Bilbo Baggins once wrote a book titled “There and Back Again”. Unlike modern-day Hollywood, Bilbo not only chronicled his adventures up to the point where the dragon was defeated and the war was won, but also recorded his journey home. So, I reckon I should dedicate the next three chapters to a detailed account of our travels back from the wilds of Oregon to the land of Eh? – or not.
So, here’s the short version.
All we have to do today is drive from Leavenworth back to Canada. Our friend Google says it should only take three and a half hours, so we have plenty of time for a relaxing breakfast. If we leave around ten, we’ll be home for (late) lunch. Oh, that’s right – we have to cross the Border, and there’s the whole Seattle traffic jam thing, and we were planning to stop at Bellingham. Hmm – do we rush breakfast or arrive late? Well, I guess we don’t really have to get the car back until five anyway.
Ten(ish) on the dot and we’re rolling down the main street of Leavenworth, trying to get one last snap of the Bavarian rendition of places like MacDonalds and The Mongolian Wok. Then, we have another Bilbo Baggins moment – the road disappears straight into a huge rock face. Fortunately, it’s just an optical illusion, and before we know it, we’re winding our way through the amazing mountain passes. The bad news is there is smoke everywhere from the forest fires. The good news is we decided to take the short route through Everton and leave our detour through the old west style town of Winthrop for another day. Why is that good news? We later learn that, if we had taken the Winthrop route, we would have driven into the heart of some of the worst forest fires Washington State has seen in years.
There’s more good news when we find that Everton is just far enough north of Seattle for the notorious Seattle I-5 traffic to drop back to only horrendous level. After our experience last week, we feel really relaxed chugging north with only about fifty thousand of our closest friends. From there, it’s all plain sailing. We’re in and out of Bellingham Walmart faster than Ocean’s Eleven, and before we know it we’re at the Canadian Border. “Anything to declare? Hey – I know you! You’re the guy who bought us coffee the other day! Have a great time in Canada Eh?”