It was interesting to hear peoples responses to my blog, good to know people are reading it! I read something the other day about blogging, and it said you should try and personalise it, rather than being a dry list of things you have done. Add emotions, thoughts, feelings, so that’s what I try and do. Kinda like a journal thing.
Anyway, on with the story…
We spent another week or so in Vancouver, but didn’t do too much else; we went to dinner with James, Navi, Nicole and Michael, at a very yummy sushi place, which was great. We looked at cars, we went to a movie, we hung out in the backpackers.
We looked at a few cars, and then eventually bought one, a jeep cherokee 4wd, a bit more expensive than we wanted, but there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with it, and it is great.
We spent a while standing shiftily at an ATM, while we took the money out of our account in $400 lots – the max you can get out of many of the atms is only $400 at a time, and the only way to get large amounts of cash is via an atm. We had to get the money getting in two lots, as NZ banks put a restriction on withdrawals at $2k per day via debit card. It was a pain in the bum, but we managed in the end.
The time between deciding we wanted the car, then picking it up was a bit stressful. Once we had picked it up, things started to get exciting, rather than being mostly boring or stressful in turns. Buying a car is not particularly easy! Well, if you want to make sure you get a good one. We could have bought a cheap crap car, and maybe it would have lasted us, maybe not. We spent a bit more time, and got a decent one. The worst part was going to look at cars was often a 1-2hr train/bus ride to get there, and then the same to get back, as most cars were out in the ‘burbs, and we didn’t have any other way to get around.
We took our large wodge of cash on the train, and then the bus, and then gave it to the seller guy. We walked down the road, sorted out insurance and license plates, then walked back and picked up our car! Excite!
In Canada, you literally have to have car insurance, as you have to get basic insurance to get licence plates for your car. The plates are given to you when you get insurance. It is good in a way, as it means all people driving with plates on have car insurance.
After picking up the car, we spent the day driving around and getting all the things we might need for a car and driving around in the snow. Took a while to find chains (to pick them up in Squamish, on the way tomorrow), and we had to find a cannister for the cooker, a bit of food, tarp and cable ties etc etc.
Finally made it back to town, where we loaded up some of our gear, and found a carpark to keep the car in overnight.
We got up super early the next day, and left the backpackers. I think we were on the road by 7.45am. We headed north from Vancouver, towards Whistler. The day was drizzly and grey, and as we climbed, it got misty and the visibility was reduced to very little.
After about 45 minutes, we were driving through a lovely sound, with darkened islands across the water, massive cliffs nearby, and lots of pine forest. We stopped at a pretty waterfall, and Dale saw a chipmunk. There was a bit of icy slush on the ground, which was interesting to know, the car didn’t seem to care about it.
We arrived in Squamish, to bald eagles soaring overhead. There are massive granite bluffs around the town, where a lot of people go rock climbing, in summer I assume. We picked up our tyre chains there, and practiced putting them on the car. Better to know how to do it, rather than trying to do it in a blizzard with mud and snow!
Leaving Squamish, we headed inland, and pretty soon found snow at the sides of the road, and small but various amounts of snow/slush on the road. A
bout 2 hours got us to Whistler. We found a free carpark, and wandered through the village. It is quite large, we started at the Olympic plaza, and made our way to the lifts. There are lots of shops, clothes, trinkets, hats, food. And many people, often in fluffy hats, and fluffy boots. We could tell we were getting closer to the lifts, as people in snow gear, and carrying boards/skis started appearing. I didn’t get any pics in the village, but it was cute, with log houses, and lights everywhere.
Whistler is huge. I had no idea. I should have known; they held Olympics there. At the bottom of the lift area, two lifts head up two separate mountains. Blackcomb on the left, and Whistler on the right. They have gondolas that head up each mountain, and a gondola that goes between the top of the two mountains, and is quite ridiculous. The total skifield area is over 8000 acres (in comparison, Whakapapa and Turoa together are about 2600 acres. Ridiculous. We could spend a week there and not get bored. Unfortunately we only had the afternoon, and we only managed a few runs… However, the runs were like 5k long each. They were so long. And we didn’t even go to the top of the mountain. And so many trails, trails everywhere through the trees the first run we had to keep stopping to check where we were. Also, trees!!!!! I have no good photos of us boarding, cause, we were boarding!
It was very exciting, and there was so much terrain, tons of trees everywhere, and a lot of steep stuff, and a lot of super wide delisuz trails you could just go zooming down. It was fantastic to get boarding again.
We took the gondola from Whistler Mountain over to Blackcomb. It is quite a large gondola, it sweeps down the mountainside, then across and up the other side, and at its lowest point, is about 400metres above the valley floor. Quite a sight, when you look out the window to see where you are, and you are nearly half a kilometer up. Eeek! Apparently some of the gondolas have clear bottoms, so you can look down.
They close their lifts from about 3pm, which is early, but the sun goes down pretty early too. We made it to the bottom of Blackcomb, and then headed back to the car, packed up our gear, and then drove off into the night. We discovered that the lights on the car are a bit weird, and as the road was very wet, was hard to see. The center and edge lines of the road are very hard to see, and coupled with snow being over the edges of the road, and everyone elses lights, and the half rain/half snow, it was an awkward drive, but we did it slowly, and we only had about half an hour to go. We made it to quite a nice Motel in Pemberton, that had a lovely king bed, and a full kitchen, which was similar price to what we would have paid in Whistler, for a bunk bed. We had a relaxing night watching hockey on tv, then a long sleep.
I love hockey!! They zoom around the ice, smack into walls, each other, and can use their hands if needed. Also, if they feel it is necessary, they will have a bit of a punch up, if they have something to settle. The refs will watch for a bit, and will pull them apart if needed. But it seems a normal part of the game.