Tag Archives: otters

USA Road trip, 2007: Part 2

I’d only heard of the town of Barstow in a Sheryl Crow song, so was surprised to find that it was a town of bail bondsman and cheap motels. Even the local gas station attendant didn’t know where the centre of town was! I guess it was a song about Leaving Las Vegas; and Las Vegas it most definitely was not. We found a deserted cheap Mexican restaurant, had a huge burrito and retired early.

The next day, my husband-to-be (HTB) and I drove through the Napa Valley, clearly in the off season as none of the vineyards were open for business. We bunny hopped up Big Sur in a storm to avoid possible falling rocks and got the most crazy brooding photo of Point Sur.  I braved the weather to see a beach full of Elephant seals and stop at Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

Hearst Castle was my absolute favourite part of the road trip. We saw zebra’s grazing on our approach to the mansion, had a hot cup of seafood chowder and took the first timers tour out of the 6 different ones that are offered.

Starting at the gorgeous blue Neptune pool on the terrace, the guide took us to Casa del Mar guest house where I was quite taken with a painting of French princess. The Casa Grande (main house) was decorated for Christmas with a tree made entirely of red Poinsettia plants in the main hall. We continued on through the refectory, the dining room and the after dinner room. There was a private cinema and the indoor Roman pool which I wanted for my own.

Our stop that night was in Monterrey Bay where we saw sea lions and otters from the pier. It was a place I wished we had stayed longer on our trip.

We went to Santa Cruz, but it was the one week of the year that the boardwalk was closed. Instead we saw classic blue lifeguard towers, spotted fur seals and envied at the nice houses on Pacific Ave at Beach Hill. Dinner was at a restaurant on fisherman’s wharf from where we watched the sunset over Cowell beach.

Our last stop before hitting San Francisco was the Big Basin Redwoods State Park. We went to Redwood circle, Old circle, Chimney tree and Redwood burl. The tall trees, like the father and mother of the forest, reminded me of Yosemite and the squirrels looked quite at home here.

Related posts: Grand Canyon, 2007, Las Vegas, 2007, USA Road trip, 2007, Disneyland, 2007, Los Angeles, 2007, USA, 1990

Canada, 2002

For my post university trip I decided to go to Canada for a bit of fun, England to visit my ailing grandfather and Thailand to meet up with my boyfriend for a holiday on the way back.

My aunt and uncle in Richmond were kind enough to take me in again and I revisited the usual haunts with my cousin Kate- Steveston, White Rock and Gastown.

I saw the otters, belugas and sea lions at Vancouver Aquarium; but the killer whales were no longer there- the last one having been re housed in 2001. So I went to see the killer whale totems on the totem poles at Brockton Point in Stanley Park instead.

Celina and Geoff’s girlfriend Genevieve took me to the lookout tower in downtown Vancouver where we had a great view of the University of British Columbia (UBC) where they were both going to school.

We all visited the Museum of Anthropology at UBC and I saw some more totem poles and learnt about the First Nations people. By night we went to the Pit Pub and to see Geoff’s new band The Malchicks play.

I went to Whistler with Genevieve and a bunch of her nursing friends from university for a night. Not to ski- but to drink. We started drinking on the bus trip up and arrived in Whistler village just before nightfall. There were ice sculptures, it was snowing and we made snow angels. Those nurses sure could drink!

The next day, after a queasy bus ride back to Vancouver, I met my aunt and uncle to visit Lynn Canyon Park. All I could manage to keep down for breakfast was a raspberry iced tea- which promptly came back up. I barely appreciated the beautiful waterfalls and clear blue pools under the suspension bridge.

I went to Vancouver Island to catch a top view of Victoria from Mt Tomlie and high tea at the Empress Hotel; catching sight of Mayne and Galliano Islands from the ferry on the way back.

My cousin Glen now lived in Calgary so I went to visit him. It was the middle of winter and the coldest weather I have ever experienced of 40 degrees Celsius below zero. It was so cold that Glen’s house had ice cycles on it and he had to plug his car into electricity to keep the engine from freezing.

We went to the Calgary tower to get a view of the city and to the half frozen Bow River in Princes Island Park. We played snooker at the Heritage Park Historical Village and went to a bar that had real cowboys line dancing.

Glen’s job was as a pilot for freight planes. So he took me to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to see the Delta Bessborough Hotel and experience what it was like for my nose to freeze. We also flew to Edmonton to see Parliament House and visit the famous indoor water park at West Edmonton Mall.

Related posts: Canada, 1997-1998, Canada, 1997, Canada, 1990, Travel rememberings