Week 19 – Alaska Ferry, Vancouver & Olympic National Park

Our last full week together with Moritz and Jakob has passed in an eye blink and we have started to prepare for the time after their departure. The cargo hitch and mosquito sreenhouse are listed on Craigslist and are due to be picked up by potential buyers during our time in Portland (the amount of interest was quite stunning!). We have started the process of going through all cabinets to declutter the supplies and equipment that we have once again amassed over the last two months. We are sad to see our roomies go, however, also excited about two weeks of space and privacy until Gabriel is due to join us in San Francisco.

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Mieke is finalizing her last paper for university and I am looking forward to her truly enjoying the rest of the trip once this burden is off her shoulders.

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Our I-539 application to extend our stay is still pending. Luckily, I have been able to find out that we are allowed to remain in the country, in case our application is still pending once our current visas expire on September 14th. Should our application be denied, we have 30 days to leave the country as of the day of denial. This provides the following scenarios:

  • Our application is approved. We can travel back on October 20th as originally planned.
  • Our application is denied before August 15th. We would need to leave the country by September 14th as per the immigration stamp in our passports.
  • Our application is denied after August 15th. Our stay would be extended by one additional day for every day the denial is prolonged. Should we, for example, receive the denial on August 30th, we would need to leave the country by September 29th.
  • We receive the denial after September 20th. We can travel back on October 20th as originally planned.

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Life in Gonki has become our normality. Alex refuses to remain inside no matter what weather is besieging us. Benni’ s language has changed significantly with nature and camping terms now making up a significant portion of his active vocabulary. Mieke and I have learned to live and enjoy life off grid (surprisingly being entirely off grid is easier for me than for Mieke). One could say we have truly become a family on the road…

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Our week in bullet points:

  • We spent four days on the Alaska Ferry. The longest time I have personally ever been at sea. The trip was simply incredible. From seeing sperm whales to the beautiful vistas we enjoyed while dinning in the ship’s panoramic restaurant. Definitely the best way to travel back south and skip approximately 3.000 km of driving.
  • We enjoyed two lovely days in Vancouver, revelling in the metropolitan atmosphere of the city while also enjoying the beach at Stanely Park. A true highlight was our visit to the Granville Island Public Market.
  • We built a sand fort during our four day stay at Kalaloch Campground in Olympic National Park located on the Pacific coast and made sure to take a dip in the ocean once the constant fog inherent to this part of the coast cleared for the afternoon. We hiked through the Hoh Rainforest marvelled by trees towering up to 100 meters above us.

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