A Short Vancouver Getaway

I’ve been quiet here on the blog for a couple of weeks now. Life got very, very busy and there was just no time (and I wasn’t doing anything very interesting anyway), but now there’s a calm spot 🙂

This past weekend, Cathy and I made a quick trip to Vancouver – down Friday night, back home Sunday morning. We both left work a bit early on Friday, picked up our friend and house-sitter at work at 4:30, and boarded the 6:00pm Air North flight. After making our last few flights to YVR on Air Canada Jazz’s CRJs, it was really nice to be back on a Boeing 737! It was cloudy all the way to Vancouver, so no views. YVR was very quiet, and in short order we were at the Hertz counter to pick up the car I’d reserved at Hotwire.

It’s only a short drive from the airport to the River Rock Casino Resort, but the hotel property is extremely confusing, with little signage and much of that contradictory. Tired and frustrated, I eventually parked our car in a huge nearly-empty staff parking area.

We eventually got checked in and made our way to suite 706 in the East Tower, where my mood immediately improved – are these 1-bedroom suites ever nice 🙂 Neither of us was up to a big night, despite being in one of Vancouver’s hot spots. After unpacking, we went downstairs for a look at the large casino, had a burger at the little White Spot takeout there, then went to bed.

We were apparently both in need of a break – we slept like the dead Friday night. The photo below was shot from our suite at 7:33am, a few minutes after getting up. The body of water is the Fraser River – the sea is 3-4 miles to the left.

The purpose of this quick trip was primarily to attend an Expedia CruiseShipCenters rally and awards program. On Saturday morning there were a series of presentations about our clients and the state-of-the-art CRM technology used to run the business. While I attended those, Cathy took the car and went shopping. After lunch, Cathy joined me and sat in on 2 more presentations. The first was about the expansion of what we do, from a cruise focus to getting our clients “The Complete Vacation Experience”. The next speaker was one I’ll be telling you more about in a future post – Carol Ann Cole, who, among many other accomplishments, started the Comfort Heart program.

At about 2:30, the award presentations began. I had almost decided not to go – Vancouver is a very expensive trip for one day of meetings – but I’m glad now that we did attend. This is the stage setup at the River Rock.

Cathy took this shot of the stage header as Erik and Kim Hougen were called up as owners of the Yukon franchise of Expedia CruiseShipCenters. I was very surprised (and pleased) by the enthusiastic response to our little office being on the stage!

That’s me accepting the “President’s Circle” award as one of the company’s top travel agents, from the company president, and Erik and Kim.

The banquet on Saturday night was excellent, but Cathy and I didn’t stay for the music and dancing.

Another late morning, but rather than waking up to a misty view, Sunday was beautiful – this was shot at 7:43. Yesterday we started off the day with just a muffin and coffee, but today we went to the hotel’s large buffet restaurant, and it was very good (and only $14.95 each). The buffet was also nearly empty until about 9:00 🙂

Back to the suite to finish packing. A telephoto shot of The Lions…

… a final shot of the business corner of the suite, and we were off.

This lovely view is along the boardwalk back to the parking garage. Although it was +3°C, the boardwalk was very icy.

YVR was very quiet again and, well over an hour early, we were soon at Gate B18 where our plane was sitting.

Bye-bye, Vancouver – the YVR control tower is on the left, the Fairmont Hotel on the right.

The River Rock hotel is dead-center in this photo.

I love flying over the cranberry fields.

Cranberry fields, log booms on a small arm of the Fraser River, and one of the ever-spreading light industrial areas in South Vancouver.

Stanley Park is in the centre of this photo, with downtown Vancouver to the left and English Bay above.

A low pass over Grouse Mountain, a very popular year-round destination. This was shot at 11:46.

Heading off into the mountain wilderness 4 minutes later. This flight really got me dreaming about having my own plane again – man, I loved flying this area!

At 12:49 we passed over Highway 16 – the village of Kitwanga, where the Stewart-Cassiar Highway (Highway 37) heads north, can be seen at the lower centre of the photo.

Meziadin Lake – the Stewart-Cassiar Highway parallels the bottom of the photo, while the road to the community of Stewart leads through the impressive peaks beyond.

Teresa Island near Atlin, BC. Mount Birch, on Teresa Island, is the tallest mountain in fresh water in North America, and the 2nd tallest in the world. To see the wonders of sailing in this area in the summer, see Meandering Michael’s blog.

Lake Bennett above and Nares Lake below, with the village of Carcross on the spit in the centre.

There was a 30kmh wind from the south, so we made the scenic approach to YXY. Riverdale is to the left, downtown Whitehorse to the right, with the airport on the bench above.

This turned into a great mid-winter getaway, one we’d like to be able to do more often.


A Short Vancouver Getaway — 5 Comments

  1. A solid NZ expression as coined (albeit unconsciously) by David Tua in the 90 s, on “Wheel of Fortune” – “‘O’ for awesome” – is the word for your beautiful aerial photos. It must have been the direction you were headed, but we haven’t seen quite those views – I love the cranberries.
    Congratulations on your well-deserved award.

    Marie G.