Peace at the Border

Sunday, June 05, 2016 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Surrey, BC to Sequim, WA
Headed into Washington state today, we decided to cross the border at the Peace Arch on Highway 99 instead of the Pacific Crossing on Highway 15, even though we had been warned that the wait would be twice as long.  Apparently the lane we initially found ourselves in was the extended wait lane, as the immigration agent took ten or more minutes with each vehicle entering the U.S.  Eventually we moved over to what appeared to be the fast lane two rows over.
Before we reached the kiosk, we were instructed to hold up our cards, and a camera counted the number of passengers.  Passport control was perfunctory—where we were coming from, how long there, what we were bringing into the U.S.  The entire process took about 20 minutes, just as forecasted.  Once we were over the border, we stopped to visit Peace Arch Start Park in Blaine, Washington.
Peace Arch from Canadian side
The beautifully landscaped park borders British Columbia's Peace Arch Provincial Park.  Both parks include peace lilies in their landscaping, of course.  Visitors can walk to the Peace Arch area between border control stations.  It wasn't too crowded this Sunday morning.  We spent a little more than an hour taking photos and looking for a place to hide a letterbox, finally deciding the security was just too tight.
Peace lilies were an obvious landscaping choice.
The arch was built in 1914 to commemorate 100 years of open borders between Canada and the United States since the treaty ending the War of 1812 established the border at the 49th parallel.  With half the arch situated in each country, it honors the 3,000-mile unfortified border between Canada and the U.S.
Deception Pass Bridge
From the park, we picked up I-5 nearby and headed south.  Threading between tall evergreen forests, the highway offered a scenic route until we left it at Exit 230 to take Washington Highway 20 west.  Along the way to the coast, we stopped at the Deception Pass Bridge, a fetching 1935 CCC project arching across Deception Pass at a height of 180 feet.  One of the most photographed spots in the state, the bridge offers magnificent views of the water traffic below from its pedestrian walkway.
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Deception Pass view from bridge
Signage warns that high winds can develop through the pass, but that's not the only danger.  Seemingly, the extreme beauty of the location also appeals to those tormented souls who want to end their lives.  Since the bridge opened, almost 500 people have committed suicide by jumping to their death into the turbulent waters below.
Coupeville Ferry 
Just before 1 p.m., we arrived at the Coupeville ferry terminal.  After paying our senior fare of $7.05, we had just enough time to eat our prepared picnic lunch in the car before the next sailing to Port Townsend departed at 1:15.

We had a real treat when we walked into the passenger lounge on the ferry and discovered that multiple tables were spread with partially completed jigsaw puzzles.  As much as we enjoy this diversion, the transit time of 40 minutes passed in a flash, and soon we were driving off the boat and into Port Townsend (pop. 9,113) at the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula.
Port Townsend
Port Townsend's historic downtown drew us in with its colorful collection of ornately decorated Victorian commercial buildings dating from the town's heyday as a noted seaport and banking center.  Even in the absence of the South's miserable humidity, temperatures felt much warmer, and the sun seemed unusually bright and hot.   

We found a couple of letterboxes at the John Wayne Marina coming into Sequim (pronounced SKWIM), our jumping off point for Olympic National Park.  Arriving at the Holiday Inn Express around 4:00, we checked in and followed a Yelp lead to Blondie's Place.  Maggie, Blondie's daughter and our enthusiastic and attentive server, told us about the cafe, her dachshunds and Sequim's lavender industry.

Well nourished, we did a little more letterboxing before returning to the hotel to lay our our plans for Olympic National Park tomorrow.
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SUNDAY, 5 JUNE 2016 

Daily Stats
  • Miles driven:  142
  • Weather:  68° to 84°, sunny