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Thread: Returning from the land of limitles (Vancouver Island trip)

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Returning from the land of limitles (Vancouver Island trip)

    Just took a trip to Vancouver Island.

    I had only been to the Victoria portion before, but never ventured beyond that. This summer, I decided to do so.

    Unfortunately, I got pounded with the unexpected Pacific Northwest heat wave, which sent temps as high as 100 on parts of my trip. If I wanted that weather, I could have stayed in Vegas!

    I went to the following places:

    Victoria (biggest city on island)
    Port Renfrew (small west coastal town which isn't visited much by tourists)
    Nanaimo (2nd biggest city on island)
    Strathcona Provincial Park (inland, lots of lakes & mountains surrounding)
    Tofino (another small west coast town, but popular with Canadian tourists)

    Was gone 9 days. Flying BACK right now.

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    Gold Cerveza Fria's Avatar
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    Victoria is nothing but a collection of Totem poles and Butchart Gardens.

     
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      Baron Von Strucker: pretty good populating of homeless. always adds to fun.
    En boca cerrada, no entran moscas

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerveza Fria View Post
    Victoria is nothing but a collection of Totem poles and Butchart Gardens.
    Pretty much correct.

    I stayed west of the city. The city itself has a homeless problem, which didn't exist in 2014 when I was last there.

    Butchart Gardens was awesome in 2014 when they had the Saturday fireworks show (the best I ever saw), but it's not running this year because of the worker shortage.

    Instead we just went to a city park (a very elaborate one, kinda Victoria's version of Central Park), and saw peacocks and other stuff. Not super exciting but a pleasant enough way to spend an evening after taking the ferry over from Vancouver. I did have a lol rental car fail which wasted some of my time that day.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    I booked this vacation a bit too late. Typically I like to get these vacations set up 3-4 months in advance, as I find prices haven't spiked up yet for hotels, most things are still available, and yet you're not so far off into the future that you have a good idea of everyone's availability. When you schedule too far out, there are too many things that can change over time (either health/injury related or destination related), to where you end up wasting your time (and sometimes money) booking the whole thing. When you schedule with not enough time in advance, you tend to run into high prices and lack of availability.

    Anyway, this time I just dragged my feet on the whole thing. I tossed around various vacation ideas in my head, but I didn't want to travel out of North America yet just in case some new COVID variant forced bullshit quarantine requirements or whatever. At the same time, I didn't want to go places I had already visited in the past 10 years, unless I was only briefly there. I ended up going with Vancouver Island. I had been to Vancouver Island twice in my life -- once in 1982 as a kid, and once in 2014 as an adult. However, both times I only went to its biggest city, Victoria, and went back on the ferry.

    This time I decided to do the entire Vancouver Island -- at least the interesting or semi-interesting parts which were car-accessible. Vancouver Island is fairly large, but much of it is inaccessible by vehicle. Most of the "west coast" has no roads in or out, and to visit you need to either take a float plane or boat. As you can guess, there are no cities or towns of any size in that area, and in fact those are mostly First Nation (Canadian equivalent of American Indians) tribal villages. I did not go to any of those, as it was too much hassle.

    However, I did venture away from the typical touristy stuff, including to areas which don't get many tourists.

    I'll tell you about my difficulty booking flights and some immediate rental car FAIL in the next post.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Flights are still quite expensive. Part of the reason is that more people are doing summer travel than usual, again due to COVID fatigue (this was the case in 2021, as well).

    Another reason is the fuel cost, which of course has gone way up for everyone in recent times.

    Except on very short flights, I try to get either business or first class these days. Part of this is because of my height (they are making standard seats smaller and more packed in as time passes), and part of it is because of the permanent psychological damage I took from my issues in 2018, where things can induce me into anxiety more easily than before. Since I can afford it, I decided there's no reason to fly coach/economy if I can avoid it.

    However, this made booking quite challenging, as I did so only about 6 weeks before travel. While LAX-Vancouver is not a long flight (about 2.5 hours), it was still fairly expensive, and first class was way expensive ($800+ per seat, per way). I needed to buy 3 tickets, so no chance I was going to spend something like $5k just flying round trip to fucking Vancouver.

    Also, I was not going to do any flights involving a connection. First off, it's stupid when the entire flight is only 2.5 hours. Second, there is a HUGE problem in 2022 with delays/cancellations causing people to miss their connections. This happened to khalwat BOTH WAYS when he recently visited Vegas, and it took him like 24 hours each way to travel from upstate NY to Vegas. So it was direct or nothing.

    This really restricted my choices. I found a few 6am flights which were reasonable, but fuck that. I also had to find flights enough days apart to where it gave me enough (but not too much) time in Canada. I also had to find ones which correlated with hotel availability! Not easy!

    I finally settled upon July 24-August 2, using two different airlines. The flight going back was a nice, late afternoon one. The flight going there, unfortunately, left at 9pm and arrived at midnight. That normally wouldn't be a huge deal, but the problem was that Vancouver Airport has no rental car places open after 11pm!

    This meant that I could not get a car upon landing, as I needed. Fuck!

    Well, I did it anyway. I booked a hotel fairly close to the airport with a free airport shuttle, and figured I would pick up a car on the 25th in the morning, while Ben and his mom stayed in the hotel.

    However, when I went to book the car, more bad news. Almost all sold out. Fuck again!

    However, I did find one car which would work for me, in the SOUTH terminal of Vancouver Airport. This terminal is apparently one which serves small airlines, charters, etc. Okay, no problem. I would be picking it up the following day anyway, so the terminal wouldn't matter, right?



    I got on the hotel shuttle in the morning, and was informed that the south terminal wasn't included in their shuttle service. Instead, I was dropped off at the main terminal, and told to take a "free city bus" between the two terminals. I waited 30 minutes for that fucking bus, and finally got on it. After a 10-minute ride, I got to the south terminal. There was a notice on the desk of the rental company that they have closed that location, and everyone is to proceed to the main terminal to rent cars!



    I came back to the shuttle and the driver told me that this has been the case for "over a month" and that he has driven "several people" who got the same rude surprise as me. Sad!

    I was fucking pissed. I made this reservation back in June. Why didn't I get an e-mail that the south terminal rental desk was closed? This entire debacle wasted like an hour of my time riding buses around. It was now also past checkout time at the hotel, where Ben and his mom still were.

    Anyway, I got back to the main terminal, and spoke to the rental company's manager. He insisted that "all e-mails instruct customers to go to the main terminal", but he was shocked when I showed him my e-mail from mid-June instructing me to go to the south terminal. He said that I must have been one of the few unlucky ones to have booked right between when they made the decision to close it and when they corrected the e-mail, and he "hadn't seen it before" (which contradicted what the bus driver said).

    I then broke into Jew negotiations for my time and aggravation with this, plus a possible late checkout charge the hotel might hit me with. We settled on $150 Canadian (about $117 US) off my rental, which made me feel better.

    There was almost no selection of cars left in the "full size or better" category, which was what I needed. I ended up with a decent car (a Toyota Camry), but it was black, which gets hot easily. I thought to myself, "No problem.. the forecasted weather is mild all week. I wish I could have a white one, but not a huge deal."

    Well..... suffice to say it wasn't mild weather all week.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    By the way, in case you're wondering why I didn't just take a cab instead of hassling with two shuttles, I kinda got pot committed. I only learned about the shuttle going to the main terminal once I was already on it, and I thought it was just a quick bus ride down to the south terminal.

    Had I known it would be two shuttles, I'd have just cabbed it.

    But then it became 3 shuttles when the south terminal was the wrong place. Complete clusterfuck. Saving $117 US was nice, but not worth all of that BS right at the beginning of my vacation.

    Okay, the good news is that I didn't really have much logistical fail after this. Restaurants were all decent-good, and most of the hotels were good. The weather sucked big time, which I'll get to later, but obviously that's something nobody can control.

    I'll describe each place later, and post some pics.

     
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      country978: really great

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    Canadrunk limitles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    By the way, in case you're wondering why I didn't just take a cab instead of hassling with two shuttles, I kinda got pot committed. I only learned about the shuttle going to the main terminal once I was already on it, and I thought it was just a quick bus ride down to the south terminal.

    Had I known it would be two shuttles, I'd have just cabbed it.

    But then it became 3 shuttles when the south terminal was the wrong place. Complete clusterfuck. Saving $117 US was nice, but not worth all of that BS right at the beginning of my vacation.

    Okay, the good news is that I didn't really have much logistical fail after this. Restaurants were all decent-good, and most of the hotels were good. The weather sucked big time, which I'll get to later, but obviously that's something nobody can control.

    I'll describe each place later, and post some pics.
    I really can't wait for the full trip report because there are glaring holes already.

    Save the airline/car rental experiences because they are universally sketchy and your profile as a troublemaker no doubt precedes your arrival.

    But please go ahead with your trip report.
    unbounded
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    Plutonium Sanlmar's Avatar
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    @limitles

    Have you ever thought to yourself, “boy, a vacation to Los Angeles sounds like fun!”

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    Canadrunk limitles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanlmar View Post
    @limitles

    Have you ever thought to yourself, “boy, a vacation to Los Angeles sounds like fun!”
    Yes, and not that long ago. The reason would be to visit the Comedy Store. And that still stands but

    I have no illusions of some dream vacation.

    It's a big city right? I've been there and done that.

    I don't know what you're point is.

    The idea of a vacation, I think, is to experience something different from our daily

    existence.
    unbounded
    Never Forget



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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    First off, I'd like to show you something really weird, discovered on the ferry between Nanaimo and Vancouver.

    It's where the Fraser River (freshwater) meets the ocean.

    It appears to be a straight line where the water abruptly changes color and texture. In reality, you're simply crossing from saltwater to freshwater, and the currents are keeping them from joining together as one, creating this weird phenomenon.

    I didn't expect this, and had to look up what it was. Here's what I saw yesterday at first:

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    Then I got closer and it looked like this:

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    Apparently pics and videos of this have been uploaded to the internet as various hoaxes, claiming it's where the Pacific and Atlantic meet, and other nonsense. A fact checking site actually did an article on it: https://leadstories.com/hoax-alert/2...ot-mixing.html

     
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      Sloppy Joe: Weird/cool

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Ferry to Victoria

    The ferries between Vancouver and Vancouver Island were a lot busier than they were in 2014. I was caught sleeping on this one, and booked them too late. I got stuck with a 4pm ferry to Sidney (Victoria area), when I would have preferred earlier. Turned out it was for the best, as the aforementioned rental car fail might have made me miss an earlier ferry.

    The ferry ride, which took about 1.5 hours, was quite scenic throughout, as we passed various little islands along the way, most of which had some habitation.

    It was a little bit hot (even with the wind created by the ferry movement), but I stayed outside most of the time to enjoy the scenery.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Victoria

    As I mentioned before, we didn't have a lot of time in Victoria. We got there at about 5:30, and then had to drive south from the port at Sidney. I decided to go the cheap Jew route and visit the free Beacon Hill Park, which is a large city-managed park full of peacocks. It has some similarities to Central Park, but is a much smaller version of it.

    They have a free petting zoo on premises, but it closed at 5, so we were too late for that.

    There was an interesting pond I encountered with so much algae that it actually created a solid-looking green surface! However, the ducks had no problem swimming through.

    Victoria was full of homeless people, which we encountered when we stopped at a supermarket to gather road trip supplies. We did not stay in the downtown area, but instead were in a hotel in the western part of the city. We didn't have any homeless over there.

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    Canadrunk limitles's Avatar
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    This stunning beauty, pics below, is mostly man made. (Victoria, B.C. waterfront)
    The island au naturale is doubly beautiful from every beachfront to old growth forest but don't expect to see any of that from
    Dan Druff the ultimate kill joy.

    Victoria, B.C.

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    You cannot imagine the beauty of the inner harbour with all the expensive boats, etc. It's Monaco north.
    But that does not compare to the geological beauty of this Island. It is a marvel. The warmest climate of most
    major cities in North America due to it's location on the West Coast. It is the shit.

    Also, the Olympic Mountains. Yeah they are best seen from the tip of Vancouver Island A.K.A. Victoria.
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    Cathedral Grove. A 30 minute trip from my base of Nanaimo.
    This is between the east and west coast.
    And the west coast will forever change you

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    Last edited by limitles; 08-06-2022 at 07:06 PM.
    unbounded
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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Those pics are color enhanced.

    Anyway, I went to Cathedral Grove and will post pics of it a little later.

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    Canadrunk limitles's Avatar
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    Well I guess Todd is overwhelmed with fast food delivery options to complete his Vancouver Island summer vacation review.

    Just as well as a positive or objective review is not a consideration
    unbounded
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    Gold mickeycrimm's Avatar
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    About 30 years ago I worked construction in the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound. In the pic below you can see the geographical oddity of Point Roberts, Washington. Which means it's part of the United States. But you have to drive thru Canada to get to it. I used to hang around the San Juans, Everett and Bellingham back in the day.

    Blaine used to have a 4/8 Omaha 8 game at a place called The International that was pretty much all Canadian players who would come across the border to play. The money in the game was Canadian. It went for a lot of years but finally went down when 9/11 made it a hassle for the Canadians to get across the border everyday.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    If you want to call yourself a sanctuary city then BE a sanctuary city. Don't run the migrants off to someplace else.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Yes, Point Roberts is bizarre. It is physically located in the greater Vancouver area, yet it is part of the US. Apparently there are not a lot of services there, either, so US residents frequently have to travel to Canada to do things. Apparently healthcare is especially an issue, since US citizens do not qualify for the "free" Canadian healthcare, and Point Roberts itself does not have much healthcare.

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    Canadrunk limitles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Yes, Point Roberts is bizarre. It is physically located in the greater Vancouver area, yet it is part of the US. Apparently there are not a lot of services there, either, so US residents frequently have to travel to Canada to do things. Apparently healthcare is especially an issue, since US citizens do not qualify for the "free" Canadian healthcare, and Point Roberts itself does not have much healthcare.
    U.S. residents of Point Roberts should have considered the community's lack of health care prior to moving there. Then again health care is probably foreign to them.
    unbounded
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    Canadrunk limitles's Avatar
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    Here's a snapshot of the the best city in North America.
    No photo adjustments in this video.
    Drool, drool, drool.

    unbounded
    Never Forget



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