On New Experiences, Apple Cores and Our Role in International Good Will

Thursday. Nearly every sight and experience this day was new: The Olympic Mountains, Peninsula, and National Park, Port Angeles, taking a car and trailer across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and into another country and finally–having a 10 minute conversation with a Canadian Customs Officer about our illegal apple. (A word on that later).

The Olympics are a most curious cluster of mountains, unlike the ranges round them, i.e. not volcanic like the Cascades. They’re a rumpled carpet of sea floor scrunched up from subducting tectonic plates. It’s almost tacked on like God had an extra mountain range left over and put it, oh, here. Now it’s a peninsula to nowhere, a cul-de-sac. You have to intend to go there.

Once there, I feel cheated not to have seen them before. OMG what a startling gift to the senses. Admiring them from the east, after leaving Jeff and Dave’s, we then drive into them from the north. From a bare ridge we admire the deeply folded valleys, the hazy glaciers, the scalloped peaks. We turn around to the north and see the Strait we will soon cross to Canada.

Which we barrel down the hill to do, putting car and trailer on the Black Ball Ferry to Victoria. Driving onto the flat lower deck, behind another trailer, cozy beside a semi, we do not have to sit in the car but are able to scoot above deck for the 90 minute ride.

We meet the uniformed Canadian customs officer in the little booth when driving off. Of her many questions is the one about fruit which we answer truthfully, yes, one apple. She must have liked our honesty for she did not require us to fork over the forbidden fruit but instead asked us to save the core after eating it and pack it back out of the country when we return to the US. Fine then.

Mark this as another first: That we will, if we obey, actually save our old apple core in a baggie and thereby also save our northern neighbors from all the hideous infestations that would have emanated from our Fred-Meyer-bought Granny Smith.

We emerge from the docks in the late-afternoon sun and turn onto Victoria’s Douglas Street. The Canadians we pass are cheerfully unaware of the danger lurking in the Californians’ car and trailer. In our possession is an apple nearly radioactive with danger! *music swells* . Who knew? On our return this Monday the repatriated apple core will become a symbol of international cooperation. *Oh! Canada!*

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