Aug 12

U.S. & Canada Part 5


Part 5!  And we’re southbound.  This post starts in Vancouver which I thought was a really cool city; Alot like Sydney except there’s a ski hill at the top of the street (Aka Grouse Mountain).  One of the hot tourist options in Vancouver is to visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge park and, as you may have realised based on the past 4 posts, Brendan and I don’t mind a good bridge.  So that’s where we begin….

Up in the tree tops, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park (49°20’36.68″N,123° 6’59.02″W)


The Capilano Suspension Bridge – Capable of supporting the weight of 96 elephants, which is equivalent to 52800 Honey Badgers or 17600000 cockroaches (you may need to convert it into your own standard unit of mass) (49°20’34.54″N,123° 6’53.20″W)

20140203_101128Curved Suspension bridge… (49°20’36.84″N,123° 6’50.24″W)
20140203_101937Reflections on Capilano Lake – (49°21’37.02″N,123° 6’38.87″W)
20140203_111551Late afternoon on the Capilano River (49°21’19.06″N,123° 6’39.11″W)
20140203_120927In my eyes, Whistler didn’t live up to the hype (probably due to the fact they were having one of their worst seasons record at the time).  The landscape was still amazing though… (50.09110833,-122.88363000)
20140203_125053Silky Streams at the end of icy roads – going where only a rental car could (49°57’25.68″N,123° 7’18.87″W)
20140204_114629The frozen Shannon Falls, the last photo in Canada before we cross the border back into the U.S. (9°40’15.2″N,123°09’27.9″W)

Next stop, a tour of the largest building by volume in the world; the Boeing Factory in Everett, North of Seattle (no photos on the tour were allowed – sorry!).  The lineup of brand spankers in various liveries from around the world… (47°55’16.85″N,122°17’21.95″W)


A Dreamlifter gives birth to a beautiful pair of 787 Dreamliner wings…



Inside a 727 cockpit in the Future of Flight Museum


…and we’re now in downtown Seattle, on a freezing windy day; a sign of the impending weather system we were hoping to meet at at ski resort somewhere.  The view from the Seattle Space Needle (47°37’13.68″N,122°20’56.82″W)





As became our standard procedure on arrival in a new place, Brendan and I had scoped out the most popular tourist activities on trip advisor for Seattle.  One thing that kept popping up was Bill Speidel’s Underground tour and with very little knowledge of what we were in for, we booked in and went along.  What we ended up on was an awesome tour exploring the underground catacombs of Seattle’s Downtown area.  The gist of the tour was that in the early days, Seattle’s downtown area was built on tidal flats that used to flood regularly, so eventually tens of city blocks were raised up one floor by placing several metres of fill on the roads.  The footpath areas were never filled though, and the hollow areas underneath were used for various dubious purposes over the years but today can be explored as part of this tour.


The wikipedia article here summarises the Seattle underground story, but if you ever get a chance I’d highly recommend taking the Underground Tour to experience history first hand.20140207_065131

The Journey from Seattle to Portland was supposed to take us a leisurely 3 hours but midway through the journey we ran into a massive snow storm.  9 hours after we left Seattle we finally slid our way into Portland on the snowy roads.  The abandoned city completely coated with several inches of snow was surreal and amazing… (5°31’13.5″N,122°40’41.2″W)

20140207_010757The next morning the snow continued to fall and even though the majority of local businesses gave up we still got out an enjoyed the beautiful scenes around us.  Black and white in real life… (45°29’57.4″N,122°40’24.6″W)
20140207_153934The following day we undertook the mission of driving the rental focus in the dumping snow from Portland to Bend.  After what can only be described as a  day of shit-scary white knuckle survival driving past countless wrecked cars and trucks we finally snow-plowed our way into Bend which was under a metre-plus of fresh snow.

Midway through the journey, Brendan de-ices the windows while the focus idles patiently (4°45’50.5″N,121°15’00.1″W)
20140208_150143The payoff for the whiteknuckle journey came the next day at Mt Bachelor ski resort where we were greeted by nearly  metre of fresh snow ready for us to tear up… (43.99655167,-121.68437167)
20140209_115159The sun briefly makes an appearance as dark clouds threaten to close back in… (43.99030667,-121.68586000)
20140209_145350Late in the afternoon, down the back of the mountain with the fog rolling in… (43.99580333,-121.69770833)
20140209_152031Mt Shasta on the way between Bend and the tourist-t-shirt friendly destination of Weed, California (41°37’1.77″N,122°12’5.28″W)
20140211_082216Shasta Lake, showing just how bad the drought conditions were… (40.75683333,-122.32391833)
20140211_102636The Sundial Bridge over the Sacramento River, Redding. (40.59333833,-122.37779000)
20140211_110846Brendan relishes the job as Tour guide of the Castle Air museum (37.36739000,-120.57970667)
20140212_101408Brendan gazes up into the gigantic bomb bay of the ironically named B-36 ‘Peacemaker’
20140212_102957Staring down the barrel of an F106A Delta Dart.
20140212_104518The fastest non-space vehicle of all time poses next to an SR-71 blackbird.

And that’s the end of Part 5.  In the last post (Part 6) we’ll finish our round trip and end up back in LA.


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