Sunday, 29 April 2012

Better Late Than Never - Pt. 2 - Bellingham

Can you tell that I'm trying to catch things up today?

At the beginning of April, we had some more breaks from the rain and, happily, I was able to take advantage of them. During Easter Weekend I was able to go for a nice cycle over to Langley and back and then, thanks to the rare occurrence of two sunny days in a row, I decided to go to Bellingham.

Why Bellingham? Well, first, I like going to the US  - crossing the border is always kinda cool - seems like you're going somewhere exotic, second, I wanted to practice riding longer distances so I can get better used to faster speeds and third - Trader Joe's.

Up until the previous week, I hadn't even heard of Trader Joe's. However, after I had some squares of wasabi seaweed (only 88¢!), I knew I had to try...

I downloaded a new app for my iPhone called Border Buddy and it worked really well. It checks the main crossings for the border both ways giving you times as well as the opportunity to contribute your own timings. It also includes camera views for each crossing. A free app, it is well worth having!

I went down to the US by taking the Aldergrove  crossing. The way to the border was good - I took a more direct route which required me to go a little faster. After getting through the border (Snarky US border guy "Is that thing safe?") I made a bee-line for Trader Joe's, pulling over to consult my printed Google Map directions when necessary (can't use data on my iPhone in the States due to immense cost).

Trader Joe's is a very cool place. I picked up a tarragon chicken sub for lunch and filled a shopping bag with lots of tasty treats including dried mango, a number of different cheeses, crackers, candy, and a nice bottle of two buck Chuck (that actually costs $2.50 - isn't that just the tax on a bottle of Canadian wine?).

I rode off and then found a tiny park with a gazebo and some benches in Bellingham. It was a very pretty little park and I had a nice lunch in the sun.

After lunch, I sped off and headed for the Pacific truck crossing as the time there was only a 5 minute wait. My groceries were mostly in a bag bungied onto the back of my rack with the exception of the wine and the wasabi seaweed. At the border, the guard asked me where the groceries were that I was declaring and I pointed to the bag on the back. Then he said, "I guess you don't have any wine or cigarettes in there.." and I, of course, said, "Nope!" I don't think I'll start smuggling narcotics but it seems likely that border guards are not aware of the existence of a Vepsa pet carrier!

Once back in Canada, I made great time as I sped home. That night, I cracked the cheap wine - kinda rough, actually, so not sure I'd risk another international incident to take any back again....

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