Our first trip to the U.S.A. took us from Aldergrove, BC, across the border to Lynden and we continued on to Bellingham, located in the Pacific North West, towards Chuckanut Drive. We were curious whether the U.S. would be any different from Canada. But at first glance nothing changed at all; the environment from Bellingham to Lynden was just as rural as on the Canadian side. The 2386 meter high volcano Mount Baker is the highest and most prominent mountain in the area. It looks down from the southeast on the flat land on both sides of the border. The border connects British Columbia with the U.S. state of Washington.
We were somewhat taken aback at the gas prices until we understood that they did not relate to liters but U.S. gallons (3,785 liters for about U.S. $ 3.50). We gassed up because the fuel in the U.S. is cheaper than in Canada; in the U.S. we payed for one liter about $ 0.93 Can, where as in BC we pay between $ 1.11 and 1.30 Can.
On the road we saw the first speed limit sign, 50 it said. I braked because I was driving a little faster. We passed a few homes. But when the houses were behind us, the speed limit didn’t go up and the car behind us passed. Then we got it, the speed limit was measured in miles and not in kilometers, which meant we were allowed to drive 80 km/h. Also, the distances were measured in miles, of course. Very unusual is the specification of ¼, ½ and ¾ miles. Well, every country has its own characteristics.
From Bellingham we took Highway I5 a bit further south, through a mountainous area, and then toward the coast, where we took Chuckanut Drive. The winding, narrow coastal road leads to the Samish Bay and Bellingham Bay, back to Bellingham and offers beautiful vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the many offshore islands. The coastline is steep and forested. For your orientation: Bellingham is located 30 km south of the border and is still north of British Columbia’s capital Victoria, on Vancouver Island.
From Fairhaven, the southern district of Bellingham, there are ferry services to southern Alaska. Fairhaven is a very pretty district, with old brick buildings from the late 19th century, many cafes and restaurants and charming shops. A really nice town to stroll around. In the restaurant we struggled again with the U.S. measurements. On the menu we found a 1/3 lb (pound) beef burger. We had to calculate again, a pound is a bit less than 500 gram. That means the burger had about 150 grams of ground beef.