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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nexus Card Speeds Up Cross-Border Travel


If you travel often between Canada and the USA, a NEXUS card might be of help to you. NEXUS is designed to help expedite the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travellers into Canada and the United States.
For $50 you get a card that is valid for three years. This allows you to take a special, dedicated lane at most border crossings.
We love driving by three long lanes of traffic and breezing through the Nexus lane into the US or visa versa.

Before being approved you need to submit the paperwork (online) and have a personal interview. We selected the Vancouver airport as location for our interview but there are various locations to chose from. 

Once approved, you can use your card to drive across borders but also when you arrive at different airports. I love coming off a busy flight, and turning left at the long custom line-ups at YVR. You walk up to a machine, look into its iris scan recognition window, feed it your custom declaration card, and off you go. Welcome back to Canada!

Check out the official NEXUS website for all details and application forms:
http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/nexus/menu-eng.html

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Week on The Oregon Coast

We're spending a week on the Oregon coast. Sometimes Fall and Winter are the nicest times for walking on the beach here. We've hiked quite a few miles on the wet sand.
We enjoyed a bowl of clam chowder for lunch at the famous Mo's Restaurant while watching pelicans and seals compete for fish remains as a fishing charter boat came into the public dock in Newport.
(http://www.moschowder.com/annex.php)

We had Christmas dinner at Georgie's - probably the best table on the entire coast. Their dining room and pub have large windows right over the beach. We had a great turkey dinner while watching the sun set over the Pacific.
(http://www.georgiesbeachsidegrill.com)

Next day we had great burgers and beer at our favorite hangout: The Drift Inn in Yachats. They have life music every night of the year, usually folk or blue grass. We loved sitting there, listening to mellow music.
(http://www.the-drift-inn.com/schedule.php)

If we ever come here with our grandkids we will likely visit the Newport Aquarium or the Hatfield Marine Science Center, but when it's just the two of us our favorite passtime is walking on the beach. Today we had blue skies, the odd drizzle but mostly nice weather for walking. We watched a blue heron, blue jays, junco's and many different kinds of chickadees attack our birdfeeder. Life is good.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Big Dreams of a Big Country

Hiking Holland whetted our appetite for more adventure. We are now looking forward to retirement and exploring more of the world. Next year we will ring in the next chapter of our lives by going to Australia for three months!
We've always dreamed of seeing the Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock, penguins, the outback, Perth. Three months should give us enough time to bum around the continent and explore.
We will end our adventure with a long awaited visit to our friends Anne and Jay in Tasmania!

Of course, winning a motorhome trip around Aus would REALLY be the ultimate. So vote for us here: http://www.apollocamper.com/happycampers/big-dreams-of-a-big-country/1971-1

When our kids were 8 and 9 years old we fulfilled another dream by traveling around all of North America for a whole year. We put the kids in correspondence school, settled into a van and trailer and bummed around Canada and the US. Of course, as a park ranger family we visited many national parks. We saw buffalo and geysers in Yellowstone. We hiked in Arches National Park. The boys learned about scurvy on the historic ship that explorer Jacques Cartier arrived on in Canada. We learned about geology in Gros Morne National Park and saw bears in Banff.

Now we wonder what adventures await us down-under? Will we hear aboriginal chanting in the heat of the outback? Spot whale sharks and dolphins off the coast? Stay tuned!