Washington/British Columbia Trip – Day 8

A friend that I met a couple of years ago on a trip to Egypt met us for breakfast.  Up until a few months ago, she had traveled the world for a few years…stopping occasionally for a month or two somewhere that she enjoyed.  It was nice to see her.

I had booked a 4 1/2 hour bicycle tour of Vancouver through Cycle City Tours for the afternoon.  Originally, I couldn’t decide if we should just rent bicycles or spend more than double the cost to have a tour.  I’m so glad we did the tour.  There is no way we would have known where to go, even with the extensive research that I typically do.  This company was rated #1 by Trip Advisor.  We walked a mile or two along the sea wall to the bicycle shop.

Palm Trees in Vancouver??

Dan, with Cycle City Tours, was a knowledgeable and personable guy who led us on a wonderful tour that included Stanley Park (a 1,000 acre rain forest), Gastown, Chinatown, the Convention Center, and Granville Island.

We took a 30 minute break on Granville Island…so we decided to do a beer tasting!

If you’ve ever been to Pike Place Market in Washington…Granville Island is much bigger and nicer!


This wooden sculpture was somewhere along the bicycle tour…

We stopped at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

Gastown was named after “Gassy Jack“.  You can read all about him here.

this was also in Gastown…the cobblestones and architecture reminds me of Europe.

Artwork at The Convention Center…

The trip was wonderful…if you haven’t been to the Pacific Northwest…I highly recommend going!  Have a wonderful day!

Washington/British Columbia Trip – Day 7

After a yummy breakfast at Rocky Bay Cafe, we boarded the ferry at Friday Harbor, San Juan Island for the 1 hour ferry trip back to Anacortes.  We picked up our car and drove a couple of hours to Vancouver.  We only had a 5 minute wait at the border crossing.  Since it was too early to check-in, we drove on to Squamish…about an hours drive North of Vancouver…towards Whistler, on the lovely Sea-to-Sky Hwy.

We ate lunch in Squamish…notice the reflection of the mountains in the glass.

….then drove to our condo in Vancouver.  The owner of the VRBO in Seattle recommended this place to us and it was in a superb location…on Beach Street…across from Granville Island.  It was a bit noisy for sleeping because they don’t have air conditioning and when you leave a window open…

After checking in, we boarded an Aquabus for a 30 min. Tour of False Creek.

I recommend dining at The Sandbar, where we had dinner.  This is the view from the restaurant.

It was cool to lie in bed at night and gaze out at the City lights through the floor to ceiling windows!

Importance of Travel Itinerary

If you arrange your own travel plans, a Travel Itinerary is a key component of staying organized and being able to maximize your vacation time.  Below is my itinerary for an upcoming trip to the Pacific Northwest.  I like to research most details ahead of time, so I don’t use valuable vacation time.

You can determine how many sights and/or activities you can squeeze in comfortably.

I use Bing or Google Maps and plan out my driving route.  My driving time is minimized because I plan my order of activities based on the driving route.  Sometimes I use it to plan my walking route if I need to see a lot in one day.

For ideas, I usually look at Frommer’s suggested itineraries and Trip Advisor, and talk to the owner of the VRBO or friends that have been there.   I also Google “itinerary” for the area and look at other people’s blogs for inspiration.  Sometimes it’s difficult to decide which places to visit because they’re all wonderful!

Spontaneity is nice, that’s why I always leave 1 or 2 days open.  Some people might prefer to plan a lot less and take it day by day, but I feel when you’re spending a lot of money, you should get to see and do as much as you can.

You’ll notice on my itinerary that we take the light rail from the airport to a car rental place downtown.  You can save hundreds of dollars by not renting the car from the airport…just another tip!


6:30 am – Leave house

9:20am  – Delta Flight leaves Cincinnati

11:10am – Arrive Seattle

(Take light rail 10 stops (36 mins) to University St. Station

BAY A then walk to 6th street to the Hilton & p/u rental car)

Stop at grocery – arrive to VRBO unit approx. 2:00pm

5:00pm – Dinner at Palisade – 1st seating $29pp


7:00am – Drive to AMGEN Co.

Walk 40 min. to Pike Place Market

Walk to Olympic Sculpture Park

Walk to Space Needle – take monorail to Seattle Center – take Monorail back to Space Needle

Walk to Edgewater Hotel for Happy Hr.        


Walk to Discovery Park


7:00am – Drive loop around Mt. Rainier

Hike Rampart Ridge trail (4.6 miles)




6:00am –    Drive 1 ½  hrs. to Anacortes

9:00am –   Board ferry

10:00am – Arrive San Juan Islands

Drop luggage at hotel – explore Friday Harbor /  eat lunch / bicycle

Have lunch at Market Chef   or  Duck Soup Inn

3:00pm – Whale watching tour with Western Prince (3 hrs.)


(They have indoor pool/sauna/hot tub/free bikes)


9:00am –   Take ferry  from San Juan

10:00am – Arrive Anacortes

Drive 2  hrs. to Vancouver – arrive 1pm (with customs wait) – Eat lunch

Keep driving to Squamish towards Whistler…then drive back



8:00am – HAVE breakfast with Mahara & Ken (friends)

Explore Granville Island – go to the sandbar restaurant under

the Granville bridge (go to The Lobster Man booth also)

1:00pm – Take 15 mile (4 1/2 hr.) bicycle tour with CycleVancouver



Cont’l Brft Included

10:00am – Drive 2.75 hrs. to Seattle (go thru Customs)

2:00pm  –  Arrive back at condo


9:00am – Leave rental

12:45pm – Flight leaves

8:05pm –  Arrives Cincinnati

Grocery list:   juice; bananas (6); fruit; muffins, eggs; butter & jam; coffee; cream; chips; beer; wine;

water; trail mix; lunchmeat/bread/cheese/mayo

$1225      –  $1150 for 9 nights – $75 cleaning fee (tax included)

$320       –  Vancouver lodging (includes parking 2 nights) =

$216       –   San Juan Island lodging

$200      –  Whale Watching tour

$23        –   Ferry Fee to San Juan Islands for 2 pp round trip

$15         –   Nat’l Park Entrance Fee

$423       –  Rental Car

$100       –  Gas (approx.)

$ 12        –  Light Rail round trip for 2

$170       –  Guided Bicycle tour Vancouver for 2

$  20       – Parking Lot fee at Anacortes for 2 days

$300      –  Restaurants (approx.)

$100      –  Grocery (approx.)

$3133    –  TOTAL