This quote was in a card from Pete's sister in June wishing us "safety, laughter, comfort, and an amazing life experience." She was the first family member to see our new home, and she was also visiting us in the Pacific Northwest for our most trying, tragic, and difficult week of the trip. How bad was it?
1.) On Saturday night, we missed the ferry in Victoria Island (Canada). We were told the last ferry left at 10pm when in fact the last ferry out was 9pm. We were also told this happens all the time and we were about the 14th group to miss it (how is this a thing Canada!?!?!?) The next boat out wasn't until 7am the following morning. So we were outside the US, with no hotel room, and Pete's dog, Lily, was back in Vancouver in the RV. It wasn't pretty or easy working through the details of finding a Motel 6 type room, getting Lily fed and walked with us across the border and stuck on an island; all the while being tagged as the most rambunctious crew to have missed the ferry to date. #USA (side note: Victoria is beautiful and we had a great time except for their ferry system.)
2.) We missed another ferry once we got back to the states...our stellar ferry luck continues. But the ferry to Friday Harbour in the San Juan Islands was cancelled because of Coast Guard violations. And we had to take that 9am ferry for our 6hr kayak adventure with killer whales.
3.) We got on a later ferry, rearranged the times for our kayak tour, only to see ZERO orcas. This was the one thing Pete had been looking forward to since the start of our trip. And apparently a pod of about 70 whales were just in the area the night before.
4.) En route from Vancouver (BC) to Seattle (Washington), we were detained for 2 hours due to radiation detection at US Customs. After two hours of trying to figure out if someone had put a bomb on our RV in Canada, turns out our water tank was contaminated with well water that had radiation.
5.) Finally, back in the states, we head home later that week for a wedding in Charleston, SC. As I am connecting on my flight in DC on Thursday from Portland, Oregon, I get a call that the wedding is cancelled because of Hurricane Irma.
6.) While on our weekend trip to SC, we left the Jeep and RV to be serviced. We come back to the news that we need over $2,500 in work to fix the front end suspension on the Jeep and flush the radiation and all tanks in the RV.
7.) Lily gets kennel cough from being boarded for the weekend.
Pete provides a similar list to his dad, to which he responds, "What...did you think everything was going to be perfect." And is it bad we both look at each other and think, "Yeah, kinda"?!?
And then I think, that is life. And beyond that...it's also nature. While stuck in Oregon for an extra week because of the car repairs, we were in the Portland Metro area, the air filled with smoke every day because of a 1,500 acre wild fire. Our next stop in Oregon, the beautiful coast, brought four straight days of rain. And our selfish nature is so bummed that we can't hike Multnomah Falls because of the fires, or that we can't get Instagram pictures of the coast because of the rain. Yet I am reminded on our Wine Tour in Willamette Valley; how this 150 miles of land in Oregon, described in the 1800's as the land of milk and honey, is now world famous for it's Pinot Noir production. This distinct area of land, in the valleys of mountain ranges near the coast, is perfect soil due to a glacier from Montana that dropped, causing mudslides into the Pacific that in turn caused tsunamis which brought sedimentary soil to the area. Without this tsunami years and years ago, there would be no Oregon famous Pinot. Or as we learned in a few of our recent national park visits; that many of the forest out West require heat from fire to regenerate. Sometimes bad is needed for even better good. Sometimes bad things happen for growth. And sometimes bad days mean only better days to come.
So in the grand scheme of things, despite Canadian customs and car troubles and no whales, missing ferries and kennel cough; we got to kayak in the Pacific Ocean, be with family for an intimate wedding not in Hurricane Irma's path, see a sunset on our last day on the Oregon coast, and witness the most beautiful untouched snow at Crater Lake National Park. The snow wasn't brown from city traffic. There weren't even footprints. It was a perfect "man hasn't touched this yet" scenery. And despite multiple wildfires in the Crater Lake area, the cold weather from the snow lifted the smoke enough for us to get a perfect view of the country's deepest lake, around 1,900 feet. Nature hadn't failed us! And at the end of the day, as I feel the snow fall on my face, and watch the sunset on the coast, I am reminded that life is good. We have stayed safe, felt comfort in our RV home, laughed, and had an amazing life experience (thanks Amber!)