5. Exploring the Pacific Northwest…5.2008

after we unpacked, looked around and drank some fruit, we drove a few miles north to a resort that mona knew about called "Semiahmoo" that sits out on a little penninsula with a window lined restaurant.  she had made arrangements to meet one of her good friends, chara.  I'd met chara before, but sherri had only heard rumors about chara...how beautiful she is, how smart she is, how funny she is, etc.  while we were waiting for our table at the restaurant, we sat out on the beach, next to a fire and just watched the sky and water.  the sun was beginning it's/its evening descent....it was so peaceful and beautiful


these rather blurry shots were taken from inside the restaurant behind the window.... it was still really cool


our food was fine, but our visit with chara was exquisite.  I'm sure sherri would agree that chara exceeded all the rumored-information; she was so great to visit with; it was definitely a highlight of our day!


we spent the whole evening at the restaurant and didn't get back to the condo until after 11:30...we were all dead meat.  I did start today's web site, but starting nodding off and decided to postpone it for a day........sweet 

day six            thursday, may 8, 2008

the plan for thursday was to wake up early....I got up at 5 am so I could work on the web site...but still didn't get it done; we'd planned to leave by 6:30 or 7 and ended up leaving at 6:45.  blaine, the town we're staying in, sits right next to the border, so we didn't have far to driveto the border crossing....we had a rather grumpy border guard, but he didn't detain, cuff or arrest us...so we were grateful just to be through and on our way


this has been a trip for mona to "overcome" her anxiousness about bridges...she's driven over several bridges and didn't panic at all (and we're glad.....neither sherri or I wanted to play "switch-drivers" in the middle of a bridge).  we were headed north to squamish...but first we had to navigate through Vancouver....wow....it's/its such a big, big city...like san francisco on steroids.  I'd been here once before with mona....but so much has changed in 7 years


the 2010 olympics are coming to vancouver, squamish and whistler....and true to the history of the olympics and the cities that host them, so much has changed and is currently in a BIG, HUGE, UGLY MESS.  there is road construction most of the way north, with few sections finished or never touched.  it was slow going most of the way.  what I remember about my visit here before, was that this drive up to whistler, was it was one of the most beautiful areas and drives I'd ever seen.  while the mountains, rocks, and water have not changed, there was so much construction "junk" everywhere, it was impossible to take many photos and so distracting to look at....I guess that's what some people call "development"....I think it's/its just sad 

the "chief" rock wall on the left, sits next to the highway in squamish.  the last time I was here, we watched the rock climbers going up the face...way, way cool.  we stopped at the visitors center in squamish and chatted with "nadine" and got the scoop on all the things to do and see in squamish


then we decided to keep heading north, all the way to whistler....we were in for a big drive today


driving into whistler, I didn't recognize anything...there is a lot of new development.  the lower village, however, looks about the same; like any ski village, with lots of ski/snowboard shops and places to eat.  the village wasn't crowded as the ski/snowboard season is closing, but the mostly snowboarders we saw, were all smiles (as they always are) just excited to be taking the last runs of this winter season


we walked around whistler for a little while then, dreading the construction, we drove back down south to spend some time in squamish

the photo on the right is of shannon falls...a giant waterfall coming down the side of the mountain...really beautiful


one of the places we were told not to miss, was the "spit".  a spit is a skinny piece of land that juts out into the water (my definition, not wikipedia's).  nadine from the visitors center told us this was a great place to watch windsurfers and kite boarders....but none were out today (it's pretty cold here).  it was still really neat to drive out on...and...yes....no cornball picture was taken....but each of us did spit on the spit    


we ate lunch at the Sunflower Bakery and it was wonderful


we shopped at several stores and there were some really neat and funky ones here in this small, mountain town.  one of the places I had asked nadine about is called "Silverfoot".  they make woven bracelets, billfolds, dog leashes, key chains, watchbands etc.  I have several of their bracelets and danny and I have a couple of the watchbands too.  I knew their headquarters were here and wanted to stop by...so we did.  the alley on in the photo on the left is how you get to the building....my fellow travelers were somewhat skeptical....but we found it, shopped (well I did anyway) and I am really glad we went there...I love to see the businesses and the employees of companies who produce the items I enjoy wearing


we stopped in at this brewery, but decided not to take to the time to actually drink anything....we were hoping to get into vancouver and miss the bulk of the rush hour traffic...but note....this brewery is also a hotel.  it looks really nice, so if you're ever needing a place to stay in squamish....this may be it


one last photo of "the Chief"....it's/its one amazing ROCK!


a couple of "moving" photos on the drive back down to vancouver....I deleted about 20 because besides the mountains and water, they also contained orange barrels, cranes, dump trucks, concrete rails, men in hard hats, piles of boulders, etc, etc, etc.


we didn't feel like shopping anymore and didn't really want to be downtown, so mona suggested we visit stanley park....and it was sooo nice.  a giant green space in the middle of one humongous big city


these are a couple of views of lions gate bridge from within stanley park (yes, this was another bridge mona bravely drove over)



yes....we're still using the damn gps unit.  on our way out from the condo this morning, mona declared it would be a total gps day....this meant we would use only the gps...no maps (we didn't have any anyway). sherri and I have both gotten "queasy" once riding in the back seat since last saturday, while going up and down and curving around and around then up and down then up and down and curving around and around....okay you get the idea....so at times we've been so nice and sweet, offering the other the front seat....however, I've decided I'd rather feel queasy than have to be in charge of "minnie the irritating gps unit"....so sherri, dealt with minnie all day today (and I'm sooo grateful!)


sherri wanted to eat a really good, really nice seafood dinner while up here in the northwest.  we ended up in a small town right on the water.  white rock is the town and restaurant we ate at is "The Boathouse".  the food was super-good!  and the two photos below, are the views from our table....way, way neat


toasting (with water)

mona ordered the "seafood hotpot" with mussels, clams, shrimp, salmon, spinach, bok choy and noodles

sherri ordered the "boathouse grill" with grilled salmon, shrimp and scallops on a bed of wild rice pilaf with grilled veggies


I ordered the "thai green curry shrimp"....it was very, very, very good


white rock was just on the canadian side of the border, so it only took us a few minutes to get to the border crossing.  our border guard was nice and smiled, and once again....we were just glad to get through with no waiting or problems



ya....we were really big spenders today

I bought this sticker "peace is healthy for children and other living things"


mona bought this really neat "picnic knife"


sherri has been wanting a scarf to keep her warm....but today, instead, she bought this really cool yarn and some knitting needles....here she sits tonight by the fire, knitting away


mona bought these neat earrings....mona always buys earrings when we travel....but she's yet to buy any shoes!


okay....I went a little crazy today.  at Silverfoot, I bought this funky green bracelet, a teenie-tiny bag that my phone, camera and credit card fit in, and two sunglass lanyards (one for danny and one for me when we go backpacking); at the visitors center I bought a sticker "squamish british columbia...don't take it for granite" and those two silver things on the left which are actually surprise gifts for two of my "readers" so I can't tell you what they are

it seems the past two days we've done a lot of road time...mona's been a trooper behind the wheel the whole time....even driving in places and over things she would rather not; but we've seen some amazing, beautiful and wonderful country.  so all the miles were definitely worth it

squamish is a really cool town....if you love to PLAY outside, you'd love it.  there's climbing, snow sports, water sports and hiking/backpacking in those fantastic mountains

I feel really sad by the changes in whistler and squamish...I don't know how the people that live there feel about it and I guess it's/its really none of my business, but at this time, there is so much MESS everywhere the towns seem in conflict with the natural beauty that they are surrounded by

I'm grateful the border guards let mona back into the US; sherri and I would have felt really sad leaving her there    :(           (she forgot her passport, but had a certified birth certificate with her to use); although we would have been glad to trade minnie the gps to get mona back!

tomorrow is our last full day together...and, of course, we have some really fun plans!

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