As we headed north from Seattle to Vancouver B.C. in Canada, we made a quick stop to visit my niece, Laura, and her son, Jason. They live in the bucolic area of Lynden, WA, which is famous for its raspberries. It was great to see them, and we need to go back to see my great niece, Brianna, since she was working. Road trips are fantastic for catching up with family and friends!
We were just a bit too early for the annual raspberry festival - darn, I love those things (festivals AND raspberries)! Put heaps of berries on top of a slice of pound cake or ice cram and smother them in whipped cream fresh from a local cow... I digress. Now I'm hungry. It might be awhile before I get back to writing ;-)... I'm back now... As a bonus in addition to visiting family, we avoided some of the holiday weekend traffic going from the US into Canada by taking the much less trafficked Lynden border crossing. The other option of going through the Peace Arch Park entry showed a significant wait.
After answering the young border patrol's stern questions about guns and alcohol, we were allowed to enter. Just across the border we turned left and headed west just along the border on 0 Ave. Funny thing, it looks exactly the same on the north as it does the south side of the road. There is no difference in appearance, apart from the general area of the border crossing station, that you are in a different country. It seems very strange to me that one of the most notable things about Lynden was that in 2005 five people were busted for building a tunnel across the border from a house in Aldergrove B.C. to a property in Lynden. It is the only know known drug smuggling tunnel found on the US/Canadian border. Go figure. Seems like they could have just walked across, or used cows as runners (although they're not very fast.)
We had two very good reasons to visit Vancouver, BC. Their names are Trish and Steve. In 2003, we met them in Phoenix at an open house at kids' school just after they had moved from Vancouver to Phoenix for Steve's job. Our kids became the closest of friends, and when their family had to return to Vancouver, we were all heartbroken. They are the kind of friends that despite being apart for a long time, we can pick up right where we left off, and enjoy their company any time we have the chance.
These two are loads of fun and they love to laugh. Typical Canadians - they all seem to be nice. We had only a short weekend visit, but we packed in a lot.
Trish is an avid tennis player who hasn't yet been won over to the light side! She's tried pickleball a couple of times, but for now she's sticking to the strings. We're working on her though. While she went off to a league tennis match, Ky and I found the closest pickleball courts. They are listed on Places2Play as as "West Vancouver Outside Court", but there was no contact number and just a rough address.
We found the courts, and decided that they might be named Altamont Park due to being nestled in a typical neighborhood called Altamont. As is somewhat common these days, one tennis court has been converted to 3 pickleball-only courts. There is plenty of space all around, and one tennis court remains, and it has lines for one more pickleball court. It is a nice set of courts with a good surface surrounded by trees for windbreaks. Be sure to take your own balls and paddles and bring a foursome or plan to play singles. Clearly, the community hasn't yet discovered them. It was a surprise to us that at 9 am on a Saturday, we had them all to ourselves for drilling and singles games.
Google Plus Code: 8RP4+V6 West Vancouver, British Columbia
Steve and Trish have a boat and on Saturday afternoon we set off with them from Lion's Bay Marina. We headed south to a point near their home to drop in a crab pot in hopes of a crustacean or two for the evening's dinner. The afternoon started off soggy and drizzly, clearly a great day to be out on a boat :-P We laughed in the face of the spitting rain which made us look a bit like drowned rats. The wind puffed out our jackets making us all look like Pillsbury Dough Boys and Girls. The weather forecast showed that it would be clearing, and we were all thrilled when the forecaster was proved correct.
We plied the waters of Howe Sound and made our way up to one of the finger inlets of Gambier Island. Trish and Steve belong to a club which owns five different waterfront properties, and we explored one of the gorgeous locations. Just above the small private marina, which comes complete with an outdoor kitchen and breathtaking views, there is one unusual amenity for the members. They have a very nice place to take a bath!
Our foursome rounded out the afternoon at Tapworks Brewing Company in the quaint town of Gibsons. The town boasts awards for the best tasting water in the world (2005) and Most Livable Community in the World" (under 20,000 population) in 2009. Although its on the mainland, you can only arrive there by ferry, boat or plane.
We had one more stop to make before heading home - to check on the crab pots. Skunked. No fish head takers. We couldn't be sad about it since the sun decided to make an appearance and warm us up.
Vancouver BC was as far north as we going on our Epic Pickleball Road Trip in North America. Our friends took us to the airport for the next portion of our journey which would require a plane. We have three great reasons to return though. Trish and Steve, and our Trusty 4Runner, which we left in Vancouver.
So, not too much to report in the way of pickleball for Vancouver, BC this trip, but that was due to our short time in the area. We'll be back! (Read that again in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice). We have an invitation to a place that was undergoing resurfacing, as well as playing with someone we met playing pickleball in far away Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. But the best reason will be to see our friends, Trish and Steve again! We're hoping they'll be ready to give pickleball another try by then ;-)
We're headed next to a place where NVZ stands for something very different than Non-Volley Zone. In England it stands for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (areas designated as being at risk from agricultural nitrate pollution). They include about 55% of land in England. The pickleball NVZ is not as ecologically important, but it could be argued that the health benefits of being involved in such a fun active sport might be commensurate.