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Oh Canada!

Here we go again. In 2020, Pre-Covid, Darin and I attempted to enter Canada to no avail. Since then it has been our goal to make it across that border. Of course being that it is December we are watching the weather and reading some of the border crossing news to try to get in before the borders close again due to Covid.

We left Long Beach, Washington after only one cold and rainy night and headed NE to Port Orchard.

Once there, we were able to conduct a little business, see a couple of friends and make some plans for our next home base. Our next home will need a major overhaul before we move in. We are now in the planning stage of how to remodel the house. That is why we have loaded the van and started our new Nomadic life.

After talking with the city regarding permits and getting some preliminary plans in place, we hit the road again headed north to Bellingham. This is family time! My little brother, Nigel, is an excellent outdoor cook. When he finds a hobby, he is all in. Look at this fabulous Rib Roast. He set that up on the spit and we drooled for two hours watching it cook.

This was without a doubt the best prime rib I've ever had. Once we recovered from the meat overdose. We started killing Zombies. Nigel and Kathy introduced us to VR last year, so of course, Darin and I each got an Oculus Quest 2 headset. It is murder and mayhem at it's finest. Arizona Sunshine and After the Fall are my personal favorites.

Now let's attempt that border crossing. After lots of food and laughter we packed up and headed toward Canada. I had downloaded the ArriveCAN app and entered our VAX info. We should be good to go since we have a letter of approval from the Consulate.

The border agent set us straight on that right away. The app wasn't completed and we need a negative Covid Test.

Oh, all of this is to be done within 72 hours of attempting to enter. Our first attempt we learned we needed a letter approving us to enter, why you ask? Misguided youth.

Let's track down a testing site. Locally - there were no available appointments. We drove back to Bellingham to a walk-in testing site, the $190 sticker price was a bit of a shock. So we went to another testing site, $165, nope. Finally we found a Kaiser about an hour south and walked right in for a test. Results not available for 48-72 hours. Hmmm, will that work?

A new obstacle in our path reared it's ugly head when we tried to access our test results. Our Kaiser app strangely didn't work and customer service recommended we go to a Kaiser location to get a print out. So, bright and early on Christmas Eve we head over to the Bellingham Kaiser Pharmacy and asked them to print the results. Without boring you with the details of how strange that was, I'll just say we got what we asked for.

We arrived at the border at 10:30am, the border agent was very efficient and straight forward. Darin usually cracks inappropriate jokes when possible but thankfully he bit his tongue and just answered the questions asked. The border agent radioed for something we could not quite understand, then asked us how long we plan to visit. Before we could answer, he said, "Bye", and handed us our passports. We drove across the border. And just like that, we were in Canada.

After reading up about entering Canada, we knew we had to have a plan to quarantine if we were asked for one. So, I had reserved 14 nights at the one and only Thousand Trails I have found in Canada. Thousand Trails Cultus Lake is only an hour from the border crossing. After stopping at the grocery store and stocking up we headed for the lake to check in. I have to say, we had more trouble getting in the campground than we did crossing the border. Guest services was closed, no one was manning the gate and we had no idea how we were supposed to get past the gate. Hmmm, maybe I could just lift the arm up and we could just drive in... nope. We finally saw someone exiting and explained our situation. They were not inclined to help. Darin and his gift for gab worked out this time and we got the gate opened. We found an isolated spot next to the river. Time for a Christmas Eve walk.

This river was right outside our back doors. The mountains that seem to surround us were snow capped and so beautiful! The temps were low 30's and dropping.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! We ate BIG while in Bellingham, so Christmas Eve dinner was a Charcuterie Board. Yes, you read that right, Charcuterie. Go ahead, say it again. Charcuterie! The actual term dates back to 15th century France. So why is it such a popular term all of a sudden? You guessed it! COVID! Well, Covid mixed with Social Media and isolation. People started reading again I guess. Then they started spreading the "news". Foodies everywhere hopped on that meat wagon!

For centuries people have been putting out meat and cheese platters for their guests or for a midday snack or light dinner. Only recently must you refer to it as Charcuterie, Yes, say it again, Charcuterie. Here is a picture of our not so fancy Charcuterie that we had for Christmas Eve Dinner.

What a difference a day makes! When we arrived on Christmas Eve, you can see there is no snow on the ground. I've been hoping for a White Christmas and thought I was not on the Naughty List. Santa rocked this Christmas! Look what we woke up to. Our morning walk was a bit brisk to say the least.

SNOW! Everywhere! Light fluffy white glorious snow! Not my first white Christmas but it is our first white Christmas in the van. Thank goodness we have the Espar heater! I can promise you we would be miserable without it.

I've mentioned how convenient the Thousand Trails campgrounds are for us. Well the primary convenience is the nice hot showers we get to take while on the road. After our walk I wanted to enjoy just that. I loaded all my toiletries and towels (Two towels are required because my hair has a life of its own). Off I went, ready for steam and hot water. Hmmm, well, there were two stalls and each occupied with folks that apparently knew each other quite well. After realizing they were settled in for a long conversation while showering (think of a coffee klatch) I decided to wait it out in the van. Ultimately I did get my Christmas Day shower and then we enjoyed the scenery of large gusts of snow blowing around the van. Just happy that we are in this together and in Canada for a white Christmas, we slept like two overworked elves.

Happy Boxing Day! It is a new day and a new experience. The wind basically blew all the snow out of the trees and smoothed over all the walking tracks. Time to go exploring. Here are a few more photos, in no particular order. Please join us again as we decide where to go next.


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