By Cal Orey
Early July I found myself keeping true to a vow and going to Victoria, British Columbia to escape tourist chaos on Fourth of July. I didn't know what to expect but whatever the trip brought me I knew it would be sweeter solitude than at home. After living at Lake Tahoe for almost two decades I finally get it. During the Fourth of July if you're not a tourist it's the time get the heck out of dodge and flee anywhere but at the Lake.
The thing is, while I craved a chill place in hindsight, I did want a bit more excitement. Probably the most intense moments were when I was searched at the airport (blame it on jewelry), and the stowaway on a CRJ700 en route to Victoria. Not sure if the crew found the extra passenger but we were delayed 30 minutes. No rough air but the passenger next to me was all prepped.
Okay so I didn't follow the flock. I was going to go the popular Butchart Gardens but I truly prefer aquariums like the one in Vancouver. I didn't want to be sandwiched in between strangers on a van for more than one hour. It was my idea to enjoy an impromptu, scenic time viewing seaplane ride (I should have done that), and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest which always includes water.
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Viewing locals on kayaks reminded me of Tahoe as well as ducks and a few swimmers. But I admit I was bit by the boat bug. Decades ago my former significant other at the time took us to Catalina. I was hesitant to take the ferry due to listening to people who warned me about choppy water. The way over was a smooth ride as well as coming back to Long Beach. Also, we rented a small boat (which almost capsized) but it was fun. There was a 5.6 earthquake though offshore Southern California that grabbed attention.
So this Canada trip on the water was a fun one for me mixing the past and present. Yet it made me wonder, "Why didn't I book the whale adventure?" Now that would have most likely presented more feelings of adventure. (I got that in December 2019, pre-pandemic, on a flight to Alaska. Severe rough air that the flight attendants were MIA.)
Speaking of booking trips, I canceled the "tea experience" at The Empress hotel. After all, I finished writing the book on tea, literally, and had and have more types of tea in my pantry than they offer. However, I did sit in the restaurant--not the tea room--and ordered white tea and a tossed salad. The tea was another unforgettable experience that I took home with me.
As I sit here in the mountains amid towering pine trees I'm craving a city and water environment. Perhaps this yearning comes from going to school at San Francisco and spending so many years there. I supposed my future travels can give me that boost of water that I love but maybe it's a sign to move on. Toying with the Northeast--Maine to Montreal--late fall. I long for diversity. And it may in reality be just 200 miles south of me in San Francisco. Maybe a book tour for The Healing Powers of Tea in January is going to be my next trip out of the Sierra--a sweet solace spot.