June 17, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Quesnel, Sightseeing Tours
Find more information about Quesnel - Sightseeing Tours
I was lucky to be invited on the Rocky Mountaineer Vacations train as apart of a FAM tour. Accompanying me, was Quesnel dignitaries, tourism industry people and anyone who had worked with the luxury rail tour company when their quest for an overnight stop began many years ago. The Fraser Discovery Route is one of the newest adventures on the train, it takes you from the beautiful mountains in whistler to the breath taking mountain views in Jasper. Quesnel was fortunate to be a perfect in-between spot to stay overnight. The community has shown a huge appreciation from greeting the train each night to inviting the staff and crew out while they stay here. It is a huge leap forward for tourism here in Quesnel. Back to the train adventure; we were seated in the Goldleaf section with this amazing glass dome as our viewing window, first point of business was a champagne and OJ toast to a great trip. As if that wasn't enough we were served fresh coffee and warm homemade muffins as a starter, then we were directed to the dining cart for scrambled eggs and caviar. Along the way the staff narrated points of interest and many wildlife sightings. It was so interesting to watch the international tourists also on the train, absolutely amazed by the sight of a deer, bear or an eagle flying by. These are things we see regularly yet don't seem to take the time to really stop and watch. Although we only went half way, the day was an indulgence of comfort, friendly service, and high quality food with beauty in every corner. It really was about the journey rather than the destination. Rocky Mountaineer Vacation is a success for a reason, at no time is the guestâ??s needs or desires compromised in any way. In fact before you even contemplate the urge for anything; it is offered to you. I have worked in Hospitality and Tourism for over a decade and I was really impressed at the service and commitment this company has to excellence. If you ever get a chance to go......go, you w
June 05, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Campbell River, Museums
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Although I appreciate both, I prefer hands-on exhibits to formal, hushed galleries. And when I entered the Museum at Campbell River
I was fascinated with the touchy-feely texture and layout of the award-winning exhibit, which is themed around the Northwest First Nations 9,000 year history in the area, with spotlights on the logging and fishing industries.
My family and I started our visit by entering a small, dim lit theatre where a First Nations story was told through a multitude of elaborately carved wooden masks. The Treasures of Siwidi, a story owned by the Kwakwaka'wakw families (I love that name), tells the journey of a young man to the Undersea World where he encountered a host of supernatural creatures.
The rest of the museum is filled with First Nation artifacts and poles, a cross-section of a felled tree, the life size replica of a 1920’s pioneer floathome, a replicated hotel lobby, rowboats, gillnets, tuna cans and more - each room demanding more and more of our curiousity. My four-year-old spent time driving an antique logging truck while my eleven-year-old practiced netting cod, pumping water and ringing the camp dinner bell (the other visitors laughed at all the noise, not something you typically see while taking two loud and rambunctious kids through a museum). Things quieted down a bit as we settled into the art deco theatre to watch historic film footage of the famous explosion of Ripple Rock.
Overall, a highlight of our trip, something not to be missed.
June 02, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Vancouver, Boating & Sailing
Find more information about Vancouver - Boating & Sailing
I love being outside in Vancouver
in the summertime, especially since my office is about a five minute walk to the waterfront. Last summer, as I was strolling along Coal Harbour, I noticed a boat rental sign. Well… as you can imagine, it didn’t take long to organize a lunchtime boat ride for a few friends. Four of us grabbed hot dogs from a street vendor and boarded our speed boat. Maximum speed in the harbour is S-L-O-W, so we had lots of time to watch float planes, sailboats, cruiseships and Stanley Park go by, although it didn't take long to get beyond the marker and let loose at full throttle.
Within one hour, we roared under the Lions Gate Bridge, zoomed across the inlet to West Vancouver
(nice waterfront mansions to ogle over), zipped up to Lighthouse Park
and flew back again to Coal Harbour. We came back a little “soar” from jumping the waves (WAY too much fun!) and our bellies hurt from laughing. Definitely a perfect way to enjoy a sunny day.
We rented our boat from Coal Harbour Boat Rentals (Telephone 604-682-6257) for $55 per hour, but they do have a smaller one for $30 per h our. Other boat rentals in the Greater Vancouver area include Sewell’s Marina
in Horseshoe Bay (boot over to Bowen Island) and Bonnie Lee Boat Rentals
in Granville Island.
May 15, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Squamish - Hiking
This past weekend brought beautiful weather to Vancouver, Coast and Mountains so to take advantage of it, a small group of us went to Stawamus Chief
(aka “The Chief”) for a hike just outside of Squamish. The Chief is a Provincial Park with picnic tables, grass area, full running washrooms, camping, a little info booth/gift shop where you can snack on ice cream bars and a nice little walk to view BC’s 3rd highest waterfall - Shannon Falls
The hike up the Chief is a little more intense than the walk to Shannon Falls. I found the trail level to be intermediate-difficult. I'm not a big hiker but I found it was a good work out and it's much more scenic than the Grouse Grind. The age range of hikers varied from 7 years old to 65+ and some pet dogs. I would ensure you wear proper footwear, take extra clothing, water and a little snack before you go up. Although we did see a fellow walking up the trail barefooted… he looked like the extreme/outdoorsy type and probably was ‘callousing’ up his feet for some other sport?! Perhaps training for a hot-coal walking contest or he could be just plain crazy.
Anyways, the trial had some man-made steps, ladders and chains to assist you on the steep inclines but majority of the trial was composed of rocks and mother-earth. There are 3 peaks you can hike; one path leading to peak 1 & 2 and another path leading to peak 3. You can also get to peak 3 via peak 2 (map
). We only climbed to the 1st peak where we soaked in the view of the Howe Sound and overlooked the town site of Squamish and the surrounding mountains. It was very breathtaking and serene minus the stark-white topless male teens who were trying to work on their tans (a sure sign that summer is on it’s way...)
We managed to fi
May 12, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Vancouver - Dining
I am not a huge fan of oysters, but I’m game to throw one back every now and then - as long as you shove it in a shooter glass full of spicy-something or another with vim and vinegar added in for good measure. That being said, I happened to run into Rodney’s Oyster House
as part of a scavenger hunt yesterday, and I think I may have been instantly converted into one of those obsessed slurpers I keep bumping into.
While I have never been to Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard, I would expect Rodney’s would fit in there just swell, with white-washed wood, hand-painted driftwood signs, hanging buoys and …er, hanging around beach-bum-looking-boys.
Here are two tips I picked up for you. 1. Happy hour is from four to six with oysters for a buck a shuck. 2. In the summertime Rodney (I assume he hangs out there too somewhere) opens up a garden patio for picnics -Wednesday through Saturday 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM (weather permitting). Rodney’s is located in Yaletown
May 12, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Vancouver, Sightseeing Tours
Find more information about Vancouver - Sightseeing Tours
British Columbia has, yet again, won the RV-friendly Welcome Mat Award! For the fourth year in a row, Good Sam Club members (1 million of them) have voted British Columbia as the most RV-friendly province to visit. I have spent more than a few nights in a camper (small C class) and have would to agree – not that I’m biased or anything.
May 04, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Whistler, Sightseeing Tours
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The Whistler Mountaineer
has just launched a fantastic new rail service to/from Whistler this week. I was really, really lucky to be on the inaugural train. The journey takes about three hours each way. I've driven the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler
many, many times, so for me, the train experience was very cool. You can still see the scenic highway from some of the stretches of track. But I thought the best part was travelling through the areas which you can't see by car. There's a section that goes through the Cheakamus Canyon. They actually slow the train down to give everyone a really good look at the rapids and cliffs. Further north, you overlook the top of Brandywine Falls. There are two levels of service on the train -- Glacier Dome and Coast Classic. The Glacier Dome is the premium service and includes hot, plated meals and a more panoramic rail car. The Coast Classic service has large windows and offers chilled meals. For BC residents only
, there is a special $99 round trip introductory rate if you book before June 30th.
April 26, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Silver Star Mountain Resort, Skiing & Snowboarding
Find more information about Silver Star Mountain Resort - Skiing & Snowboarding
I made it to Vernon for my first and last run of the year on the Easter weekend and all I can say is... FANTASTIC!!! I arrived and stayed overnight in Vernon on Thursday night and headed for the hill on Friday morning. I left Vernon at 9:30am and I was strapped in my bindings at 10:30am. Ok, i'm not the die-hard-boarder making it there for first tracks... but why bother when we had the whole hill to ourselves?! We still found the runs where no one had been all day! Fresh tracks - CHECK! Perfect spring skiing conditions: weather and snow - CHECK! Exhausted by the end of the day - CHECK! Do it again the next day?! - CHECK! Yes, for a day pass of $53 the resort had a special deal that weekend: $53 for a 4 day pass! How could we resist? The second day was even better only because it had snowed overnight and left us fresh powder in the morning! For the rest of the day the weather was pretty good minus the interludes of fog but we had moments where it was snowing when the sun was shining and blue skies were over our heads! It was a pretty surreal moment if you have never experienced it before and NO... I don't smoke wacky grass... The higher elevation winds were moving the snow clouds so fast that the snow fell slower than the winds blew the clouds... Anyways, the backside of the hill was closed on Saturday but the hill still offered a lot of terrain. We managed to find a circuit route that gave us a lot of opportunities to explore off the main runs and into the trees... yah, it was pretty fantastic! For the 3rd & 4th day... I could see the mountain ranges from where I was staying and again, it looked like the snow had fallen overnight... Fresh snow! I wish I could say I went up again but regretfully I had to stay home and get rid of the jello feeling in my legs. Yes, I'm out of shape and yes, I've put myself to shame by blogging this, but I thought I needed to share this to those who are interested in finding a great place to ski or board for next year! Silver S
April 13, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Victoria - Hiking
A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to hike the famous West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. For one week we were completely disconnected from everything. Just 75KM of nothing but rain forest, beach and the most awesome scenery imaginable.
We hiked the trail from Port Renfrew to Bamfield (south to north). It's supposed to be a little easier because you're still fresh when you do the hardest part first. Others argue it's better do start north so your pack is lighter near the end. The trail leads you along the ocean shoreline, either on the beach, or up on the cliffs. So the only climbing is up and down cliffs. This often involves wooden ladders, some very high and steep. And because you're in a rain forest, you have a fair chance you'll get (you got it) RAIN. That makes the ladders a little more challenging but after climbing a few of them we got the hang of it. we just took our time. We got our fair share of rain during the trip, but it didn't bring our spirits down at all. The scenery and the experience of being in the middle of nowhere made it all worth while.
You're allowed to camp almost anywhere so you can isolate yourself from all other hikers if you like. We chose the safety of the bigger campsites, equipped with bear locks and outhouses. We're not the most experienced multi-day hikers so we liked to stay close to people who knew what they were doing better than us. The bear locks in particularly are very useful because a couple of times we had to hang our food up in a tree to make sure the bears wouldn't get to it. And performing this activity in the dark and rain is not ea
March 31, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Quesnel, Kayaking & Canoeing
Find more information about Quesnel - Kayaking & Canoeing
Last night I attended a slide show presented by 3 members of the Blackwater Paddlers Club. The slide show titled “Spring into Paddling” showed photos taken of rivers and lakes in and around the Quesnel area. Stunning images of the Cottonwood River, Blackwater River and Quesnel Lake, all showcasing the beautiful, natural, unspoiled environment we live in.
Paddle members John Marien, George Ryan and Jerry McFetridge set off in July 2005 for their ultimate paddle adventure. They toured the Horton River in North West Territories and paddled to the Arctic Ocean and shared with us photos from their 26 day voyage. They were without human sight or contact for 25 of the 26 day tour, having the company of rain for 21 of the 26 days and sighting 11 Grizzly Bears. The wildlife appeared abundant especially the bird population. The water in the river was so clear you could see the rocks on the river floor from the back row of the Correlieu Theatre where I was seated.
I was really surprised to see such a diverse range of ages and interests in the audience that evening. Over 200 Quesnel and area residents came for a glimpse of an adventure only few would dare to dream about. It really made me think about adventure, exploring and the next canoe I see I’ll buy!
For more information on the Blackwater Paddlers Club; log onto www.quesnelpaddlers.com or swing by 337 Reid St Quesnel and talk to John Marien at Quesnel Ski & Outdoor.