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by Greg - 2005-05-05 - in life / travel /


Our trip was great.  Here's a very short story.

We left on 8/11 from my work. My boss made me attend a meeting that day which ended at 2:30, whereupon I joined June, Brian and Andy who were in our van, waiting in the parking lot. Boy, did I need a vacation!

We arrived at Jeannie's that night, stayed overnight and dropped off Cedar, who escaped immediately from Jeannie's garage and was running around. We wondered how we'd catch her, but Jeannie knew. She opened our van door and Cedar jumped right in, but since it was a trick, she ended up staying at Jeannie's.

The next day we went to the Real Goods Solar Living Center in Hopland, near Ukiah north of San Francisco. It was interesting to me and June, with solar power, buildings made of straw bales, and an organic garden. But it was boring to Brian and Andy,who were not impressed with the self-sufficiency aspect of the place.

We stayed in Willits, about halfway up the coast to Eureka. The next day we drove through Eureka, ate lunch at a good seafood restaurant, and proceeded on to Oregon. We passed through some beautiful redwood groves on the way.  We stayed that night at a Motel 6 in Eugene and, yes, they left the light on for us. Next morning we took the short two-hour drive to Portland and visited Gay, Jim and their kids. We got a boat ride up the Willamette River to downtown Portland, played pool in their family room, and were treated to a good dinner and breakfast the next morning. We thank them again for their hospitality.

Leaving Gay's, we took what should have been a fairly easy drive to Whistler, about 75 miles northeast of Vancouver, B.C. However, we took a wrong turn in Vancouver and ended up on the scenic route through the city. I had no idea it was such abig city! We finally got onto the winding road to Whistler and it started raining. Since it was getting dark, I didn't stop for anything but traffic lights. When we arrived at Whistler just about dark, we heard on the one radio station there that we had just missed a rock slide by about an hour! After check-in at the resort office, we arrived at our timeshare condo, Lake Placid Lodge, around 10:00.

I won't go into what we did every day, but our activities included shopping, bicycling, hiking, swimming, and just lazing around. Brian and I played pool onenight and saw two local rock bands, one called New Big Shoes and another called Luma. The former was OK and the latter was pretty good. June and I went to a sales presentation where they tried to sell us another timeshare (which we didn't buy), and for enduring that we received $100 (Canadian, which is about $70 U.S. right now) in scrip which was good at the local shops. Whistler is a fancy ski resort, so there were plenty of shops, albeit somewhat expensive.

Bicycling is great there — we rented 24-speed mountain bikes for $8 an hour (about $5.50 U.S.), which isn't bad. One day we went hiking at Brandywine Falls, just off the highway. It's a beautiful waterfall, one of the best I've seen. We then took a 4km (about 2.5 miles) hike to a suspension bridge. It's a well-made bridge, about 100 feet long, but it was funny watching June's uneasy steps as she crossed it. Brian and Andy had fun bouncing on it to make it more exciting to cross.

You may know, or by now have guessed, that Canada is on the metric system. Their money is also funny. Their one-dollar coin is called a "looney" and their two-dollar coin is called......have you guessed it? A "tooney". 

Well a week ended all too quickly, so on Sunday we got up early and left before 10:00. We had an incentive to leave on time — they charge you $100 for leaving late. This time we took the right way out, bypassing downtown Vancouver and arriving promptly at the border where we had a 1½ hour wait. They asked when I had arrived, and for what purpose. Those were easy questions. Then they asked if I had anything to declare, I said no, and they waved us through.

We stayed at a "bargain" motel in Woodland, Washington, just north of Portland, on the way back. It made the other motels seem clean and in good repair by comparison, that's all I'll say. At Brian's insistence we stopped at a mall in Portland. We're still not sure exactly why, but we think he was trying to meet someone he has been conversing with in an Internet chat room. I don't think he found that person, but since he emerged unscathed after we left him alone for an hour, we were happy and left.

The skies were threatening that night and we thought it would rain, so we stopped in Medford, Oregon, in an older but pretty decent motel. We went shopping in a huge store called Fred Meyer, where they sell everything from groceries to cameras to jewelry. The next morning we crossed the California border. As we neared Mount Shasta, we saw some forest fires that we heard had been started by lightning the night before. Later, those fires would spread and eventually fill much of Northern California with smoke.

We traveled to the town of Arnold, near Angels Camp in gold rush country, to check out our timeshare for next year. With timeshares, you have to reserve a place at least a year in advance to get into anything desirable. We'll be staying in a very nice two-story condo, in the forest near Calaveras Big Trees.

We stayed in Angels Camp that night, in a very nice motel (they kept getting better after that first one on our way back). The next morning we stopped by Jeannie's and picked up Cedar, who was more than happy to go home. The trip from there was uneventful, except that it got up to 108 degrees outside. Luckily, we have a good air conditioner. That was the only hot weather we encountered — it had averaged about 75 in Canada.

Well, that's about it. How's that for a very short story? Sorry —got carried away.

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