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Please be advised that the contents of this blog are opinions only (my opinion, the opinions of my family and the opinions of anyone else directly or indirectly involed in this blog). This is not an accredited training blog, nor is it an accredited anything blog. If you (and you) do anything that this blog says, or don't do anything that this site says not to do, and you get injured, sick or killed, you cannot blame me or my family or blame anyone else directly or indirectly involved in this blog. By reading anything on this blog (including this message) you are saying that you are a person who makes thier own choices in life and does not hold the writer of this blog, the writers family or any one else that may be directly or indirectly involved in the production or writing of this blog, responsible for your stupid and irresponsible behaviors, injuries, sicknesses or deaths. With that said, please enjoy my fun blog.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 3–Welcome to Vancouver or AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…

… it was just the traffic. and the construction. and the lack of signs. As soon as we dropped off the Coquiahalla the traffic levels quadrupled. From Chilliwack it was bumper to bumper and then as soon as we got into the big construction zone after Abbostford it just went crazy. The limit is 80kms/hr, we travelled between 80 and 85 and never passed anyone, but must have been passed by a million cars doing 120. Add to that places where we have to slow almost to a stop when someone merging onto the freeway stops as they enter the travel lanes, plus a nervous wife passenger slamming on the phantom brake pedal, and you have a pretty stressed out Daddy.


The part that bothered me the most was the lack of signage. You have to know your streets and make some assumptions otherwise you pretty much drive past everything you want to see. And you have no idea you passed it until you see a glimpse of it through the trees behind you. We ended up in a crazy traffic jam as we accidentally exited Stanley Park, after coming in from the North instead of the South. But we did get to cross Lions Gate Bridge twice. So there’s that.


All stress was forgotten when we finally got into the Aquarium and spent some time in Stanley Park enjoying a gorgeous day.

But I digress. The Ramada Limited was a great stay in Merritt. We were leaving Kamloops and I told Traci we should just order pizza for supper. When we got to the Hotel there was a Dominos in the lobby! Woot! Before we ate though we went to the pool. Andrew and I went on the waterslide at least 18 times and spent a good 1/2 hour swimming in the pool. This was the freakiest waterslide I’ve been on. Not because its the steepest or curviest, but because there is not an ounce of light for the duration of the slide. It is complete blackness while you slide. Andrew laid on top of me to slide and had a blast. I spazzed out a little in my head each time we went down.


Oh. right, I got up early and went shooting before they woke up… The Nicola Valley is so beautiful!


This Ramada has the best free breakfast I have ever had! A self serve waffle maker, muffins, cereal, coffee, juice, toast, oatmeal and pretty much everything the health dept will let guests make themselves! yum! Andrew and I went down while Traci got ready, and she was going to skip the waffles, but I made her go before we left, and she was really happy she did.

I tried to get some DayQuil to crush my cold, but you aren’t allowed to access the Meth ingredients until after 10am on a Sunday. I didn’t get ant meds. Ah well. there isn’t much in the way of elevation change in these next 2 hours of travelling so I shouldn't have any issues.

Wait. what? there is 4kms of elevation change? in the next hour? yikes. Heh, I did fine. The Coq highway is pretty amazing that’s for sure.

Aquarium was cool! Not like I remembered it as a child, as I think things have changed from “Display the biggest Whales at all costs” to “Lets take care of our environment, and show off how we are doing this, and in the meantime let’s rescue some marine animals”. The place is truly amazing, how they showcase so much in such a small space. You can tell the staff are passionate too.


Traci has a degree in Biology so this place is right up her alley, especially the butterfly room.


After an hour we headed out into the park, and over the to the Indian Village train. It’s pretty cool in that there is a narrated story and actors, telling the story of how the evil chief was stealing the food of the tribe and then was turned into a sasquatch in the end, to be converted as a protector of the tribe. I wasn’t sure how Andrew enjoyed it until he asked if we could go on it again. So we did!


From there we spent some time on the beach, people and boat watching. At 3:30 we headed over to the hotel.


The hotel was very cool, Pinnacle on the Pier, and we had a 6th floor habour front room overlooking the Pier and across to downtown. The room itself was great, but had this really interesting glass wall shower, that had a blind you opened from the room side. Not sure who this was designed for… any guesses?


The view was outstanding!



It was very hot and hazy, so the pics were a bit colorless from the room.

We relaxed in the room for a while, then got cleaned up to take the SeaBus into downtown for supper. We always debate the trouble it takes to go on an adventure such as taking the SeaBus, but every time we go, it is worth it to see the excitement on Andrews face. He is such a good traveller and is always up for the adventure.


There is no lack of photography subjects in Vancouver..


We hung around for a while in Gastown and enjoyed a great meal at the ‘Old Spaghetti Factory’ where the seated us in the Trolley car.



Gastown is pretty charming too! We waited around for the 8pm toot of the steam clock. Andrew didn’t believe me it was going to sound like a train and was very happy that it did!


On the way back on the SeaBus, I couldn’t resist shooting this sunset with random people shot.


Day 3 was incredible, by the time we were ready for bed, we had forgotten about the driving stress and wound down into the night…



Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 2–an easy 11 hour drive from Golden to Merritt…

It should only take under 5 hours. We stopped. A LOT!

The Motel in Golden was a little underwhelming. I would stay there again if I was alone on the road, but for my family I’ll probably choose the Ramada next time. This place is located away from most things in town, near a trailer park and pretty much nothing else. The room is very very clean with room for everyone, but I dunno, you sort of set a standard for yourself, and this just fell short. I won’t name the place, as it is pretty popular and the family that runs it are super nice folks.


After a quick breakfast at Tim’s we were on the road. We didn’t worry too much about breaks for a while as we were rested and enjoying the scenery. Andrew settled in to a movie so we just carried on. The roads were very busy all day and we spent most stints lined up in a convoy as far as we could see.

As we headed up to Rogers Pass we enjoyed some snow sheds (tunnels to the boy). For these he shut his movie off and watched intently as we made our way though a couple clicks of these.

As we approached the Summit we decided it was time for a stretch, and washroom break as the coffee had done it’s job by now. There is a sign in front of the Glacier National Park building to bring your National Park pass inside, and once inside it is your free pass to peruse the Rogers Pass museum. I’ll tell you what, the National Parks do an incredible job of interpreting their lands. This little museum was filled with incredible displays and interactive stations that educated us on many parts of the pass. It was beautiful in there too! Andrew found some fun kids areas too! If you have been past here and never stopped, make sure you do next time.


Once we left there, it’s a 56km downhill stretch into Revelstoke. We took 2 hours to get there. Why would it take so long?



There are 3 places we stopped to enjoy these boardwalks. The first was Hemlock Grove, the next was Giant Cedars and the last was Skunk Cabbage. My favorite was the Cedars. This place smelled like the best smell I had ever smelled. I can’t describe it. It must be like what it would feel like to live inside an oxygen tank! IT was an assault on all my senses and I found myself breathing as deep as possible to get every ounce of this place into my body. sooooooo amazing.


Can you smell it?

Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk didn’t have the same appeal for me but we did see some pretty neat stuff. Like this 6” long Slug.


The Skunk Cabbage was HUGE. These leaves were a couple feet long!

The plants were worth the 1.5km walk alone!

I started to play with some of the amazing textures here.

And now you can spell Skunk Cabbage in French.

From there we dropped down into Revelstoke. With no real agenda, we followed the signs to the Farmers Market and the Train Museum! The Train Museum is small, but incredibly well layed out! We enjoyed a full 45 minutes there exploring the open cars and locomotives. Neat stuff! Andrew loves trains, so this was a highlight for him for sure.


At the Farmers Market down the street from the museum, we hung around, ate some smokies and watched a coal train shunt back and forth all while generally enjoying this gorgeous day.


We left Revelstoke with a failed attempt to get a Tim’s coffee (sooo busy) and headed for Salmon Arm. It was getting to be the heat of the day and we didn’t want to miss out on a swim today. We bypasses some pretty cool tourist places as we will visit on the return trip in a few days.

Canoe beach was pretty empty. I was pleasantly surprised! Andrew had a blast in the warm Shuswap Lake, and after a 1/2 hour we figured we better keep trucking. Merritt is still 2 hours away straight driving time.


This tunnel is under the railway tracks to get to the beach from the parking lot.

Not too much else to say. We stopped for a visit with an Uncle in Kamloops, and grabbed a slurpee for the rest of the trip to Merritt. I’ll tell you about the Hotel tomorrow, but for now, just know it’s way more comfortable than the last!


So until tomorrow, where I will be chatting with you from Beautiful Vancouver… Goodnight!