Birthday Road Trip Detours


When you take a road trip, planning is essential. *nods wisely*

Before we leave, I book all of our accommodation, plan our route out on Google Maps (taking an overview print out for reference), and create a spreadsheet with contact numbers of all the places we’re going to stay.

So far, it’s a system that works well.

And to be fair, it worked well yesterday. We were in Whistler these past few days and planned to zip line in the morning (on the world’s second biggest, fastest zipline, no less) then drive down into the US. A six hour drive later, we’d be in our cabin in the Olympic National Park, a little way outside Port Angeles. We’d grab pizza somewhere nearby, job done. Right?


We left Whistler a little later than hoped for, but the ziplining was well worth the slight delay.

Then Flea was hungry, so we stopped for sandwiches at a Starbucks North of Vancouver, which was traffic jam central.

By the time we got to the US border it was 7pm, and oh-my-god-so-slow for those of us who aren’t American or Canadian and need to pay $6 for an entry document. An hour later we were back on the road and still three hours from Port Angeles.

We turned off the highway with two hours to go, and the sat-nav cheerily told me to turn onto “Ferry Drive”.

Hmm. A ferry?

That didn’t sound right.

Yes, it turns out if you want to drive from Vancouver to Port Angeles, the quickest route is to take a ferry. The last ferry – just in case you ever want to make this journey – leaves at 9.14pm.

We arrived at 9.20pm.

“Oh well, I’m sure we can drive,” I told Flea, trying to look on the bright side.

We adjusted the sat-nav to avoid ferries. It would be a six hour drive to Port Angeles. We’d already been on the road for seven.

“Sod that,” I said, demonstrating the sort of impeccable parenting that will give Flea so much to talk about in therapy in later life. “Let’s book a hotel.” 

We used the sat-nav to look up local accommodation. I vaguely remembered a Best Western a few miles back on the highway and sure enough, one popped up on the sat-nav that was 5km away.

Booking the hotel involved switching my SIM card from the Canadian SIM I bought on Amazon last week to my UK SIM, which offers free US roaming (and, naturally, dropping the SIM down the side of the car seat and spending 10 minutes trying to find it).

Phone fixed, I went onto, found the nearest Best Western to my current location, and booked it. £140 was a bit steep, but needs must, right?

We put the zipcode into the sat-nav and started driving. “Oooh, look Flea, the sat-nav says it’s only 4 minutes away,” I said, cheerily. “We’ll be eating pizza and sitting in bed in no time.” 

Ten minutes later.

“The time’s not going down very much, is it?” 

“No. I wonder why?” 

Ten more minutes later.

“Do you think it might be four hours away, Mum, not four minutes?” 

Yes, friends. I’d booked us a room in the Best Western on the other side of the frickin’ bay.

Room cancelled (but still charged for, obviously) we were back online looking for a new hotel. There was only one available, a 15 minute drive away and we booked it.

Checking in just after 11pm, we arrived at the most gorgeous wooden cabin, with creaky floorboards, heaving bookcases, and antique pictures. Our room was small, with only a basin in the corner, and a shared bathroom down the corridor. But we didn’t care. It was warm and comfortable, and we both fell into bed and were asleep in minutes.


And this morning, I woke up on my birthday to a glorious lakeside view and sunshine.

Proving that even if you go off course a little bit sometimes, you usually end up somewhere pretty good.





9 thoughts on “Birthday Road Trip Detours”

  1. wow what a view to wake up to – but seriously did you really oh say ‘sod that’ and nothing much louder? Your did get yourself into situations don’t you??

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