Trip Start Oct 20, 2009
159Trip End Jun 23, 2010
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We rode 207 kilometers today, yes, Canada works with metric, whereas the USA works with imperial. As Australia changed over to metric when I was still at school, I am familiar with both, but it's nice to get back to the metric system because our bikes display kilometers on the dash, not miles.
We rode up to Vancouver and made a little side trip to see if we could locate a South African friend of Lynn’s named Rose. We managed to find the house alright, up some steep driveways, but unfortunately Rose wasn’t home. Her husband Leon said she would be available later in the afternoon.
The Grouse Inn, where we booked in for the night, was comfortable enough, but probably a bit dated now
That too was at a cost, but we were starting to realize that Canada’s cost of living is quite high and if we wanted to see any of Canada, we were going to have to put our hands in our pockets. We enjoyed the cable car trip up the mountain and immediately walked out of the cable car and into the snow. It was pristine white where it was freshly fallen and a slushy brown where it had been bulldozed aside and mixed with the soil.
We walked to the Grizzly bear habitat, and found him asleep on a mound of snow. He was huge and stirred from time to time to have his picture taken. His paws were amazing, thick, black pads with long claws, and his nose scented the air as we walked around his habitat
It was a tricky business walking on the snow with our inappropriate footwear so Lou, Lynn and I linked arms to help each other up the hilly bits. We watched four snowboarders scooting down the slopes and several trekkers with their Nordic climbing poles. Graders and snow ploughs were moving the snow around on the hillside. There seemed to be plenty of snow, but we were told there was not enough for the recent winter Olympics, so it had to be brought in by helicopter from other areas.
The sun was shining which put a lovely bright face on the snowy mountains. We played in the powdery snow and I tasted its fresh, cold texture on my tongue. It was a treat for me, that the weather wasn’t cold, as I’m not usually a snow lover. It was fun to play in it and enjoy the quiet, still mountains all around us.
There were lots of carvings made from huge logs, which stood in the snow. They were magnificent, some people are very clever. When the movie about Grouse Mountain was about to start, Lou called Des and I to come into the theater. The day’s activities caught up with me in the dark theatre, and had it not been for the interesting film, I would have nodded off
One Starbucks coffee and muffin each and we were off down the hillside again in the cable car. It’s a stunning ride overlooking Vancouver and all the water around it. The snow becomes less and less and the brown mountain and tall pines take over the view at the bottom of the hill.
It’s really an all-day trip to go up the mountain, and we’d just tried to cram it into a couple of hours, but at least we had an impression. The bus arrived and we hopped on asking the driver to let us know when we should hop off close to our hotel. We rode about 5 or 6 stops when the driver said, "The people who wanted Grouse Inn should hop off and change busses now". That wasn’t supposed to happen. At one stage during the ride, we saw the building next to the Grouse Inn and should have hopped off then and walked, but we didn’t know. So we waited 20 minutes for another bus, and took it. The driver was particularly tourist unfriendly, he’s obviously been doing the job for too long. He humiliated us when we didn’t know which way to validate our tickets. Unwittingly, we stayed on the bus one long stop too many and drove straight past our hotel. It was again too far to walk back, so we had to cross the street to catch yet another bus the long stop back down the road. At last, we arrived at the hotel, ready to drop into bed.