Canada 29, 16th August 2006

Now my van was fixed I set off to see the sights of Vancouver. I had planned to take the cable car to the top of Grouse Mountain but it was hidden in cloud so I filled in some time driving round Stanley Park. Although I was not planning to stop anywhere I noticed that to park anywhere in this public owned city park it cost $3 which was a forerunner of things to come.

I went to see Capilano Suspension Bridge. The $3 car park was full so I parked further away and took a shuttle. I chatted to the shuttle driver. He asked are you ready to spend $25? I said, don't you think it's worth it? No he said. Later talking to a couple of employees they reckoned that on a good day the lady owner would make a profit if $130,000. That's in one DAY. I actually paid a touch over $25, senior rate. Regular rate is about $30.

Basically, you walk across a suspension bridge.

Then around a high level boardwalk in the trees. You can walk around a bit more, to see a limited rain forest, and there are lots of gift shops and food stalls to relieve you of even more money. Oh, there's a pond with a couple of dozen fish. You can watch them.

I cannot understand why there were so many people there and why they all seemed so happy. Maybe they were all visiting Chinese/Japanese/Russian/Indian millionaires. I don't think it's me. Heck, there can't be all that many people with anything like my experience of visiting places of interest in North America. I hope I know by now what these places normally cost and what you get to see in return.

The sky was a touch clearer so I headed off to Grouse Mountain. Hey I'm used to it now, $3 to park. Then over $30 to go up the cable car, and that's the discounted senior rate. Last time I went up a cable car was in the US, it cost half as much, and climbed twice as far. In the US I don't think I ever had to pay anything to park, anywhere. If I were to pay every time I stopped for a few minutes to take a photo I'd almost be spending more on parking than on gas.

There were a couple of Grizzlies in a compound.

And a good view of Vancouver.

There was also an amazing lumberjack display.

Sure I only saw two attractions in Vancouver but I didn't find anything else I really wanted to see. So all in all, I have to vote Vancouver as the biggest rip-off of my tour. Biggest rip off ever actually. Steveston, Richmond, where my relations live, next to Vancouver is OK, but Vancouver itself? Avoid it at all costs. If you have limited funds, Vancouver is just too expensive. If you have unlimited funds, there are better places to spend your time. Such as Victoria just a short boat trip away on Vancouver Island.

I managed a better photo of cousin Thelma.

Next day I said goodbye to Thelma. Now she is one spunky lady, she well knows what's going on, if you catch her when you don't have a camera she does lots of laughing. I said goodbye to Bobby. I could easily spend more time with Bobby.

I rang Jackie. I couldn't leave without saying goodbye to Jackie. We get on really well, I like Jackie. He took me out to dinner, did all sorts of stuff. Plus, he gave me 4 tins of his home tinned salmon. He gave me some before, it's delicious. He has a lot of family information, useful for the family tree.

Oh, nearly forgot, Bobby gave me fresh sockeye salmon. Had some for dinner tonight. Mmmmm!

I headed off toward Whistler and stopped at Britannia Beach Mining museum. After Vancouver, this place returned me to a sense of normality, with a bang. First the entrance was about $12 with parking free. But today was their special event for the year, half price admission. Whey hey! Sensible prices eve without the special day discount. A fascinating mine tour was included. Starting with a ride behind a real working mine train, then demonstrations of old type drilling machines, which I have seen many times but never before seen them working.

The mill is currently being refurbished, eventually the museum will be in the mill. So far all the windows have been replaced. There are more than you would think from this photo, the whole thing is bigger.

There appear to be 8 panes of glass in each window.

But no. Each "pane" consists of 16 real panes.

In total there were 13,600 panes of glass that have been replaced. Makes the mind boggle.

The purpose of the mill was to reduce the rocks that come out of the mine down to a fine sand. They go in at the top, and get smaller as they pass through the processes on the different levels.

So what do I think about this museum? I reckon it has the potential to be one of the top mining museums in north America. It has a long, long way to go, but it has the potential. I think they'll get there.

Here's a couple of nice views. The first is from one of the mine buildings, the second is the last photo of the Pacific that I'll take on this trip.

I stopped at the visitor centre in Squamish, got lots of information from a lady who had emigrated from Croatia 6 years ago. By coincidence, when I phoned Eleanor yesterday, to find out where she was on her travels, she was in Bratislava. Which is of course, as everyone knows, the capital of Croatia.

I pulled down a forest road for the night, and in the morning strolled round a lake.

Nice scenery on the way to Whistler.

Brandywine Falls.

Just about the whole of the way they were making major upgrades to the road, probably to be ready for the Winter Olympics in 2010. But there were still good views to be seen.

I drove around Whistler a bit, then parked and walked around. I bought some lemon juice and continued on.

I found a suspension bridge. You could walk over it for free.

It wasn't as high as the expensive one but the view of the river was better.

There was a good example of temperate rain forest there too. Of course if you like crowds to prove you are at the best place it was a failure. There was no one there except me.

I had an oops! in Pemberton. I called by the Visitors Centre, it had just closed so I decided to have a look at the town. I drove straight across at the traffic lights and found myself in the oncoming lane, facing a police car! After stopping, he was on his radio a while, then he came along, I apologised profusely, he said be more careful in future, and he had now to go catch a bad guy. As a parting shot he flung in, and you're not a bad guy!

I pulled down a little lane near a lake and made another mistake. I made the short 50 yard walk to the end of the lane. When I got back I found I was being eaten to death. I spent a good part of the next 3 hours catching mosquitoes. It's now 9 pm I am still catching them, I have no idea where they are coming from. All the windows are tightly closed, I've checked. Several times. Have I got a breeding pair stashed away in one of my cupboards? Seems like it. Ah. Gotta go. I just spotted another one. And another, and another...........

Where are they coming from?

Best regards

David Barker
On the road in Canada

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