Day 1 (Sat) – Bad Guys & Bedbugs

(Posted on Wed, July 29 from our Sat July 25 notes – 4 days later – partly because of internet problems, mostly because of mental fatigue!)

Our Saturday started out in Peace Arch State Park, at the border of Canada & USA – a short walk from our hotel.  Kinda cool to stand at the international boundary with a foot in each country. We got there a bit before park hours, but the staff (and US Border Patrol) didn’t seem to mind.

It was a bit rainy at the start of our drive south, and all seemed to be going well. Most of today’s drive would be in urban areas with several navigation challenges, so it was slow going. We probably won’t make our mileage goal for the day.

The highlight of the morning was when we passed an attractive and inviting little coffee stand in front of the Northwest Baptist Church in Bellingham. The sign said, “Free Coffee”.  We did a u-turn and took them up on the offer.  We learned that they do this every Monday, Thursday & Saturday, rain or shine, even in the middle of winter (with a warm fire out front) – what a great ministry! We really enjoyed the coffee & conversation with John, whose job (other than coffee guy extraordinaire) was to manage the facilities for the church. I may need to try to adjust my walk to bring me through here again on a Coffee Day!

At around lunchtime we had our first setback when we stopped at a Fred Meyer to get ice for our cooler.  Larry discovered his credit card was missing! We called the Pizza Factory, where we picked up dinner last night and we also called our motel – but nobody had found it, so we asked the credit card company to put a temporary hold on it.  We were sure we’d find it in one of our pockets – or not.

About an hour later we got a fraud alert from Chase – somebody had tried to use it to get cash at a gas station in Birch Bay. The charge was declined – no harm, no foul.  But we did have to cancel the card, which means lots of work updating our automatic payments when we get home.  Thankfully we had another Visa with us!

I just hope that the Bad Guy feels some remorse…

The next obstacle was finding a place to stay for the night – we had intended to camp, but it was getting late and we were still in an urban area, so we started calling motels.  We were finally told by one desk clerk that we wouldn’t find lodgings on a summer Saturday night for about 100 miles – which apparently meant that we wouldn’t find any ‘decent’ lodgings, because we found lots of ‘indecent’ ones! We briefly considered sleeping in our car in some parking lot (in retrospect, not a bad idea). In panic mode, we chose the first thing with a ‘vacancy’ sign – Larry caught glimpses of the attendant through a glass pane plastered with “no illegal activities allowed” leaflets.  We paid $70 for a room so shabby that we decided not to bring in any luggage – then we prayed that our car wouldn’t be broken into. And as we prayed, we realized that in our eagerness to get started this morning, we hadn’t read our Bibles nor said our daily prayers, thinking that we would take some time out later in the morning to do it.  Ultimately, we didn’t hem our day in prayer,and – you guessed it – it was just after ‘morning’ ended that our day started unraveling.

We scurried off to Applebees for dinner, dreading going back to the motel. We each had a difference of opinion – I wanted to get into our room before dark, Larry wanted to wait as looooong as possible.  We opted for Larry’s preference, hitting the room when we could no longer keep our eyes open, and actually got a pretty good night’s sleep.

Both humans and vehicle survived the night – but one unfortunate bed bug became a casualty in the wee hours of the morning after it weaseled its way onto my back and got squashed at first tickle but BEFORE first bite.  We are now thankful for the decision to NOT bring our luggage in!

In the morning, we shook out all of our clothes before we left the room – the impromptu strip-tease wasn’t originally on the agenda, but it eventually yielded the carcass (and ultimate confirmation) of the dearly-departed bed bug. I’m not gonna go into all the Google searches, hot-water laundry and precautionary insecticide that we dealt with when we got home – we have friends who had a NIGHTMARE with bed bugs in their home after a similar situation, so we operated with an abundance of caution.

Sadly, the unpleasant encounter likely aced us out of seeing some good friends down-coast.  I hadn’t even considered the implications of the mention of bed bugs – but knowing what our local friends went through, I don’t blame our buddies a bit for ‘passing’ on a get-together in their home!

With all the urban driving today, we ended about 80 miles short of our 200-mile-per-day goal.  Hopefully we can make up some time tomorrow as we get into the countryside.

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