Sunday, October 20, 2013

Apples at the Border

Karen's rule of thumb when traveling into or out of Canada -- stock up on apples so we can have a crisis at the border.   The situation -- each country thinks the other inserts horrible pathogens in their Macs and Granny Smiths so transporting these pomes is tantamount to transporting illegal drugs.  So, of course, every time we head for the border Karen stocks up on enough elicit apples to keep all the horses at Churchhill Downs in Braeburn rapture for a month, with promises she'll happily eat them all before we reach the crossing.  And every trip we sit in a line of cars stuffing said apples down our gullets until we each need a bottle of Peptol Bismol when we reach the other side.

This trip proved no different -- except we were the second car in line.  Passports ready?  Check.  Drugs?  Let's see.  ibuprofen, Tylenol, Tums.....  Check.  Firearms?  Nope.  Apples?  Aacckk!  Karen frantically grabbed the last one and began stuffing it down her throat as I drove up to the border "guard" who seemed about as humorless as an arresting officer after a bank heist.

Passports?  She icily held out her gloved hand.    Aacckk!  In the dash to grab the apple, Karen's seemed to have made a clean getaway.  What the guardian of the safety of Canadian apples saw was a whirling dervish on Karen's side of the car as she tore through the vast array of objects with which she invariably surrounds herself when we travel -- just in case we are suddenly stranded on the Iditarod Trail.  In the process, Karen sat on the now loose half-eaten apple while one of her prize Salvation Army thrift store treasures -- a thermos that gave you second degree burns when filled with hot coffee or frost bite with ice tea and didn't have a functional barrier for either at the top -- a thermos filled with coffee that Karen had stashed in her purse -- turned upside down.  Now at the bottom of her purse Karen had "safely" placed a piece of paper on which she had carefully written down in ink the names, phone numbers and addresses of friends we might be near on our trip.

And so, after the Canadian border guard had confiscated Karen's somewhat mangled Granny Smith and reluctantly waved us away with a look of pity, we could reflect on what bit of knowledge we had gained.

For one:  Ink is soluble in coffee, so anything you want to be able to read at a future date should not be dunked like a slice of biscotti.

Another:  Don't put your coffee "thermos" in your purse.

One lesson still not learned.  When reentering the US, waiting behind a line of cars in which the guardian of the US apple industry was making sure no illicit contraband would soil American soil, we were once again gorging ourselves on Canadian apples.

The wake of the Alaska Marine Highway ferry, Matanuska as we head south to face Canadian customs.

Farewell to the US for a few days -- if Canadian customs doesn't take offense to apples on Karen's breath.

Karen is attracted to the patterns on distant rocks above the Thompson River in southern British Columbia when she should have been eating her Canadian apples.

However, she is soon distracted by the patterns on the stump of a long ago vanquished pine tree -- maybe she thought it might be an apple tree

       British Columbia's Bulkley River flows through a narrow constriction at Moricetown.

                          Reflections in Lake Lakelse near Terrace, British Columbia.

Back in the US, we leisurely headed to catch a ferry from Coupeville, Washington to Port Towsend naively assuming -- no big deal -- never knowing that most cars allowed on each ferry need advance reservations and half the population of the State of Washington wanted to travel from Coupeville to Port Towsend that afternoon.  Oops.  As we sat in a vast line of cars, as lines of vehicles with advance reservations roared past, the first ferry left without us.  Getting on the next ferry would make a difference in the next day -- a long dash or a mellow trip to Cape Meares, Oregon.  As the moment of departure approached, ferry personnel started letting standbys (that's what we were) board in small groups, then in even smaller groups, then pairs and finally singles -- crowding as many cars on the ferry as they could possibly squeeze on.  Finally, we moved to the head of the line.  Oh, please God.  "Just one more car.  Pleeeaaase"  Note, we're the red SUV in this photo of the back of the ferry.

Alas, we didn't take any photos of apples this year.  So much for quality control with this blog.  Ah, but during our trip I painted an apple tree in Idaho, complete with apples.  Hopefully it will appear in a future blog.

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