Alaska 

Days 27 - September 6, 2009

Miles Traveled:

Notable Stops: Left Whistler, British Columbia, arrived in Mt. Vernon, Washington

Daily High:

Daily Low:

Notable Weather: Rained off and on until Mt. Vernon

Jess’ Voice: Nonexistent

 

Campfire with Our RV Park Neighbors

 

Last night after, I was done updating the web site but before going to bed, one of our neighbors in the RV Park invited us to go over and enjoy their campfire. We took them up on it. In talking to them we learned they are Canadians.

 

We enjoyed talking to them around the campfire. The rain even let up while we were there.

 

In speaking to various Canadians I am always a bit surprised at how many of their political and economic concerns are the same as ours, even though we live in different countries. It probably has something to do with our geographic proximity.

 

Morning in Whistler

 

It was raining when we woke up this morning. Before we left we had brunch at the café at the resort we stayed at. It was eggs benedict, bacon, potatoes and French toast.

 

Since we were going to be in Vancouver so much sooner than previously planned we decided to move our ferry and tea reservations to Tuesday. This way we wouldn’t sit around doing nothing for so many days.

 

We were considering taking the gondola up the mountain to the top of the ski resort the 2010 Olympics are going to be held at. However, in the morning when it was raining it was difficult to get enthusiastic about a gondola ride. When it quit raining after brunch we just wanted to hit the road and make it as far as we could without being rained on. In the end we didn’t do the gondola ride.

 

Sea to Sky Highway

 

The Sea to Sky Highway begins not long after Whistler. The drive is beautiful. The ocean/bay/inlets are on one side of the highway and the mountains are on the other.

 

Although it began raining on us while driving the Sea to Sky Highway, the rain was not that terrible soaking rain. It would rain for a bit then stop raining then rain a bit more. I’ve determined I can handle this type of rain because it gives our rain suits some time to dry off at least a little so they don’t start absorbing the rain.

 

Squamish was especially beautiful. We stopped there for gas. At the end of town is a giant granite monolith that reminds me of the granite formation above Curry Village in Yosemite.

 

Vancouver

 

Once in Vancouver we visited Stanley Park because Matt wanted to see the totem poles.  

 

We parked at the first parking lot we found in the park. Were immediately swarmed by travelers interested in our car. Matt went to the parking ticket machine to buy a ticket for our car. At the machine a guy told Matt, “I like your car and I’m leaving,” while handing Matt a parking ticket.

 

While Matt was acquiring the parking ticket, a guy asked me how much our car is worth. I tried not to give him an actual answer and told him, “Not as much as you’d think.” The guy kept pressing so finally I told him Model T’s like ours don’t go for more than $10,000. The guy then proceeded to argue with me about how much our car is worth. He told me we could get “way more” than $10,000 for it.

 

I don’t understand why people who don’t even know what the car is until we tell them, think they are the authority of the value of the car.

 

I asked the guy, “Do you want to buy the car for ‘way more’?” He said no and I said, “There you go then.”

 

After answering questions and handing out cards, we made our way to the lookout overlooking the bay and the bridge we just crossed. Then we went to the gift shop where we got directions to the totem poles.

 

Upon returning to the car we were astonished that we were completely blocked in by a swarm of little parked scooters. We both scratched our heads trying to figure out why anyone (let alone a sizeable portion of an entire gang) thought it was a good idea to park their little scooters less then 6 inches from the front, back and sides of our rig.

 

Fortunately several members of the scooter gang spotted us at our car and came over. Matt asked one of the guys if he knew who owned the scooters that were blocking us in. Other members of the gang summoned several of the scooter owners and they moved their scooters. One of the members found that one of the scooters was unlocked so he started moving it for us.

 

While the guys were moving the scooters Matt asked one of them if they were all from Vancouver. The guy responded that these scooter owners come from all over the west coats once a year for a tour.

 

We visited the totem poles in the park then left. It took about two hours to drive across town to the freeway. I fell asleep but still understood why some travelers we ran into a few days ago said Vancouver was just like San Francisco. Matt reported that the drive through Vancouver, with all the stop and go, put more wear and tear on the Speedster’s bands and brakes than the previous 3,000 plus miles we drove.

 

Boarder Crossing

 

Crossing the boarder between Canada and the US right after Vancouver was quite a bit more formal than all our other boarder crossings. In fact, last night one of the guys around the campfire was talking about his dislike for boarder crossings. At the time I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about. Today I began to understand what he was talking about.

 

When you approach the boarder you sit in several lines at a stop light for about 45 minutes (depending on how many other people are crossing at the same time). When that light turns green you drive forward to sit in a different line. This takes another…who knows how long. Then, you finally speak to a customs agent.

 

Some peoples’ cars were being searched. Some people were being directed to park their car and go inside the customs building (I’m guessing for further search) after speaking to the first customs agent. I must say that while it was way more time consuming and formal than the other crossings, I’m glad to see the US customs agents doing a good job and taking the time to search people and cars.

 

When it was our tern the agent asked us a bunch of questions just like the others before her. Given the nature of our car it was obvious we weren’t smuggling anything in/on it so there was no need to search the car. The agent did ask to see inside the trailer though. She also asked some questions about it. When Matt opened the door the agent peaked inside. She was satisfied we were ok to let back into the US and told us we were free to go.

 

Back in the US

 

We stopped for a late lunch in Bellingham, Washington. It was still raining. Inside Taco Bell we started taking our layers off. While doing that, I realized my Alaska jacket (just under my rain jacket) was wet on the bottom. Fortunately, none of my other layers were wet. I was happy my Alaska jacket was doing its job though.

 

When we got to Mt Vernon, Art and Helen were gone. We were pretty sure they were on the Portland, Oregon endurance run that took place today. We put the Teardrop in their barn, out of the rain, like we did before we left a month earlier. Then we relaxed again.

 

After a while, we went to Larry’s to visit. However, it was sort of late and although his TV was blaring we figured he was asleep because he did not answer the door. So, we went to dinner at the Mexican restaurant we ate at before leaving Mt. Vernon a month earlier. Then we went to bed.

 

Vancouver from Stanley Park Totem Poles in Stanley Park in Vancouver
Crowd Around the Speedster in Stanley Park Speedster in Stanley Park
Jess in Speedster Preparing to Cross the Boarder from Canada into the United States United States/Canada Boarder
United States/Canada Boarder
Alaska 2009

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