After an extended time in a very long Customs queue, Linda and I then had to get from Terminal 2 and had to make it to Terminal 4 to meet up with family. This seemed to take forever. Just as well we were able to find a cappuccino to fortify us. We were a bit foot sore and weary by the time we hopped into a car to go to our apartment which is to be our home for the next eleven days.
My eldest son, Aaron, was waiting for an appropriate moment to bring his daughter, Anna-Clara to visit with us. At first she was very shy and only wanted to be with Daddy.
Then we got talking and she found a space on the floor and started twirling around in a world of her own.
It didn't seem long until she found a spot to sit between her Uncle Ricky and Great Aunty Linda to settle down and have a chat.
It seems that meeting your overseas relatives for the first time is not so daunting after all.
Whistler was to be the highlight of our Canadian sojourn but if we hadn't been on top of the situation I don't think our bus driver would have even picked us up. Even when we did get on the bus we spent the best part of 60 minutes scooting around the city hotels to pick up, swap passengers until we finally had the correct mix of people for our journey.
At last we were on our way, out into the pleasant countryside.
Whistler put me in mind of the Bavarian town of Leavenworth in the Cascade Mountains. Whistler is nestled between mountains much like Leavenworth, the buildings are built chalet style with limited color schemes to blend in with the mountain scenery.
We stayed overnight and it was very pleasant but the gold nugget of our visit to Canada was the return journey on the Rocky Mountaineer train.
The customer service on the train was excellent.
The views of mountains with snow, sharp cliff faces, deep canyons with rivers at the base, all the picture book stuff we had ever seen about Canada was right there before us.
You may have to pay more for the experience than other places but well worth every mile/kilometer travelled.
When you travel you hope along the way that the toilets/bathrooms/restrooms/washrooms will be of a reasonable standard.
It wasn't until I saw this sign that I began to look around and realise that, yes indeed, the washrooms were looking a bit tired and in need of refreshing, especially when the sign itself was looking a bit tired. I do wonder how long the sign had been there.
If we said we had a 'bucket list' for our trip to the States then you could say we ticked it off by going to The Sisters Quilt Show in Oregon.
The show was due to start at 9am but we planned to get there earlier than that so we could park relatively close by and walk to the centre of town.
When we got there they were still hanging quilts. All very well organized and a troop of volunteers were busy getting the show on the road.
Although the surrounding countryside was very dry the weather was not too hot making it very pleasant to walk around and look at the quilts. I understand that there was a total of 1300 quilts hanging on the day and although we did not see them all we were well satisfied with what we did see.
Modern style quilting was alive and well at Sisters. Not all of it pleases me but I did see a lot of modern quilts that were worth close inspection.
Lots of very bright colored quilts.
This image shows all the quilts that were hung on one of the outside walls of the town's only quilt shop, The Stitching Post.
I liked this quilt not so much for its craftsmanship but because it depicted what was typical of Sisters and the surrounding area, ranches, mountains, snow, canyons, wildlife and quilting. We had it all and if we had a bucket list it would have got the big tick.
MWhen Linda and I travelled to the States together nine years ago we struggled to find coffee that we really liked.
Things have changed a lot in nine years and these days Starbucks serve our favorite, flat white, and lots of coffee shops now sport espresso machines.
Spotted in Starbucks:-
Their latest blend of coffee which just happens to be the same name as the town where we grew up in New Zealand.
On our trip to Cascades we asked the gps system to take us to a town called Monroe. It told us we were at our destination under a bridge and there were no shops in site so we set about looking for somewhere to have coffee.
We ended up at a hospital cafe and went in to buy a cappuccino each.
The lady started to serve us and said, 'Will that be two per cent?'
'Two per cent of what?', we asked.
Well we could have two percent, full fat or no fat milk.
We got that sorted and then she proceeded further with our order, 'Would you like your cappuccino wet or dry?'
Another coffee mystery for us. Apparently dry is when they really froth the milk on top of the coffee and wet is when it is not so frothy. We went for the less frothy option.
That was our lesson for the day on coffee making.
We have been able to find Starbucks for our coffee ever since that experience so no more trick questions when we buy our coffee.
When I am at home in Taupo I have sometimes shared the river view from my bedroom window.
A few days ago Linda and I travelled through the Cascade Mountains to the city of Yakima so Linda could visit with a quilting friend she has met through quilting.
The whole trip was a great experience with some breathtaking views along the way.
We stayed in a basic hotel overnight and the Yakima River could be seen from our window. Not quite the beautiful Waikato River that we can see from home but it was lovely to have some water close at hand.
Following on from our 4th July celebrations, the next day we went out for the day to visit Vashon Island.
Isn't this hanging basket just beautiful? Just one of many we have seen since arriving in Seattle, all full of the wonderful colours of summer.
Vashon Island was a lovely place to visit, nestled in Puget Sound it is just a twenty minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle and you can take your car too. How convenient is that?
We were able to get a snapshot of life on the island, stopping at the local shops, which didn't open until 12 noon, and then a bit of a drive around the island before another ferry trip back to the mainland.
One of the unexpected surprises of our visit to the island was a local quilt store, the Island Quilter.
Because of its location on an island I had expected it to be a relatively small shop, nothing of the sort.
The shop has just relocated and even though they had not unpacked all their fabrics there was no shortage as you can see her. A stash collectors heaven but I am able to report I did not buy any. Wouldn't want to be bursting out of my suitcase now, would I?
Vashon Island, will I ever return? I would like to think I might be able to, but if not, it will always remain a happy memory from this visit.