Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Vacation to Victoria/WA Summer 2009

Our vacation started smoothly from Sacramento Airport to Seattle. A wheelchair was waiting to whisk us right through to the front of the security line. First on the plane, bulkhead seats, first off the plane and wheeled right to a taxi headed for pier 69. We had 3 hours to have lunch and visit Pike's Market, on a rainy day in Seattle, before boarding our ferry. If disabled be very specific on asking for directions by the piers because a few blocks is 3 miles to a walker lady.

Too much to see in two short hours but I saw them throw the fish. It took a whole hour to get me there and grab a taxi back to pier 69. Beware if disabled because they sometimes miss and the crowd jumps back, unknowingly, into the walker lady. I don't have a reverse in me. It took a whole hour to get me there and grab a taxi back to pier 69. My spring trench coat was a good purchase for this trip due to light rain. It was an a line, pleated trench.

I loved the colors at the market. Too many people to navigate with a walker and lots of cobblestones. I got an unexpected workout.

Ready to board the Victoria Clipper with an extra hot latte. Our package included round trip, rental car in BC, 2 nights at the Inn at Laurel Point, 2 Buchart Garden passes and high tea at the Empress for $900. Great deal!

The Victoria Clipper treated me like a queen and was very considerate of my limitations. The tide was out and a brave soul took me in a wheelchair down the plank. It was a comfy ride and luckily I took my Dramamine. We did have a couple of rough areas. The restrooms at the airport and on the ship were family restrooms. It made everything easier with Dave being able to help since I was layered.

After we hit our port it was a short walk to a mini van to get to the rental car. We got a free upgrade due to shortage of budget cars. This was our only mistake. We left the bulky wheelchair at home and thought a car would be easier...NOT! Victoria is small, full of foot traffic, bikes, horse and carriages and shuttle buses. Dave threw a fit, we got lost numerous times and I kept gasping out loud while grabbing the dashboard. This is how I felt the minute I hit the! We got to our room at 8pm and still had to eat after a 1 1/2 hour flight, Pike's and a 2 1/2 hour ferry ride.

We loved our room but we could not dawdle due to hunger. The bathroom was huge with all mirrors, glass and marble. A death trap to the disabled with no where soft to fall. I needed a snorkel for that deep tub and always used my walker.

Now what 47 year old woman wants this kind of exposure. Good lord I've never seen so much of myself at various angles. I had even forgotten my tattoo until I saw it in those mirrors.

The bed was white goose down with a big flat screen TV. Heaven I tell ya! The view was a Japanese waterfall garden, a footpath, then harbour. Happy campers, yes we were. We ate dinner that night in the hotel. We ate things we had heard of on Top Chef, like potato fondant, and it was all fantastic. Dave would have liked seconds but he settled for the Creme Brulee. The Aura got four stars from us mountain folk.

My body tried to keep up but...

A sunset view from our room. That was one long day and the next day was The Butchart Gardens.

Our car was brand new and really fit in Victoria..

Dave was in awe of the gardens and said "I want to live here."
Thankfully they had wheelchairs.

Begonias and Fuchsias, oh my!

Climbing roses on arches followed a path.

Dave speechless over flowers, oh yeah!

More of just flowers on Facebook.

Our second day began with high tea at the Empress. The waiter brought me a black, cut in half straw very discretely for my tea. A delicious event!

The Empress was an amazing hotel with a lot to see. We took a picture of the Parliament building but I was too tired to go in. We went to the museum instead and saw a 6 story Imax screen theater on Africa. Hey, we could sit for that. We took a 5:30pm ferry back.

Seattle here we come!

Off to visit Dave's daughter Jolene, hubby Scott and our three grandsons. They picked us up from pier 69 and treated us to a late dinner at the Spaghetti Factory.

Back from the co-op farm is Dimitri, Ethan and Jolene. I took a day of rest and tried to learn how to use a laptop. Very hard to get used to. Mine is on a shipping delay. Dave got to have a day out with Jolene and the kids.

I took one full day to finally meet my blog buddy Robbin. We have become so much more over the phone. Through her winning battle with cancer, to her deep grief over the death of her son, we held on to each other from afar. We had so much fun in our ten hours together but we both needed more. I'm saving my Visa points to steal her away next summer to CA.

Big E turned eight while we were there and got to pick out his own birthday gift from us...Rollerblades! He had a group of kids join us for a bowling party to celebrate. That was day one of a 4 day migraine from heat, stress and exhaustion.

These four boys had so much fun! Squirt guns, playing in a kiddie pool, a walk to the play ground, Guitar Hero and basketball.

Me? I was trying to get kisses and hugs. Bribery ruled the day! What energy they have, wow. Their guest room is up two flights of stairs with a locked gate. The four year old watched Dave help me down and said "you did it all by yourself grandma" meaning w/o walker. Too cute! Notice my face? Migraines are the culprit because I went numb and bug eyed again.
The kids drove us back to the airport and everything went smoothly. We brought home a rose tea set from the gardens, seeds, tea, a tea cosy, a tea towel, 3 Christmas ornaments and a beautifully hand painted birdhouse the kids made.

I finally arrived home to my quiet sanctuary, bed and dog. I was beat but happy as I pushed through it all. The last two days I had that migraine plus two days after I got home. Too much? yes, but I'd do it all again, just not in one trip.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A Picture Blog of July 4 2009

We actually participated in our first community event, a parade. We don't even have a stoplight so our expectations were low. Two other couples joined us and our dear blog buddy Annie was among them. Barb and Jeff had a grandson in the parade with his little league team. So off we went with our folding chairs under our arms. My walker was used as a wheelchair, walker and seat.
Fire being our biggest foe up here in the pines, it all started with new and old fire trucks. This huge horse and mountain cowboy was awesome.

Then there were the old cars and I liked this one because I'd never seen one like it.

Smokey the bear headed up the tractor brigade.
The garden club ladies had a floral float followed by the Veterans. They had old army trucks, jeeps and even had an old PT boat. There were clubs, church groups, a band and karate boy and girls, along with little league kids. Everyone in the parade threw candy. We were impressed.

This is our parade posse. From left, Barb, Annie, her hubby Don, me, Dave and Barb's hubby Jeff.

I heard the word cake walk on the way to our seats and yelled stop... CAKE! Dave, Barb and I walked. I won and these were my prize, a dozen cupcakes!

The wedgie walk was my secret weapon in winning. I had many wardrobe malfunctions that day. Notice my sexy shoulder peasant top look, well to enclose my gut, not to squeeze my 36 bust line, I had to get a medium. My bony shoulders are a small. I yanked it up all day but it made every picture.
Our queen is chosen from our elderly. Barb wants to be a Rose one day.

Starbucks strawberry cream delights were cool treats from Annie and Don. The weather was perfect! I wore big shades because I had been losing control of the left side of my face. I assumed it was ALS but my neurologist is thinking Bell's Palsey.

The cotton candy made the whole parade experience even better. I had kids staring because it wasn't a pretty site.

We ended this wonderful afternoon with a picnic in our garden.

This day was the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's farewell speech from the Yankees. The MLB had every player wear a 4 ALS patch on the 4th. Each 1st base plate will be signed and auctioned off to help find a cure.
Next Sunday we are off to Victoria, BC and to see the grandkids, not to mention meeting my buddy Robbin for the 1st time.