Alas, we have come to the final chapter in this mini break from RVing – our summer 2015 Alaskan adventure.
And what an adventure it’s been!
On our way to Alaska we had way too short of visits in Seattle and Vancouver, so with the bus projects not looking likely to be finished early – we were able to extend our time on the road with more prolonged stops on our return.
This post will wrap up the final 10 days of the journey before we returned back to Kiki waiting for us in St. Louis.
There are not nearly as many scenic photos to share this time around, for this one, the most amazing part was the people we got to share our time with.
We fell in love with Vancouver during our first short stay before our northbound cruise, so it was an easy decision to plan a more extended stop on our return.
Steveston, BC (aka Storybrooke, Maine)
On our initial visit to Vancouver, our hosts Harold & Tracy took us for a tour of one of their favorite areas – Steveston, a historic fishing & canning village to the south of Vancouver.
We loved it, it was a wonderfully quaint seeming little town.
We also had the opportunity to meet-up with Stephen & Ellen, who had hosted the RVSummit (its now open to everyone at no charge… with some great content there to explore!) later during our first visit to Vancouver.
It turns out, they actually live in Steveston, and have guest space which they graciously offered to us should we return to the area. Since we’re fans of mixing up our stays and visits, we accepted.
Stephen & Ellen simply love their community, and it shows in everything they do. It was so much fun to see the area through their eyes, and we enjoyed many evenings after they got off work exploring on foot, geocaching, indulging in ice cream, getting to know each other better, and checking out great local restaurants.
And it was extra fun to be there to witness a section of downtown Steveston morph into the fairytale town of Storybooke, Maine. Steveston doubles as the set for the TV series ‘Once Upon a Time’ – and when the show is in production entire storefronts are transformed.
We had caught the first season of this cute and clever show a long time ago, and we’ll simply have to get back into it after having “been there” in person.
Thanks for a delightful stay, guys – it was so much fun to live our sometimes fairytale feeling life in a fairytale setting for a few days!
When we announced we were coming back to Vancouver, Peter & John wrote to let us know their departure in the area had been delayed – and they’d love to come spend some more time with us.
Oh, heck yeah!
That quickly led to the four of us scheming to rent a swanky downtown condo together for a few days.
Peter jumped right into researching options, and found a great high rise 2-bedroom in Olympic Village on AirBnB. At just around $120/night per couple – this was a much more affordable and luxurious option than either of us could score independently.
The apartment was fantastic, on the 10th floor with amazing views of False Creek and downtown Vancouver.
Located right by the bridge into Yaletown, and a SkyTrain station, we had easy walking access to anything we might like to explore.
What a fabulous few days spent laughing and bonding with new friends that we feel like we’ve known forever.
Aside from spending one of our days together co-hosting a couple live video events, which was super fun to do, we also did some night light up kayaking on False Creek (which is highly recommended.. so awesome to watch a sunset over Vancouver on the water, then have our kayaks light up beneath us!) and a lot of walking around town.
Our Vancouver return aligned nicely with Rush’s 40th Anniversary tour – so Chris got to realize a dream of catching one of his favorite bands in their home country, on what is slated to be their last large-scale tour.
(I happen to enjoy Rush quite a bit too…)
We said some sad until next times to the boys as they dropped us off at the bus station for our ride to Seattle – mixing in yet another mode of transportation into this adventure. We look forward to catching up with them wherever and whenever our roads next converge.
We had just a few hour layover in Seattle on our train ride west at the beginning of this adventure, and got to briefly hang out with our dear friends Lindsay & Sean in their new neighborhood near the Ballard Locks.
They offered up their sweet guest space should our return trip take us through town again, so we excitedly took them up on the offer when we made plans to pass back through town.
(Have I mentioned how blessed we are to have such generous friends all over the place? It really is quite humbling…)
We selected to take the quick way back to St. Louis by plane – with the cheapest option being a direct flight on Alaska Airways from Seattle (just $222/each). So it all aligned perfectly to spend a few days with them, exploring the darling walkable neighborhood around them.
We mainly used our time in Seattle to catch up on work, having been in vacation mode for the past several weeks. Our hosts work outside the home during the day, which made a great quiet crash pad for us with super fast WiFi.
We had a bunch of invitations to meetup while we were in the area, but limited time, social overload, and travel exhaustion got the best of us. We were mostly just craving quiet time.
We did however discover that Chris’ cousin was in the area, and we took advantage of a chance to converge. And we had a serendipitous visit with Todd and Russ of Wandertopia, awesome friends we had made this past winter in the desert.
(By the way, they’ve decided to downsize their RV and their super sweet 40′ 1986 Wanderlodge is for sale).
We’re so glad we conserved our energy to spend time with dear friends and family.
After a restful few days exploring Ballard, we tried yet another mode of transportation by ordering up our first Uber ride to take us to the airport. It was a very pleasant and convenient experience… just tapped on the app to request a ride, watched our driver’s car head towards us and all billing was handled within the app. Using their $30 first ride coupon, the end total cost was less than $10.
Next up was a smooth and uneventful plane ride “home”, where we were reunited with Kiki.
Catching up on cat snuggles has been so good!
Follow our Summer 2015 Alaskan Adventure:
- Planning Our Great Alaskan Adventure
- Phase 1 – Alaskan 2015 Adventure: Amtrak Train Travel from St. Louis to Vancouver, BC
- Phase 2 – Alaskan 2015 Adventure: Touring Vancouver, BC
- Phase 3 – Alaskan 2015 Adventure: Northbound Cruise to Alaska
- Phase 4 – Alaskan 2015 Adventure: Alaska Railroad GoldStar Service to Fairbanks
- Phase 5 – Alaskan 2015 Adventure: Adventurer Class Railroad from Fairbanks to Anchorage via Denali
- Phase 6 – Alaskan 2015 Adventure: Exploring the Kenai Peninsula in a RV Rental
- Phase 7 – Alaska 2015 Adventure: Anchorage, Seward and Holland America Zaandam Southbound Cruise
What’s Next? Chris’ parents needed to head off for a last minute trip, which aligned perfectly with our return – giving us a week to ourselves house sitting. A perfect chance to re-charge for us while taking care of their dog Molly.
We’ll stay in their nice guest suite until we can to relocate up to Elkhart to be with the bus.
Over the coming days, we intend to compile some video clips from this adventure to create a little wrap-up travelogue – and then will seal this chapter up.
Bus Progress? MasterTech has been overwhelmed with work this summer, and a major power outage in the area shut the shop down for a few days too. Though a lot has been accomplished, over the past two weeks our project seems to have been mostly stalled, and other than the roof now being painted there is not a lot of new progress to report. Although we do have shipping confirmation of our new windows.
Given the number of core projects still left to complete before we can move back in to be on sight for the final phases, we’re feeling like we might need to find some lodging options closer by so we can be more involved.
If anyone has leads on apartments or guest suites we could sublet, or house sitting opportunities, within about an hour of Elkhart, IN – please keep us in mind.