We left the Seattle area early in the A.M. to bring Louie in for service and then make our way to Canada. We made a brief stop in Bellingham where Jim had gone to school to look around a little and get some information on the ferry from Bellingham to Alaska. For what it would cost to ship Louie, the jeep and us to Alaska we could just buy a new RV when we got there. We did get a chance to see some of downtown Bellingham which I don't think we had ever visited when Jim was up there, and it is really a nice little downtown and seemed to be very active.
We crossed the border and headed to Vancouver to leave Suzie with her caretakers for the next week. Our GPS took us on every city street it could find before we finally found the place - Buzz found out later at the convention that they purposely did not extend any of the freeways or interstates into the city to try and discourage people from driving and encourage them to use mass transit. So Suzie was a little intimidated by all the dogs when we first got there, most of them big, but settled in pretty quickly according to the email we got after we left. The way this place works is they have day care for dogs during the day, and the ones that are boarding go home with one of the caretakers at night.
So we made our way north to Whistler. The route is called the Sea to Sky Highway and is just beautiful when you can see it. We saw alot of clouds sitting low on the mountains and just hoped the temperature would stay warm enough to not run into any snow. We were fine and by the time we got there the weather had cleared a little. We checked in and were not exactly thrilled with our accomodations; most of the timeshares we have stayed in have been pretty nice and this didn't quite meet our expectations. But we settled in and went out for a walk around town. There is every type of store, restaurant, and bar you can imagine and plenty of people considering we were in between the summer hiking and biking season and the winter sport season.
There was a great museum showing the shared cultures of 2 Native Tribes of the area and another showing how the area was developed into the winter sports mecca that it is, including all the attempts to bring the Olympics there before finally succeeding this year. They have a new gondola built in 2008 which is called Peak to Peak; it goes from the peak of Whistler Mountain to the peak of Blackcomb Mountain. It only takes 11 minutes but is really a thrill when you look down at the village below. One of the most entertaining aspects of our visit was watching the downhill mountain bikers. They ride up the mountain on the ski lifts and then come down pretty much the same trails as the skiers do, going over the jumps and the moguls and usually landing upright. It's a good thing they have strong springs built into those bikes or there would be alot of young men with very high voices walking around town.
The weather did clear when we went up the mountain which made the countryside just beautiful. There is still snow on all the mountains but in the village it is clear. We took a ride to see some of the lakes in the area and up to see the Olympic Village where the ski jumping took place (it was closed) but we did see 2 bears munching away on some of the foliage right near the road. They told us they are so hungry this time of year that they pay little attention to anyone around them; there must have been 4 or 5 cars stopped with everyone taking pictures and the bears could have cared less.
So on Sunday we headed down off the mountain and were able to appreciate the beautiful views from the Sea to Sky Highway that were hidden on our way up. Let's hope the weather holds for our time in Vancouver.