Merritt to Seattle, Wednesday, 19-Jul

We made it home after the last leg of our trip. Of course, that meant crossing the border, which could have been worse.

The motel we stayed at in Merritt offered a breakfast buffet, so we went across the parking lot to the restaurant where it was being served. There weren't too many people there, so it didn't take us very long. After that, we made quick work of packing the car, and we were on the road.

Even though we had left the Trans-Canada Highway the day before, we were soon back on it (we took Highway 5 between Kamloops and Hope, saving an hour). There was one section which made it look like a tree-lined highway, which was very picturesque. We eventually started seeing Mount Baker, so we knew we were nearing the States.

As we got closer to the border, our planned route was to go through Sumas, which was faster than Peace Arch (Blaine), but slower than taking Highway 13/539. Since it was supposed to be 20 minutes, so we figured we would just stick with the plan, rather than trying to figure out how to get to the next crossing.

We do have Nexus cards, but since we hadn't registered our car with it (occurred to us too late to do so), we went in the standard lines. Ends up the Nexus card would have only saved us about 15–20 minutes; we wended up waiting 40–45.

It wasn't clear to us why the line was going so slowly, especially since as we got closer, each vehicle was about 2–3 minutes; with the line, our wait should have been under 20 minutes. Ah well; our inspection was quick, and we were back in the States.

As usual, we had arranged ahead of time where we were going to have lunch. This time it was in Bellingham, where we split a crêpe, then went a few stores down to get some ice cream at Mallard.

The last leg home went well, although we saw a lot of northbound traffic before we hit Everett, and it didn't let up until we got to King County. For us, southbound was pretty clear until a few dozen yards after we exited at Northgate.

We weren't sure what the garden would look like when we got home, and it was actually in pretty good shape. We did a bunch of watering, as well as some harvesting and weeding, and called it good.

For the whole trip of 3½ weeks we ended up driving a bit more than 3,300 miles, walking/hiking almost 170 miles, and climbing the equivalent of almost 900 flights of stairs. We got to see lots of family and hiked through parts of five different national parks. Pretty good for the longest road trip we've taken. Not to plan for next year.