Sunday, July 10, 2016

Vancouver British Columbia

June 30 - July 3, 2016:

We towed the Jeep today, first time all year, north on route 5 to the Canadian border.  After about a 10 minute wait in line, we went through customs without incident and made our way to the town of Surrey to visit Bill and Linda McMeekin.  We know them from our winter stays at Desert Trails RV Park in Tucson, Arizona.  We were able to park the RV on the street in front our their house and stay in their spare bedroom.  It was real nice to have a full size bedroom and bathroom for a few days.   

This is going to be a very social oriented couple of weeks for us.  After leaving Surrey we are moving to a campground on the other side of Vancouver where we will stay a few days with John and Donna Waddell from Logan Lake, BC and Hughes and Judy Moir from Nederland, Colorado.  These are all friends that we know from our winter hangout at Desert Trails RV Park in Tucson, AZ.  

Bill and Linda took us to the Canada Day celebration on July 1st in downtown Vancouver.  This is equivalent to July 4th in the US.  It takes place along the waterfront at an area called Canada Place.  The Vancouver waterfront area is a spectacular sight by any standards surrounded by mountains, watercraft, boats and ships of all sizes and float planes taking off and landing.


Canada Day in Vancouver

Donna and Twinkles are in party mode

Sort of a Olympic flame thing

Bill proudly sporting his Canadian attire

Vancouver is a spectacular city which is very diverse, 52% have a first language other than English, it is the 4th most densely populated city in North America and is consistently named as one of the top cities in the world for livability and quality of life.

On Saturday, July 2nd we ride north on route 99 known as the “Sea to Sky Highway” to Whistler Village and the Whistler Backcomb Ski Resort.  It is the largest ski area in North America and was the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics. We took a ride on the Peak to Peak Gondola between Whistler and Backcomb mountains which is the highest and the longest unsupported span in the World.  It was a cloudy day, with a few breaks, but the surrounding mountains were mostly visible and it was a fantastic ride.  It is still possible to take a higher chair lift above the gondola station to actually ski.  There are miles of trails open for hikers and mountain bikers all over the mountain.

Snow and ski runs above the Gondola Station

Hanging on (white knuckles) in the Gondola, actually
we were fine all the way

Well maybe a little queasy looking straight down at highest point

And when the Gondola seems to be going straight down

A picture moment

Afterwards we walked around the huge Whistler Village, filled with people, so many shops, restaurants and hotels.  It’s an amazing place !!!

Whistler Village is really Olympic sized !

Canada Day attraction

Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra playing

Ferry Boat crossing the bay on the ride back to Vancouver

Sunday, back in Vancouver we go to Granville Island to a great food market and shopping area on the waterfront.  This area was originally an industrial area with sawmills, boat works and factories that over the years has transformed into a very popular residential, shopping, dining and entertainment area.  We met John and Donna Waddell there, hung out for a while then took the water taxi across the “False Creek” and walked along Beach Avenue past a waterfront park and beach area.  It’s a warm, sunny day and lots of people are sunbathing, walking, riding bikes and running. We stopped for a drink at the Tennis complex where a tennis competition was in progress and saw baby sandhill cranes in the tree tops learning to fly.  It sounds weird, but this is a protected breeding ground for them.

One of the last industrial businesses left on Granville
Island is this Cement Plant with an artistic element

Sunny outdoor seating at the Public Market

Vegtables are okay

But pastry, cakes and pies are better ?

Donna doing her best scream imitation

A beautiful beach view

But I prefer this one 

On July 4th we pack up and leave Bill and Linda’s house in Surrey for the ride across Vancouver to Capilano River RV Park.  This was a stressful ride, many turns, lots of bridges and roads to cross and no direct path to get there.  Our GPS is not working in British Columbia, so we tow the Jeep while Twinkles navigates using her iPhone.  Bill and Linda had given us a good route to follow but it wasn’t a fun drive.  At the RV Park we meet John and Donna Waddell and Judy and Hughes Moir, also camping there, and go for a walk along the Capilano riverfront area.  It’s then Happy Hour followed by another walk to a local Thai Restaurant for dinner.

View of the Lions Gate Bridge on our walk

The Capilano RV Park is adjacent to the Capilano River and is on the Squamish Indian  Reservation.  The Indian have a pretty lucrative RV Park here and fish on the river using traditional fishing methods.  The area is mostly developed with residential buildings and a huge shopping Mall complex.

Totem Pole at the RV Park

We walked over the mile long Lions Gate Bridge to Stanley Park on Tuesday.  The weather went from cloudy to light rain as we walked, it’s always recommended in Vancouver to carry a light rain parka and we were prepared.  Stanley Park is enormous and incredible with many walkways through the old growth semi-rain forest.  We stopped at the “Prospect Point Viewpoint” for photos overlooking the Lions Gate Bridge.  The Trees, vegetation and wildflowers in the park are fantastic.  We stopped at the Aquarium’s outside cafe for a coffee, passing through a portion of the Rose Garden.  We then walked along the seawall that runs around the perimeter of Stanley Park stopping at a Totem Pole display area and then back over the Lions Gate Bridge for a total of about 11 miles.

Lions Gate Bridge from above

View from the Bridge in one direction

View of downtown Vancouver from the opposite direction

Hughes, Donna, John, Judy, Me and Twinkles

The girls are tree hugging

Really getting intimate

Beauty in the rain

People have sat under this tree for centuries

Native art

A very artistic Totem pole

Girl in a wet suit statue

We then had a sort of Desert Trails RV Park reunion Happy Hour with John and Donna, Judy and Hughes, Bill and Linda and Jim and Christie, all fellow Desert Trails winter campers.  There was much eating, drinking and catching up on everyones travels.  

Our final day in Vancouver involved taking a bus to the Granville Island market area and shopping.  This was followed by a walk to central Vancouver where we stopped for lunch at the “Steamworks Brewery”.  We then walked past the cruise ship port, Canada Place and then along the seawall to a bus stop and a bus for a toreturn to the RV Park.

Water Taxi at Granville Island

Inside the Public Market a second time

A most entertaining escape artist in the courtyard

Fabulous building facade in downtown Vancouver

The Burrard Street Bridge

Royal Canadian Mounted Police have
a souvenir shop

Steam Works Brewery sign

The Cruise Ship Volendam from Rotterdam in Port

Next stop is Logan Lake, British Columbia
Twinkles and Slick

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