Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Vancouver...mostly drive-by shootings and fun with photo editing!

First the border crossing:

It's a short drive from our casino location east of Anacortes to I-5 and north to the Canadian border's Peace Arch Park crossing near Blaine, WA.

It only took an hour or so at the border, detained inside the Custom's office sans any/all personal belongings, while our motorhome was searched....completely. At one point one of the very nice agents came in to request the combination to our safe. No problem, after all wouldn't you suspect anyone with a Texas drivers license of carrying weapons?  Moving on...

Destination North Vancouver:

We knew our two GPS units (Garmin and phone) wouldn't work once we crossed the border unless we paid for roaming data access, so I had Googled the map directions, not trusting our memories of former visits, and printed them out. But, as I know so well, the mapping programs don't consider what we're driving but the fastest route. So with Stephanie and Gary following we navigated through residential communities to connect the dots between Canada's route 99 at the border crossing and Trans-Canada 1 and our North Vancouver destination, trying at all cost to avoid driving through downtown and across the infamous Lion's Gate Bridge. Friends Gail and Earl took that route a few years ago on their way to Powell River, in their 38' MH towing a car, and almost had heart failure.

Our destination is the Capilano River RV Park in North/West Vancouver, pretty much the only option we've found over the years, and actually well-located for access to public transportation via the Sea Bus to downtown and the delights of West Vancouver with its ritzy urban amenities and nature's beauty. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is just up the road and Whistler Mountain is a mere 90 minute drive.

Once parked in rather close quarters and expensive to boot, about $55 US per night...our dollar is worth $1.09 Canadian... we headed to the Market at Lonsdale Quay.  Treasures jumped into our bags in the form of salmon pate and smoked salmon candies.  Sushi joints beckoned and dragons entertained. Good start to Vancouver, we thought.

Seeing the City:

So on a Saturday, we excitedly headed to the Lonsdale Quay, purchased our round-trip tickets and hopped on for the 12 minute ride across the Burrard Inlet to downtown Vancouver.  We know the drill, right?!  The hop-on hop-off trolley is both fun and efficient in seeing the city with a second day included in the price.  We oohed and aahed along Robson Street all the way to Stanley Park where we hopped off at the rose garden and grabbed a tasty lunch at the Stanley Park Bar and Grill.

Saturday is not a good day for sightseeing:

This is the normal trolley route.  We departed the Sea Bus and boarded the trolley at location 10 near Canada Place:

Things started going down hill.  Saturday was a poor choice of days, this being a pre-Labor Day weekend and the height of tourist season.  There were several major events going on in the City and we were soon confronted with traffic gridlock.  The trolleys and buses were caught in the middle and schedules flew out the window.  Several routes were blocked or cancelled.  We had a long wait before continuing on through Stanley Park.  Photos were snapped from trolley windows.  Apply some fun editing techniques and they turned out pretty good:

We had to get off at Granville Island to do some window shopping and see the marvelous Public Market we have so loved visiting on our two former visits.  We were joined by thousands of other like-minded folks. Howard braved the throngs to purchase a couple of racks of lamb for a family meal, while I fled outside for air.

This time the wait for a trolley was over an hour.  As crowds gathered in the late afternoon, it became obvious that several buses would be needed.  Even with stress levels building we chatted with a bunch of nice folks from all over the world.

So once again all I have are window shots as we drive through Chinatown and Gastown, back to our starting point, tired, hungry and anxious to get on the ferry back home.

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