Thursday, September 24, 2009

The past two days have been busy, busy!

We spent yesterday exploring Vancouver, BC. It's a high density big city. Lots of high rise condos everywhere. The city is busily preparing for the winter olympics with construction going on everywhere. We took a quick drive through Chinatown (typical Chinatown--people scurrying around the storefront markets that were selling anything you could imagine) then on to the downtown area. The waterfront seemed to be the focal point of the city with an almost completed new convention center right next to the present convention center. There were two cruise ships in port, one on each side of an Imax theater that reminded me of the Sydney, Australia Symphony Hall or the Denver airport. Looked like 5 giant sails protruding from the roof. One building had olympic figures newly etched into the windows. We took a walking tour of an historic area of town called Gastown which was so-named for a talkative fellow (No, not Mike T but you're warm!)
After we left the downtown area we went through Stanley Park which is a huge park that must have been set aside from the beginning of Vancouver. It is bounded on 3 sides by water and has old growth evergreen trees that are huge, some 5 or 6 ' in diameter. Someone in Vancouver was very far-sighted in preserving this area. It's beautiful.
We drove back to Seattle and spent another night in the same Country Inn. We intended today to be a driving day, with hopes of covering a lot of territory. We got all the way to Portland, a whopping 175 miles away!! We have excuses! After all, we didn't take this trip just to drive.
We stopped in Olympia to see the Capitol. It was beautiful, of course. Marble everywhere, a huge rotunda, and Tiffany chandeliers all around.
When we got to the Oregon border where Portland is, we decided to drive up into the Columbia River Gorge with the mile wide river on one side and mountains on the other. Waterfalls are prevalent there with one of them being the Multnomah Falls being the 2nd tallest falls in the US. Farther up into the gorge we came upon the Bonneville Dam and Locks. It has fish ladders there for the salmon and other fish to swim up and spawn. It channels the fish through corridors where you can view them through windows. They are very determined! There is also a hatchery there. We watched hundreds of salmon try their best to jump back into the tanks in which they were born. It was a fascinating sight. Even made me want to go get my fishing rod! Might even catch something there.
Tomorrow it's the Oregon coast.

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