August 18 – After coffee, we packed up and drove to the ferry at Horseshoe Bay. This was our sixth ferry of the trip and a big one, the Queen of Surrey. It has two car decks and can hold up to 1500 passengers and 362 vehicles. It took us about 45 minutes to get to Vancouver and we drove in traffic across the Lions Gate Bridge only to discover that the RV park we were spending the night in was back on the other side of the bridge.
We eventually made our way to the Capilano River RV Park and found a camp site. The sites are very small and crowded together, but not as bad as at the park in Victoria. We discovered later that Andrew and Amy had camped there just the day before after her bicycle ride from Seattle to Vancouver. We parked and walked to a nearby mall to find a pharmacy and post office, eat dinner, and head back across the Capilano River to the bus.
A man emerged from the older white Chevy Astro parked next to us. He introduced himself and told us that he writes articles for the German National Geographic and that he and his wife had just come back from Alaska where they were recording Alaskan brown bears, aka Kodiak bears. He was telling us how large they are when Mag asked if they were as big as Grizzly bears. “Much bigger” he reported and brought out his laptop to show photos he had taken during the trip. The male Kodiak bear averages 1000 to 1200 lbs. but can reach 1500 lbs. Adult male grizzlies average 400-800 lbs. That’s the short version. Here is a link to his website. Sprechen sie Deutsch?
We showered in the nice clean RV Park facilities and then slept fairly well considering we were under the east end of the Lions Gate Bridge. We had plans for the rest of the week to stay in a downtown hotel so that we could walk to most of the places we wanted to see. The next morning we drove through Stanley Park, stopping to take walks and pictures.
Then we were on to the Museum of Anthropology at the University of BC. We spent three hours at this fantastic museum. It had large native peoples exhibits as well as well-organized displays from around the world. We cannot say enough about the well thought out displays at this museum. It’s a must if you visit Vancouver! Prepare for an overdose of pictures:
The international section of the museum, known as the Multiversity Galleries, was quite large and impressive. The drawers you see under the displays are all full of artifacts under glass.
We checked in at our downtown hotel and went to look for parking. The Roadhaus + rocket box is 8’ 6” and wouldn’t fit in the hotel’s parking garage. The nearby street lots were undesirable so we ended up parking more than a mile away in a well-lighted bus lot. We walked back to the hotel, stopping for a delicious dinner at Cavo, a sidewalk cafe serving Mediterranean food, which Maggie had been craving.
We were up early the next morning as our friend Bernie was picking us up for coffee. Bernie is one of our favorite people – always interesting, always entertaining and an icon in the VW Bus Community.
Here is a link to a recent BBC article that features Bernie:
A coffee aficionado like ourselves, he wanted us to try the “Best coffee in Vancouver” at a place called Revolver. They use many different varieties and grind just enough for each cup. They use a variation on our pour-over method. Lar says it was the best cup of coffee ever.
After coffee, Bernie drove us through Chinatown and dropped us off in Gas Town where we could do the tourist thing. We enjoyed traipsing through the shops and buying trinkets and t-shirts for family, but it was a bit tiring. We lunched at an Indian Restaurant and engaged in people watching.
We then walked over to Chinatown where we visited a few of the shops, then took a break and of course had coffee.
At the coffee shop we asked around to see if anyone could tell us where to find the Jimi Hendrix shrine that Mag had read about. No one had heard of it. Mag did some web searching and found the address and we soon located it on a side street. It was interestingly minimalistic (i.e., not much there) but we took photos and moved on. It seems Jimi’s grandmother, Nora Hendrix, had worked as a cook there when it was “Vie’s Chicken and Steakhouse” and Jimi had played there when he lived in Vancouver. The story goes that he lived in the building for a short time.
It was going to be a bit of a walk back to the hotel and it appeared from the maps that there was a casino roughly half-way there. We disagreed on which route to take, but Mag gave in and we went the way Lar suggested. We eventually made it to the casino (enough said). Although it was not a profitable venture, there were two good things about the casino: It was ALL nonsmoking and it had a slot machine that looked suspiciously like a VW bus! We made the long walk back to the hotel with cameras, backpack and purse, and bags of tourist junk – an exhausting day!
August 21 – Mag’s 68th birthday. We walked down Hornby Street to the water taxis that would take us to Granville Island Public Market. We spent roughly three hours walking around the market area. Like the market in Seattle, there were all kinds of food, flowers, and other goods. The bakery goods were irresistible so we had coffee and a pastry. We did some more people watching and added boat watching as there was a show of wooden boats at the market’s marina.
We took the water taxi back across the bay and walked to the hotel. Later in the day, Bernie and Vivian picked us up to take us to dinner at Naam, a vegetarian restaurant. The food was delicious and the company was great. Vivian is one of the most traveled people we have ever met – and someone we can completely identify with! They then drove us all around different areas of Vancouver before stopping for coffee and almond cookies.
Up early the next morning, we packed up and Lar made the long trek to retrieve the bus. We were heading out to Chilliwack to visit Maggie’s friend and former roommate, Sharon, and her husband Mike. Mag and Sharon shared an apartment in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, some 26 years ago. It was time for a reunion!
Arriving in Chilliwack in the afternoon, we enjoyed a visit sitting on Sharon and Mike’s patio in perfect BC weather. It turns out that Mike is a fantastic cook and he made a delicious dinner of curried beef and rice. He gave us a tour of the greenhouse and garden that supplies many of their vegetables. We noted an entire bookcase full of cook books and decided we just might stay! Now both retired, they each have their hobbies. Sharon is an artist and now has an art studio in the backyard. We enjoyed both of their masterpieces – both artistic and culinary.
The next morning, after chowing down on Mike’s huevos rancheros and tortillas, we drove to the Heron Reserve, one of their volunteer projects. We walked a couple of trails and took a few pictures, then drove to downtown Chilliwack for coffee and a walk around. Dinner that night – a coffee slathered pork tenderloin with corn on the cob and salad – was fabulous. We dined on the patio and then played a few games of Mexican Train. It was going to be difficult to say goodbye!
Maggie and Sharon had a great reunion visit and called up another former roommate, Helen, who lives in Ontario. Now if we can just figure out how to all get together!
The next morning we lounged around the patio with coffee, had a late breakfast, and headed off for the border crossing. We needed to get rid of a few Canadian coins, so stopped at Tim Horton’s and picked up a box of donuts (!). We were randomly stopped at the border but only got a cursory search. They asked what was in the rocket box and Mag said “a didgeridoo”. They opted not to open it. Back in the U.S.A., land of cheap(er) gas and groceries.
For more photos of this part of the trip, click the link below;
Happy trails … Maggie & Larry