Day 8


Well one nice thing is that the Honeymoon Suite is well sound-proofed, although we suspect that this is usually to keep noise in, rather than to keep noise out. Because the motel is right next to a steep hill primarily occupied by downshifting 18-wheelers, we appreciate the "keep noise out" part.


First thing in the morning (well, maybe not the FIRST thing, but the first thing after we were actually awake), we biked into Osoyoos for one last Canadian latte at Jan's Virtual Coffee. Unfortunately, this was not what we thought (a room full of terminals with T-1 access to the Internet), but was instead a regular espresso store, with a relentlessly cheerful owner (what IS it about Canadians in the morning?).

It's lovely day, and we saw some Canadian Canadian Geese (although they could also have been Mexican Canadian Geese, since the sign on the way out of Osoyoos says "Adios Amigos").

Virtual lattes

Whoops! Wrong country!


Heading towards the border

Mile 1822; 10:30 AM
We leap into The Brick and point ourselves at the US/Canadian border.


Arriving at the border

Mile 1825; 10:40 AM
Wow! Osoyoos really is close to the border! We stop at a Duty Free shop to blow the rest of our Canadian money (Laura bought a $19 scarf, Robert bought some candy and a little fan).

On the way back into the US, Laura suddenly realizes that she has made a horrible mistake. Robert is driving. That means that Robert will be the one to talk to the Customs agent. Hoo boy!

Robert cheerfully hands the Customs Lady his passport (which features a demented-looking picture of him that has caused Italian customs agents in Italy to sniff in disapproval). The Customs Lady makes the mistakes of asking Robert where we went in Canada. Robert launches into an enthusiastic description of the Royal Tyrrell museum, and the type specimens, and the almost complete T. Rex skeleton.

Before Robert can grab the white board out of the back seat and begin explaining about the development of the exoskeleton during the Devonian period, the Customs Lady quickly waves us through. We must look or act like Americans or something.

Back in the US of A!

Have a brew in Brewster!

Mile 1904; 12:30 PM
We roll to a stop in the (US) town of Brewster, since it seems named to capture Canadians ("Hey! There's our kind of town, eh?").

Along the way, we listen to a local radio station that features an impassioned discussion of the Omak Weed Board ("probably the best Weed Board ever" opines the announcer, although other folks disagree with him). We also hear commercials for ant and spider control ("With the coming winter, ants are headed towards your house!"). Apparently, we are in a part of the country where they take their weeds and bugs very seriously.

We seem to be out of the Canadian Snow Zone, as the sun is shining brightly and the temperature has gone from 20 C to a whopping 74 F. We sure picked up those degrees quickly once we crossed the border.

While we're stopped for lunch (and in between Robert knocking Pepsi's across the room), Robert looks at the "Advise to Travelers" section of his passport (always a good thing to do AFTER you've been to a foreign country). He discovers that the US Government tells us to "avoid conspicuous clothing" while traveling abroad. "What? Stripey shorts and Hawaiian shirts are conspicuous?" is Robert's response.


A cosmic joke

Mile 1930; 2:00 PM
The entire last week, Robert has been driving like a nut, deciding that converting km/hour to mph is too much trouble, so he'll just drive as fast as the car can possibly go. In that time, we saw no Mounties or police on the highway.

Laura has, by comparison, been driving extremely sedately, rarely exceeding 70 mph (which Robert refers to sneeringly as "sub-light speed").

We're not even in the US for four hours, when--guess what?--yup, we get to meet a Washington State Patrol Officer, with his lights flashing and everything! And guess who's driving? Yup. It's Laura behind the wheel, doing a scandalous 72 MPH in a 60 MPH zone! Yikes!

Once the cop got a look at Robert's stripey shorts and Hawaiian shirt, however, he completely understood why Laura was speeding (so she wouldn't have to spend any more time in the same car with these shorts than necessary), and he gave her a warning (after checking to make sure she wasn't wanted on any outstanding warrants--another lucky thing, since Robert is a fugitive from justice on a 15-year-old jaywalking ticket he refuses to pay).

We got pulled over while we were listening to "Fanfare for the Common Man" (written by Copland, performed by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer). This is the kind of cosmic joke that proves the existence of a God--a very twisted and wacko God.


Exhibit "R" lake

The grass is greener here

The Exhibit "R" park

Mile 1946; 2:41 PM
We find a lovely, large, well-maintained and completely deserted park outside of Wenatchee. The bathrooms are immaculate (and huge!) and there's a swimming area and many picnic spots. After extensive research (consisting of reading the park bulletin board), we discover that this is our (and your) tax dollars at work.

Apparently, some law or another required Chelan County PUD (Public Utility District), with assistance from the Federal Government, to build the park as part of running high-voltage power lines through the area (which, unfortunately, means you can't fly kites in the park). The park is Exhibit "R" of the project.

While we are grateful for the pit stop, we're not sure that WE would have chosen to spend our tax dollars in this manner (for one thing, we would have installed a T-1 line).


Warm Springs B&B

Rosey times

What do you mean we missed the turnoff?

Mile 1974; 3:20 PM
We discover yet another advantage to having along a cellular phone (aside from giving the passenger something to play with). We're trying to find the Warm Springs Bed & Breakfast, where we have rooms for the night. We have a map from the B&B folks, which indicates the names of all the roads we should take. Unfortunately, none of these roads have street signs, which kind of spoils the usefulness of the map.

But, with the aid of millions of dollars of cellular infrastructure, we're able to call them and whine, "We're looooost!" This is technology at its finest.

We finally find Warm Springs B&B (although by this point, Robert has taken to referring to it as "Hidden Springs"), which is an old mansion, that at one point was a sanitarium. Robert feels right at home, and falls asleep on the bed.

When he awakes, he discovers that Laura's two sisters (Jan and Patrice) and one of their husbands (Trevor) have arrived. Robert also discovers that he is the only sober one, which provides a more level playing field.


Sweatin' with the oldies

Mile: Somebody Else's Car; 8:00 PM
Because Robert is the only sober one, he is selected to drive. By the time we arrive at George, Washington (a real town), everyone else is also sober, because Robert's latest hobby is passing cars at high speed. Robert's motto is "Nobody lives forever, so the sooner you pass somebody, the more life you have."

The main (and only) industry in George is the Amphitheater next to the Columbia River. This is a large natural amphitheater that has been enhanced by the addition of Porta-Potties and Concession stands. We sit outside in folding chairs, along with some 10,000 other people to watch a concert featuring Emerson, Lake, and Palmer and Jethro Tull.


Robert watches most of the concert with binoculars (although we're in the 25th row) and reports that Greg Lake has a tattoo on his arm, as well as two hearing aids. Emerson and Palmer are both wearing ELP T-shirts (probably so they remember what it is they do for a living). There's also a spider web running to the mike stand, which seems appropriate, as these guys are OLD! There are probably married couples there who were both conceived at an ELP concert.

We get to hear "Fanfare for the Common Man" for the second time today, although this time it does not feature flashing lights and armed guys in uniforms. It does feature Keith Emerson sticking knives in the keyboard of an old tube-driven analog synthesizer, and it also includes ELP's usual inspired riffs on bits of Copland, Moussorgsky, Brubeck, Bach, and Carl Orff. Emerson plays parts of it with the synthesizer lying on top of him, so he's playing it upside down. We think the absence of guns is an improvement.

At least we're younger than the band

Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull then totters onto the stage, and Ian Anderson begins the set by congratulating all of us on looking so good for our age. Nevertheless, they manage to get through the entire show with all band members avoiding a heart attack or a stroke, and the music is awesome!

Robert then drove everybody back to the B&B, again passing every car at high speed in the dark. Amazingly, everyone in the car made it back without having heart attacks or strokes.


Canada vs US

After our extensive research of Canada (consisting of over 167 hours of experience in the country), we feel completely qualified to pass judgment on Canada. Here are our conclusions.


Canada has cooler money. Aside from the loonies and toonies (and toonies look cool, because they are a coin within a coin), even the paper money looks cool, as each bill has little gold seals on it. Plus a picture of the Queen. Canadian money is also worth less, so it's easier to feel like a big spender.


The US is a clear winner here. Canada has about one espresso stand for every 10 degrees Celsius. Also, Canadian grocery stores don't even sell coffee beans! (This is true!)

Measurement Systems

Canada uses the metric, or "artificial" measuring system, while the US uses the English, or "real," measuring system. The US system has the drawback that you actually know when you're speeding, but in Canada, you're never quite sure how many hectares per hour you are traveling.

Law Enforcement

Canada has a clear lead here, because of the advanced stealth technology used by the Mounties to avoid detection. In our week in Canada, we only saw two Mountie cars, and no Mountie horses. Also, Dudley Do-Right was a Mountie.


Canada comes out the winner, here, because Canadians are obsessed with safety. Every pedestrian crosswalk has at least four large signs, two sets of flashing lights, several big X's (and probably an invisible Mountie standing by in case you try to zoom through).

Also, the warnings on cigarette packs are not only explicit ("Cigarettes will kill you!"), and in two languages ("Les cigarettes causee le death"), but also they cover about half the package.

Hair dryers in Canadian hotel rooms are located as far away from the bathroom as possible (in some places, you actually have to go to the hotel office to use the hair dryer). This is to prevent you from seeing in the bathroom mirror that your hair looks terrible and causing you mental distress, which would make you accident-prone.


There are more Americans than there are Canadians, which is a good thing, especially if Canada ever decides to invade the US. All we'd need to do is to set up a "Budweiser Line" and that would be the last we'd see of them.


Canada has thick-sliced bread (in two colors: white and brown), and they also have awesome sausage rolls. All the other food in Canada is imported from the US and then deep-fried to prevent any American germs from spreading.

The US has Mexican, Italian, Thai, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, French, and Korean food. Also hamburgers and milk shakes (Canadians make milk shakes by scaring cold cows).


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