O Canada!

Posted on Aug 16, 2009 | 6 comments

O Canada!

I just spent the last week in British Columbia, Canada, and absolutely loved it! With the metric units, a little of the French language, “loonies”, “toonies”, and “.ca” web addresses galore, it was an exciting adventure. It all started with a checkpoint at the U.S./Canada border in Douglas, B.C., just north of Seattle on I-5.

According to the “real-time” digital sign, the wait was supposed to be “up to 5 minutes”. Clearly, the sign lied. I waited in line with hundreds of other motorists for almost half an hour until reaching a pair of border patrol officers ready to ask me dozens of questions like, “Where did you stay last night? Where were you before that? How long have you been on the road? How much money do you have in the bank? How much money do you have in your wallet? How do work out of an Airstream? Why are you coming to Canada? Do you mind pulling over there and emptying the contents of your pockets on the hood of your car?” You know, the usual. Obviously, I had absolutely nothing to hide, but I must have looked suspicious, so they asked me to wait inside with the other “degenerate failures” while they searched every square inch of the Touareg and the Airstream – for an hour. They apparently took everything out of the back of the Touareg because the gate wouldn’t shut correctly when I finally got back from my “time out” corner. I noticed they also looked at the photos on my digital camera and even looked under my mattress. And, get this, someone from the border patrol looked up my blog, read a few of the posts, and browsed through a few photo slideshows! I only realized this after I noticed several server log entries from “The Government of Canada” at the exact time I crossed the border. So, in a way, this blog totally helped prove my legitimacy. The officers were very official the entire time, but for the rest of the day I was annoyed that I had somehow “failed” a test. That annoyance soon subsided, because the rest of my time in Canada was awesome!

I spent some time in the Lower Mainland and then on The Island. For all you out-of-towners, the Lower Mainland is the region surrounding Vancouver. I stayed just outside of Vancouver, in a town called Fort Langley, apparently the birthplace of B.C. I made a couple of visits to downtown Vancouver, and even made it up to Whistler. The entire metro area of Vancouver has spectacular mountains that overlook the ocean. Vancouver itself is a vibrant metropolitan city centered on outdoor – specifically marine – life. I’m sold! It is absolutely 100% the type of city I could call home. But wait, there’s more!

Another incredible city is Victoria, on Vancouver Island (or simply The Island as the locals seem to call it). Airstream in tow, I boarded a ferry at Tsawwassen and landed at Swartz Bay, just north of Victoria. My base camp was Weir’s Beach RV Resort, just south of Victoria. Steps from the ocean, I regularly saw sea lions, eagles, and deer from my front window. (I have yet to see a whale in the Pacific Ocean!) I highly recommend Weir’s Beach RV Resort. The staff is friendly, the grounds are immaculate, and the views of Victoria and the Pacific are spectacular. I plan to go back to The Island and will definitely return to Weir’s Beach.

A week after I first arrived in Canada, I took another ferry from downtown Victoria, B.C. to Port Angeles, Washington. Even with inspections by U.S. Customs in both cities, this time it went smoothly. I had to answer a few questions, fill out some paperwork, and show the inside of the Airstream before boarding the ferry. Then, after arriving back in the States, I had to answer a few more questions, but was pleasantly surprised to “pass” the test this time.

I fell in love with the entire province of B.C., and fully intend to return and explore more of its beauty. That will have to wait for now, as I spend the whole week in Chicago – this time as a tourist.

The new Harmonized Sales Tax was the talk of the region
The new Harmonized Sales Tax was the talk of the region
Entrance to Canada
Entrance to Canada
Squamish, B.C.
Squamish, B.C.
Visitor Center in Squamish, B.C.
Visitor Center in Squamish, B.C.
Visitor Center in Squamish, B.C.
Visitor Center in Squamish, B.C.
On the way to Whistler, B.C.
On the way to Whistler, B.C.
Porteau, B.C.
Porteau, B.C.
Porteau, B.C.
Porteau, B.C.
Incredibly fresh food from hundreds of vendors in Vancouver
Incredibly fresh food from hundreds of vendors in Vancouver
Granville Island
Granville Island
Waiting for ferry from Vancouver to Victoria
Waiting for ferry from Vancouver to Victoria
O Canada!
O Canada!
Traveling in style on BC Ferries
Traveling in style on BC Ferries
Route on BC Ferries
Route on BC Ferries
View from BC Ferries
View from BC Ferries
Playful sea lion while kayaking on a bay in the Pacific Ocean
Playful sea lion while kayaking on a bay in the Pacific Ocean
View at Weir's Beach RV Resort
View at Weir's Beach RV Resort
Working at Weir's Beach RV Resort
Working at Weir's Beach RV Resort
Downtown Victoria, B.C.
Downtown Victoria, B.C.
Downtown Victoria, B.C.
Downtown Victoria, B.C.
Downtown Victoria, B.C.
Downtown Victoria, B.C.
Olympic View Golf Club
Olympic View Golf Club
Ferry from Victoria, B.C. to Port Angeles, Washington
Ferry from Victoria, B.C. to Port Angeles, Washington
View on ferry from Victoria, B.C. to Port Angeles, Washington
View on ferry from Victoria, B.C. to Port Angeles, Washington
Cruise ships dwarfed the ferry
Cruise ships dwarfed the ferry
Downtown Victoria, B.C.
Downtown Victoria, B.C.
  • Melissa

    Great post and photos as usual! I’m not sure if I can have a Canadian as a brother, but I guess I can get accustomed to anything, eh?

  • danielle

    Seriously, Kyle, did you have a South Park shirt on or something? Although I’ve never seen you in anything other than a polo shirt I guess in case an impromptu golf game comes up. I always wanted to go to Vancouver – now maybe some day we can come visit you there. Glad all is well.

  • Phyllis

    Beautiful pictures. I can’t believe they asked you so many personal questions regarding money. I would think that would not be any of their business.

  • Courtney

    I’m jealous. I’m sitting at my cube and it’s freezing in here. Haha just kidding (but it is really cold). Those pictures are amazing! So cool you can bring the whole stream of air on the ferry! :)

  • Rafael

    I wonder if you started this!
    This being an obsession that popped in my head at age 32 just last summer (2009) of one day owning an airstream as an only possession, or better yet, as a second home! I live in Vancouver, which is why I’m thinking maybe I say your gear roll down the street and my subconscious picked up on the potential.

    Now a friend pointed out that airstreams don’t really get mobilized by bikes as per the advertising suggests, which popped a second toy in my brain: the Touareg.

    Im a while away from being able to finance this dream, but I’ve been researching in case I win a lottery ticked I haven’t purchased yet, but last I read, that vehicle and the airstream didn’t get along… what are your thoughts on that if you don’t mind…?

    God-speed on your travels my friend!

    Rafael

    • Kyle Bolstad

      Rafael, the Airstream/Touareg combination is absolutely perfect! With over 30,000 miles logged, I guarantee the V6 Touareg can pull the 23′ Airstream just fine. Hope you buy an Airstream one day! Thanks for following my blog.