“Stay in the car, there are bears………”, Seattle, July 25th, 2011

These days most people use a GPS system when visiting grandma who lives in the same old house since 83 years, me too. So it felt strange when buying just a simple map before leaving Vancouver. I guess the cliché of Canada, only wilderness and one road, helped in that decision process. It turned out to be true. In 10 days and 3.333 km I missed one turn, once, and after about 100m I noticed it. I would love to say its my great orientation skills, but it really is the easy system of one road north south and one east west, plus signing is very good.

Anyway, we left Vancouver around noon, stopped at some indicated “tourist points” for waterfalls or views and reached Whistler quickly. Yes, it is the Whistler from the Olympic winter games in 2010 and of course I had to stop at the ski jump and biathlon park where Magdalena Neuner got here 3 Gold medals for Germany. Did I mention that Germany was the most successful Nation at these games after Canada and that “we” lead the overall ranking of all time…………, smile. However, even more interesting than that was the lady at the entrance gate: “Stay in the car, we spotted bears along the road, even one with a cub…” and boom, here there were our first bears, big, brown and real.

For the night we choose a nice hotel in Whistler village, nowadays a tourist hotspot in summer and winter. Expensive, partly posh but still nice and friendly. Thursday we took  scenic “duffey” road taking us further north to scenic lonely Lillooet we we spend the night.

We continued up north and it got more hilly as we took our time to Blue River.  Besides wilderness and lonely road the big, long trains are so typical here. The sound of them burns into your mind but it is a good sound, you can even sleep well, when they pass at night. I mean it, its really atmospheric.

Now of course I wanted to catch one on video with nice scenery and as the tracks go next to the highway I only needed to get ahead of the one I found really nice. I managed and  right on the bridge I got the perfect shot, I thought. I have no idea where they came from, but here they were, two police officers who caught me speeding. For a split of a second I must have gone 116 where 90 is allowed, meaning 26 above. While the train passed I prayed for a mild punishment. “200 Dollars it is”, he said, “but I only put you on record. Be careful boy.” I was but I also got my train later that day. Count the cars, if you are right, I will mention you here as a winner, smile.

For the next two days we went east into famous Jasper National Park, got lucky on the weather as well as in finding a place to stay on a Saturday. It’s a hotspot also for local tourists over the weekend and I understand why. Beautiful landscapes, fantastic lakes and wonderful hikes and trekking routes, from short and easy to tough and days long. On top of that mountains, bears and other animals like dear or squirls.

I personally think that lake Maligne and Moraine are the most beautiful once within Jasper and Banff National Park. Look at the color of the water.

Between these two lakes is the Columbia Glacier field with its 3 glacier “tongues”. 1,5 of them are already melted. We visited “Athabasca” glacier and saw ourselves how far the ice has gone back already, for whatever reason………………..

Just outside of one of the many small villages and towns we passed on our way west we stopped at this little farm, selling fruits and so on. They certainly managed to get attention for themselves with this incredible goat park.

The goats walk up the path, hear or see if someone has put food into the can. With head or feet but certainly by themselves they bring up the can and enjoy their reward. Turn your screen as the video is upside down and pay attention to the goat turning the wheel with its leg.

Vancouver island is a huge island (hundreds of km’s) in the pacific jut off the coast of Vancouver city, a popular weekend destination. After taking the ferry we crossed the island to reach small town Ucluelet and mom was in paradise. A big room with two “princess beds” (as she calls them), nice water view, a bench in front, everything walk able and the perfect combination of nature and …………., souvenir shops. The reason why most travellers come here however, is the wale watching. I insisted on it and it became a special moment in life for mom as well.

Then there were “Ucy – days” this weekend where more locals return home than for Christmas. A combination of traditional games and rituals, drinking, eating and of course, the parade. Nothing like in big cities but it was nice to see how excited these girls and boys were. It had so much charm and character.

Late Saturday we crossed the border into the USA again and found a decent motel. Turns out there is a Outlet mall and they have summer sales. Mom insists “I do not shop a lot” but she could not NOT enter a single shop here.  I don’t complain as I bought more than she at the end. The rest of this beautiful Sunday we spend in Seattle downtown before checking into our airport hotel with pool and Jacuzzi. Early next morning I would fly home with mom, to Williamston, Michigan……………….

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  • Hendrik says:

    Hallo Frank,
    eine schöne Runde – und gute Fotos hast Du gemacht. Schöne Grüße an Deine Mom und natürlich auch an Deine Family in Williamston.

    • frank4444 says:

      Hi Hendrik,
      freut mich sehr, dass Du auf meiner Seite vorbeischaust und wenn Du dann noch die Fotos gut findest, ehrt mich dass. Denn da spricht jemand, der weis was gute Fotos sind.
      Alaska hatten wir ursprünglich vor, haben das aber sein lassen. Da hätten wir nur im Auto gesessen und alle sagten, Süd Alaska ist eh wie Canada.
      Liebe Grüße an die neue größere Familie. Sorry, dass ich noch nicht gratuliert habe.
      Tschau FRANK

  • gabor says:

    … or perhaps: “stay in the forests, there are tourists …” ;-) !

  • thomas says:

    Hallo Frank,
    immer wenn ich ein wenig Zeit im Job habe, schaue ich auf Deine site. Qualitativ sehr hochwertig – wirklich schön. Ich kann nur eins sagen, geniesse Deine Zeit. Ich hoffe, Dir gehen nicht die Doller aus. Es macht wirklich Spass, Deine Fotos und Videos anzuschauen – diese holen uns mal kurz aus unserem Leben raus.
    Viel Spass die Woche. Bei uns geht jetzt das Herbstgeschäft los.
    Bleib schön gesund mein Freund.
    Alles Gute,

    • frank4444 says:

      Hi Thomas,
      und genau wo Du das schreibst, poste ich solange nix Neues. Aber auf Kuba gab es kein Internet bzw nur langsames. Und das Land ist so schwer bzw. intensive aufzuarbeiten. Jetzt habe ich gerade die erste Häfte zu Kuba veröffentlicht.
      Tschau FRANK und ganz liebe Grüße.

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