Monday, June 3, 2013

Ohhhhhhh, Canada...!

Oh Canada, indeed! The Four B's went to Canada this past weekend, all the way to Merritt, BC! Brady was asked to judge the PBR up there, and so we went, and we're all glad we did. It was a great experience! First stop? Seattle! Brady had to pick up his passport - below you see us waiting. We had some interesting things happen during this time, though. First of all, we had to go through a security check just to get in the passport building, which was quite interesting for the little B's. They couldn't understand why we had to take off our shoes and go through such a dramatic check. Can you tell they've never been on a plane?
Secondly, it just so happened that the passport place is next to Chinatown and the International District of Seattle. This piqued my interest immediately, because I was in the middle of a book for my book club called, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet." And so I asked the passport lady if we were near where the book was set, because on our way to lunch, I had spied the Panama Hotel, a place in the book. The passport lady said, yes, indeed it was the area in the book and to go to the hotel so I could see some of the artifacts there. So while we were waiting for Brady's passport to be processed, we went to the infamous Panama Hotel!
And I met the owner! We were taking pictures outside, and this very nice lady asked if we wanted a family one, which sadly didn't turn out, but then she confessed she was the owner, Jan Johnson, and proceeded to give us a tour! We didn't make it down to the basement, but we did see the hotel rooms and the tea room and she told us a lot more about the history of the building. (If you haven't read the book, it is really good and I highly recommend it!) It was super cool for me to meet Jan and to see the book come to life and to see a part of history. What can we say? It was fate!

After the hotel experience, we took a quick walk through Chinatown and then Brady went to pick up his passport while the little B's and I went back to the Roughie (our beloved van!) to wait for him, and as we walked into the parking lot, a man leaning against the wall with sunglasses on said to us, super fast, "Hey do you want to buy some marijuana I'm a celebrity." I didn't even catch what he said! So I said, "What?" And he looked annoyed and shook his head and said "Never mind." And then my B's piped up and told me what he said and asked me what that meant... And then I was pissed and a frankly, shocked at the nerve of that idiot to ask such a thing to a mother and her kids. But then we had a good conversation about why it is important to always know your surroundings and how there are people like that out there and to JUST SAY NO to drugs - even pot! The B's now know that marijuana, pot and weed all mean the same thing and that it is a drug, even if it is legalized in Washington. We texted Brady about what had happened while we were waiting for him, and he texted back, "Don't buy any." Always a comedian, huh? At least we found the humor!
And then we were in Canada! These are called "rolling hills," according to one local. As we drove farther north, the steeper the mountains became. Apparently they get more majestic the farther north you go. Amazing! And quite beautiful. The landscape in Merritt, BC is much the same as Eastern Oregon, and they even have sage brush! A different variety, but sage brush all the same. There are a lot of big ranches in the Merritt area. Gorgeous county, to say the least!
The Merritt PBR folks put us up at a super fun hotel, complete with a pool and a water slide! You can imagine the fun that was had in the water...
We found this small door in the restaurant we ate at, The Coldwater Hotel, which was built in the late 1800's. I can't remember the exact year, but it has a nice restaurant and a fun bar complete with pool tables and a dance floor. Very old fashioned and looks like fun if you like to drink! (Neither one of us do.)
The Merritt Rodeo Grounds were awesome! All the seating is under cover, and the background was a sight to behold, any way you looked! Mountains, trees and lush green grass.
Brailey Shaye spent most of her time in Canada taking pictures. I think she managed to capture every single moment! Except for when she was in the pool...
In Canada, they sing the United State's National Anthem, and then Canada's before the start of the show. And it was a great show! They had a spectacular opening with lots of fireworks and smoke and a good number of bull riders rode their bulls, and they were some rank bulls - the crowd loved it! A lady sitting next to me asked me a question about someone in the arena, and after I answered her, she said, "Are you from here?" I said I wasn't, and she said, "I can tell - you have an accent." Yes, Canadians do have a different dialect than us Americans. It was fun to be told I had the accent, for once!
 You can see the fun water slide behind the B's...
More of their "rolling hills." Brady and I got a charge out of that description. They certainly don't look much like rolling hills to us, but I guess if you are used to seeing the Rockies, then these little mountains probably do pale by comparison. Beautiful country!
Above you see the bridge on I-5 that was wiped out by an over-sized truck and added quite a bit of time on to our drive, due to the detour. And then Seattle, where there is always traffic, no matter what day it is. 
It was a great adventure, no doubt about it!

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