Burnaby, Victoria, & Finale

Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
Trip End Aug 15, 2012

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Friday, July 27, 2012

Today, Monday July 23, the Fantasy weather god decided to go fishing, or something like that.  We woke up to a typical Pacific Northwest rainy and dreary day.  But, we persevered and left
the park on a bus to head for the bay area and our boat cruise on the Harbor Princess.  It was a very comfortable boat and we were served an excellent luncheon buffet while we cruised up the Indian Arm Inlet.  It was interesting to see the homes up this waterway that are only accessible by water.  I did take some pictures; however, the cloudy conditions somewhat limited their quality. One other thing about Vancouver is the massive construction on Highway 1 including the bridge over the Fraser.  This makes vehicle travel very slow and somewhat problematic as some exits are closed at certain times of the day.  Thankfully we have bus drivers and guides to get us around.

Tuesday, July 24 was our day for a city tour of Vancouver.  We had a bus and a guide by the name of Ilena.  Although she said she was not a native of Vancouver (she was actually from Winnipeg) she was very knowledgeable about the city.  First we headed to Chinatown and saw all the open air markets and some of the gardens.  Then we drove through the Heritage district or Gastown as it is known.  This area was brought back to life by the hippies in the 60’s and 70’s and is now one of the most fashionable areas of the city to shop in.  The highlight of the area is a steam powered clock that runs off the city’s steam utility and sounds like a calliope when the hour turns. From there we drove through the east side of Stanley Park to see all the totem poles that have been recreated.  Crossing Lions Gate Bridge to North Vancouver we went to Capilano Suspension Bridge.  This area was developed over the years from a private retreat to a tourist attraction and features a long and high pedestrian suspension bridge leading over a gorge to the area of the original home and a beautiful forested area.  After seeing this we drove back through the west side of Stanley Park which had all the storm damage from a few years ago and ended up at Granville Island, a kind of artist colony and open market with all kinds of food. After returning to the RV Park and resting a couple of hours some of us joined our wagon masters and had dinner at a fish and chips place nearby.  They also took us up Burnaby Mt.
to see where we had cruised the day before.

Wednesday, July 25, was our final tour of the caravan.  We boarded the bus at 7:30AM to head for Vancouver Island. But first we had to fight our way through rush hour traffic, including an annoying construction zone, to get to the ferry terminal.  I was surprised how far out of town it was. (Actually, it was in sight of the US border.)  The BC Ferry system is very good and our boat was very well equipped and the hour and a half passed quickly.  After arriving at Vancouver
Island our bus driver, Graham, gave us a teasing driving tour of the downtown area and then we were dropped off in front of the museum for 2.5 hrs on our own.  We ended up at Red Fish
Blue Fish, a weird little walkup seafood place on the wharf with Ralph and Jane.  It was a long line and since they got there first we gave them money and asked them to buy for us which saved at least a half hour.  After that we walked the streets until pickup time.  Back on the bus we rounded mile marker 0 on the Trans Canada Highway and toured the homes overlooking the strait on our way to Butchart Gardens.  This popular tourist attraction was begun in 1908 when the Butchart quarry ran out of product and his wife began renovating the ugly hole in the ground into a beautiful garden.  Larger and more commercial than Minter Gardens it was impressive.  We preferred Minter.  It seemed to have more color and better planned displays.  Then, it was
back on the ferry for the trip home which seemed to go quicker.  It was a long day; but, an exciting day.

Thursday, July 26, is a free day and our final day in Burnaby.  Some of us have elected to go to Fort Langley which we had to miss on Sunday.  Fort Langley is actually two things; a replicated Hudson Bay Company trading fort and the village around it.  The fort is a nice reconstruction on the exact spot of the original (it even has one of the original buildings which they claim is the oldest building in British Columbia) and besides a short movie it has a lot of posted material explaining its history.  The village is a cute little burg featuring boutiques and restaurants.  After walking the fort we had a nice lunch and the ladies did some shopping.  We spent the day with our two single lady friends we have met on the trip and had a very pleasant day, just what we
needed to wind down.

Thursday evening we were treated to a wonderful farewell dinner at the Hart House on nearby Deer Lake in Burnaby. We had our own private dining room overlooking the back grounds of the
house and enjoyed a very delicious dinner of salmon or chicken.  Everyone got a chance to share their opinions and feelings about the trip and they were all extremely positive.  Gayle Crompton gave a beautiful reading about her experiences on the trip.  We all agreed the service of the staff was excellent and we were pampered.  Now we have to fend for ourselves again.  I won’t have Bill to guide me to my parking spot and Erich to thump my tires.  Friday morning we had a quick breakfast at our wagon master’s unit and then, adios.  It’s been a wonderful two week experience.
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