Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day Thirty-Two: Random, My Tush!!

Today started out on a good note. We made blueberry French toast on the grill. It was delish! I was a little taken aback when I was making my coffee in the bathroom and some lady goes, "Oh, I love advanced camping." We're the only ones in a tent in the entire campground. Let's talk about advanced...At around 9:00, we left to go to Vancouver. This is where the fun begins!! We get to the Border Crossing, and give the girl at the desk our Passports. Now, remind you, we have only been out of the country one other time, and that was at the beginning of this trip, on the other side of the country. So, the girl looks at the Passports, looks at us, and then starts asking questions. She asks us how long we'll be in Canada, where we are staying, what we are doing, why are we visiting, etc. So, we answer honestly, because we know we'll crack under pressure. Then, she asks us again where we are staying, and we tell her that we're camping in Washington. Her reply, "Camping? With suitcases?" "Yes, we are on a cross-country trip." She gives us this skeptial look. "Ok, um, park your car and take this with your Id's into the office." Excellent. So, we go in, and since it's chillier up here, we were shaking, and with nerves (won't lie). I don't really want to be stuck in Canada. So, we head in and the guy tells us, "We randomly select people to do background checks." Random, I'm sure. That's why you chose us and the old couple that was in there before. I get that our plans may not make sense, but we're innocent, I swear! So, another guy asks us what we do for a living and we reply that we are teachers. And if we've lived in any state otehr than Connecticut. We haven't lived in any town other than Monroe... Long story short, they are skeptical of us, but see that our background check is clear and they let us go. At least we had our Passports with us, unlike Annie and Tyler on their trip!!
So, it's a good start to a country we're already not-very-fond of. We head off to Vancouver. There's not much between here and there. You first head into West Vancouver, and it is kind of a lead-in into the city. We drove around for a little bit, saw their stadiums and stores, and then went to Stanley Park. It is a huge park with everything in it. There is a 5.5 mile seawall, which is just a path for walkers, runners, and bike riders. We walked along it, which took about 3 hours. A lot of it travels along the water, which is really nice to see, but the beaches are pretty rocky and have driftwood all over the place. We also saw "Legends of the Moon", which is an area with about 10 totem poles. They advertise it like it's a big deal, and don't get me wrong, they are amazing to see, but none of them were originals. It was a little disappointing. The plaques all said "recreation" or "replica". There are also a ton of blue herrons there. The park has a blue herron sanctuary, so they pretty much get free reign there. We also saw real Canadian geese, not the Canadian geese in Stanley Park in New Britain. They pretty much all look the same. You can see the boats coming in and out of the harbor and there was a Disney cruise ship docked. They also have a rhodedenran garden, lawn bowling, and golfing there, too. They have a lot there, but you also have to be part f the Yacht Club to do a lot of it, I think.
After that, it was still pretty early, so we decided to head to Whistler, to see what was there. We were planning on doing that tomorrow, but since they gave us such a hard time today, we decided to just get it all done in one day. On the way, we decided to stop at the Capilsano Suspension Bridge. It was ironic because we got a text from Mom this morning saying how Rachael Ray went to this sketchy looking bridge to tape "$40.00 a Day". This was the bridge. Let's just say that this was the biggest tourist trap (aka 'TT') ever, and she definitely didn't pay to do it, because she would have had very little left over for her food. After paying $5.00 for parking, and contemplating over spending the $60.00 (with the discount), we decided to fork it over and go for it. It was definitely interesting. ALl of the kids that worked there were dressed in "period" costumes. There was even a Tom Haggerty look-a-like! There was an area there "dedicated" to the Native American tribes in the area. The park claims that they want to preserve the heritage of the tribes, but then build this monstrousity around and through it. They have this thing called the "Cliffwalk", which is basically a sturdier bridge, but takes you along the side of the canyon, instead of across, like the bridge. It was interesting, but there were too many people around to really enjoy it. So, we finished with that and headed over to the bridge itself. Now, even before going on the bridge, you can tell that they planned on it being touristy. They have their information plaques about the bridge, and unlike everything else in Canada, they had American measurements first, and then metric. They also compared the height to the Statue of Liberty, not something in their own country (it would come up to her shoulders and is as long as two 747's wing to wing). However, I'm pretty sure we were the only Americans around. Or, at least the only ones who spoke American English (I know there's no difference, but you can definitely tell who's who. Eh?) They can take claim to all the rude people who don't know how to follow directions.When the people in charge have to remind you not to run or purposely shake the bridge, follow their instructions. We couldn't get any good pictures because everyone else was in the way. Anyway, enough ranting. Once you get across the bridge, they have this other area they call "Treetop Adventures", which is basically a bunch of boardwalks and decks throughout the forest. We took that and got stuck behind a bunch of teenage girls on a lacrosse team, who, along with their parents, took up the entire walkway. We were able to get by them. Another sign of it being a TT- the fact that it was built to preserve nature, but there was so much garbage around, and there was an area where people apparently thought it would be a good idea to throw loose change. Not into the water, but onto a tree stump. We saw at least three people do it. I'll take your money, if you want to throw it out. We continued on and saw "Raptor's Ridge". The lacrosse team was there, so we kept going, but were able to see an owl and another bird of some sort. It was cool to see him turn his head all the way. After a painstaking hour or so, we were done with the park. Not even the employees looked very happy to be there. So, in other words, the bridge is awesome to walk across, but not worth the amount they charge.
We continued on to Whistler after that, since it was only 5:00. It takes about two hours to get there from Vancouver. It was a beautiful drive. We drove along Highways 1 and 99, which go right along the water. Highway 99 is known as the Sea to Sky highway, so you can imagine the views. It was a little cloudy on the way up, but the way down, it seemed to clear up a little bit. We had a brochure that listed places to stop at between the two points, so we planned to stop at a few of them. The first one, Shannon Falls, is a waterfall (surprise), but you can see it from the road, so we didn't stop. The next one was a look-out, but we missed it. The third was Brandywine Falls, which was another set of waterfalls. It was a .75 mile trail to a lookout over the falls. Luckily, it wasn't very long, but we had to cross over a railroad track to get there. This point is a pretty cool spot for pictures, because all you see in the clearing is the track. It was a pretty big and pretty, so we took a few pictures and then left. We continued on to Whistler, which is pretty much what you would expect from a ski town. Even the street names. The main road is called Lake Placid Drive. And you could tell that the people there had money. Since the sun started to peep through, we were able to see the mountain, along with the Olympic rings they have near the end of the slope. It didn't seem like there was much to do there, so we turned around. We decided to follow the signs for the Olympic Stadium, which was another 6 miles from the town. There was nothing to see, except for the mountain. When we got to the end, the gates were closed, so we weren't able to see anything, anyway. We probably should have figured that, seeing as when we were in Lake Placid, all of their stadiums were locked, too.
So, we turned around and headed back to the US. It took about another two hours to get to the border. It was 10:00, and we were afraid that it was going to be another challenge. Luckily, the gaurd was super friendly and had no problems with letting us back into the country. He told us that it would be a good state to move to, too, except that they are having budget issues too. Who isn't?! So, we drove on, back on our home soil, and arrived back to our spot at 10:30 and now it is way passed bedtime!

Provinces Visited: British Columbia, Ontario (2/10)

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