About a month ago, I was having drinks with a good friend of mine in San Francisco. She was telling me how she was so excited about the Women’s World Cup and that she really wished she could go to the game in Vancouver, Canada. I asked her when it was and she told me June 16. I grabbed my phone, checked my calendar, and said, “Why don’t we go?”
She looked at me with the biggest eyes, and said, “You would go? Do you think we can afford it?”
We chatted for about an hour about how we could pull this off. We didn’t want to take too many days off work, so we would leave early that morning and get an early morning flight back the next day. One day off for an adventure was cool by me!
It was significantly cheaper to fly into Seattle, so we did that and got a rental car (using points I had saved up) and drove into Vancouver. Originally we were going to just sleep in the airport (to save money on a hotel), but we decided a few days before we left that a hotel room might be good since we had to work the next day. We found a Howard Johnson for about $50 a night. If you’ve ever stayed at a Howard Johnson, you know exactly what we were getting into. But it was cheap, and close to the airport, and we were just using it to rest our eyes for a few hours. It would do.
A few weeks later, Nicole and I were standing in line at security. Our adventure was finally beginning! A quick and short flight to Seattle got us there before 8 am. We hopped on a shuttle bus and moments later were choosing between a gray or red sedan that would be our transportation for the next 24 hours. Red it was.
It was a sunny day, and there were evergreen trees everywhere! So different from California where the drought is prominent and finding green vegetation is virtually impossible. We rolled the windows down and cranked up the country music! We both love country music, which most of our other friends do not, so we took this opportunity to relish in it. Between the nice crisp air, which smelled like a Christmas tree, and the music, we knew we would have an enjoyable three hour ride to Vancouver…or so we thought.
We had plenty of extra time, so we took our time, stopping for lunch, and snacks, and not having a care in the world. We planned to get to Vancouver a few hours early with time for pre-game tailgating and partying. But suddenly, about two miles before border control, traffic came to a screeching halt. “What was going on?” we questioned each other.
We pulled up Waze and Google Maps and couldn’t see that there was an accident ahead. So we did some more research. And more research. And finally discovered that there was a two-hour wait to get through border control. At this rate, we would barely make the 5 pm game. But what could we do? We were essentially trapped in a long line of cars, all going to the same place. So we waited. And waited. We entertained ourselves. Chatted. Laughed. And finally made it across the border…two hours later, just as predicted. We rushed into the city and found parking in a garage nearby. We weren’t so concerned about the cost at this point, so we just parked and headed out into the city. We only had about an hour to explore and do some pre-game partying. We found a nice patio restaurant just a few blocks from the stadium. We sat outside and enjoyed the view. It must have been obvious that we were from the USA as a few locals stopped to cheer “USA!” Although I’m guessing our matching red USA shirts might have been a bit of a giveaway 😉
So an hour later we were sitting, in the scorching heat, watching the Women’s World Cup. Nicole was beside herself, and I enjoyed every minute of her excitement! The game was intense with a victory for the USA! We rushed back to the car, in an attempt to beat traffic. But after sitting for 15 minutes at a standstill, still in the parking garage, we decided it would be best to wait out traffic and enjoy Vancouver a bit.
So we did. We sat outside and walked along the sidewalk, just passing time. After we could see that traffic was settling, we went back to the car and hit the road for our four hour drive back to Seattle. Border control was not as hectic getting back into the USA and only took about 45 minutes this time. But around 11:30 pm, the exhaustion from the day started catching up with me. It was dark and I was tired and the Howard Johnson seemed so far away. But after a quick refuel and a few more turns, we made it to the parking lot.
I waited at the front desk for 30 minutes as the woman working attempted to check me in. “Could she be any slower?” I kept thinking to myself. “My alarm is going off in three hours…”
Finally, she granted us keys to room 106, and moments later, without even so much as taking my clothes off, I was asleep in the crummy Howard Johnson.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Could it be 3:30 am already? I was so comfortable and the thought of hopping on a plane and going through a day’s work made me even more tired. But I pulled myself out of bed and put on my suit and heels. Ninety minutes later I was on the plane, taking off again. My eyes fell shut immediately and I woke up to the flight attendant reminding us to put our seats in the upright position for landing.
I was back in San Francisco. Just a mere 24 hours had passed. Was it worth it? Absolutely! Was I exhausted and craving my bed? Absolutely!
And I’d do it all again in heartbeat. After all, life is about adventure and experience, and we really can’t get enough of it.