I Made It to Chilliwack!

After 3,383.5 miles….I made it!! I’m really really here in Chilliwack BC!

I'm so thankful for a safe journey. My angels have been watching over me the entire way.

Today was a busy day. I just couldn’t sleep last night. I kept tossing and turning, my mind racing and I found myself waking up every hour. Finally, I gave up at 5 am and got up for good. I was on the road at 6:30 just as the sun was beginning to rise. It was foggy and raining in the higher elevations again today and I90 took me up over the Cascades and through a challenging stretch of road called Snoqualmie Pass.

Construction coupled with the poor weather made this another day of focused driving.

Traffic came to a standstill just 6 miles before I  branched off I90 onto I405 and this congestion slowed me down for about 45 minutes.

My spirits were not dampened though since I knew the end was near. Once down from the mountains and out of the city traffic, the sun came out and dairy farms dominated the landscape. It was quite reminiscent of the countryside in Vermont where I grew up. I was nearing the end of my audiobook, "Glass Houses" by Louise Penny. This is the 13th in her Inspector Gamache series. I love this series and it was quite fitting that this series of  books are set in a small town on the Canadian Border near Vermont! It all ties together now doesn't it?

 

I arrived in Sumas, WA just before lunch and located the Sumas Mini Storage facility where I had a unit waiting for me. I unloaded the bulk of the items I brought with me for the camper and re-arranged the remaining stuff into some semblance of order in the truck.

Rain threatened overhead in the form of big thunderheads but did not materialize and everything was safely stored in the dry locker in short order. I stopped by the mail service center, Ship Happens, and learned that my package had arrived but was still being processed so I decided to take a lunch break and enjoyed a celebratory steak salad lunch at Bob’s Burger and Brew.

After days of a diet consisting mostly of yogurt, fruit, trail mix, and cheese, I was ready for some steak! Lunch was yummy and a real treat!

 

 

 

My package containing the cable for the cell phone antenna was waiting for me after lunch and after picking it up I headed for the border crossing.

I was faced with the usual questions: “ Where do you live?, Why are you visiting Canada? Is the trailer paid for?, How much cash do you have? Are you bringing any meat, alcohol, tobacco, fruits, or vegetables into the country? How long are you staying?”  and after answering all and presenting my passport, I was waved through. A short 20 minute ride up the road and I was in Chilliwack!

I decided to stop off at Escape Trailer Industries and bring them the cable needed for the antenna and say “Hi”! When I arrived, a man stopped me in the parking lot to talk. He was from Vancouver and considering the purchase of an Escape Trailer. We had a lovely conversation and after about 5 minutes of chatting, a woman came out from the office and said “You must be Sarah! I want a hug!!"  It was Meagan, one of my customer service reps who has been helping me and sending me all the lovely photos of the daily progress on Wild Thing!

I must give a big shout out to Meagan, Sarah, Lori, Erin, Verena and all the staff at Escape. They do an amazing job and are always ready to help. Thanks also to Nigel and the entire Escape Production Team. You make it all happen and are so willing to go above and beyond to make our camper dreams come true! The owners of Escape, Reece and Tammy, have built a formidable team who share their vision of a quality custom product and a happy end customer! Having spent a large part of my professional life in Customer Service, these are my kind of folks!

Thank you Escape Trailer Industries from Wild Thing’s Mom!!

After my quick stop at Escape, I checked into the Rainbow Motor Inn and then took a 3 mile walk down to the grocery store for you’ve got it...cheese, fruit, & yogurt!! At least enough to hold me for the next couple of days until I have my real kitchen! I so needed a good walk to stretch out the kinks. I also picked up a bottle of bubble bath and a nip of  Jameson’s Irish Whiskey. It is indeed time to relax and celebrate a bit tonight!

Today’s Driving 233.4 miles. 4 hours.

Total Trip Miles: 3383.5 Ashland to Chilliwack

Total Trip Driving Hours:  56:16:30 Ashland to Chilliwack

And here are the trailer build update photos for today, thanks to Meagan! These are the 7th in the series. The details of my camper are really coming together. The countertops have been installed in the kitchen. The sink, faucet, stovetop, and range hood are installed.  The blinds and the valances are hung, the microwave and heater are installed, and the cabinets are finished. That’s just what I can see from the photos! I know there is also plenty of work being done that is not evident in the photos.

I’ll be up early tomorrow and scoot down to Trademaster’s Automotive where they will install the 5th Wheel Hitch and I plan to have them give the truck a check-up.  Then I’ll have a little time to rest and get ready for the next leg of this grand adventure!

Tonight, though,  I am just overwhelmingly grateful for the wonderful and amazing journey that has brought me to this place, at this time, with you.

Travel Route to pick up Wild Thing!

I have received confirmation of the completion date for Wild Thing and all is on schedule for me to take possession on September 22 - just 31 days from today! I have been busy working on the details needed to get me across the country to BC and take possession of Wild Thing.

I plan to leave on September 11 and arrive in Chilliwack on September 19. That will give me a day to rest, a day to get the trailer hitch installed, and a day to take possession of the trailer. September 20th will be a day of rest after the cross country trek. I have scheduled for the hitch to be installed by Trademasters Automotive in Chilliwack BC on September 21. They work closely with Escape Trailer Industries to ensure the hitch set up on the truck will be just perfect for my trailer.

Escape Trailer will provide me with a thorough 2 hour Orientation to familiarize me with the operation and maintenance of my new tiny home on wheels. They will teach me how to safely hitch and unhitch,  and ensure I am ready to hit the road. They will also install any final touches I may bring along for the trailer like the TV and Cell Phone Booster. My orientation is scheduled for 8 o'clock am on Friday September 22. After my orientation, Escape will hook up and drive my trailer across the US Border. They will take care of all the necessary import paperwork at the border, so I will officially take possession of Wild Thing in Sumas, WA.

With those details settled, I have finalized my driving route for the trip from Ashland, MA to Chilliwack BC and have booked lodging along the way. I'll be leaving on Monday, September 11 and arriving in Chilliwack on Tuesday September 19. Trying to keep my costs low for this trip, I made reservations at motels along the way using Bookings.com. They offered some terrific rates on basic motels.  I was quite pleased to book 8 separate motels for 12 nights at a total cost of around $700.00. I will be making sight seeing stops at Niagara Falls and in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Steve and I enjoyed a wonderful trip to Niagara Falls a few years ago and since it was somewhat on the way I thought an overnight there would be a great way to kick off this trip! I'll leave early in the morning on the 11th and have the afternoon and evening to enjoy the Falls.

Mackinac Island, MI has been on my bucket list for years. One of my all time favorite movies is Somewhere In Time (1980) staring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. The movie is set at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. I'll take a day to walk the grounds and enjoy this beautiful island. The entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark and more than 80% of the island is preserved as Mackinac Island State Park. It's a short 20 minute ferry ride from St Ignace, MI  to the island. Vehicular traffic is prohibited on Mackinac and folks get around by walking, bicycle, or horse and buggy. I look forward to stepping back "Somewhere In Time" on this visit to the island.

After Mackinac, I plan to point my big red truck toward Chilliwack and drive on!

Here's my full travel Itinerary:

Sept 11 Day 1 Drive 7 hours to Niagara Falls ON  Stay at Travelodge $46.00

Sept 12 Day 2 Drive 7 h 30 min to St Ignace MI  Stay at Aurora Borealis Motor Inn 2 nights for $111.98

Sept 13 Day 3 Take Ferry ($24.00) and Tour Mackinac Island

Sept 14 Day 4 Drive 7 hours 6 min to Eau Claire WI  Stay at Motel 6 $40.85

Sept 15 Day 5 Drive 7 hours 30 min to Bismarck ND   Stay at Days Inn $76.05

Sept 16 Day 6 Drive 5 hours 49 min Billings MT   Stay at Extended Stay America  $65.65

Sept 17 Day 7 Drive 5 hours Missoula, MT  Stay at Motel 6 $74.89

Sept 18 Day 8 Drive 5.5 hours to Ellensburg WA   Stay at Econolodge  57.19

Sept 19 Day 9 Drive 5 hours to arrive Chilliwack BC

Stay 3 nights at the Rainbow Motor Inn  $217.18 USD ($274.92 CAD exchange rate 0.79)

 

I estimate my fuel costs for this trip to be also about $700.00. Escape Trailer Industries would have delivered my trailer to me at a cost of $2.20 CAD/mile. This trip is about 3100 miles so even at today's exchange rate of 0.79 that would translate to $5387.80 USD. Ouch! So in addition to the savings, I will have the adventure of driving across the country, twice!

Since I will be staying in more modest motels, I did invest in a few additional supplies to help ensure I don't pick up any unwanted travel companions.

I've purchased from Amazon this set of Twin Bed Bag Sheets  and a bottle of  Harris Eco Natural Bed Bug Killer Spray

One of the biggest advantages to owning a travel trailer is that you get to sleep in your own bed and not worry about such things again! I don't want to inadvertently bring any critters into my new home, so hopefully these products will eliminate that risk.

Now I'm off to work on the itinerary for the trip home! Stay tuned...