American Adventures 3: Yellowstone National Park Part 2

On our third day in Yellowstone, we did a longer trip around the park. We started by visiting Gibbon Falls, which is fairly close to the park entrance.

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Gibbon Falls

After Gibbon Falls, we drove on in the direction of the Artist Paint Pots, famed for their bright colours and boiling mud. On the way to the paint pots, we noticed a group of bison, not far from the road in one of the meadows. We pulled over and got out to take photos, taking care to keep our distance. It was a herd of maybe ten to twelve adults and two, very cute, ginger babies.

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Some of the bison herd

After a suitable amount of photos were taken, we carried on to the artist paint pots where we saw some very cool boiling mud. This is one of my favourite geothermal features, because it is just so satisfying to watch.

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Boiling mud

Our next stop was the spectacular Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. This is the place where Yellowstone gets its name. The canyon is an incredible place to visit, with several viewpoints along it, including one at the top of the magnificent lower falls.

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View of the lower falls

We viewed the falls and then drove further along the road to get the the viewpoint above the falls. You can see right down as they cascade over the edge, tonnes and tonnes of water crashing down every day. The power of nature never fails to impress and delight me.

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Yellowstone Canyon

We eventually left Yellowstone Canyon to drive through the Hayden Valley, which is where many of Yellowstone’s herd animals hang out. If you want to see bison, this is the place. We drove through the vast meadows, counting bison. We saw one crossing the road at one point. They are such incredible animals, and it was a privilege to see so many.

Eventually we came to an area called mud volcano, which has even more boiling mud than the paint pots!

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Black Dragon Crater

This wasn’t the highlight of our visit to mud volcano, however. The main event was the very close bison that was chilling out near the walkway. The bison that then decided to have a bit of a roll.

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Rolly bison

It was so playful and a really cool thing to watch and be so especially close to. Who knew such a big hunk of beef could be so cute?

We drove on, round the road that led us back to the main geyser basin. We saw the absolutely gigantic Lake Yellowstone, which was ringed by lovely mountains.

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Lake Yellowstone

After more driving, mainly through trees, we reached the main geyser basin again in just the perfect time to see Old Faithful go off again – it doesn’t get old!

We had dinner in a strange canteen next to Old Faithful – it wasn’t the best food.

On the way back, even though the light was dwindling, we decided to pull over at Grand Prismatic Spring to see what we could see. The sun was setting, so it was very atmospheric, but you couldn’t really see the famously stunning bright colours of the spring – we would have to return on the following day.

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Grand Prismatic in the evening

We drove back towards the motel, the sky gradually darkening, the odd deer or elk seen through the trees or across a river.

Suddenly, we hit a small line of traffic, so we slowed, wondering what we would see. Small traffic jams in a place like this usually meant bears or some other kind of exciting wildlife. This was not an exception.

As the car in front of us pulled around, it revealed the herd of bison from earlier walking in the middle of the road.

We sat still and quiet as they slowly and gently ambled past the car in pretty-much single file. A big adult at each end of the line and the beautiful ginger babies in the middle. We were in the car, but they were all going past less than 1m from us, calming walking to wherever it was they were going.

I was too in awe to take any photos, which is a shame, but the experience will stay with me for the rest of my life, especially the way the lead male gazed steadily at us as he made his way past.

Our final full day in Yellowstone began as they all did, in Greens and Grounds having breakfast. We had quite a few places we wanted to get to, starting with fountain paint pots.

They were similar to artist paint pots and the mud volcano, with more boiling mud and lots of sulphur smells.

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Fountain Paint Pots

After the paint pots, we went back to Grand Prismatic to see it in full light. The colours were spectacular in the light!

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Grand Prismatic Spring

We went back to the main basin to grab some lunch at the geyser grill – it was the same food as in the cafeteria in Mammoth.

We basically ran from there to Daisy Geyser to see it go off – it goes at an angle, it’s pretty cool.

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Daisy Geyser

We started to walk back the long way, to see some of the other geysers one more time. Grotto Geyser was bubbling up a bit, but Eva and I walked on, unconvinced anything else would happen. After no more than a minute, Dad shouted us to come back because it was erupting. Mum said she had wanted it to and then it did.

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Grotto Geyser

We went round geyser hill again and back to view Old Faithful one last time before we left.

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A last look at Old Faithful

After a quick visit to the gift shop, we went to Black Sand Basin which had a cool, constantly bubbling geyser called Cliff Geyser.

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Cliff Geyser

Our last stop in Yellowstone was Firehole Lake Drive, where we saw a pretty spring, some lovely lakes, by which was a random pelvis of an unknown animal and also a final geyser.

This geyser was called White Dome Geyser. We took some pictures and then, as Dad, Eva and I walked away, it erupted. We concluded that Mum must have some sort of geyser-whisperer powers and can set off geysers at will.

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White Dome Geyser

Back in West Yellowstone, we finally made a visit to the Wolf and Grizzly Centre, just down the road from our motel.

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West Yellowstone

The bears come out on a rota, either alone or in groups of up to five. We saw two bears called Spirit and 101 at first, then they returned to their enclosures and a bear called Nakina came out. The bears are all rescued – they became a problem in the wild by being habituated and so were brought to the centre to avoid being destroyed. Now they help educate people about bears and hopefully stop more bears becoming habituated.

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One of the beautiful bears

The wolves were very cool too. They have three pairs: McKinley and Leopold, Kootenai and Akela and Adara and Summit. They are all spare puppies in litters of movie wolves, so were not born in the wild. They too help educate people.

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One of the wonderful wolves

The centre also has an area for ground squirrels, who likely enjoy being in a safe enclosure.

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Fat, deflated ground squirrel

Finally, the centre has an area dedicated to rescued birds of prey who can’t be released back into the wild for one reason or another.

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One of the rescue birds, an eagle

After spending some time at the centre, we went back to Bullwinkles for dinner where we had some tasty cocktails and I had a lovely taco bowl. We decided to have some cheesecake for afters too!

We stopped at a little souvenir shop on the way back to the motel and then headed back to pack up.

The next morning, we returned to the bears and wolves for one last look – we saw Sam and then Roosevelt, Grant and Coram the bears. It was especially cool to see the three bears together as they started swimming in their pool and play fighting with each other. The bears aren’t really far away either, so it’s very cool to be so close.

The wolves were mainly dozing, but we still watched them for a while. Dad headed out to get some food for our journey, while Mum, Eva and I kept watching the mesmerising creatures.

Eva and I found a section with all sorts of bins and boxes that the bears had “tested” to show which things are bear-proof and which things aren’t. There were also bear traps you could go into.

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Eva in a bear trap

Inside, there was a big exhibition on bears, which included a big stuffed polar bear. This made us think of our big white car, which we had named Iorek, after the polar bear in Northern Lights.

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Us and Iorek, the car

We went back to the motel, packed the car and drove away from Yellowstone, sad to leave, but happy to have experienced such a special place.

Our stop for the night was Boise, in Idaho. The drive went smoothly until we stopped for lunch and petrol. For some reason we couldn’t get the petrol pump to work and ended up having to get a man to help us. There wasn’t really anywhere to sit at the rest area we were at, so we had to sit in the hot car to eat.

We drove on and eventually stopped again to go into subway to get ice-cream as it was really really hot. I had a lovely ice-cream milkshake.

While we were there, I used the toilet, which happened to have a urinal in the same little room. Because I am a feminist icon, I used it!

It didn’t seem like long before we got to our Best Western in Boise and checked in. We had to drive out to a place called Meridian, just up the highway from our motel to get dinner at a place called Blaze pizza, which does proper vegan pizza and cooks the customised pizzas really really quickly. SO tasty!

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Blaze Pizza

We had a bit of hoo-ha trying to get back to the highway because of annoying one way systems, thank God for my map app, but made it back to the motel in time for a good night’s sleep.

The next day we drove to Yakima, back in Washington. The drive was nice, through lots of yellowy hills.

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A really cool geographical formation – a table top hill

We stopped for lunch at a supermarket, where we struggled to find food for me and Eva – seriously, the take-home message is not to be a vegan or vegetarian outside of the cities in the US. And even then in probably depends on the city.

Yakima is a big hops growing area, so as we drew near to our destination, fields of hops began becoming more and more frequent.

In Yakima, we found our motel and were surprised to find that one of our rooms was ready and the other was still having its carpet fitted.

Turns out they were gradually refitting the carpets in this seedy motel and they hadn’t finished in time for check-in. Two hill-billy looking men were working on the room, the furniture just hanging round outside.

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When we arrived. The open door is for our room…

We went out for dinner at a nice Indian place and by the time we came back, the carpet was in and we could go to bed.

The next morning, we had a stereotypical American breakfast in a diner down the road from the motel, called Mel’s Diner. We managed to order something we all could eat, but there was so much food we couldn’t eat it all! The pancake stack that came with the breakfasts was FOUR large, thick pancakes. They were very tasty, but you’d need a big big appetite to finish them.

The drive from there to Sea-Tac airport was easy. It was finally time to board the plane that would take us back to England.

Both Eva and I had been out of the country for over six months and it was an odd feeling to be returning home, but more on this in my next post about returning to my UK life. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventures on my world tour, it was an excellent time that I will never forget!

 

 

 

American Adventures 2: Yellowstone National Park Part 1

We drove across Washington, towards Pullman, the town where Eva had worked for WSU, near the border with Idaho. We were going to meet Eva’s friend Maddie, then head over the state line to Moscow to stay the night.

The drive was pretty good, although I got very hungry after not having my muffin. We arrived and did a little tour of where Eva worked while we waited for Maddie to finish working for the day. We headed to a lovely “brew pub” where we had tasty dinner. Eva and Maddie mostly chatted.

After dinner, we dropped Maddie home and went to see where Eva had lived, then headed out to Moscow. The Super 8 motel that we were staying in was easy to find and the room had three double beds! Luxury! Eva and I were beginning to enjoy having beds and showers readily available.

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The Cougars banner at our Super 8 – Eva only just noticed that the cougar head says “WSU” after working there for several months!

We got up in the morning for the free breakfast and I attempted and failed to properly use the waffle machine. There wasn’t much food for Eva the vegan, which would become a running theme, so we went into Moscow and bought provisions in the Coop.

Then we drove towards Butte, Montana. I loved the name! Along the way we stopped at a few rest stops, where there were people selling coffee and many many ground squirrels. The toilets at the one stop were a bit knarly and the water tasted odd, so we were happy when we found the next one which was much nicer and had a pretty view.

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Mum at one of the many rest stops on the journey

It was on this journey that we found the Beatles radio station, which became our favourite for the remainder of the trip. Who doesn’t love the Beatles?

We got to Butte and checked in to the Best Western. We were given a room on the ground floor with a window that looked out into the corridor. There was also a loud barky dog next door. Mum was not happy. We went and asked to change.

We were given a first floor room. This one also had a window that did not have an outside view. Mum was beginning to gently emit smoke.

Finally, on attempt three, we got a room that had a proper window.

We headed out to pizza hut for tea. Dad and I were hungry but Mum and Eva didn’t feel much like eating, so Eva didn’t eat and Mum had a few slices.

We headed back to the Best Western in a bit of an odd mood, on the way spying a glowing white point on the mountain behind the motel. This is apparently the statue of the Lady of the Rockies.

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Lady of the Rockies (not my photo – AllAroundTheWest, Flickr)

Mum and Dad went for a walk as mum was getting a bit of cabin fever and Eva and I continued our Netflixing.

The next day, we went down to breakfast, where I was told to get some shoes. Apparently one has to wear shoes to breakfast… who knew? There was lots to choose from, cooked stuff, cereal, pastries, juices. It was lovely.

We packed up and ventured out again, this time driving all the way to Yellowstone! It was a nice drive and got nicer as we drew closer to our destination. One of the cooler things we saw on the way was Earthquake Lake, a large lake with the skeletons of drowned trees sticking up out of it.

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Earthquake Lake

We were too early to check into our motel in West Yellowstone, so after having a bite to eat (mainly our leftover pizza), we drove into the Park to see some geothermal action!

We decided to start at the main geyser basin, home of Old Faithful Geyser. Mum and Dad had come to the park in 1991, so were very excited to see everything again.

In the visitor centre, there are boards telling you what time the frequent geysers are going off. We noticed that Castle Geyser, apparently Mum’s favourite, would be going off soon. We raced to get there, storming down the gravelly path. On the way we saw a box containing maps. We walked swiftly past, but I went back to get one, sure that we¬† would like to have one. I grabbed the guide and speedily made my way back to my family, looking at the map as I went.

Very quickly, my foot fell down a small hole in the path and I fell over.

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Ouchies

I popped back up, embarassed, and returned to my family. We kept going to get to Castle Geyser, so we wouldn’t miss it and then I sat down and sorted my grazed leg out.

We waited for a very long time for Castle to go off, seeing Old Faithful, Beehive and Lion geysers all go off in the distance.

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Old Faithful going off in the distance!

After a long wait in the sun, Castle finally decided to stop teasing us with small jets of water and erupted in a spectacular fashion.

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Castle Geyser

We then walked on down the geyser basin to Morning Glory Pool. We went past lots of dormant geysers and beautful pools, realising we had missed the very rare Giant Geyser by three days. Morning glory is a stunning pool with bacteria causing a rainbow effect.

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Morning Glory Pool

Eva was getting hungry and we were all very thirsty, but we made the long hot walk back over geyser hill, where we saw the interesting anemone geyser go off – it has two sides and does one side, then another and then repeats.

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Anemone Geyser erupting

We went into the visitor centre and attacked the water fountain before browsing the gift shop.

We went back out to join the hoards of people waiting to see Old Faithful go off. We had decided to eat at the Old Faithful Inn, a very special old hotel where Mum and Dad had stayed on their last visit, so Dad disappeared to book us a table and returned with a device that would bleep when our table was ready.

We waited and saw Old Faithful go off in its magnificent and timely fashion. It’s no wonder people had decided to build the main tourist hub around it. Nature is incredible.

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Old Faithful!

We went in to the Old Faithful Inn and had a little look around the main foyer. Wow. The engineering that had gone into building such a massive place out of huge logs was a wonder to behold.

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Inside the Old Faithful Inn

There was just about enough food for Eva, despite the fact that her soup came late and they didn’t know what a vegan was. I had a starter of pitta bread and hummus, which should have been for sharing as I got about four pitta breads.

It was going pretty well until Eva was angered by the waiter, who said there were a few vegan dessert options. Turns out there was just sorbet. Eva made an effigy of the waiter out of her leftover spaghetti squash main and stabbed it with a fork. Note to any eateries in touristy areas – don’t anger the hungry vegans…

We headed back and checked into our motel, which was pretty decent and very close to the National Park border.

The next morning, we headed out to find breakfast. West Yellowstone is very small, but has a few eateries. We found a lovely little place called “Greens and Grounds” which had vegan porridge and tasty cheese and egg crossiants as well as good coffee.

After breakfast we drove up to Mammoth Hot Springs. The drive was lovely, passing through some large meadows where we saw a sleepy Bison and some deer. Near the end of the drive, there were some very cool rocks and a gorgeous view down into a valley.

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Such a good view

We had a quick visit to the visitor centre, then went to have lunch at a big cafeteria in Mammoth town. There were nice bean burgers for Eva and I as well as tasty chips. In the line we met another vegan, who I persuaded Eva to give her number to. She did so in the time-honored fashion of slipping him a napkin on her way out of the cafeteria!

We walked out together, with me in front, but as she went to drop the napkin, it fell onto the floor, so she had to pick it up and thrust it at him. We ran around the corner, cackling.

He did text her though.

We walked up to the main event of Mammoth – the stunning terraces. They are just sensational, and I couldn’t stop taking photos.

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Mammoth Hot Springs

After the walk on the lower terraces, we headed back to the car and saw some elk hanging out on the grass. We watched then for a while, before retreating swiftly back to the visitor centre as a sudden shower hit.

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The Elk

The rain cleared and then we drove up to the upper terraces to look at those too – it as certainly worth it – my favourite was called Canary Spring.

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The upper terraces look like an alien landscape
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Canary Spring

We then drove on to Norris Basin, which smelt, but had some very steamy geysers, including one called Steamboat. While we were there, we were pounded by a short hail shower – another reminder of the altitude we were at!

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Norris Basin

We walked back to the car after a brief viewing as it was starting to get dark and Mum was concerned that a bear might come and eat us. Near the path, we spied some beautiful snow-shoe hares, who seemed unconcerned about bears or us, for that matter.

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Steamboat Geyser

We had dinner in West Yellowstone, at a place called Bullwinkles, which had one or two options for the plants based family members and some very tasty wine. I had a lovely mushroom burger.

We had two more days in Yellowstone, with so much more to see. Too much, in fact, for just one blog – so catch up on that next time!

 

 

American Adventures 1: Family Reunion

After dropping our wonderful little car back at the airport, Eva and I made our way into the airport to wait for our parents to arrive.

We were very excited. Eva had left the UK on the 1st January to go to California to work in a lab and I had left on the 10th January to go to New Zealand to start my world tour. So it had been a while since we had seen our parents in person.

We went into the terminal and got some paper to make a sign, then sat around for a while, waiting. After a bit, we noticed that their flight wasn’t on the arrival board, so we checked their flight number online.

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The signnn

Turns out they had a change in Edmonton, so they would be coming into the domestic terminal, not the international one.

We walked over to the other terminal and waited once again. After a while, we saw them at the baggage claim and decided to sneak up on them.

Reunited!

They got their bags and we took a taxi back to our accommodation. Mum and Dad were very tired from their flight, so they wanted to sleep.

We ordered some pizza and shared one of our Canada 150 beers, then Mum and Dad went to bed and Eva and I stayed up sorting out stuff and watching TV.

Despite giving mum and dad strict instructions not to wake us before 8, they woke us at 7, because apparently their phones/ watches hadn’t been adjusted correctly.

We had a little kerfuffle over breakfast, as it was supposed to be included in the rice of the room, but the lady working at the house didn’t get the memo.

Eventually we got something that passed for breakfast and sincere apologies, then we got ready to go and see Vancouver.

We walked from ours to the Bloedel Conservatory, catching up as we walked.

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A warmer visit to Bloedel

We arrived and went in to see the birds once again. It was strange to be back after a month of being away, but great to show the place to mum and dad.

After seeing the inside of the conservatory, we wandered around the gardens surrounding it – something Eva and I had missed on our trip.

They were very beautiful, with gorgeous planting.

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Pretty planting in the park around Bloedel

Afterwards, we went into Vancouver centre. We strolled along through gas town and saw the steam clock, which we knew mum would love.

We decided to have lunch at MeeT in Gastown, where Eva and I had our welcome meal.

We found the Marine building again and took more photos, even heading upstairs to see the foyer from above!

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The Marine Building foyer

We ambled along to the waterfront where we admired the views and were once again transfixed by the seaplanes taking off and landing.

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Seaplane port

Eventually we stopped at a bar to have a drink and some chips and chatted lots more. Mum and Dad were still a bit jet-lagged, so we didn’t want to do anything too strenuous.

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Tasty raspberry cocktail

It was a lovely relaxing place to sit and there was a lovely fountain next to us, that it seemed was specifically designed to run through in hot weather. Two ladies had a go at this while everyone watched them in amusement.

We went to look for food and got accosted by a man who talked to us for absolutely ages about various options that he would recommend.

We ended up going to none of them when we found “Smak” which sold delicious pots of hearty food.

Our first day in Vancouver drawing to a close, we made our way back to our accommodation and played some pool (there was a lovely pool table there) before bed.

The next day we were rudely awakened once again by the parents, because they couldn’t work the shower.

Once that was sorted, we had a better breakfast than the day before and caught the bus up to Stanley Park, where Eva and I had seen the goth squirrels.

We got off the bus by the pavilion which had a beautiful garden next to it, and then went for a wander.

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The Pavillion in Stanley Park

It is a lovely park with big gorgeous trees and the sun was shining. We found the totem poles, which Eva and I had only seen in passing previously.

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Stanley Park’s Totem Poles

We got some food and then walked around to the little lighthouse on the corner of the park. We sat on the grass and watched the world go by. A ship went past that said Eva on it.

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The pretty lighthouse

Eventually we got up and walked along by the sea, we saw some cormorants and a seagull fishing and watched them for a while.

We went to find some goth squirrels as they weren’t in such abundance as last time and eventually found one near the beautiful rose garden – it was quite friendly, coming very close to me, likely some tourists have been feeding them to get photos.

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Mum and Dad in the rose garden

We strolled back towards Vancouver centre, Eva somehow acquiring a vegan ice lolly enroute.

We were loosely making our way to gas town, only stopping to grab a cold drink at Starbucks on the way. We saw the steam clock do its thing again.

We had been trying to find somewhere to dispose of our bear spray all day, but with no luck, so after one last attempt, we made our way to a Lebanese restaurant in gas town.

We had to walk up a semi-closed road to get there. The road was filled with vintage cars and filming equipment and had been done up to look a bit 50’s but also like a bomb had just gone off.

It turns out it was a set for “The Man in the High Castle”.

After curiously taking in the scene for a while, we went in to the restaurant and sat down to eat.

They did a lovely Sangria and a very tasty Mezze selection which we all enjoyed.

After dinner, we found that the set was completely closed now so after another brief look, we found our bus back to the accommodation.

We decided to open the lovely bottle of Grand Reserve wine that Eva and I had been saving from our visit to Privato’s Vineyard and drank it while playing a few rounds of pool.

The next day we took a bright orange taxi from the accommodation out to the greyhound bus station. The rather eccentric, long-haired driver told us a few stories and shared facts about Vancouver.

At the bus station, we had a very short amount of time to grab some food to take on the bus. The bus driver made us worry briefly by suggesting we did need an ESTA (we didn’t) and getting funny about the fact that we had some fresh fruit. He seemed to think that the four of us would only be able to eat one apple before we got to the USA.

The bus journey was fairly comfortable and went fairly quickly. The border crossing went without a problem, even with Eva re-entering the US after her previous visa had expired. The border was not as stereotypically USA as I had imagined – not a bald eagle or a massive flag in sight.

We completed our border crossing and then got back on the bus for the drive into Seattle!

We arrived and headed out of the bus station, apparently it doesn’t just have a taxi rank outside, so we had to call a taxi. I called maybe fove or six companies before remembering that I had Uber.

We took the taxi to our accommodation with another friendly taxi driver who showed us a video of a motorbike event at his home city in Mexico.

We arrived at our pretty flat and settled in. Mum and Dad went out to buy food and Eva and I lazed around and watched TV.

Mum and Dad returned and we made dinner than had a few beers on the terrace. We decided to go on a short walk down to the park by the water.

It was only down the hill from us, past lots of beautiful houses. The park itself was mainly just grass, but the view out over the water was stunning and the sky was lit up in the gorgeous pastel colours of the sunset. There was a wonderful hazy view of Mt Rainier standing alone in the distance.

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A hazy Mt Rainier in the distance

We had one full day in Seattle, and it began with a lovely breakfast in our cute little basement apartment. After breakfast, we took the bus into Seattle and went straight to Pike Place Market.

We saw Rachel the piggy bank, a full sized brass pig who is the mascot of Pike Place. We saw fishmongers tossing fish and lots of busy little stalls.

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Rachel the piggy bank

We made a beeline for the Cinnamon Works, a cafe that sells, among other things, tasty vegan cakes and pastries. On the way, we passed the first Starbucks store, which had a massive queue outside it. Apparently the coffee tastes the same.

We bought a cinnamon bun, a banana chocolate muffin and an oatmeal and raisin cookie. We took these to a spot by the sea and shared them between us. Lovely.

We wandered around the market, interested in the various wares on offer. We ate some free cherries that were especially tasty.

Eventually, we found the famous gum wall. The wall began as a wall that often had gum stuck to it and they got fed up of removing the gum, so they decided to make it into an art piece. So now everyone sticks gum onto the wall to add to it.

It is disgusting.

And extensive.

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Mmm tasty…

We took a few photos, then walked on towards the Smith Tower. We went past a cool free outdoor music event with an epic metalaphone player, who was rocking it.

After watching for a bit, we went on to a place called Sprout for lunch where we had tasty wraps and were impressed by the way they had all compostable plates and cutlery etc.

Then we went up the Smith Tower. The obvious tower to go up in Seattle is the Space Needle, but we tend to stay away from the mainstream (because we are hipsters).

The Smith Tower was once the tallest building west of the Rockies. We learned about its history as we explored some of the lower floors, which were set up on the style of the time, with interactive things you could touch and listen to.

After exploring a bit, we took the lift to the top where there is a lovely bar and an outdoor viewing area. The views are lovely.

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View to the Space Needle, from the Smith Tower

We sat down to have cocktails, which is when Eva realised that she didn’t have her passport, just her driving licence, which they would not accept. She was annoyed as she hadn’t been 21 last time she had visited.

Mum, Dad and I had some cocktails and Eva had a virgin Tom Collins. They were all very tasty.

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Drinks in the Smith Tower

When we were done, we went to catch the monorail to the Space Needle, just to see it from below.

I was very excited about the monorail, and rightly so. It was so fun! We arrived by the Space Needle and had a wander.

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The Space Needle

We saw a massive fountain called the international fountain which sprayed jets of water to music. There were loads of kids playing in it as it was HOT.

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The International Fountain

One girl tried to take her very reluctant dog under the jets, but it protested until she gave up.

Eventually we stopped watching the mesmerising sight and made our way back to get the bus to the Thai restaurant we were going to eat at that evening.

On the way, Eva and I spotted a playground. We attempted as a group to play with a cool musical mechanism, but it was hard to play anything that sounded good.

Eva and I were determined to climb the lain playground apparatus and go down the slide. We climbed the massive web structure, but found that the bit at the top was not built for big humans and we would likely lose our balance and fall.

We climbed down and found another way up, a sort of rope-tunnel-ladder. This was much more successful, and we were able to go down the slide!

We got the bus out to the Thai place – it took ages as there was so much traffic! Eventually we arrived and went inside. The food was excellent, very tasty and cheap.

We took the bus back to the flat and ended up walking up a very steep hill to get there, apparently Seattle is quite hilly in places!

The next morning, we packed up and left the beautiful flat to go to Sea-Tac Airport, where we would pick up a car for the remainder of our trip.

The journey to the airport was quite annoying given how many bags we had with us, but after dragging them to a station and wrestling them all on and off a train, we finally arrived at the airport.

We went to Starbucks to get lunch. Mum wouldn’t let me have a muffin as well as a sandwich, despite the fact I knew I’d be hungry if I didn’t have it (spoilers: I was very hungry later that day – mums don’t always know best).

Annoyingly, we had to take an absolutely packed shuttle bus to the car rental building. We certainly had too many bags for public transport and had to uncomfortably lean/ stand/ support the bags/ try not to fall over.

Once at the rental facility, Mum and Dad sorted out the car, while Eva and I waited, lounging on the floor tired-ly. We got to choose which car we had out of ones of a similar spec. We chose a white Nissan Rogue that seemed to have ample boot space, loaded it up and drove towards Yellowstone National Park!

12. Not in charge now
Back on the road – this time as passengers!

Next time – hopefully soon – I will be writing about Yellowstone and its phenomenal beauty.