(L) The Burnaby Cariboo RV in park Vancouver turned to be the perfect place to transition back to the lower 48. Free showers instead of a Loonie* per minute. Two loonies to wash and dry instead of the usual four. Best of all, a large bay and adjoining pad to wash the truck and camper. And then wash them again because there was a lot of Alaska still left in every crack and crevasse.
(L) The RV park offered a lot of privacy even though there were about 200 sites in a relatively small space with large cypress hedges between each site. There was a nice pool, spa and fitness center of which Gary took full advantage after each chore. The office staff was friendly and helpful. It had a small convenience store, a donation station, AND coffee! Canadians seem to love their recreation time and the summer months went quickly. As we saw in Alaska, there were more rented RVs than privately-owned ones. Everyone who could take time off was enjoying the last warm days of summer.
(L) Here in Vancouver we met Pam, Walter, and Joey. They are from Ontario and spend winters on the Texas Coast. Joey is a very sweet Beagle that befriended Sam. Pam ran a childcare business and Walter is a retired railroad engineer. They travel in their beautiful Airstream Classic. Walter gave Gary enough chore ideas to keep him busy for a year. Who knew that the rusted screws holding on the windows needed to be replaced with stainless steel? We had only an evening to get to know each other and I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance for a photo. Hopefully our paths will cross again.
(L) While in the big city we also had time to get used to driving in traffic again. With multiple lanes, cross traffic and vehicles turning every which way, it was quite the challenge. After the emptyness of Alaska and the Yukon, it was a bit chaotic. We traveled through Vancouver on Labor Day. Driving in this amount of traffic on a commuter day would have added too much stress after the near empty roads to which we’d become accustom.
Vancouver British Columbia. (G) Over 2.4 million people live in the “greater” Vancouver area. That’s like saying there are 10,000 people living in the greater Rock Hall area. We call those folks “from Chestertown.” I have no idea why I thought of that. Anyway, Vancouver is the third most populous metropolitan area in Canada. Vancouver the “city” has a little less than 700,000 urbanites, most of them living on the 178th floor of some super condo. Apparently, land is so expensive that building up is the only way residents can afford to live in the city.
Vancouver is beautiful. (G) Stanley Park overlooks the city and is the third largest metropolitan park in all of North America. So… Central Park in New York and Ferry Park in Rock Hall, then Stanley. We drove the bike path through Stanley Park on a Sunday afternoon. I’m always amazed at the speed and stupidity of bicycle riders in crowded urban settings. Luckily the F-250 only suffered minor damage as rider after rider told me “I am number One!” If Stanley Park wasn’t beautiful enough, the harbor, skyline, and mountains framing the city makes Vancouver one of the most picturesque cities in the world.
Vancouver is diverse. (G) Vancouver is a city of neighborhoods. Over half the residents speak English as a second language. After Hong Kong’s change in sovereignty from the United Kingdom to China, Vancouver experienced a large influx of Chinese. Today, 45% of the residents of Vancouver are of Asian descent. Ethnic Poles, Germans, Irish and Scandinavians all have their slice of the rock as well. What this means to the average traveler is GREAT FOOD! While forestry is the number one industry in Vancouver, tourism is not far behind. If you do visit Vancouver, bring your wallet. While housing prices are out of sight, so are groceries and a modest dinner for two requires a small loan.
(G) We left Vancouver on the 2nd of September thinking the trip across the border would be quick and painless. Three and half hours later we sailed into Seattle. But not until we had surrendered our tomatoes, peppers and a small plant Lillian pinched from a garden in Haines Alaska. In keeping with the times, Sam was separated from us as we pleaded our case in front of the Agricultural Police.
September 19. Here we are at our Daughter Jennifer’s and Son-In-Law Donovan’s house waiting on new brakes for the Airstream. Our Grandsons provide nonstop entertainment unless they are in school or sleeping the four hours a night that they afford their mother.
After the repairs we’ll head for Southern California to spend time with Lillian’s mom and my parents. Our extended family is in SoCal, so we don’t plan on making or buying a meal for quite some time.
We’re not sure of our exact travel dates but we do plan on Thanksgiving in Virginia.
Be well and stay in touch,
Gary, Lillian and the ex con Sam