Megan and her boyfriend Brandon flew up from Texas for a visit during their spring break. It was Brandon’s first visit to the Pacific Northwest and Canada, so we tried to show him a lot of the area. It was great to see both of them and a busy week. We drove to Vancouver, British Columbia which is about a two and a half hour drive from our house.
Vancouver is a great city that feels very international to us. You hear lots of different languages spoken and lots of ethnic cuisines are available. There is a nice harbor where the cruise ships heading to Alaska dock and a huge park. Stanley Park is a green oasis on the edge of the city- it reminds me of Central Park in New York City.
We didn’t have a lot of time to spend in Vancouver, but it was fun while we were there. We took the BC Ferry from the city of Vancouver – actually the ferry terminal is in Tsawwassen, British Columbia – over to Vancouver Island where Victoria is located.
British Columbia has their own very nice ferry system. The BC Ferry we took was the largest one we had ever been on.
Like the Washington State ferries, there are large and small sizes, depending on the amount of traffic on a run.
We were on one of the largest ones, holding about 250 cars on one deck with semi-trucks, buses, motorhomes, etc. on the lower deck. A total of about 400 vehicles per trip, plus the passengers.
The inside feels like a parking garage – one that moves. The seas were very calm that day and it was a beautiful trip to Vancouver Island.
The Fairmont Empress Hotel sits at the head of Victoria harbor. It is a beautiful, old hotel; a landmark of the city.
While we were in Victoria, Megan and I took afternoon tea at the very elegant Empress Hotel. Rick and Brandon were not impressed or interested in afternoon tea, so they went to watch an IMAX movie. We had a nice visit to Victoria, then sailed back to Tsawwassen and crossed the border back to the U.S. We enjoyed our time in Canada and both the Aggies got stamps in their passports.
After we returned to Washington and rested for a day, we drove up to the Mt. Baker Ski area. If we could travel straight over the mountains it is only about 20 or 25 miles from our house. Unfortunately there are no roads that way, so we have to drive all the way down our valley, north to the next valley and up to the ski area. It takes about two hours to get there. There was a lot of snow on the ground and at the edges of the road it was piled high where the snowplows had cleared. It was raining / snowing the whole day.
Not the very best ski conditions, but having come all the way from Texas the Aggies were determined to ski.
The shiny plastic things over their jackets are rain vests. The conditions were so wet it would penetrate even your “rain proof” ski jackets.
After a couple of runs, they were both soaked. So they came inside and bundled up some more before venturing back out in the rain, snow and slush. Mt. Baker is a nice ski area and they had a good time skiing in spite of the conditions.
Not getting enough of playing in the snow while skiing, they went sledding on our little hill the next day. Most of our land is pretty flat, but Brandon is heading down our one little hill.
It was over 80 degrees when they left Texas, and the weaather there is consistently hot and humid, so they enjoyed the snow and cool weather here for a change.
Even falling off the sled, Brandon is a true Aggie – note the Gig’em sign.
For those of you not familiar with Aggie culture, there are several other Texas schools with which they enjoy a long, heated rivalry. Their hated arch enemies are the University of Texas Longhorns, followed closely by Texas Tech and Texas Christian (TCU) and pretty much every other university in Texas. They have a long tradition of derogatory gestures, symbols and sayings for each of these enemy schools, some of which we will not print in this family blog. The one for the TCU Horned Frogs (yes, that is really is their official mascot) is Gig’Em!