Getting to Canada in 2021 is no simple task as we discovered. Covid and road closures made our trip quite the adventure, but I’d like to say we made the most of it. Here’s our journey from Anacortes, Washington to Beaverdell, British Columbia.
For starters, as US citizen crossing the boarder you must have proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test within 72 hours of your visit. Both of us were able to find a place to get our tests done for free fairly easily, and luckily our results were in before traveling. Some PCR tests take days to receive results, depending on where you get it done. I personally have never driven across an international boarder before, so I have no time reference for how long it used to take to get through the boarder patrol station. But for us, there were about 11 cars in front of us and it took an hour. Luckily, we had some room to spare before our covid test result time window ran out.
Second, due to snow storms, mud slides, and general bad weather, the roads we would normally take to get here were closed down for repair. Instead of just driving north from Anacortes, we drove east across the state. This added on over two hours to the drive, bringing it from about six hours to eight. This was not accounting for the slow driving speeds we traveled at due to extremely snowy roads. In fact, we were lucky and the day after we drove out here Steven’s Pass closed down due to snow and accidents.
Now, enough of the difficulties, here’s the fun part: our adventure out here. We decided to break up the drive into two days. Our first day we drove from Anacortes to Chelan, Washington. Just outside of Snohomish, the mountains and trees began to have a dusting of white snow on them. We pulled off in the touristy Bavarian town of Leavenworth to walk around. Leavenworth is not truly Bavarian at all, but was a failing logging town saved by this fantastic tourism idea. The town’s main street is a line of cheery shops and restaurants decked out in Christmas lights. In the center of town sits a small park with massive trees completely drenched in lights. That, combined with the snow and views of the Cascade mountains peeking out behind the town, makes for a very festive place. This was only our second time to visit Leavenworth, but both times our favorite activity has been walking around Blackbird Island. This park lies right on the Wenatchee River and contains a coupe miles of walking trails. It is tucked in right behind the main street of Leavenworth, yet both times we’ve visited we basically have had the park to ourselves. With the freshly fallen snow, the flocked trees, and the Christmas-decorated houses along the river, it really was like a winter wonderland. We walked around this park, got coffee from J5, and ate a somewhat pricey dinner at Colchuck’s. We did try a delicious schnitzel though!
Staying the night in Leavenworth costs a pretty penny, so we opted to drive an hour up the road to the lakeside town of Chelan for our lodging. Lake Chelan is an extremely popular lake during the summer, with it’s sparkling clear water and nearby vineyards. It was pretty empty when we visited in December though! We stayed at the Riverwalk Inn for about $90. This modest 13-room inn was built in 1918 and has been loved ever since. It sits walking distance from the lake and downtown Chelan, and has it’s own cafe on the first floor. Our room was nothing special, quite small really, but was fine for a night.
We were woken up by snow plows scraping the streets and the smell of fresh-baked pastries in the morning. Looking out the window revealed another winter wonderland- light snow falling onto the pristinely covered ground. We walked from our inn to Kave Roasters, an adorable coffee shop perched atop a hill by the lake. Kave roasts their own beans and bakes their pastries fresh every day. I bought a cortado, and my husband ordered one of their acclaimed famous cinnamon rolls, which we enjoyed sitting by a window with a view of the snowy trees. Of course I purchased some coffee beans, which I am excited to test out.
After filling up on some hot (complimentary) coffee and a scrumptious raspberry pastry from the inn, we made our way on the final four hours of our drive to Canada. Snow fell almost the entire drive, but the roads were not terrible (with our tacoma, good tires, and all wheel drive). We finally arrived around 3pm. The drive was not awful, going along snowy lakes and vineyards, and through tall flocked trees. I think we made the most out of our journey here and for the most part quite enjoyed it!