S: West Coast 2011
FC: West Coast Cruise September 2011
1: Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | Victorian Hotel, Homer Street | By using the Sky Train we had a cheap, scenic way to get downtown from the airport. | The stairs to our quaint little room on the third floor was well guarded.
2: First Stop - Yaletown and the Yaletown Brewing Company for pizza, beer and football. . . | followed by a nice harbor walk.
3: The famous steam clock | Vancouver is a clean city with interesting architecture and other captivating sights.
4: The Capilano Suspension Footbridge has a 450 foot span that is 230 feet above the "raging" waters of Capilano Canyon in North Vancouver. | The history is explained in large scrapbook-like displays.
5: It was as beautiful day for a nature walk in this temperate West Coast rainforest ecosystem. | The bridge was built in 1889 but has been rebuilt since. It wasn't scary to walk across but it was a strange feeling.
6: Totem Park houses the world's largest private collection of First Nations' totem poles
7: Aiden, took us on an almost private nature tour. There are some huge Douglas-firs. | On Raptor's Ridge we learned about legendary birds of prey like the Harris Hawk and Great Horned Owl. | Nurse logs are trees that have fallen and started to rot. New trees apparently do much better when they get started on a nurse log. The rotting tree lasts long enough for the new tree to form a root structure in the ground below.
8: On the Treetops Adventure we walked on seven suspension bridges through magnificent old growth Douglas-firs. | The remains of the 46 ton tree that fell onto the bridge during a spectacular winter storm in 2006 is on the Nature's Edge boardwalk.
9: Cliffwalk | Cliffwalk is a suspended walkway hanging off a 300-foot granite cliff. | The cantilevered platform is 20 inches wide and is made of 240 custom steel T-posts secured with over 1800 bolts. | This is quite an engineering accomplishment.
10: There were several dogs visiting and they did not seem to mind the heights. Dogs were well taken care of even having their own water fountain. | We explored every path in the park. Greg collected the passport stamps at various spots and we earned an "I made it" certificate at the end of our journey.
11: The view from Cliffwalk was stunning.
12: Victoria, British Columbia | Empress Hotel | House Boats
13: Craigdarroch Castle was completed in 1890. It was built with the fortune amassed by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir. | The four floors of exquisite stained glass and intricate woodwork display lavish Victorian-era furnishings. | There are 17 fireplaces and 7 chimney stacks.
14: It took 5 railway cars to ship 2,128 oak panels from Chicago. There is also Spanish mahogany, western red cedar, and white oak.
15: The cylindrical radiators are part of the house's original heating system and were patented in 1874. | Since Joan Dunsmuir's death in 1908, the Castle has been used as Craigdarroch Military Hospital, Victoria College, offices for the Victoria School Board, Victoria Conservatory of Music and now as Craigdarroch Castle Historic House Museum (a not-for-profit charity).
16: San Francisco Bay | I was up early enough to watch us go under the Bay Bridge however, it was very foggy. | Our departure from the ship was greatly delayed by US Customs which had to clear everyone before anyone could get off. However, by noon the weather had cleared and we set off for lunch at The Cannery before our tour.
17: We got to Alcatraz just in time for an outdoor interpretive walk offered by a NPS ranger. He told compelling stories of the escapes that were attempted from "The Rock".
18: One could understand why men tried to escape. | The self-paced audio tour is very well done.
19: Bleak Isolated Windy Drab
20: Our trip on the Sapphire Princess ended in Los Angeles. | Even short trips include a Captain's reception and the champagne waterfall.