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Uncle Markie out and about.

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Jan '15

Trip Report: CanadaLand With The Boys (And A Little Girl)

This week’s adventure involves LOTS of people (well, for me). First through the door are Seth (31) and Maia (the little girl – 5½ years old). They drove up from Corvallis for our little adventure. Before long they set off for the airport to pick up Lunetta and Onyx who flew in from San Francisco.

Dinner for five – rib-eye steaks, saffron rice, salad, couple of bottles of Bonny Doon wine…rice instead of bread as I broke yet another bread machine a couple of weeks ago – probably should say “wore out” rather than “broke”.

And a good dinner it was…finding places for people to sleep was a little more problematic.

  • Maia in the single bed in the office so we could chat into the evening
  • Lunetta and Onyx in my bed
  • Seth and in in a double sleeping bag on the living room floor (until he couldn’t take it anymore and crawled in with the boys)

Up at 5am so we could get out of the house by six to catch our 8AM Victoria Clipper to Victoria, British Columbia.

At least it was a “pretty” early morning:

A pleasant trip north after a take-out breakfast at the Clipper Café (who also does the catering for the boat as well), though I’ll admit to sleeping through most of it – even forgoing my usual mimosa.

Wrangling a child means you are the last people off the boat and near the end of customs/immigration – which went smoothly as I’d warned Seth that he needed at a minimum a letter from Maia’s birth mother authorizing taking her out of the country. Seth made EXTRA sure and brought the custody agreement with him. Good boy.

Walked to the WorldMark Victoria, expecting to stash are luggage because it was noon, and check in is 4PM. To our surprise, our unit was ready – which rarely happens that early, but often does more in the winter than summer. Dumped everything in the room and headed out to Moka for Grilled Ham and Cheese with Potato Soup – seriously, we all got the same thing (limited menu). Thanks Lunetta for treating!

After the early morning, it was nap time for Maia, Onyx and myself – we send the engineers to the store for supplies that we didn’t bring. I’d packed:

  • 4 racks of lamb
  • 2 packages of shrimp (meant to bring the white fish to be breaded with the Panko, except for Maia who would get corn meal)
  • 2 cubes of butter
  • 1 pound of bacon
  • Artichoke Bruschetta
  • Cornichons
  • Corn and Bean Salsa
  • Panko Breading
  • The WorldMark Bag (pre-packed olive oil/balsamic, curry, brown sugar, flour, skewers, birthday candles, McCormicks Steak Seasoning, coffee meat rub, Korean hot sauce, etc.)

But you also need:

  • Salad (and dressing)
  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Mixers
  • Cheese
  • Gluten Free Crackers (Maia goes bi-polar when she has gluten)
  • Corn Chips
  • Portabellas (to stuff with the Artichoke Bruschetta and top with the Panko Breading)
  • Etc.

Of course when you sent two engineers to the store, you get MANY more things in addition to those on the list. Take the generic category “Mixers”. They came back with:

  • 12-pack of Tonic
  • 12-pack of Diet Ginger Ale (mostly for me)
  • 6 pack of tiny Cokes
  • 100% Cranberry Juice
  • Handful of limes

Why so much? Did I mention what we picked up at Duty Free on the boat?

That would be 4 liters of hard liquor for a party of 9 adults tonight and 4 adults for the second night – and those Canadians like to drink hard at Duty Free prices ($85 for all four). And the guests are showing up with wine to go with dinner. And what a dinner it was:

In the foreground, the racks of lamb, Then the Stuffed Portabellas – which were a HUGE HIT, not just with the Vegetarian and Vegan guests (one each). For Maia it was an “adult night” when she was allowed to stay up until she collapsed.

Good food, good conversation (though not around the dining tables since it seats 6, not 10), good hot tubbing after dessert (thanks RobinHood and CrowDog!)

A late night, but luckily not an early morning – Seth was reading the schedule I sent out a laughed when he got to the first morning there, where it said brunch at noon:

The Boys Go To Victoria 




Seth arrives at UncleMarkies



Lunetta and Onyx arrive at Sea-Tac. Seth picks them up


UA 492 









Out of the house



Check in and grab breakfast at the Clipper Café



Clipper leaves for Victoria



Order Mimosas and Duty Free 



Clipper arrives Victoria



Out of customs/immigration 



Drop bags at condo and roam the city like a pack of dogs


Or grocery shop for the items we didn’t bring 



Check in at the condo — 


Could be early, they will have my number 



Cocktails with RobinHood, CrowDog, Royce, Kyle, + 1



Dinner with same Royce = vegan)



Hot-tub Party 



Sleep in, make brunch, explore 









Hot-tub Party 






Check-out, leave bags at desk 



Check in for Clipper to Seattle



Boat leaves



Order cocktails and Duty Free 



Clipper Arrives Seattle



Pick up car from garage and head home






Late Dinner if we didn’t eat on the boat 



Cocktails with Bliss



Dinner with same Royce = vegan)



Boys Uber to the Airport



Lunetta and Onyx fly home


Yep, guess that makes me anal retentive in my planning – but that’s how it worked out.

The boys and Maia set out to explore the city while I stayed home for some quiet time (much needed after all the excitement). My job was to fill in the gaps in the night’s meal (smoked fish, more cheese, and chocolate) and to grab a little lunch snack for me at the food truck in front of “Finest At Sea” a local fish wholesaler that has a small retail shop in the back:

I got the special – three rockfish cakes with hot dipping sauce. I had one, saved the other two to share with tonight’s pupu platter. After the shopping, NAP TIME!

Tonight’s menu (after the pupu platter):

  • Curried Shrimp Skewers
  • Salad
  • Bread (not for Maia!)
  • 3 bottles of various BC Red Wine

Life is HARD on the road.

And before you knew it, it was time to check out – this is what we put in storage since the boat doesn’t leave until 5PM:

Not like we pack light. The plan for today:

  • Store luggage
  • Head to the Royal BC History Museum and watch an IMAX film (mostly to entertain Maia)
  • Have lunch
  • Go to the boat

Here is a great picture of Seth after the movie (in the gift shop):

Lunch was at Santiagos, which is close to the ferry terminal (though we had to backtrack to grab out luggage). I’ve eaten here often because they always have muscles on the menu, AND they have HUGE drinks by Canadian standards, and cheap ($11) – again, but Canadian standards.

I had the Thai Mussels, Seth and Maia the HUGE nachos, Lunetta and Onyx the Ceviche and the quesadilla. We ended up taking a bunch of the nachos for the boat trip home.

Did I mention the pitcher of Sangria? And my favorite shot of the lunch:

Yes, they supply crayons, which was great for entertaining Maia.

Got to the terminal later than I wanted, but we were already checked in and had our boarding numbers, it was just the line to check in luggage that was a pain. And luggage we had – four checked bags.

But we did get a table for all of us. Here is Seth sating his Solitaire addiction:

Technically that’s 8 seats, but on the inner section so less coveted.

Three hours later and the last people through customs and this is the scene:

Four and a half people and their crap in a Saab. Tight quarters, luckily for only 20 minutes.

Once back to the house, an exhausted Seth and Onyx claim the big bed, Maia in the small one, and the Marks (Lunetta and UncleM) on the floor after staying up for hours beyond the others.

Seth /Maia/Lunetta/Onyx were out of the house before I was up – Seth /Maia headed home and dropping Lunetta/Onyx at the Rental Car Center at Sea-Tac to pick up a car for the overnight.

Work until 4:30 for me, then back to the house to prepare dinner for the boys, Bliss and myself for the final night of the CanadaLand holiday. Tonight’s menu:

  • Little lamb chops (LOTS of them)
  • Salad
  • A Spanish Red

After another late evening – it was time for me to head to a real bed, albeit a tiny one in the office.

I was out of the house for work before the boys were out of bed, feeling a little spent. While fun, it wasn’t one of the more “relaxing” holidays I’ve had recently.


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