Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Rayment's Take on British Columbia

Hubby and I thought it would be fun to take a road trip to and around B.C. this summer for a vacation,  We did tons of planning and I put together some "fun bags" to keep the kids entertained along the way.

It was still a bit of a disaster at times even with all my planning and will not be doing a road trip with the boys in the near future.  My youngest is just not one to be stuck in one place and our kids just don't get along well.  We learned through our mistakes, but still managed to have some fun times.

Hit the road early on Monday morning heading towards our first stop in Kelowna

Highlights of Trip to Kelowna
  • Bag of fun is a big hit (made a whole bunch of fun things to do for the boys with treats in separate bags plus a camera for each, electronic device for each boy and reading, colouring, drawing and games.) Learned that should have kept the chocolate in the cooler as it was so hot it all melted.
  • Even with the bag of fun, learned that we should stop every two hours while on car trips with boys.  Jesse is sooo not good at being confined in car for too long at a time
  • Drove through new places that I had never been before:  Golden,Glacier National Park, Revelstoke, Salmon Arm and Vernon. Scenery was unbelievably gorgeous (though boys didn't give a crap thank you very much)  Stopped in Revelstoke to use the facilities and have something to eat
  • Cooled our feet in Mara lake.  A beautiful area, perfect place for having a cottage

Highlights of Kelowna
  • Stayed at The Super 8. It was clean and relatively comfy but rather small.  But it was cheap which was what we were looking for.  Ate at the local Boston Pizza for dinner. This was not a trip for fine dining, just places that the kids would eat at and not complain
  • The Mission Hill Winery - this place was positively gorgeous.  We could have spent the whole day there - but well kids would have been bored after a while.  They were actually quite well behaved there.  Jesse charmed the staff and also photo bombed  a family taking a group shot.  They actually thought it was quite delightful and they ended up getting a nice family shot for us as well.
  • Would love to spend more time in Kelowna and the Okanagan area with Jeff (and the kids when they are much older and act less like heathens)  Beautiful scenery, warm lakes and lots and lots of wineries. I picked up tons of literature on wine tours in the area
  • Family that Jesse photobombed, then we got a pic with all of them (They were from Calgary too)
    Pinot Noir grape - my favorite (we bought a bottle of it to bring home)
    Jesse charming the staff - don't worry he didn't sample the wine, but he and Jake did get some sparkling Pear and Peach Juice (Jake purchased a bottle of the peach to go)
    Want one of these for the house
    Next time we are taking a tour
    One of the many pics we took with the art - this was the highlight for the boys (ok and Jeff and I had fun too)
    Check out the view - this would be my idea of a perfect home
    More pretty scenery
    Aren't we adorable
  • after the winery we headed out towards Vancouver where we were going to spend two nights with Cousin Jill and her son Pete (who Jesse and Jake idolized)
Highlights of Trip to Vancouver

  • Our van actually made it over the Coquihalla Highway - known as the Highway thru Hell.( Check out the TV show and you will understand) Our van is mighty old and has been all over the East Coast of Canada - including a trip from Ontario to P.E.I.  The terrain on the Highway is outstanding with some of the windiest roads, hairpin turns and some damn steep areas. Afterwards Jeff told me that he was a little worried that "super car" wasn't going to make it, it was so overheated.  Speed limit was also 120 which I thought was way too speedy for the terrain, but Jeff did not seem to think so and well he is a good driver
  • Kept my eyes out for wildlife (and for rest of the trip toe) and was disappointed to have seen nada (that also proved to be true for the whole damn trip, damned shy Cdn wildlife) 
  • Went through more places that I have heard of, but never been to before: Merritt,Hope (stopped here),Chiliwack (yup I sang some Chiliwack tunes) and Burnaby

Lovely picturesque little town & tons of marketing about being home for the filming of First Blood
  • We stayed at Jill's house for two days and she took exceptionally good care of us.  She showed us some beautiful sites, fed and housed us and just made us feel very welcome.  Jesse and Jake loved spending time with Pete and playing video games.  For the rest of the trip they just kept asking us to go back to Vancouver. Thanks Pete, you were awesome with the boys.  Also next vacation will just involve going somewhere that has video games and water slides, that is all they want (only slightly bitter)
    Gabby - yes one of the fattest cats I have ever met - Jake loved her
  • We biked around Stanley Park which was incredible, I could have spent the whole day doing just that.  Saw my first Harbor Seal and yup I squealed like a toddler.  Which led to the Seal completely disappearing. Insert whatever joke you would like. This was one of my highlights of the trip, I could have biked around here for hours!
    I sooooo need to get me one of these bikes - the seat was incredibly comfy

    Jill and Jesse
  • Headed to the Vancouver Aquarium which was a big hit for everyone.  Unfortunately the Otter Experience was sold out so I didn't get to feed them, but they were still beautiful to watch. Let me tell you though, it is very expensive

    Jeff spent a very long time trying to get a good pic for me - my precious - wanted to steal him
    Beautiful Beluga
  • Took a quick look around Granville Island (stay away from the kids market - they charge for everything and its seriously tacky) Got some yummy fudge from the public market area.  Lots of yummy places to eat and some great looking groceries in this area
  • Jill took us to the Lynn Canyon Park and Suspension Bridge, which is almost in her backyard.  It was stunning.  Jesse had a fabulous time playing in the water with Jill and her dog Sammy

    wish my photos could show how spectacular this place was - check out guy diving
Highlights of trip to Victoria
  • Took Ferry from Tsawwassen to Sidney
My handsome boys on the Ferry

  •  Took an amazing trip along the west coast to Sooke, Otter Point (false advertising, didn't see a feckin Otter), Juan De Fuca China Beach (won't tell you how much that name amused the hell out of all of us)
Think this was near Port Renfrew - but do remember telling Jeff to speed up LOL!
Surrrreeee - still bitter about not seeing Otters
Say the first line fast and you will understand why this made us giggle so much
  • Had a truly delish meal at the Stone Pipe Grill in Sooke. Extremely friendly waitress told us the places that you would have the best chances of finding otters

Highlights of Victoria
Fell in love with those eyes
  • Seeing Harbour Seals Up Close - I was soooo good I didn't try to touch one and also kept others from trying to touch them
  • The house boats were awesome and had sudden urge to retire to Victoria and live in one
    Check out the awesome House Boats
  • Our hotel was awesome. Comfy and close to everything. Oh yeah, it would help if I mentioned the name. The Embassy Inn
  • Walking along Fisherman's Wharf
  • Parliament Buildings in Victoria

Parliament Buildings
The Fairmont Empress
Munros Book Store (Wasn't open when I was there : ( so sad)
Part of the Fairmont Empress - thought it would be a fabulous place for a haunting
Took all my willpower to not touch
Obviously Jesse also had a hard time not touching

 Highlights of Trip to Whistler
  • Lovely drive from Victoria to Nanaimo
  • Had a yummy but extremely slow lunch at Modern Cafe.  We actually missed our Ferry because of the slowness but hey the food and drink were worth it. There is actually a Nanaimo Bar Route - where  you can try all sorts of different versions of the bar (wish I had known about the Nanaimo Bar Martini before we had paid for the bill at the restaurant we were at)
  • Picked up Nanaimo Bars and some to die for Nanaimo Bar Truffles  
  • Stunning Ferry trip from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay (seriously windy but beautiful, kept my eye out for whales but nada)

  • Spectacular scenery on trip from Horseshoe Bay to Whistler

Highlights of Whistler
  • Spectacular scenery while we walked around Whistler
  • Found a Wild Wings (Hey we miss that chain here in Calgary.  The only one near us here, closed down)
  • The boys purchased me a Cow's Dr Who shirt
  • Jesse had a fabulous time playing in the swimming pool at our resort - Glaciers Reach (Thanks again Pam for letting us use the place so cheap. The bed was spectacularly comfy by the way) and the one FREE area to play at Whistler - yes this place is seriously pricey and they charge for everything
  • Visiting the Golden Crust Bakery (owned by Jeff's friend Pat and her husband)
  • Spent a fabulous evening at Pat's house. Thoroughly enjoyed the pictures Pat showed me of their days at the Banff Springs Hotel
    Jeff during his Banff Springs Hotel DJ Days
  • Walking along the trails around Whistler
  • The Farmer's Market at Whistler - got some lovely items and the home made perogies were delis.  If you are ever in the area - head to the Golden Crust - scrumptious home made pies

    Famous Pie Pockets - nom nom nom

Highlights of Trip to Kamloops
Snacking on our to die for Pocket Pies from Golden Crust
  • The change in scenery was outstanding from lush to dessert - all in a 4 hour (ok well 7 hours dues to road work and accident) was unbelievable.  Again this is why this would be a fabulous trip for just Jeff and me. The kids lost it during this leg of our trip (and well we were about ready to tape their mouths with duct tape)

    Wish I could show you the drop behind us - lets just say - no one would survive a fall
  • Joffre Lakes - Thanks Pat for the suggestion on this one

  • Seeing a Bear FINALLY near Pemberton
  • This ride was hell at times due to road work and an accident.  
Highlights of Kamloops
  • We really didn't see much of Kamloops, so not many highlights
  •  Stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton (also where Ric's Grill was see below) Fabulous hotel for the price. Rooms were comfy, staff were exceptional (especially boys who played with our boys in the waterslide) and the exercise and pool area were fantastic
  • The steak at Ric's Grill was the best I have EVER had. The guy who showed us to our table was a huge jerk but everything else about the restaurant was awesome. The waitress was hilarious  especially when she had to deal with the fact that the kitchen was  out of everything I wanted to order.  It was meant to be that I had to order the Steak I did - again OMG the chef cooked it to perfection
  • The water slide was a huge hit for everyone. The boys wish they could have spent the entire vacation there
    Highlight of trip for boys
    Jake and Jesse
On the Way Home
  • By this time, we just wanted to get home, but we did manage to make a few stops and take a few nice pics
    Love these stubborn fellas - tons in Banff area too
    Near the Spiral Tunnels - looked heavenly

  • Spiral Tunnels - Thanks Auntie Holly for the suggestion on this one - truly fascinating

  • The Bannock we got at this cart near a fruit market.  It was warm and tasty and really hit the spot
  • Picked up some yummy blueberries (Haven't had a blueberry this good since we moved from Ontario - man how I miss fresh fruit) 
  • The Shuswap Lake area looked like a perfect place to spend a summer vacation
  • Had to check out at least one Chapters on our way home - yeah and never had a chance to pick up a local ghost story book (it's a thing for me) 
  • Excellent store - fabulous Geek table and loved displays behind cash desk


Yummy Treats from the Golden Crust Bakery in Squamish

Nanaimo Truffles and Nanaimo Bars

Things I want to do next time we visit B.C.
  • Whale Watching
  • Miniature World - Victoria
  • Butchart Gardens - Victoria
  • Ghostly Walks Walking Tour - Victoria
  • Robert Bateman Centre - Victoria
  • Wine Tour of B.C.
  • Hell's Gate Airtram
  • Fort Langley
  • Craigdarroch Castle - Victoria 
  • And of course see an Otter in the wild (But thanks Harbour Seals for making it less devastating than I never saw one)