Vancouver, BC, after 2 1/4 days and 1,200 miles of driving. The allure of visiting with Eleanor, Kelsey, and Stephen was so strong we couldn’t take any longer to arrive. We had looked forward all Summer to seeing them. The seven-week Airstream caravan (Jul 5 – Aug 24) seemed a little longer to us because it was the only thing keeping us from being in Vancouver with them. Finally the caravan ended in Eureka, California and we started north to see Debbie’s 30 month old granddaughter, Eleanor.

First, though, we needed to take a two-week detour to Bakersfield to be with our good friends, Jerry and Ann. We had never towed the trailer over five hundred miles in a day and were facing 750 miles between Coos Bay, Oregon and Bakersfield, California. We were sure we could manage the fifteen hour drive since we both are experienced towing the Airstream. The drive turned out very well and we wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else than with our friends.

Ann and Jerry finally made their escape from Bakersfield back to Charlotte, NC last Friday. Their Airstream friends all regrouped and mapped out their respective trips from Bakersfield. The Williams and Welchs were glad to be able to caravan back east together. Deb and I looked at the almost 1,200 miles between us and the kids and decided we wanted to do it as quickly as we safely could. Two drivers on excellent roads, alternating responsibility for driving, could do this in one really long pull. But we prefer not to tow at night and didn’t need to push ourselves so hard.

Everywhere from Bakersfield to Redding was experiencing 100-plus degree temperatures so we decided we would drive north of Mt Shasta. The added elevation would almost guarantee much cooler day and night temperatures. We passed Mt Shasta well before sundown so decided to push on to Valley of the Rogue State Park in southern Oregon where we stayed several weeks earlier. The first day was an easy 600 mile trip rewarded with a nice, cool, and quiet campsite backing up to the Rogue River. This was our first time in two weeks with night-time temperatures below 75F.

Sunset from Larabee State Park

Sunset from Larabee State Park

We had less than 600 miles left to Vancouver. We could finish the trip in one more day. We definitely want to get past Seattle on Sunday instead of negotiating I-5 on Monday morning with a million commuters. And we could arrive in our urban Vancouver, BC RV resort Sunday evening and therefore skip business-day Vancouver traffic. But we don’t want to be tired when we cross the border into Canada. And our forwarded mail is waiting for us just below the Canadian border in Lynden, Washington. The post office won’t open until 8:00 Monday. Okay, we’ll overnight south of the border in a State Park on Bellingham Bay, Larrabee State Park.

We had another blessedly cool night, and this morning we washed the trailer, picked up our mail, topped off the gas tank with “cheap” American gas, stocked up on groceries, and crossed the Border midday. We arrived, after a short 112 mile day, in the early afternoon at Capilano RV Resort under Lions Gate Bridge in North Vancouver.

We never intended to drive such long distances each day. We’ve said it before and think we need to keep repeating it to ourselves and trying to commit ourselves to shorter driving days. There are so many interesting things to see almost everywhere. Why hurry? Why not see things the first time we enter an area instead of doubling back? If you’ve ever taken a plane trip to jump to a destination you already know the answer. You don’t always have the time to do the things you want, until you first do the things you need to. The slow trip is sometimes a luxury just out of our reach. We’re fortunate we can pile on the miles when we want to. And we’ll keep on saying, “Shorter driving days are good, shorter driving days are good”.

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