Sunday, February 15, 2009

Canadian Mini Vacation

I was so excited to go on this little trip. I haven't been up Vancouver way for years and never to Whistler. The last time Bob skied at Whistler was about 25 years ago. I was really amazed at the distances we had to travel. From here to Blaine, WA (near the border crossing) it's 152 miles north on Interstate 5. Then from Blaine to Vancouver, BC it's 31 miles and from Vancouver to Whistler it's 78 miles. And that last 78 miles is very rough in some places. They have a ton of work to do before the 2010 Olympics begin next February. In some places it's a very bumpy two lane road. There are also places where they are having huge problems with rock slides, etc. Actually some of that road is sort of scary. I understand the opening & closing ceremonies as well as most of the award ceremonies will be held in Vancouver. And the some of athletes that participate in snow competitions will be bussed back & forth between Whistler & Vancouver. That's a 156 round mile trip.

We crossed thru the border in a manner of minutes...with our Passports. There's a highway that by-passes downtown Vancouver and we took that to save time. So we didn't actually ever get into Vancouver proper. (I wanted to go to Stanley Park so bad~but as Bob pointed out it's winter it wouldn't be that fun right now.)

We actually arrived in Whistler at the Trendwest/Worldmark resort (Cascade Lodge) about 4:30pm. Check in time is not until 4pm so we timed it just right.

Below are some pictures that I took during our 3 days up there in that beautiful northern part of British Columbia.

Blaine, Washington actually has two border crossing locations. We did not use the Peace Arch crossing~the sign said the wait time there was longer. Approaching the Horseshoe Bay Terminal.

We're next. Here's a section of the highway where the conditions are fairly bad, but they are working on it. Lots of snow piled up along the side of the road. They do a great job of keeping the road clear. But whatever they use turned my black car, a grayish white. It was horrible by the time we got back.

This is the road we want to get to Whistler

Yeah !!!!!!! We're here!

Driving around looking for Cascade Lodge

Little people getting ready for a ski lesson. I saw little ones no older than two or three years old learning to ski.

One of the free shuttle buses that will take you from the place you're staying to the ski area. They have a wonderful transit system.

I loved the name of this shop~ Knicknacks Paddywacks (give a dog a bone)
There's at least two Starbucks in the Village~maybe more

There's a gondola heading up the slope.

This one was running at night too~we thought people were taking it up to a restaurant/pub.
Looking down the one of the many streets of Whistler Village

Some really colorful ski/snowboard outfits~this was 2 guys wearing this outfits
Our home away from home for 3 nights. See header picture for the view of the lodge.
Living room with slider going out to a balcony

Gee it's messy with our junk

This kitchen was nicer than mine at home, for one thing this place had a dishwasher & I don't have one. There was also a stacked washer/dryer unit over to the right of the kitchen area. We brought all our food & cooked dinner Wednesday & Thursday evenings.
The pool and one of the two hot tubs at the back of the lodge
Night view of the pool & hot tubs

Back to the village

Yup there's even a McDonald's there. With outside racks for skis and snowboards.

I took this picture as we were heading down towards Vancouver on our way home.
A beautiful sunset Friday about 5pm as we headed south. The water is a salt water inlet coming from the Strait of Georgia that runs between the mainland and Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island is the location of British Columbia's capital city of Victoria (one of my favorite places to go).

We tried to use our debit or credit cards for purchases there because I quickly discovered that if you handed over U.S. money they gave you change in Canadian money. I cashed in some Canadian bills but brought home the coins and I gave each of my grand kids a "Toonie" (a two dollar coin). The exchange rate flucuated even in the few days we were there. It's really strange how that works.
We didn't leave Whistler until about 3:30pm Friday so that had us going thru Vancouver during the evening rush hour. Then it took us about 30 minutes to get thru the border....the cars were really backed up. So we got here about 9:45pm Friday night. We got the car unloaded and then yesterday I got all the stuff put away, picked up Gabi and got my filthy car washed, so things are back to normal now.
I think it will be really fun to watch the 2010 Winter Olympics next February now that we've been up there and have seen the beginning stages of Canada getting ready for the big event. The Olympic torch was lit Thursday morning (February 12th) but we missed it because we didn't realize it was going to happen. Then that evening Bob went into town and saw some more events celebrating the day (1 year to the day of the start of the 2010 Olympics) but I missed those things because I was so tired and my knee hurt from walking around the Village all day so I stayed back at the condo and watched TV. But I did get some "Official" Olympics stuff (pins, postcards, etc). Hope you enjoyed this little mini vacation into cold, snowy Canada. Until next time, Linda


garnett109 said...

Thanks for the trip.

Trees said...

When you take us on your trips, through the magic of journal land, I always feel like I have been given gift. While I am Canadian, as you know, I have never been to Vancouver. Thank you so very much for sharing your vacation and the wonderful photos of Whistler where the 2010 Olympics will take place, you through your photos brought Whistler, B.C. to me and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

DB said...

Yeah Linda, it looks great from the comfort of my room, and I'm sure the Olympics will be fun. My idea of a Winter vacation is to go South!

a corgi said...

looks beautiful! seems like you guys had a great time! I bet it will be neat to watch the Olympics through the eyes of one that has been there!

thanks for sharing!!


Joann said...

Great pics!! Looks like you had fun, and the place was beautiful!! I bet Gabi was so happy to see you, though!! = )

Lori J said...

Dear Linda, Your picture trip diary is beautiful as always. I have never been to Whistler but it sure looked nice where you stayed. Can you imagine what it will cost there in a year. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done on the roads.
One thing about our money when we get American coin it goes in any of our machines...but your GG would get a kick out of our toonies and loonies.
As I look at my CC bills from our trip the exchange rate kills us but you would have done fine.
Love Lori

Monica said...

I would've been nagging to go to Stanley Park too! I LOVE that park. It looks like you had a wonderful time and that's the main thing. Maybe in the spring or summer you can get up to Vancouver.


Marie said...

What a lovely trip you had and what wonderful pictures!! LOoks like you had a fabulous time. It's incredible to think that for a short week we were not all that far apart!!

Jan said...

Oh Linda what a wonderful mini break ,and thankyou so much for sharing all your lovely pictures ,My arent you having a lovely retirement ? Well deserved Jan xx

ADB said...

Many thanks for sharing those pictures, Linda. Looks quite attractive, but it makes me a bit worried for the Winter Olympics next year

BlueRidge Boomer said...

Loved the pictures......

Thanks for the trip.....


Sandra said...

Hi Linda,

We were in Whistler in August and we loved our stay there. It was very hot at the time and I really wondered what it would look like in the I know! We had coffee in Starbucks there and I remember seeing the Cascade Lodge too but it was closed back then. We were told that the price of real estate there rose steeply once it was announced that the 2010 Olympics were to be held there. Thanks again for showing me a Winter view of such a lovely place. :o)

Love and Hugs

Sandra xxxx

LdyRoxx said...

What a gorgeous trip! Love that lodge....I'm actually getting cold now looking at these ice/snow shots.

Lisa said...

Lovely suite you had and your pictures are wonderful. I liked the rack outside McD's..that's cute! Glad you had such a great time.

Linda :) said...

What a beautiful trip! and that lodge was gorgous.... now when we see the olympics we will be saying Linda was there and there..... :)

Kelly said...

Amazing pictures, and looks like fun too, even for this winter hatin' gal. ;) Thanks for sharing all these wonderful pictures with us. I have been to Canada once, when I was a child, we went to Niagara Falls. Hugs, Kelly

Jeannette said...

I'm a month late commenting Linda! Whistler looks beautiful, I really must go to Canada one day! I'm glad you had a good time, the photos are gorgeous. Jeannette xx