The meaning of FRY

I awoke to sun and the promise of more of the same in Seattle in this afternoon. I know I won’t want to stop in the Seattle area with the rig, so I decided to jump on this opportunity to go see a bit more of this beautiful city!

To get there, I decided to take back roads to explore a bit more of the Washington coast. I set off from home around 8:30, went into Bellingham to run a few errands, and then asked the GPS to take me to Seattle the long way around.

The route took me through downtown Bellingham and down a beautiful stretch of highway that used to be connected to the Pacific Coast Highway that still exists near Los Angeles. We then entered a stretch of farmland and small towns where every other house was a gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian.

Entering Anacortes, there were a lot of signs for ferries, but I ignored them until I got this little niggly feeling. The following conversation with myself ensued:

-You set the GPS to avoid ferries, right?

-Probably. And I checked the route ahead of time.

-Check it again.

-Road, road, road, freeway, arrival. No, that’s FRY. Not freeway. FERRY!

I pulled over and reset the GPS to take me to Seattle by land only! I wasn’t really that far out of my way, thank goodness.

Approaching Everett, the GPS led me onto I-5 for a bit and that’s where I decided to stick to the interstate, not wanting to spend an hour navigating city traffic and also to make sure I knew what lanes to be in with Miranda when I drive through there on Tuesday morning.

downtown Bellingham

downtown Bellingham

This approach outside Fairhaven reminds of Montreal's Old Port and the Five Rose factory

This approach outside Fairhaven reminds of Montreal’s Old Port and the Five Rose factory

Fairhaven, WA

Fairhaven, WA




information on Chuckanut drive, formerlly part of the Pacific Coast Highway

information on Chuckanut drive, formerlly part of the Pacific Coast Highway

information on Chuckanut drive, formerlly part of the Pacific Coast Highway

information on Chuckanut drive, formerlly part of the Pacific Coast Highway






entering Seattle

entering Seattle

entering Seattle

entering Seattle

I got to Seattle at one, parked, and headed to buy tickets for the attraction I’d picked. Next post!


For about five years now I’ve suspected that I have certain medical condition. Attempts to get tested for it in Quebec were dismal failures. After waiting for hours at walk in clinics, I’d get the usual harried GP who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the patients who would call me a hypochondriac to my face and only send me for blood work to get me out of his hair. I’d then wait several weeks to get an appointment at the blood clinic, wait hours for the test, wait weeks for the results from the doctor’s office because I’d been told ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’, and then try to follow up to be told ‘if we haven’t called you we either lost the results or you’re fine.’ It just boggled me to be treated that way when I had a plastic surgeon on speed dial with whom consults were fully covered by Quebec medical insurance!

My last attempt to get tested was the summer of ’08, before I hit the road. Since then, I’ve essentially been without health care coverage and I’ve also been daunted by the thought of breaking into another province’s medical system.

Long story short, I’ve been feeling poorly for a very long time and this month it’s come to a head. I’ve been eating well, resting, getting exercise, managing my stress levels, etc., but I just keep feeling worse.

So, this morning I got online and Googled testing in Bellingham for the condition I think I have. I found a website where I could pay for the test online, print out a confirmation, and go to a lab in Bellingham immediately and get the test done. This sounded too good to be true, so I made sure the place is legit (yes) and even found a 10% off coupon. So, I PayPaled the company $43. By 11:15 I’d printed out my confirmation and by 11:30 I was in the car on the way to the clinic.

I got there at exactly noon, prepared to wait for hours or even be told to come back another day. Instead, I was checked in and brought into a cubicle immediately. I was out of there in ten minutes flat!!!

The results should land in my inbox in the next couple of days. Regardless of what they say, the next step will be to find a doctor. If they are positive, then I’ll need some drugs and if they are negative I’ll need further testing. At least, I have one step out of the way and I’m feeling very proactive!

The lady at the lab said I was the fifth Canadian patient that morning and that Canadians come down so they can get their blood work out of the way more quickly. So, it sounds like the BC health care system is just as efficient as the one in Quebec!

Three Out, Three In

Today, I did a seasonal clothes purge. Since I get so many of my clothes at little to no cost, I like to rotate them out pretty quickly, keeping only my most favourite and highest quality items.

One of the best ways to manage clutter is to practise the one in, one out, rule. That is, for everything you bring into your home, you should take out an item. I’m not always good at doing this, but days like today more than make up for it.

There’s a Value Village in Bellingham, where I knew I could offload more than just clothes, so I was highly motivated to make the trek worth my while. I loaded two garbage bags full of clothes into the trunk of the car and added a box of kitchen items. This donation got me a ‘$3 off a $10 purchase’ voucher for the store, plus some stamps for their reward program, the details of which I haven’t researched.

I decided to go into the store to see if I could find a decent top or skirt for $10, hoping that the Value Villages in the States wouldn’t be as overpriced as those in Canada. They are. 🙁 But this store was particularly well laid out and I was able to easily find $10 worth of merchandise: two tops, and a skirt. Two outfits for $7 isn’t a record for me, but it’s still a sweet deal!

Doing this clothes purge had a side benefit: I found a gorgeous teal blue fleece sweater I didn’t even know I had! I honestly have no idea where it came from! Last night, I found myself wishing I had a cozy sweater for wearing at home and going for walks. Perhaps the sweater faery paid me a visit last night?

Shoe Shock

This afternoon, I went off in search of shoes. My ‘good’ shoes have become my ‘every day’ shoes, so I wanted a backup. I like the Clarks brand. They never have the exact same shoe year after year, but they have a similar type.

I headed to Bellis Fair mall in Bellingham and popped my head into a couple of shoe stores, including the shoe section at Sears, but no Clarks. I began to think that they might be a Canadian brand, but one shoe clerk told me to try JC Penney’s. There, I found not only Clarks, but the exact shoe I wanted, and for only $70, about half of the cost of the shoes in Canada!

So, imagine the sticker shock when I went to pay and discovered that the shoes were on sale. With tax, I paid $30.

I got my current pair of Clarks back in 2007 and I remember exactly how much I paid for them: $147.30. And that was on sale.

Now that I’m home, I’m kicking myself for not getting a second pair. The sale’s on for the rest of the month, so I’m likely to go back!

Journey to the birthplace of Starbucks

Seattle rises out of the fog like an impressionistic painting, a gleaming beacon of civilization after a hundred miles of lush green mountains.

It was last night, in a fit of genius fueled by exhaustion, that my friend and I decided to go to Seattle today. She had put ‘go to Washington state’ on her list of things to do on this trip and when we realised that Seattle was barely two hours away, we decided to do something a tad more exciting than just going to Blaine for lunch.

We had an easy crossing into the States at Pacific Highway (the crossing we can see from my living room) and an easy enough drive to Seattle in pouring rain, arriving just shy of noon.  I’d had an idea of what we could do this afternoon, but my friend had seen the Seattle Aquarium as we came in and had her heart set on it, so our very loose plans changed.

I was famished (not news, lol!), so the first order of business was to drive around the general vicinity of the aquarium and look for food. We ended up at the Old Spaghetti Factory, where we both had a very satisfactory meal (I highly recommend the chicken penne).

Parking for the aquarium was the next order of the day and it was found quickly. Such a thing is ludicrously high in Seattle. We paid 14USD for 3 hours of parking, in addition to entrance to the aquarium.

While I had found the Vancouver aquarium to be quite disappointing, the Seattle aquarium was anything but! It has a touch pool, sea mammals, and interesting exhibits. My friend’s joy at the experience was palpable and her enthusiasm contagious. She fell in love with an anemone, while an octopus won my heart.

Rain poured down in sheets all afternoon, covering Puget Sound with a heavy grey mist. Neither one of us felt like driving home in damp clothes, so we didn’t explore the area around the aquarium. It was almost four by the time we got out of there and I knew the drive home would be difficult, so, satisfied and happy, we headed north without exploring Seattle further.

Approaching Bellingham, I suggested we stop and have dinner. Border wait times were already at the 20 minute mark and would only increase. I was also exhausted and achy from white knuckled driving seeing as there was enough rain that the car aquaplaned a few times. In the time it took to eat a fantastic meal at Applebee’s, the sky cleared. We drove the rest of the way home in beautiful sunshine and blue sky.

I didn’t realise that we needed to exit to get to the Pacific border crossing, so we wound up at Peace Arch. This was great seeing as the wait approached 40 minutes; my friend was able to see the Peace Arch and we enjoyed watching the sun set over the ocean. I did find the wait very difficult as I drive a standard and it’s a steady climb from the US to Canadian customs. I put on the hand brake a few times, but traffic was too steady to bring much relief. Crossing back into Canada was a non-event (note to my friend: whispering that the customs guy is really cute, even if he is, is distracting 🙂 ).

Pictures are on the Seattle page.

Each day has topped the previous, so we’re eager to see what wonders will mark our last full day together tomorrow.

As a side note, interstate 5, which connects Blaine and Seattle, WA, goes from the WA/BC border all the way down to the California/Mexican border. I have driven it from the Mexican border all the way to San Francisco and now from Blaine to Seattle. I just need to drive it from Seattle to San Francisco at some point! 🙂

(I never thought I would one day drive HOME from Seattle in two hours!)