The Adventure Begins- Northbound Pan American Odyssey- We’re On Our Way!

I knew that getting underway for a trip of this magnitude would be tough. We are both pretty accomplished procrastinators in our day to day lives so we did not want to miss out on the opportunity to really cut it close on reaching our departure goal. In resigning from our jobs we left ourselves with a cushion of time to prepare to leave; two full weeks for me and one week for Scott. In that time, we took a trip up to visit friends for a weekend of folly on a ranch in northern California, went down to the east San Francisco Bay area to spend some quality time with Scott’s folks, went north to my parent’s house in the mountains of Lake County to attend my mom’s birthday/retirement party, then went back down to San Francisco to spend a couple days goofing around with Scott’s BFF. That left us with two and a half days to empty our house, pack up our stuff, feng-shui our truck, and squeeze in one last visit across town with Scott’s brother and family. No problem, as seasoned procrastinators, we have extensive experience getting mad amounts of work done in tiny amounts of time. As our target departure time of noon on the 8th of June loomed closer it became clear that we were not going to be ready. Undeterred, we solved the lack of readiness issue with what we have lovingly named The Catch-All Tote. We just threw everything we couldn’t categorize or find a perfect place for into The Catch-All Tote! Problem solved and we were on our way a mere 6 hours late. 6 hours is a very tiny margin when considering the scope of the trip. We kept it to that tiny margin by sacrificing the time it would take to eat and sleep. We were in top form as we headed up the highway. It felt right to me to start this giant adventure with a legit case of self-induced jetlag!

We may have made it out Chico on the 8th but we certainly didn’t make it out of California! We took care of the no eating all day thing with a delicious Thai meal in Redding. The combination of all of our feverish preparations with a full belly left me nursing a giant crick in my neck while drool spilled over the corners of my mouth. Scott made the executive decision to catch a few ZZZs in a highway rest stop. We slept the sleep of the dead amidst the rumbling generators of the long-haul truckers. 4:00 am found us lively and chipper and ready to burn through some pavement! We headed north lucky enough to catch our favorite breakfast stop in Eugene, Oregon right when they opened! With a belly full of vegan biscuits and gravy we were really feeling unstoppable now!  Our grand tour of visiting family and friends was not quite over. A weekend of family fun awaited in Hillsboro and we were already a day late! We were celebrating my brother’s birthday by partaking in Dad’s famous paella, customarily reserved for New Year’s Eve celebrations. This was an occasion not to be missed! I think we were the talk of the neighborhood as Scott and I deployed the Tepui rooftop tent right on the side of the otherwise conventional street. We got to learn about how our tent fares in the rain (she leaks) and enjoy our very first night on the road in our adventure rig! We have named her The Joan Wilder.

We’re missing my Crazy Auntie Barbara from the gang 🙁 but it was great to see everyone!
Dad’s famous paella!

After our visit with my family in Oregon, we headed up to Tacoma, WA to visit Scott’s cousin Joey. We enjoyed cooking up a delicious meal, sharing some beers and catching up.

Unfortunately, we let Joey escape to work without catching a photo so his backyard will have to suffice.

The final stop on our family and friends tour was at my Uncle Tom and Aunt Kathy’s house on Bainbridge Island also in Washington. We were treated to delicious tacos, a tour of the island and a pint at the local Pub! They waved us off from their front porch and we were Canada bound!

The golden light of sunset from the patio at the local pub.
It was so lovely to have the opportunity to visit with my Uncle Tom and Aunt Kathy!

Oh, Canada! We chose the Sumas border crossing into British Columbia. It was in the middle of dairy land so the air smelled a bit like burning pee but we were still excited! The border guard was very friendly and more interested in sharing stories of his road trip to Baja last fall than interrogating us in the name of national security. I think his only legitimate question was when he asked us if we had a gun with us for personal protection. We disclosed our bear spray but made sure to let him know it was only for bears and packed away with our camping equipment.  Apparently, that was the right answer because he let us into Canada! Washington was seeing us off with puffy white clouds and gentle breezes while British Columbia waited for us with a wall of dark storm clouds gushing rain and belching thunder. We chose to not take the weather disparity as a sign of impending doom and headed off into that cold wall of water.

The skies in Canada were not as welcoming as the border guards!

18 Replies to “The Adventure Begins- Northbound Pan American Odyssey- We’re On Our Way!”

  1. Hi Scott, Rachael,
    I’m just now getting around to reading your blog posts from the beginning of your big adventure. Great writing and images. Thanks!
    Dave Cooper

  2. I am so thrilled for you two. Absolutely inspiring. Rachael, I love your writing style. And the photos are a great glimpse of an odyssey unfolding! Completely captivating. Thanks for sharing your journey. Travel well, be safe and have a blast. I look forward to your updates.
    Sending lots of love

  3. I am glad I will be “on your trip” as I read these entertaining posts. I am wondering if you made it to end of the road in Canada for the summer solstice? While you were going north I went east and enjoyed Europe for three weeks. Looking forward to hearing more of the adventures of Scott and Rachel. Good luck! and hugs, C

    1. We’re so glad you’re following along! We’ll have to catch up when we swing back through this fall. I want to hear all about your Europe trip!

  4. So fun to read! After living in Lynden for 9 months, I know exactly what you mean about the smell. It was interesting though, in our two story house, the smell did not come in through the upstairs windows, only the ground level ones. Did you also see giant agricultural sprinklers that were pumping out something way too dark in color to be water?

  5. So good to hear from you guys—was afraid I didn’t properly subscribe to the blog. Loved that you survived your exit! James and Bob came and helped replace my driveway gate. It was really fun working with them. The new gate is fantastic. I think there will be video of what we are calling “Margie, Bob, James gate”. Thinking of you lots and glad your adventure is launched with such love, stay cool dear friends—margie

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