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Author Topic: Virginia to Vancouver - PART 2  (Read 2101 times)

Mapmikey

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Virginia to Vancouver - PART 2
« on: October 16, 2014, 01:05:22 PM »

This part is about the Vancouver area and Vancouver Island...

Vancouver is a lovely city to look at and be around.  Weather was quite variable even within short time frames during the day.  It is not the easiest place to drive around, however.  Lack of a continuous freeway that passes through/near the downtown area makes crosstown trips time-consuming.

We stayed in North Vancouver off Exit 14 of TCH-1, so we ended up driving over the Lions Gate Bridge (BC 1A/99) several times.  This is a 3-lane bridge with directional control signals so that prevailing traffic has two through lanes.  This arrangement is kept all the way through Stanley Park and through a couple intersections in Downtown Vancouver.  From either direction, traffic has to drop from 4 or 5 lanes down to 1 or 2.  So while the bridge was usually free flowing, the approaches were often backed up a ways.  The one distracting thing was that when in Downtown and heading for the bridge, the green arrow signals were at the same height as the stoplights for the last few intersections before entering Stanley Park...this required paying close attention to make sure you didn't miss a red stoplight with all those green arrows staring at you.

Despite what the official BC route logs say, BC 1A was posted east of the WCL of Vancouver in numerous places.  BC 7 was also posted at old BC 1A and at BC 99.  There were some BC 99A shields and I want to say I saw a BC 7A shield but not 100% sure on that.  Both Vancouver and Victoria had some older BC route shields, which are easy to figure out because new shields are quite colorful, so drab colorless ones are clearly a lot older and easy to spot.

BC 99 is a pain in southern Vancouver.  NB you are supposed to loop around onto Marine Dr after crossing the Fraser River.  There are no advance signs to do this, just a single solitary shield partway down the clover ramp.  However, Oak St is posted prominently as BC 99 down to BC 7 Broadway.  BC 99 south is posted on Oak in some locations as well.  If you are on actual BC 99 south (Granville St) you have to cut over on 70th to Oak because there is no ramp to get onto the BC 99 south freeway from Granville/Marine.

Stanley Park is terrific - even if you just drive the one-way loop counterclockwise.  There was plenty of parking (albeit not free) no matter what day we were there.  Good water views all the way round with a level walk/bike path.  We also spent time at Ambelside Park in West Vancouver which has good views of the Lions Gate Bridge and otters in the water.  We stayed near Capilano Suspension Bridge but opted to go to the free Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge just northeast of there.  We also spent time at Cleveland Dam.  Another day we went to Univ of BC botanical gardens and their tree canopy walk (60 ft up in the air).  UBC also has a terrific Anthropology Museum.

On a quasi-dreary day we drove to Squammish and Whistler via BC 99.  BC 99 from TCH-1 to Squammish is a must-drive for anyone who is in the Vancouver area.  Expansive views of the coast with tall mountains framing it.  In Squammish there is Shannon Falls which is pretty impressive and viewable from the highway or a very short walk from the parking area.  Whistler was just ok and not necessarily worth the drive if you have nothing in mind to do in Whistler.  There is a special BC 99 shield on this part of the highway (photo in separate post later).

On a much sunnier day we took the ferry that carries TCH-1 to Nanaimo.  Beautiful trip except over open water it was very foggy.  No trouble getting the car onto the ferry with no reservations.  Perhaps it would be different if it were the middle of summer.  TCH-1 from Nanaimo to Victoria is a pretty decent drive.  Oddly it is relatively close to water but there weren't many views.  We drove to the MILE 0 sign in Victoria, where you can see the impressive mountains of Olympic National Park in Washington.  Victoria is not a huge city and was not that hard to stomach on TCH-1 and BC 17.  There are some really old shields in Victoria including a patched BC 25 shield and a BC 1 shield.  I was surprised that gas on Vancouver Island was 8-10 cents/liter cheaper than mainland BC.  Gas in Canada ranged from $1.10/liter in Alberta to $1.39/liter in Vancouver city.  We spent some time at Butchart Gardens which is gorgeous though pricey.  We then caught the ferry carrying BC 17 back to the mainland...still got on no problem 5 minutes in front of a sailing.  A passenger car and 2 adults runs $88 each way on the ferry.

It took me a day to figure out what the flashing green ball lights meant at some locations.  I never did figure out the difference between flashing green left arrows and solid green arrows.  Both were protected left turns.  It was neat that the green arrow turned into the yellow arrow within the same window of the signal assembly.

Mapmikey
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OracleUsr

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Re: Virginia to Vancouver - PART 2
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2014, 09:36:22 PM »

I was just there last month on my honeymoon.  Whistler and Victoria were awesome.

Did you get to Stanley Park?  You can actually get almost a bird's-eye view of the Lions Gate Bridge from there (it's near the Brockton Point Lighthouse). 
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oscar

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Re: Virginia to Vancouver - PART 2
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2014, 10:00:59 PM »

We stayed near Capilano Suspension Bridge but opted to go to the free Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge just northeast of there.

Good choice.  I walked on both bridges, in part to test out a college psych professor's theory that the gentle sway of a suspension pedestrian bridge induces romantic feelings.  That certainly was true for the Lynn Canyon bridge (alas, the object of my desires was unavailable, she was busy leading a tour group).  The only thing the Capilano bridge induced in me was nausea.
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1995hoo

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Re: Virginia to Vancouver - PART 2
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2014, 10:28:42 PM »

I loved Vancouver. One of the few cities to which I'd be quite happy to relocate without having to think on it for too long (setting aside immigration issues and the like, of course).

We walked from the Lion's Gate Bridge all the way back to the Westin near the football stadium. Nice long walk and wandering through Stanley Park was really nice. It was nice to be able to walk all over the place so easily since we didn't have a car—we had been on an Alaska cruise coming down from Seward and we stayed in Vancouver for a few days before flying home.
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OracleUsr

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Re: Virginia to Vancouver - PART 2
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2014, 10:55:28 PM »

Oops, sorry, missed your paragraph on Stanley Park. 
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SignGeek101

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Re: Virginia to Vancouver - PART 2
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2014, 11:39:47 PM »

Went there last summer. Great city. Still not a fan of BC's use of Clearview and Helvetica but that's another topic. Did the same as you, went to Lynn Canyon bridge; it's free after all. Saw Stanley Park, English Bay (they grow palm trees there?! :wow:) and the Sea to Sky highway. Was only there for a few days, but I saw a bit.

The Lions Gate Bridge can get pretty clogged with traffic since there's only one-two lanes going at a time. Still, it looks beautiful from Stanley Park.

I'd love to live there, if it didn't rain so much.  :-D

 


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