oh summer, where have you gone?

Aug 30, 2011

This happens every year. I find myself staring at the calendar, confused as to how time has mysteriously flown by and left us at the end of August. Summer came, and it's about to go back into hiding for another long, long winter. I'm slightly terrified at the thought of this. In a perfect world, this summer would last forever.
Ryan and I would have the time of our lives enjoying our in-between jobs phase. We wouldn't have to move to separate cities and continue on with our grown up lives and working for a living. The weather would stay warm and snow would be nothing more than a distant memory, never to be seen again.
But alas, we live in the real world and life must go on. Next week Ryan will move to Edmonton to begin his brand new job, while I'll stay home until my own move 2 weeks later. We'll be separated by 3 hours of highway, which certainly beats an entire ocean, but still isn't much fun. The days will get shorter and colder, and we'll brace ourselves for winter.
On the bright side, both of us are moving forward in our careers and are very much looking forward to beginning our new jobs. He'll be working for a much better company than his previous employer, and I'll be hitting the skies again, doing what I love.
September brings beautiful autumn landscapes and the return of pumpkin spiced lattes. It will also bring a brand new city and hopefully some new friends!
It's a bittersweet time, but I'll try my very best to make the most of it. Life is changing, yet again!

bite by bite, step by step.

Aug 23, 2011

Since my return from Dubai, Ryan and I have been living like royalty. Or at least we've been eating like it.
Shrugging aside the fact that our wedding date is fast approaching, we opted for a summer of delicious meals regardless of their nutritional content. I re-experienced all of my favourite Canadian foods. I had a birthday party with enough food to feed a family for a month or two. Oh, and then there was the roadtrip. For 4 weeks Ryan and I drove through the United States eating like Americans. We had to get the full cultural experience, and that just happened to include Starbucks and a whole lot of burgers and hot dogs. The west coast was a seafood mecca and we took full advantage of the fresh crab, prawns, mussels and oysters. Every day was filled with glorious food and more treats than we needed or deserved.
All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately for us that meant returning home and facing real life and the end of our long vacation. It also meant returning to our long deserted former hangout... the gym.
We'd discussed it many times during our trip. We'd justify our calories with the fact that we'd go to the gym as soon as we were back home. Time flew by and before we knew it we were forced to accept our fate. The gym awaited and it wasn't going to go easy on us.
Still sore from our hike up a mountain days earlier, we forced ourselves out of bed this morning and reluctantly drove to the gym. We purchased our monthly pass and made our way to the track where we endured a mixture of running, walking, sit-ups and push-ups. We stayed an entire hour and were feeling rather proud of ourselves, but that wasn't the end.
Later in the day we returned, just in time for a circuit training fitness class. Ryan and I may be out of shape at the moment, but there was a time a long time ago when we were fitness junkie, gym addicts. We've been to the classes and at our prime, they were a breeze. Today, however, I thought I just might die. Everything hurt. My legs, my arms, my back, my abs. During one of our ten flights of stairs we were told to run, we contemplated escaping. My genius of a fiance had left the car keys in the other room and we were forced to return to our perky over-energetic instructor, who commanded us to proceed to the next station. Both Ryan and I struggled to get through each station, cheating and taking breaks and feeling rather embarrassed at our state of fitness. We did survive, and the class did eventually end, much to our surprise. Just 2 hours of workouts and I've got to admit, I'm sore and tired but I'm feeling great. Combined with our ridiculously healthy meals, we are well on our way to getting into shape for our wedding. The moral of the story: Nothing great comes without consequences.
That said, if we can do this, anyone can.

I'll leave you now with a tribute to the food that we ate and enjoyed. If I could take it all back I wouldn't, I loved every single gram of fat and calorie.

catching up!

Admittedly, I've been far too lazy to blog lately. Summer has flown by and I'm doing all that I can to soak up the last bit of it before winter settles in for a long, long time. To be honest, I'm not really sure how I'll cope with winter after 2 years living in one of the hottest places on Earth. Maybe a week away for a tropical wedding will help? Speaking of weddings, I have my wedding dress! It's downstairs, in the spare room closet, just waiting to be worn. Each day I take a moment to admire it and look forward to the fast-approaching big day. I'm overcome with wedding fever, but I'm sure none of you want to read about it.
Now back to our regular scheduled blogging....
After our trip to Seattle, Ryan and I enjoyed one last day in the United States before beginning the journey home. We watched airplanes take off, ate far too much greasy food, and went to Wal-Mart. I'm quite certain that I've blogged about my love for Wal-Mart in the past, but let me tell you... Wal-Mart in the USA? Amazing. Ryan and I cruised around the massive store loading up our shopping cart. Everything was so cheap in comparison to Canada, and our strong Canadian dollar made it feel like even more of a bargain. Before reaching the checkout we went through each and every item, trying to convince ourselves that we didn't need to own it. It worked for a few things, but we left with far more than we'd anticipated.
The next day it was finally time to begin the long journey home. We stopped for a couple of nights in Kelowna, where we enjoyed the beautiful weather and went on a 12 km hike... the most physical activity we'd had in weeks. Stocked up on fresh fruit, we set out for a full day of driving, eventually reaching home that evening. Our roadtrip was over, 9,000 kilometres later. We caught up with our parents and enjoyed a night of sleeping in our very own bed.
Our vacation wasn't over quite yet. We spent the weekend camping near beautiful Banff, eating campfire food and freezing in the Alberta weather. On Saturday we set out for a hike, battling exhaustion until we finally reached the summit of Sulphur Mountain. I watched in envy as gondolas full of people climbed the mountain above us. It was no easy task, but we felt proud of ourselves for taking the first step towards getting back into shape. The weekend ended and we returned home. Back to reality and the fact that we both have jobs starting in the near future. I've been a busy bee trying to finish up all of my pre-job requirements. I'm rather excited to start work again... maybe not the training portion, but I can't wait to hit the skies.
Life is busy and crazy and I'm loving every minute of it. I'd take this over summer in Dubai any day.

hello seattle!

Aug 14, 2011

For reasons that I don't understand, I've always had the desire to visit Seattle. It's one of those places that just rolls off the tip of your tongue so nicely and sounds like a great place to go. Say it with me… Seattle. The fact that it is the home of Starbucks probably helps its case.
I'd been to the rainy city before, but at the time I was about 5 years old and wouldn't have known the difference between it and the town that I lived in. 20 years later, I was going to see the Seattle through new, grownup eyes.
Ryan and I showered and got ready for our day. Our first stop was Starbucks, as it seemed quite fitting and I'm admittedly a bit of an addict. Caffeinated, we were on our way! Somehow, I ended up being the one forced to drive. I sat white knuckled on the gridlocked interstate, wondering how people had the patience to spend so much of their lives sitting in traffic. I probably won't do well with moving to Calgary, but its nothing in comparison to some of the cities we've been to. As we entered city limits the skyline stood proudly, the Space Needle posing for our photos. I won the battle with traffic and made it safely and not too stressfully to our destination.
Car parked, we headed to the famous Pike Place Market. We knew that it would be busy. We were well aware that coming on a Saturday afternoon was recipe for disaster. We'd taken it all into consideration, but we were still shocked at the mass crowds of people filing through the market.
We forced our way through in an attempt to find food to satisfy our raging appetites. The line for the seafood stall was long, so as I waited Ryan went to a bakery to purchase an almond bear-claw croissant. Mmm, delicious. Once we'd made it to the front of the line we ordered a seafood chowder and a shrimp cocktail. The man working the till messed up our order and gave us a more expensive crab cocktail instead. He'd charged us more money, but we accepted this given the fact that he gave us too much change as well.
We stood eating our food and enjoying the atmosphere of the market area. Once we were fed it was time to battle the crowds once again. Ryan led the way as we weaved in and out of groups of slow walking people. It was a bit too chaotic to do much random browsing, but we made our way through the market and back out to the street. We found a small grocery store selling all sorts of unique items and made a few purchases. Some Tillamook cheese (since Ryan's mom had raved about Tillamook, Oregon), chocolate coated bacon (we've yet to try it, I'll let you know how it goes…) and my personal favourite purchase; chocolate chip cookie dough. Like rebellious children away from the supervision of our parents, we sat at a table eating cookie dough by the spoonful. Don't worry, the package clearly stated that it was safe to eat raw. Life was wonderful.
Using the little bit of willpower that we possess, we closed the lid of the cookie dough before we began to feel ill, continuing on with our Seattle exploring. Down the road we spotted a cafe that advertised "Any Beer, Any Time - $4". Ryan decided to take them up on this offer, ordering a bottle of Moose Drool while I sipped an iced chai latte.

We continued our wandering until we came across an old fashioned barber shop. With my encouragement, Ryan decided to be adventurous and go in for a new look. The barber meticulously gave him a much shorter hairstyle followed by an old fashioned shave. I watched and took photos as my scruffy fuzzy haired fiance was given a much more clean cut look. With a smooth face and tame hair, he looked almost too young to be out with me.
Next up for the day was dinner. I know what you are all thinking… do our entire lives revolve around food?! Well, to put it simply… yes. Yes they do.
We'd found a restaurant advertising super cheap appetizers with the purchase of a drink. I ordered a cherry slushy and Ryan tried another local beer to go along with our buttermilk calamari and lemon butter salmon skewers. It was enough to make a meal, and at less than $20 for food and drinks it was a bargain.
As we left the restaurant the market was closing. We quickly purchased candied salmon (amazing) and cinnamon roasted almonds for an edible souvenir of Pike Place Market. We wandered the streets, passing by a wall covered in thousands of pieces of chewing gum. Other tourists took photos and stuck their gum to the wall to contribute. It was a strange and kind of yucky attraction, but we couldn't resist taking a few of our own photos. Ryan suggested that I stick one of my cards on the wall in an attempt to gain a few more blog followers, but I chose to keep my distance instead.
After checking on our car to ensure that nobody had broken in while we were gone, it was time for the highlight of my day… Starbucks! Earlier in the day the line had stretched out into the street, forcing me to make the decision to carry on walking. It had died down now that the market was closed. Ryan and I stepped inside the very first Starbucks which sported the original logo and lacked the modern decor of the other cafes.
I bought a travel mug as a souvenir, and we took our coffees down the street to another Starbucks that actually had seating. We sat there overlooking the much photographed Pike Place Market sign as we drank our coffee and took advantage of the free wifi.
The sun was setting over the city as we returning to our car to begin the journey back to our campsite. We opted out of visiting the Space Needle as it was far out of the way and we were running short of time to make it back before the park gates closed for the evening. It had been a great day full of food and coffee. Seattle was great, just as I'd always anticipated it would be!

blown away by boeing

Aug 13, 2011

Since we first decided to include Seattle in our roadtrip plans, I have been begging and pleading and probably driving Ryan insane with my many reminders of the fact that I wanted (I may have said needed) to go to the Boeing Factory just outside of Everett. We missed stopping on our first trip through the state, but Ryan agreed that we would return after the wedding in Victoria that he needed to photograph.
I'm lucky to be in love with somebody who keeps his promises. After a nice week on Vancouver Island we caught the ferry back to Anacortes, Washington. We found a site to pitch our tent and called it a night, resting up for the next day. We had tickets for a tour of the Boeing Factory and the aviation nerd in me could barely contain her excitement.
We woke up well rested and packed up our site, moving to another campsite on Camano Island. We didn't waste time blowing up our air mattress or making the bed cozy, we simply pitched our tent, got back in the car, and headed for Everett. Turning off on Boeing Freeway we spotted our first glimpse of the massive factory; the biggest building in the world by volume. It was love at first sight.
Surrounded by jumbo jets sporting the logos of dozens of different airlines, I knew that we were in store for a great day.
We parked and admired the view as we walked in to the Future of Flight centre. We'd arrived early for the tour, so we spent awhile wandering the gift shop to pass the time. There was another gift shop dedicated solely to Boeing, but I insisted that we save that for the end of the day. It was finally time to go! We piled into an auditorium where we watched a short video about how air travel (specifically Boeing) has changed the world. After that we were loaded onto our bus and began the trip over to the factory. Ryan and I sat at the very front, being complete nerds and bombarding our tour guide with questions.
Our first stop was the production line where the 747-8 planes are assembled. I wish that I could share photos, but cameras are strictly prohibited on the tour. The huge planes sat in various stages of completion. I may have been crew on the A380, but that doesn't make the 747 seem any less amazing.
Next stop was the production line for the 777. This was more familiar territory for me. In fact, I even spotted a plane being built for my former airline. The cool thing about this assembly line is that the entire thing actually moves 1.6 inches each minute to make production faster and easier.
The last stop on the tour was the 787 Dreamliner production line. We felt privileged to be among the few who have seen the aircraft so far, as it's yet to take its inaugural passenger flight. We listened to the many amazing features of the aircraft and caught a glimpse of the very first plane that will be shipped off to All Nippon Airways in Japan in just a few short weeks.
The tour was over and we were of course released directly into the Boeing gift shop. Ryan and I knew that we'd never escape without spending a small fortune, but we didn't care. Who doesn't need airplane shaped slippers or Boeing jackets or an incredible (and pricey) bag made from vintage aircraft materials?! We spent a great deal of time as I went back and forth contemplating whether I needed to own the bag or not, before finally coming to the realization that I was unable to leave without it.
I won't comment on how much we spent or how long we stayed in the gift shop, but I can assure you that it was more than enough to make us very happy.
Once we'd spent a sufficient chunk of cash we quickly walked through the Future of Flight gallery and onto the viewing deck where we were rewarded with a view of the runway and all of the nearly completed aircrafts on the tarmac. We were excited to spot the Dreamlifter, an aircraft built for the sole purpose of transporting aircraft parts. It was a rather interesting looking plane, and to our satisfaction we were now free to take as many photos as we'd like.
We watched a few planes take off and land, and just as the building closed we stood with several other photographers begging the employee to let us stay just a few more minutes as a Dreamliner was about to take off. He obliged, allowing us to watch and snap photos as it headed down the runway. How lucky we were! We watched it take off, impressed by how quiet it was in comparison to other planes of the same size.

The building was closing and we were forced to leave, but that didn't stop us from hanging out in the parking lot. We continued to watch planes for awhile until deciding to finally go for dinner.
We made our way to a busy Chinese seafood restaurant where we dined on amazing dishes that tasted far better than any I've ever had in China. Full beyond the point of being able to walk, we waddled back to the car and returned to Boeing. Yes, again. The tour guide had explained that most of the action takes place at night to prevent car accidents as the factory is right beside a freeway and definitely a distraction. We sat for awhile, but nothing happened so we decided to finally make our way back to our campsite.
We had failed to consider the fact that the gate might be closed as it was nearly midnight. Fortunately, I was able to open it and we drove in quietly so as to not wake up anyone camping. All of that effort went out the window when Ryan accidentally pushed the alarm button on the car remote, likely waking up all of our neighbours. Embarrassed, we retreated to our tent and settled in for a good night's sleep after an amazing airplane filled day.
My new airline flies only Boeing, and I'm excited to spend my days cruising the skies on them!

Relaxing in Comox

Aug 12, 2011

Back on mainland (sort of) after a whirlwind trip to Hornby Island, Ryan and I settled in for some much needed downtime in Comox on Vancouver Island. We were fortunate enough to be staying with Mary and Steve, his aunt and uncle who showered us with hospitality.

Once we'd had our post-camping showers we were treated to a delicious dinner of chicken wraps, followed by an amazing coffee-chocolate pudding cake. Feeling the need to walk off our meal, we made our way to the beach. It was great being walking distance to the ocean. We scouted for crabs along the rocks, me being the only one reluctant to pick them up and hold them. They moved too fast and had far too much of a resemblance to spiders for my liking. It was a beautiful night as the sun set over the water.

The next day we woke up early, just in time for low tide. Being the prairie boy that he is, Ryan is very intrigued by the tides and has found a new obsession in finding beached sea creatures. We loaded the car with shovels and buckets and drove to Point Holmes. With the tide out, the beach stretched far and we set out to explore. The highlight of the location was the fact that it was situated nearby the airport. Planes would fly low over us on their final approach. After a couple of hours and many crabs, starfish, clams and oysters later, we headed back to the car to set out in search of lunch.

Much to our dismay, when we turned the key, the car wouldn't start. It was our own fault, we should have known better than to leave our mini fridge plugged in while we were gone. Fortunately, we found a kind man who gave us a boost and we were on our way! Before finding a restaurant we cruised past the airport, stopping to wander a field of retired warplanes. I love having a fiance who not only accepts my nerdy love of airplanes, but appreciates them just as much as I do.

By the time we'd took our photos and admired the planes, we were feeling rather hungry. We made our way to a seafood restaurant where we feasted on battered oysters, seafood chowder, lobster ravioli and a club sandwich made with crab and shrimp meat. They are so much more appetizing on a plane than on the sandy beach. It was all extremely satisfying and we left feeling very full.

The large meal left us feeling rather sleepy, so we went back to the house for a short nap. We woke up feeling far more energized. It was a beautiful afternoon, and a great day to fly our airplane kite that we'd purchased in San Francisco. Or so we thought. Out on Goose Spit we attempted to fly our plane, but the winds were not in our favour. We had a few minutes of airborne fun before giving up and returning home for dinner.

Mmm, let me tell you about dinner. We had cedar plank salmon, which I very much appreciated given the fact that salmon happens to be one of my favourite foods. It was delicious and followed by an equally amazing dessert of chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream. I was in food heaven, as I have been for much of this trip. Topping off an already great day was our perfect evening. Earlier that day we'd seen people having fires along the beach and I mentioned that I'd love to do that. Mary and Steve made it happen, saying "Let's go tonight!" without hesitation. We packed our cameras and blankets and drove to Goose Spit where we found a free fire pit .

We spent the evening there sitting on driftwood, cooking smores, basking in the heat of the fire, and listening to the waves hit the shore. What a wonderful life. The nearly full moon lit up the water and I loved every moment of it. After a good night's sleep and an amazing breakfast of blue crab eggs benedict, it was time to pack up and hit the road yet again. Comox has been good to us, but there are far too many adventures to be had in so little time!

getting domesticated.

Aug 10, 2011

It's hard to believe that only 2 short months ago I was jetting across the world on a weekly basis. I hopped from continent to continent and despite the chaos, it was my life, as I knew it. Being on ground has been an interesting transition as I've adjusted to being in one country for a span of more than a week at a time. Even now, as Ryan and I are entering the 3rd week of our roadtrip, life seems calm in comparison to earlier this year. I'm planning my wedding, I'm discussing my future, and I'm getting domesticated... in more than one sense of the word. A few days ago I was offered employment at a Canadian-based airline. Just as I'm settling back into the normalcy of life on the ground, I'm returning to the skies to live my life as a flight attendant once again. Strange as it sounds, it's where I feel most at home. I can't wait to get back.
Before Dubai and the lucrative temptations of flying international, this airline was my dream job. After 18 months of living in the Middle East and enduring a long distance relationship, I rediscovered the dream. From the outside looking in, it might not sound all that glamourous to go from Paris and Sydney to flying mainly domestic routes, but it's all a matter of how you look at it. For me, it means seeing my family more than twice a year, planning a future with the man that I'm about to marry, living in my home country, and as an added bonus, I still get to fly. I really couldn't ask for much more.
Life is good and I'm doing what I can to prove that the sky is not the limit.

on the road again...

Aug 9, 2011

Approximately 6,400 kilometres later, Ryan and I are still living life on the road. After a good night's sleep in Grant's Pass, Oregon, we were on the road yet again. Canada bound! We drove through Oregon and into Washington, passing soaring mountains and thrilling the mild Twilight fan in me as we saw the turn-off for Forks and La Push.
By mid-afternoon we'd arrived in Port Angeles where arrived just in time to get one of the last spots on the ferry to Victoria. With nearly an hour to wait for our departure, we asked a border patrol officer for a restaurant recommendation. I'm sure glad that we did, because our lunch was delicious! Across the street at a restaurant called Kokopelli Grill we dined on shrimp po-boy and fresh baked oysters, all served quickly as we'd requested. We even had a few minutes to spare, so we grabbed a couple of white chocolate mochas at a coffee stand and headed back to our car.
It was a windy ride to Victoria, but Ryan and I kept busy taking photos and wandering the boat. We were among the last off the ferry and the very last to clear customs, but we were back on Canadian soil and I was rather happy about it.
We entered our hotel into our GPS and drove up Bear Mountain to find our home for the weekend. My goodness, I still can't get over our hotel room. We felt like royalty as we walked in to find 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen, living room, bedroom, and a balcony bigger than the entire room in the last place we'd stayed. It was beautiful and we felt rather out of place in our grubby roadtrip clothes. We settled in and made ourselves at home.
The next morning started with a coffee on the balcony and a quick dip in the pool before heading into town to meet up with Jon and Dixie, who were getting married the next day. As the photographer, Ryan wanted to see all of the photo locations ahead of time. We drove around envisioning the next day and finally returned to their home to join them for their rehearsal dinner. Oh, the food! I'll be amazed if I still fit any of my clothes after this trip. We helped ourselves to bacon wrapped scallops, curried prawns and freshly caught salmon. It's a shame that seafood addicts like ourselves live so far inland. We stuffed ourselves and sat around the fire until later that night when we returned to our room to call it a night.
The next morning was an early one, as we woke up to get ready for the wedding. The thing about wedding photography that I hadn't considered is that to take photos of the bride getting ready, you must be ready before the bride. Needless to say, I was quite sleepy as we packed up the cameras. As Dixie had her hair styled and makeup applied, we watched Toy Story and Ryan took photos. When it was finally time to put on the dress, Ryan left to take photos of the boys while I stayed with the girls and took a few photos of the exciting moment. As somebody who has attended very few weddings in the past few years and in the process of planning my own, I was rather giddy (and maybe a bit teary eyed) as we made our way downstairs where bride and groom would meet for the first time. They had opted for photos before the evening ceremony, which worked perfectly for Ryan. I stood on the sidelines, snapping random photos throughout the day. The wedding was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the sangria was to die for. The vineyard venue was amazing. It was a great day and a fun night, and I'm happy to congratulate Jon and Dixie on beginning their lives together!
The next day was a sad one, as we reluctantly checked out of our amazing hotel room. We went to the post-wedding brunch and watched as the newlyweds opened their stack of gifts. As we were leaving it dawned on me that I had no idea where my purse was. I pondered where I could have possibly placed it when a sudden sinking feeling overcame me. I'd placed my purse, along with a rather large chunk of cash in the safe at the hotel. We'd already checked out and it was only minutes until check in time. Fearing the worst, I called the hotel and explained the situation. We drove back where they were happy to bring us back to the room and we found our money safely placed exactly where I'd left it. I'd never felt so relieved, though I'm certain Ryan will never let me live that one down.
We were on the road again, heading up the coast towards Comox to stay with Ryan's relatives for a few days. Before that, however, we stopped at Paradise Fun Park to play a couple of rounds of mini-golf with the newlyweds who were happy to escape the wedding and family madness for a few hours. I lost both games, as I usually do when it comes to mini golf. We parted ways with Jon and Dixie and continued onto Comox. After arriving and chatting to Ryan's aunt and uncle we called it a night, happy for a good night's sleep after a long, busy weekend.
We were up early the next day, eager to find something to do in the area. After a short while contemplating we decided to make a day trip to Hornby Island. We made our way to the ferry and rode across first to Denman Island and then onto the next ferry dock. We hadn't anticipated so many people with the same intentions, and found ourselves waiting nearly an hour to catch another ferry. By the time we'd arrived it was rather late, so we opted to make use of our tent and found a campsite with a spot available. We pitched the tent and then proceeded to explore the island. Our first stop was a small taco stand where we ate tacos beside the beach.
They were delicious but small, so we continued driving around the island until we found a fish and chips shop and ordered battered halibut and salmon.
After a good lunch, fatigue was beginning to set in. Rather than spend the afternoon lazing around, I insisted that we go on a hike and take photos along the way. We made our way to Helliwell Provincial Park, where we walked the 5 kilometre circle trail along bluffs and through the forest.
It was a gorgeous hike and we managed to spot sea lions, massive birds, a snake and a woodpecker. Content with having exercised, we went to grab a slice of pizza each. On the way back to our campsite we stopped at a beach where the sun was setting as we wandered barefoot in the sand exploring tidal pools. It had been a fun day and it was time to settle in for the evening. We cozied up in our small tent that we'd purchased at Walmart for $22. Despite the constant stream of people walking by late into the night, we managed to get some sleep and wake up early the next morning. Our first stop of the day was a bakery where I had a cinnamon raisin roll and Ryan out-did my unhealthy ways by ordering cheesecake for breakfast. We rounded off our meals with a smoothie for him and a latte for me and continued on our way. At the ferry dock we wandered on the rocks at low tide, finding crabs and starfish.
Ryan stayed there until I finally insisted that we return to the campsite as we were only 15 minutes away from checkout time. We headed back and took down our tent, vacating our site just in time. Before returning to catch the ferry, we played at Tribune Beach which is said to be the Hawaii of Canada. The water was warm by Canadian ocean standards and abundant with marine life.
It was time to return to mainland, and by mainland I mean Vancouver Island. Back to Comox we went, happy to have had a great time on an island that only 2 days earlier I hadn't known existed!

childhood dreams and big kid adventures

Aug 3, 2011

The past week has been a blur of days that were as fun as they were exhausting. Our legs ache, our feet are blistered, but Ryan and myself are as happy as two kids in a toy store... (or as ourselves, in a toy store...).

On Friday, we loaded up the car and headed south down the coast. We spent the morning winding alongside steep cliffs with incredible ocean views. The long day of driving was broken up with a stop in Monterey, a pretty coastal town full of sea lions and more importantly, seafood.

As we wandered Fisherman's Wharf in search of a delicious dinner, we were overwhelmed with options. Each restaurant offered a sample of their clam chowder, proclaiming it to be the best. We were happy to taste each one and make the decision ourselves. What won us over in the end was one restaurant that served a free appetizer of buffalo style calamari. As huge fans of buffalo chicken wings, we had to try it. Oh my goodness, whoever thought of that combination was pure genius. It was delicious.

We contemplated ordering a second round, but decided to share a main course instead. Continuing the seafood theme, we ordered cioppino, a mixture of crab, shrimp, mussels, oysters and calamari all drowning in a tomato broth. Our tastebuds were not disappointed.

After our great dinner we wandered the wharf, stopping to watch the sea lions before heading back to the car to continue the journey.

The rest of the way seemed to take an eternity as we headed towards Los Angeles. We drove through the night up massive hills fearing that our car would overheat. We finally reached LA and for a brief few moments took in the view of the lit-up downtown from the freeway. Shortly after midnight we reached Anaheim, and just a short distance down the road from our hotel we drove past the entrance to Disneyland! It was late and we were tired, but I couldn't help but to be excited for the next day.

We reached the comfort of our hotel room and called it a night after what had been a very long day of driving.

The next day was the day that I'd waited my entire childhood for. Ryan and I were bound for Disneyland!! As we entered the gates I grew more and more excited as I spotted Mickey Mouse everything. It was insanely busy but I didn't care. I was finally in Disneyland and I was going to love it.

Ryan and I spent the day running between Disneyland and California Adventure, grabbing fast passes, eating Mickey shaped pretzels and ice cream, and riding rides.

I won't go as far as to detail our day to day activities, because that would be one extra long blog. I can assure you that we had an amazing time and that Disneyland is not overrated, at least in my opinion. We spent 3 days in the park before it was time to head north again. The highlights? Splash Mountain, California Screamin', Space Mountain, the nightly fireworks and the World of Colour show, which put the fountains of the Burj Khalifa and Bellagio to shame.

After fulfilling my childhood dream, it was time to make Ryan's come true. We were off to Six Flags Magic Mountain, to spend the day riding some of the world's craziest rollercoasters. We loaded up the car, determined to get an early start to make it across LA by 10:30 am. As we were putting the last few items in the car I saw something out of the corner of my eye that could potentially ruin our entire day. "Umm, Ryan…" I said, reluctantly. "…we have a flat tire." We looked at each other in silence, suddenly much less excited about our day than we had been minutes earlier. I left him to assess the situation as I went inside to check out. Fortunately, it was an easy fix. Ryan's emergency car kit came in handy as he filled the tire up and we continued on our way. We were headed into rush hour traffic, but aside from a few back up areas it wasn't nearly as terrible as we'd expected it to be.

We arrived at the park just before the gates opened, forgetting all about the tire and focusing on having fun. Once the park was open we headed to pick up our Flash Pass. We'd paid double the admission fee for it, but it was well worth it. For the entire day we skipped the massive lines and proceeded to the front, waiting a maximum of 10 minutes for the popular rides and hopping straight on for many of them. Best of all, once we'd finished the ride our pass enabled to ride again, angering the people waiting for their turn. It was great. In the +40 degree heat we rode rollercoasters and water rides non-stop from the time the park opened until it closed at night. I've never been happier about the fact that I don't have a weak stomach, although a few of the coasters left me feeling a bit dizzy for awhile afterwards. Ryan was ecstatic, particularly after riding the insane X2 rollercoaster.

The park closed and we left on a happy adrenaline high. Having made no plans for the evening, we continued driving until we came across a row of motels along the interstate. We stopped at each one until we were so tired that we settled for a somewhat sketchy place that offered free wifi and breakfast. How could we pass that up? Ryan examined the bedding and we reluctantly crawled onto the rock hard mattress. It looked like one of those motels on TV where criminals running from the law hide, but it beat the Walmart parking lot. At least we could have a shower. We got through the night and hit the road, happy to leave.

Back to the I-5 interstate we went, driving through the state of California, passing vineyards, deserts, and mountains.

We made it to Oregon and pulled into a slightly nicer motel to spend the evening. Tomorrow it's back to the road and onto Washington!