Mono Lake, CA 2018

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Very Busy day in Vancouver BC

I expect this to be a long post, because we did more in one day than we do in some weeks. So grab a seat, and read on if you have time.

We are staying at the Eagle Wind RV park in Abbotsford, which is right across the US border and about 40 miles east of Vancouver. I decided to stop here because it is on our route, and would rather drive the car in to Vancouver than stay at a closer park and have to go in and back with the RV.

There are many things to see and do in Vancouver. The weather was great, and I did my homework, making a list of several recommended activities.

First up was the Sun Yat-Sen Ming Garden in downtown Vancouver. At first I was a little disappointed, because due to renovations that were underway there was no water in the ponds. Since the ponds are a major element, instead of visiting a calm garden, I felt like I was at an abandoned construction site. (It was Saturday and no one was working.)

But, after joining the group that was on the tour, and having the guide point out and explain many of the garden elements, I was able to appreciate what was there and overlook the empty ponds. 

The red leaf tree in this image is an element of penzai, the cultivation of miniature plants that preceded and inspired Japanese bonsai.

[From Craig] Look at the top of the central rock. I see a padre with a hat on and his right hand raised in greeting. Or perhaps a ghost that's more solid than usual?

Rocks are an important feature of this type of garden. The Chinese considered nature to be the master sculptor, and the intricate shapes of the rocks stirred their imagination.

Note:  The regular Senior admission into the garden is $9, but was discounted due to the empty ponds. We parked at a paid parking garage across from the back side of the walled garden. Look for the big Orange P signs. Parking cost $5.25 (Canadian) for the time we were in the garden. There was also metered street parking but it was full.

Next on my list was a visit to Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver.  I'm not going to write about getting lost because someone put the name of the wrong park into the GPS, but it did give us an opportunity to drive around the Vancouver area a bit. 😀

As you know, we like to get  little hiking in and never seem to tire of beautiful forest paths and rushing rivers.

I was surprised by how many people were there. It must have been because it was a Saturday and a really nice weekend, weather-wise. We heard several other languages being spoken, so I guess it is a popular park in the tourist guide books. I got it from a Moon Book, and read a TripAdvisor review. But as usual, I was able to look past the other people and see the beauty of the park.

One feature at Lynn Canyon Park is this suspension bridge over the river below. 

The park is well maintained, car parking was available, but not for RVs. There was a nice lunch cafe and I saw people eating hamburgers and ice cream for lunch. Entry into the park was free.

There is another suspension bridge mentioned in the guide books called the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Treetops Adventure. It sounded a bit more like a commercial venture with a network of swinging bridges and tree houses. There the senior admission was $34.95 each, plus $5 for parking. 

I like free.

Besides, I'm not a daredevil, and am too old for "challenging swinging bridges" as described in my Moon Guide book.

The forest is considered young since it had been logged out in the past.

But there is plenty of evidence of the old growth throughout. Craig is taking a picture of the river gorge below. The edges of the cliff sides were well fenced off because they are very dangerous.

Numerous foolish people have had accidents and some have died falling off the edges of the canyon.

The paths were almost all boardwalks, but there were many steps up and down.

Every time we do one of these walks, I wish I weighed less and/or was 20 years younger, but  I remind myself I am lucky I can still do it. I'd hate to be missing these places.  Oh yes, Sunday morning I woke with very sore knees, but a couple of Tylenol fixed them.

After all this fresh air and exercise, we were ready for some dinner.

I'm not going to write about the stress of having one of our credit cards not work at a gas station, (it did later at the restaurant) nor about getting semi-lost a few more times, nor finding our first and second food destinations closed, because where we did end up was outstanding!

Based on a TripAdvisor recommendation we went to Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant, located at 3888 Main Street, Vancouver. We arrived just after six and did not have reservations. Our wait was only a half hour. By the time we were leaving the entry waiting area was jam packed.

image from web
The food was terrific and we agree with the reviews that it was one of the best Chinese restaurants we have eaten at. 

It was as white table cloth dining experience, but the final tab was remarkably reasonable.

[From Craig] The conversion from CA$ to US$ helped with being reasonable.

Tired, full, and happy, we headed back to Abbotsford. 

We thought our day's adventures were done when we noticed a large black cloud of smoke ahead.

Although it was evening, there was still plenty of daylight to be had, and we were in no rush to get back to the Alfa. So we decided to try to get closer.

As we were crossing a bridge near the fire, we were able to see it seemed to be on a small island on the river. We got off the highway and worked our way closer. We ended up following some other cars that looked like they knew the area, and parked on a residential street near the river.

We joined quite a few fellow fire-chasers in the back yard of a lady who greeted us and granted us passage to see the fire. We did ask, and said thank you when we left.  The fire was raging, and the fire engines were blasting it with water.

We learned from the neighborhood people that what was burning was an old warehouse compound that was used by an old hoarder. No one knew the fate of the owner, but assumed because it was daytime he was probably safely out. In general they seemed to express a "good riddance" and "let it burn to the ground" sentiment. 

We heard a lot of booms and bangs, and a long volley of pop-pop-pops. We were told he collected old paint, propane tanks and gas cans, and the place had been considered a fire hazard for many years. There is a large working lumber mill not far away, and the firemen did well protecting it and the two large white boats that were docked nearby.

As I said at the beginning of this post, it was a long day!

Sunday we stayed home and Craig watched the Indy 500, while I wrote this post.

Our adventure will resume Monday. I have more plans!


  1. Are you going to the aquarium? I was there years ago and it was fantastic. SO long that I can't recall how it compares to Monterey.

    1. We love aquariums. Maybe on the way back.

  2. Glad you enjoyed Vancouver. We got lost once and missed a freeway exit and had to drive through the city. The traffic was so awful we decided never again. Based on your write up, perhaps we'll put it back on the "maybe" list. So happy the boats didn't burn!

    1. From Craig: we got lost and missed freeway exits several times, but we don't like to emphasize the bad points of our travels. Traffic was lighter than LA or Houston or Atlanta, so we feel OK with the traffic there was. We try to walk the line between city people and country people.

  3. Wonderful post! We need to visit Canada! (My mom was Canadian)....Vancouver is a fabulous town.

  4. You had to be pooped at the end of the day. You two crack me up.

  5. Very nice post. Thanks for sharing. We are planing our trip now and should be up there in August.

  6. We will be in that area in a few weeks, looks like we should try and get some time across the border.

  7. What a fun full day, ending up with and awesome dinner, and the excitement of a fire, hopefully no one was injured.


Leave a comment, or send an email.