Tag Archives: Vancouver BC

August means GREAT weather in Seattle area

We had a great stay in Vancouver, B.C., last month, staying two weeks in Burnaby Cariboo RV Park (BCRV).  I mentioned before BCRV is a full-featured RV Park (although it lacks tennis courts, darn it).  It is, by far, our preference of the two major advertised Vancouver RV parks.   Our reasons might not be valid for other people, but after trying Capilano RV and BCRV two years each, we’ll stick with BCRV for quiet, privacy of sites, indoor pool, comfortable lounge.

Whidbey Island has several RV parks and at least two state parks with camping.  We later learned there is also a very reasonable city park with camping in Oak Harbor we might try next time.  Oak Harbor is a nice little navy base town with all the urban things you need but perhaps not some you want.  It suited us very well and is 6 miles from Deception Pass and Quarry Pond State Parks.

Cornet Bay is very pretty from all sides

Our intended campground was Deception Pass  on Whidbey Island, an absolutely gorgeous area.  But without reservations it wasn’t going to happen.  Schools hadn’t resumed session yet and the weather was almost perfect for campers so the campgrounds were peaking.  Serendipitously we somehow thought to ask, “is overflow camping available?”  And it is, across Washington route 20.

Quarry Pond campground formerly was privately owned.  The state purchased it, maintains it, is mapping it, and apparently will add it to their campgrounds on the reservations system.  Too bad — we might not have found anywhere to camp without this first-come, first-served campground.

It’s a very dusty campground and isn’t cheap.  The roads are gravel and despite the 15mph speed limit the high amount of camper traffic generates a tremendous thickness of dust on the camper and truck.  On the other hand, the showers are free and hot as long as you keep pressing the 1-minute button.

We spent a day in Anacortes walking throughout the small business district and spending the most time in West Marine and bought nothing (they’ll start charging us when they realize this is our entertainment).  Anacortes is a pretty town with the ferry to the San Juan islands and other points and a tremendous marina.

A few days we ran errands in Oak Harbor, catching wifi and enjoying coffee at Honeymoon Bay Roasting Company’s shop near Safeway.  Their wifi hotspot is great, staff are friendly, the coffee is super and maybe the scones are too, most days.

Jim ate something bad or caught a bug, we tired of the dust, and had walked enough in both campgrounds and enjoyed the views from the gorgeous bridge over the mouth of Cornet Bay.  Less dust (and a happier Jim) might have allowed us to stay longer, but we were looking forward to visiting the South Puget Sound area.

Washington Land Yacht Harbor (WLYH) has 165 rv spaces in their terraport and charges only $15 per night for WBCCI members.  Golly, a little more than half the price at the state park and we have neither the traffic nor the dust.  We don’t have showers, but we do have very good wifi for free at WLYH.  And we’re close to Lacey and Olympia, nice and nicer, and we’re 25 miles from Tacoma.

Jim’s cousin lives in Des Moines, WA, and agreed to meet us halfway in Tacoma for dinner last Friday.  We killed time browsing at Tacoma Mall before visiting the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Sturdy Gurdy) and meeting Jan for dinner.

Tacoma Mall was dandy.  We spent too little time in REI, one of our favorite all-time stores.  REI has all the stuff we wish we used and don’t need unless we start hiking and backpacking a whole lot.  We have what we need now, and would have to wear it out before we can justify replacing any of it.  So we bought nothing at REI.

We were short-time at REI partly because we had something else on our minds — the Apple Store at the mall.  And there we spent the most time, broken only by bathroom breaks, a shared pizza slice for lunch, and right back to exploring Apple stuff.

It was fascinating for us.  We had never touched an iPad, never really paid much attention to Macbooks, and didn’t know a thing about the equipment or the accessories.  Pretty neat to go in and see every color of iPod Nano, turn them off and on, listen to them with NICE headphones, browse stuff on the wifi-connected iPads, and even try out the Macs.  We absorbed all we could in a few hours and know very little more now.

4th longest suspension bridge in the USA

And we were off to visit the Tacoma Narrows bridge before dinner.   Did you know how tricky these Washington folks are?  They let you drive across the Sound on the bridge for free.  And you can’t come back unless you pay.  No warning signs that we noticed, you just get to the other side and here’s a big old toll station.  Gotta pay for it somehow, especially when you the first one lasts only four months before it crashes into the Sound.  Very very expensive.

The failed bridge was known as “Galloping Gertie” for her behavior during windy days.   The designers and citizens were unprepared for this bouncy bridge where, apparently, you would lose sight of the car in front of you as the bridge oscillated wildly up and down throughout its length.  But didn’t last long before it crashed into the Sound on November 7, 1941.

Washington State paid off the replacement bridge a decade ago and are still paying for the second (east-bound) bridge.  We’re glad to help with our $4, it was worth it for the drive over and back.

Dinner was at Steamer’s, a nice local restaurant on the Sound’s edge.  We sat outside a while watching boats and birds before time to go inside and stake out a table.  They have several microbrews on tap and a nice, if limited, menu.  We all did well on our choices.   Jim’s oysters were not superb but were good.  Debbie’s tempura-fried halibut was very yummy, and the views were almost as good.

The grand prize winning sculpture included this

We lucked out in Olympia Sunday afternoon and caught their annual Sand in the City festival.  Olympia’s pretty nice anyway, and we caught the well-attended Hands On Children’s Museum special event attracting thousands of people.  Parking is free, weather happened to be perfect on Sunday, and the sand sculptures were as good as you expect from these traveling sand sculptors.

The event crowd helps the adjacent farmer’s market, maybe a little too much for us.  We didn’t think of the timing and completely missed out on cherries and berries, and the bakers had put away their bread.  Their till was filled hours ago, thank you very much.  So we plopped down in front of Dancing Goats espresso bar for a cup of very very strong coffee and a borrowed Sunday paper.   The perfect cap to an afternoon of walking around the plaza.

We’ve refilled propane tanks, torqued the wheels, changed the truck’s oil and filter, had the warranty service on the windshield washer heater (who even knew we had one?), had our hair cut today, washed and waxed the truck, and re-mounted the 7-way plug under the bumper to better clear the mudflaps.

Our mail caught up with us, Debbie received her birthday cards and we’re good for a couple of weeks before we’ll have read all the periodicals.  We landed six of seven packages we ordered, including HF antenna parts, a CD, our mail, the MAC and two software packages for it.  This has been a productive stop for us, just right for refilling all those things you need when you’re full-timing.

We leave tomorrow morning, 9/2, for Olympic National Park.  This has been on our radar a long time and we’re glad to finally get a chance to visit and stay.  Two years ago we enjoyed a week in Port Angeles.  The Methodist Church is really sweet, the ferry trip to, and visit in, Victoria is fabulous, and we had a really nice time.

But we missed seeing the Hoh Rain Forest.  Now’s our chance!  We’re spending, depending upon the weather (and then our tolerance for whatever it presents), between a week and ten days on the Olympic  Peninsula.  We think we’ll find wifi somewhere up there and you’ll hear from us soon.  If we don’t write before Sept 13, we didn’t find connectivity.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

Can We Three Full-Time?

We’ve added a full-timer to our house-on-wheels, but only for a long weekend. Our granddaughter, Ellie, has joined us for a few days. Hopefully we’re working up to a week away with grandmom and granddad. This is our second visit at Burnaby Cariboo RV Park (BCRV), and it’s a great place for us and for us to entertain her.

Nice welcome to BCRV Park

Three years ago, our first RV visit to Vancouver, we stayed in BCRV for two weeks. Last year, and the year before, we parked our house at Capilano RV Park in West Vancouver. Capilano is closer to Kelsey’s and Stephen’s house and is the closest RV park to downtown.

A stay at Capilano involves our driving across Vancouver’s business district twice daily and it’s a very hectic drive. Capilano has a small outdoor pool and an indoor hot tub; a lounge with wifi; a playground; and a convenient comfort station with showers and flush toilets. And it has all the noises of the big city, since it’s situated at the base of the Lions Gate bridge.

BCRV, on the other hand, is 6 miles east of Vancouver. While it isn’t as close to Canada’s Highway 1 as Capilano is to the bridge to downtown, BCRV is adjacent to a railway line. A few times a day we can hear the trains rumbling by.

Attractive cedar hedge thrives between sites

The biggest difference we see between the two parks is the layout of the sites and the amenities. BCRV, a larger park, seems to provide almost twice the site space for your trailer or motor home. And the sites at BCRV are screened from each other with an attractive and tall cedar hedge.

BCRV's indoor heated pool is most comfortable when uncrowded

Our four annual visits have all been during the month of August, yet the air temperature is just a little cool sometimes for bathing out of doors. The indoor pool at BCRV is just the trick for the sometimes cool days in Vancouver. BCRV also boasts a weight room and above the swimming pool has a large sunning deck.

Both resorts are near shopping malls. The Lougheed Town Centre, near BCRV, is as accomodating as any small shopping mall we’ve encountered. It’s walking distance for a couple of adults but not when we’re walking with a four year-old. Capilano is only a few hundred yards from Park Royal Shopping Centre, a much larger shopping center.

This year we chose BCRV. We decided we prefer the amenities and sites of BCRV and driving Highway 1 instead of commuting across center-city each day. Next year, who knows?

We felt Welcome to Vancouver!

Vancouver welcomed us a week ago with warm sunny weather. We launched immediately into our tour and errand mode with Kelsey, Stephen, and Ellie, visiting the Science Center, China Town, a coffee shop on Kingsway, Rona (their hardware store), Murchies Tea Shop, a fabric store, and IKEA in Richmond.

An attractive exterior and fascinating contents

The HR MacMillan Science Center was a treat for us all. We visited the planetarium for a short program on the summer skies; watched a program entitled “The Colour of Fire” (our favorite was the green flame from cupric chloride); and toyed over an hour with fun exhibits.

Mural across street from Ten Ren Tea

We needed to renew our supply of green tea. We have visited Ten Ren Tea in Vancouver’s China Town each year. Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest in Canada and (after San Francisco’s) was the second largest Chinese population outside China’s mainland.

After much research, we agreed to buy the sencha green tea to which we’re accustomed, some matcha powder, and Dragon Well or Lung Ching tea. We weren’t sufficiently prepared to select from twelve different grades of Dragon Well tea. While we almost certainly did not buy a high grade, our tastes are still too elementary too really appreciate the difference.

The tea stores are very nice, especially Ten Ren Tea in Chinatown. We have heretofore saved our annual tea buying for our trips to Vancouver. Both Murchies Tea and Ten Ren Tea also provide very good on-line shopping. You can spend far more for tea than we’d imagined — $280 for a pound of First Flush Dragon Well, for example.

But you also can find the teas priced for everyday use, like Ten Ren’s High Grade Sencha for $30 per pound. Neither store charges tax, whether buying in-store or on-line. And both have very low shipping/handling costs for orders. Four pounds of white tea from Ten Ren ships for only $8.10 (shipping/handling) to Charlotte, N.C., for example.

downtown Burnaby Village Museum

Ellie came home with us yesterday for the weekend. We right away spent the day visiting Burnaby Village Museum, grilled out, and settled in for a viewing of the movie Tinkerbell before bedtime.

The carousel isn't just for kids, either

The Burnaby Village Museum is a gem. Ellie’s purpose for the visit was to ride the carousel. And she did, four times. We strolled around and viewed a few exhibits, rode the 1912 CW Parker Carousel twice, toured the park again, rode the carousel twice again, and finished with tours of the three houses.

1925 Wurlitzer Band Organ plays wonderfully

The carousel is faithfully and gorgeously restored and turns to the tunes of a likewise well-restored 1925 Wurlitzer band organ. We were surprised by how quickly the carousel turned and delighted with how beautiful the horses and entire carousel are.

This interurban electric tram served 45 years

We would have enjoyed almost the very same activities whether or not we were walking with a four year-old. The park has exhibits and activities for almost all ages from four to one hundred-four. One of the highlights was our visit to the restored tram car. Car #1223 moved people and goods throughout the Lower Mainland between 1913 and 1958.

these seats would be okay for a commute

This was an Interurban electric tram car built by St Louis Car Company in 1912. These Interurban trams were wider and longer than streetcars and designed to carry travelers for the relatively longer trips between Vancouver and New Westminster. This car was retired in 1958, when buses replaced the trams.

checkers as done before miniaturization changed everything

Much of Burnaby Village Museum portrays life and structure cerca 1925. The carousel, blacksmith, newspaper, ice cream parlour, auto garage, dry goods, interurban tram, and several houses are all restored to that period. Jim and Ellie played a rousing game of lawn checkers. Not sure if this is also a vintage activity, but they enjoyed it just as well.

Plenty of room for three people to play in this house

This morning we awoke to grey skies and a densely misting rain. Good thing we have nowhere we have to go. We spent a leisurely morning playing Fancy Nancy before we slipped over to Lougheed Town Centre for earring and outfits shopping and a cup of coffee.

After a Tim Hortons small snack at the mall, we walked to the RV Park’s indoor swimming pool. We all three swam and swam and swam. Ellie jumped in a few dozen times and finally hit the showers with Debbie before we walked back to our house.

We all watched Thumbelina (second time in three days), one of us (not Ellie) took a nap, and Deb started fixing dinner.

different dining dynamics with three

No grilling tonight, it’s rained all day and continues through this evening. This is the rain Vancouver hasn’t seen throughout the past three weeks. We aren’t put off — instead of grilling we’ll eat dine inside on pasta, baguette, and fresh broccoli.

We’ve been in Vancouver one week and already done all these things. There’s still plenty to do, and we have another week to spend enjoying Vancouver’s great weather and many attractions. Wow! Going over all this again tires us.

Ellie’s asleep on our pull-out sofa. Her stuff is crammed on one of our dinette benches. Our weekend living in our house with a third person, even a half-pint, doesn’t compare to full-time family living in an RV. But it does give us a little taste of it.

Space for playing, dining, dressing, and stuff are all a little tight. Oh, and time to sit still or read quietly or just do nothing? Maybe we’re tired from keeping pace with a four year-old? Gotta go — she’s asleep and it all starts again when Ellie awakens.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr