Day 15: Saturday, September 28

Bound For The Coast

Off to Vancouver this morning (very few pictures today as it’s mostly a travelling day).

We were both very restless and wakeful during the night and did not have a good sleep. Vince got up sometime around 4:00AM, and I got up about 4:30 due to a f-ing car alarm right under our hotel window that went on for what felt like untold centuries.

Feeling exhausted and grumpy, we showered, packed the last of our stuff and checked out of the Regency Suites Hotel at about 5:30AM. It had snowed during the night (yes, that’s Calgary in September for you), and was very cold so we had to scrape a lot of snow and ice from the car before we could get going. The good folks from Avis car rental had failed to put an ice scraper in the car so for the windows we did the best we could with our hands and let the defrost in the car thaw the rest of the windows. With all of this it took us about 15 minutes or more to get out of the hotel parking lot. We left Calgary just in time as there was a predicated 35cm of snow on the way.

With the snowstorm starting I drove the mighty Santa Fe through the dark and cold pre-dawn Calgary streets, which were very hard to see as the lights on this vehicle were utter crap. We finally reached Calgary International Airport without incident, and I was glad of that. The first stop was Avis where we returned the vehicle. It felt odd in a way to bid farewell to the vehicle that had taken us through so many exciting and interesting experiences over the past two weeks. We then went into the terminal, found the Westjet counter, and a very helpful Westjet employee helped us check in and tag our bags.

We went through security without a hitch, found our gate, then had a truly full and delicious breakfast at Chili’s Grill & Bar beside our boarding gate. Surprisingly delicious and filling, and was much-needed. We paid the bill and found some seats in the boarding area where we waited for our flight. We were still really early for our flight – it was only about 7:45 and the flight didn’t depart until 9:30 – so we just basically hung out and rested, waiting for the time to pass.

We boarded on time but due to the snow, cold and icy conditions, the pilots had to de-ice the plane. This required waiting in the de-icing queue about another 25 minutes but we eventually got through and were shortly in the air. We were unable to see anything upon takeoff as Calgary was completely socked in with fog and bad weather. As we drew closer to B.C. we began to see a few mountain tops:

After less than an hour we began to descend for Vancouver (where it was warm, clear and sunny) and we could then see some lovely scenery.

We landed in Vancouver without incident and deplaned. Our baggage came down first and we collected it, then found the Skytrain to the city. We bought our ticket from the machine and about 40 minutes later got off at our stop: Yale-Roundhouse. We made our way to street level and, following Beach Avenue, walked for about 25 minutes to the 910 Beach Apartment-Hotel where we usually stay when in Vancouver. It was still only about 11:30 at this time so we couldn’t check in as our room was not yet ready. The man at Reception, though, let us store our luggage at the hotel until our room was ready, and he said he’d call my cell when the room was ready. To kill time, we got a drink at the always omnipresent Tim Hortons on Davie Street, then went for a light lunch at good old Denny’s at the corner of Davie and Thurlow Streets.

Leaving Denny’s we walked down to the beach and, while sitting on a bench there, received a call that our room was ready. We made our way back to 910 Beach and checked in. We decided that the remainder of the day would be for resting as we were both exhausted (mostly from the early start and poor rest the night before), so we took it easy and stayed at the apartment doing much-needed laundry and resting.

At about 6:00PM we walked up to Davie Street and found the “Independent” food store near Thurlow Street (as far as we could tell, Independent appeared to be part of the Loblaws family of stores; must be a B.C. thing). We got a few drinks, a frozen pizza, Caesar salad and some other goodies, then made our way back along the beachfront to the hotel. We created our little meal for that night, ate and cleaned up the dishes. It’s times like this that it’s wonderful to have a full kitchen in a hotel suite.

We just rested this evening – Vince watched Netflix on his iPad and I caught up on this journal. It had been a long, eventful day so we went off to bed just before 10:00.

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