After not having the opportunity to take a vacation after my graduation due to work reasons, my family and I finally had the chance to take some time off together. We decided to head up to the Pacific Northwest to explore Seattle and Vancouver on our week-long journey. We went on a tour led by an Asian owned company, which are usually hit or miss. Unfortunately, we were not so lucky with this choice of tour. The route planning by the company was very poor. The timing obviously did not take into account the sunlight available during winter time. Many of the stops (nearly half to be exact: Shasta Dam, Mount St. Helens, Capilano Hatchery, Rose Guarden, Sundial Bridge) were closed by the time we arrived. What few places that we were able to go to were very rushed due to our delayed arrival and rush to arrive at the next stop in time.
Day 1: Head up to Shasta Dam near Redding, CA before spending the night at Econo Lodge in Roseburg, OR. Both of my parents got a very serious case of food poisoning from our buffet lunch earlier that day.
Day 2: Left in the early morning and headed for Seattle. Stopped at Multnomah Falls in Oregon. Arrived in Seattle in early evening to visit Pike Place Market and Space Needle. Had some awesome chowder at Pike Place. I would definitely spend go back to Seattle again to explore the city. It seems like a very interesting place to explore, especially when it’s not raining. Stayed in Holiday Inn in Kent, WA.
Day 3: Visited Boeing Factory in Everett, WA to explore their enormous facility and their production line for the 747-8,767,777, and 787-8. I bought myself a nice 1:200 scale model of the latest 787-8. Headed to USA-Canada border. Canadian border crossing was super smooth. The station was manned by one guy who barely even looked at our passports. Arrived in Vancouver in the afternoon. Stopped by Lynn Canyon in North Vancouver to walk on the famous suspension bridge and toured Stanley Park. Stayed in Sandman Signature Hotel in Richmond, BC.
Day 4: Left in early morning for 9am ferry to Vancouver Island. Toured downtown Victoria, BC including the British Columbia Parliament Building and Butchart Gardens. I was surprised at how little security there was at the parliament building. The guest entrance was manned by a really nice security guard who greeted everyone at the door. Inside most of the rooms were open to the public including the rotunda and main legislative chamber. The only inaccessible sections were the actual offices where the legislators worked. In the US there was a metal detector for even going to jury duty. Returned to Vancouver in the evening to tour Richmond, BC before returning to the hotel.
Day 5: Left for US border in early evening. Had interesting encounter with border guards and spent over an hour at the border crossing. Other people on the tour had language issues and failed to declare their fruits and vegetables which could not be brought across the border. The tour guide accidentally had an open pack of cigarettes with him, which costed him a hefty fine and a slap on the wrist by the guy at the baggage check. One last stop in Seattle to visit the Museum of Flight. Saw numerous airplanes including a Concorde, first 737,747, and presidential 707. Headed to Portland and toured Rose Garden. Stayed overnight at Shilo Inn in Springfield, OR near University of Oregon.
Day 6: Headed for home in early morning. Had two McDonalds’ breakfast (one at 5am, one at 9am). Delayed by 4 hours due to heavy snow and winds going down I-5. Stopped in Redding for lunch/dinner before returning home just before midnight.