Vancouver and British Columbia July 2013

Two weeks in beautiful B.C. - we hadn't been back in five years and I was really missing it! It is strange to not see a single member of your family (well, other than my wife and daughter) for five whole years. It was great to see them, and to see our friends as well. We had seen some of our friends, who had stopped on the way through Michigan, or who came to Michigan State University for work, but that's certainly not like a trip back to B.C.

Maybe we'll move back in retirement, but who knows? Real estate prices are still very high, the "bubble" didn't really seem to pop in B.C. Perhaps the prices will come down in the next few years and give us a way back in?

This trip was two weeks long, but it seemed very rushed because we had so many different destinations. We were only able to spend a day or two in each location. We ended up leaving out the ride of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, which I had really wanted to do. I turned out that we were again in B.C. during a heat wave. In 2004 it hit 104 F and this time it hit 107 F!

University of British Columbia

This is where Sandra and I first met, where I got my Computer Science degree and she got her Ph.D. in Education. Every time we make a trip to Vancouver, we make sure to come out to UBC and see how things are changing. We couldn't believe the new Student Union Building being built! We really noticed how run-down the older buildings looked, though, it was like they stopped maintaining the buildings and the grounds for the summer. Weeds all over and dirty buildings - pretty disappointing. The Rose Garden was as beautiful as ever, though. We toured UBC with our friend Paul, who was also in the computer science program many years ago. That's Paul to the left with Sandra and Christina, on the steps of the former Main Library, which has changed a lot and been renamed. I don't even know if it is still a library. Christina took the picture of the flowers below left, one of many nice shots she took on this day.

The ferry between Vancouver and Victoria

The ferry we were on was huge, carrying nearly 500 vehicles, including freight trucks! The ferry route actually passes through a small tip of U.S. waters. It winds through many different islands, providing spectacular scenery - you can even see snow-capped mountains. It takes about an hour and a half to cross, and it's a lot of fun. Standing outside on the upper decks, with the strong wind, looking at the scenery is great. On the way back we were the first car in line to get off (something I had never experienced before) so we were able to view the docking process closely, not getting back into the car until almost the last minute. Note the freight trucks loading (below left), and the two levels of loading ramps (below right).

Victoria's Inner Harbour

We love Victoria and were happy to get back to see it again! Sometimes we think about retiring here, but it probably woudn't be the same experience as being tourists. We didn't get to stay in the Empress this time, but the Hotel Grand Pacific was very nice and was much more affordable. It was still on the Inner Harbour, close to everything, too.

Victoria - Fisherman's Wharf

This was a place we had never seen before - it's a bit out of the way, but close enough to the Inner Harbour to walk to in fifteen minutes. We had great fish and chips at Barb's, but it seems that Christina is allergic to something in it - so unfortunate for her! This is a community of floating homes and businesses, and many owners have decorated their places in a unique manner. There are many more than what you see here, probably 50 or more, and they stay year-round.

Victoria - new art gallery on the Inner Harbour

This place was new to us, it wasn't here when we made our last trip. The artist is very famous in Canada. It's a very nice building and we purchased a book of his new works. It was great that they let us take pictures of the paintings. Here are some of my favourites. I realize that most people wouldn't have picked these ones as their favourites amongst the many pictures in the gallery.

Victoria - Beacon Hill Park

This park is nowhere near as large as Vancouver's Stanley Park, but it is pretty and peaceful. They don't let cars drive through the middle any more, though, which is kind of inconvenient. We were fascinated by the turtles and ducks being so comfortable with each other. Check the two to the left, or the whole log full of turtles and ducks below left. Below right, there's a large bird, I'm thinking it's a heron, perched at the top. The old stone bridge in the middle has been there since the 1800's. When I lived in Victoria, briefly, I used to come here to relax and practice my drawing.

Victoria - The Gatsby Mansion

We discovered this restaurant (and hotel/bed-and-breakfast) on our last trip, and liked the breakfast so much that we came back every morning! We planned to do the same thing this time, but some of us had difficulty getting out of bed in time to hit the 11 am deadline! This despite the fact that 11 am in Victoria is 2 pm in Michigan, where we had been up until three days earlier. Below left is a new menu item, Scottish eggs, hard-boiled eggs with a sausage coating! Click the rose photo below to see the inside up close. Our server was from New Zealand and said that Victoria is just like it. Oddly, she said that I have no accent, though I thought (but did not say) she definitely did.

The Fraser Canyon

For the drive up to Kamloops, I decided to take the Fraser Canyon rather than the Coquihalla, even though it is the longer route, because it had been so long since I travelled through those areas. Since the Coquihalla Highway was put in, many of the businesses in the Fraser Canyon have closed down because of the lack of traffic. A lot of the places I remember from when I was a kid are shut down. The canyon is very hot and you can see desert-like areas with sagebrush. We always see really long trains, with hundreds of cars. I don't think we used to see grafitti on them, but I could be wrong about that.

Kamloops Bike Ranch

Just by luck I saw this advertised on a placemat at Red Robin in Kamloops, so we headed over there as it got dark. There were only three young guys on bikes riding the jumps and the pictures were not turning out. The next morning I thought I might be wasting my time, but when I got there, a guy was making a new berm. It turned out to be Brad Stuart, the official (paid!) builder at the bike ranch, and we ended up talking a lot about building mountain bike jumps and stunts. I didn't ride anything, I didn't have a bike with me, but I wouldn't have dared try the jumps there anyway - they were HUGE! To the left is the jump section, and below left you can see there are lots of jumps on the trail section as well. He had a very, very long hose for watering the jumps - he had to DRIVE to go shut it off. You can see sprinklers on the top of the jumps in some of these pictures.

Williams Lake

This is the town where I attended junior and senior high school, before going to Vancouver to attend UBC. I worked with my Dad and my brothers in his logging business, on and off, full-time for a couple of years. The town has several sawmills, and you can see the easy access to lumber in the mountain bike stunts. My brother Ross is also a mountain biker, and we rode a few of the trails together - I really enjoyed that. The trails were well above my skill level, though, since they were steep downhill trails with many high stunts. I just wasn't used to it, we don't have anything like it where I ride. It's difficult to see the height and steepness in pictures or videos - but look below left to see how far Ross was below the deck of this stunt. Family pictures here.


This is the town where I attended elementary school (below right). Well, I guess Ashton Creek is a suburb of Enderby. I didn't take many pictures of the scenery, we were mostly visiting relatives. Luckily, my uncle and aunt have a great view from the back of their house - the Enderby cliffs, so I had something scenic to show here. My cousin Laurien arranged for us to go to the local drive-in theatre to watch a double bill - Monster's University and The Lone Ranger. I can't remember the last time I went to an outdoor drive-in. It was full of young people, and pickups turned around backwards so people could sit in the back to watch the screen.

Family pictures here.


This is the nearest town of size near where my parents grew up, and when they were older they came back to stay here for a while. We visited them here a few times, and Sandra really likes Haynes Point, which is a campsite on a peninsula that reaches far into the lake. The lake goes from Canada into the United States. Osoyoos is an orchard and resort town that gets very hot in the summer.Hotter than I like it!. In the picture to the left, you can see the sagebrush. On the plus side, though, in the below left photo there are plums! We also saw apricots on trees, and we've picked cherries in Osoyoos on a previous trip.

Bromley Rock

This is a campsite on the river, between Osoyoos and Princeton. We always stop here, and sometimes there are people jumping off the big rock and into the river. This time, though, nobody was doing it. Just as well, it's pretty dangerous. I noticed a cross at the top of the rock, no doubt in memory of somebody who died here trying to jump into the river. I found some cool rocks and tree roots to take pictures of while Sandra and Christina looked around. The tree roots had a very weathered look, I suppose from the rushing water when it is high in the Spring.


The only scenic thing we did here, on our last couple of days before leaving for home, was to eat with friends at one of the two revolving restaurants. We timed our reservation for sunset, and I took a couple of pictures at each of the window panes, roughly 80 of them as we made a full revolution. Some day I may stitch them together into a panorama. To the left is a slice of one of the pictures. When we were facing toward the sunset, it ruined the pictures - but it was pretty to watch!


Miscellaneous Photography

These are just a few of the pictures that I took on this trip that didn't fit in the sections above, but that I liked enough to put in this trip report. I have been playing around with my Photoshop adjustment layers and HDR toning, both to make pictures seem more realistic, and to give some artistic effects to some of them. I have a lot to learn, but it's been easy to quickly create some interesting shots.