Our Honeymoon Journal
     Entry 10 - 30 August 2000
Big cities with small towns, forest and farmlands between. The 30th was overcast.  Click here to see what the weather is like today...
  Seattle to Vancouver (Canada)

Chris We were happy that we had spent an extra night in Seattle, as our morning start was a lot more relaxed. Although we had planned the route we are taking on our honeymoon, we had kept three days in spare to use at various points along the trip as we needed. This was our first spare day used.
  Today was very dull and it looked like more rain. According to the locals, this is more typical of Seattle weather. Checkout of the motel was easy as usual, almost painless, except that we knew the amounts on the statements were US, not Australian, dollars.
  Everett was the first stop for the day. Boeing has an assembly plant here and it conducts tours of the facilities. No cameras are allowed on the tour, so about the only photo we got was of one of the huge doors as we drove past. The first part of the tour was a seven minute video showing the assembly of a 747 from woe to go. We were then taken by bus to see part of the world's largest building (by volume). This assembly plant could fit the whole of Disneyland inside it and still have room for 12 hectares of covered parking!
  It was amazing to see how it all fits together.To enter the plant, we went underground along a service tunnel that was about 10m wide and over 1km long. We only had to walk about halfway until we reached a lift system. This took us up to the top of the building to a series of walkways which overlooked sections of the workfloor. Essentially, the place has assembly lines for 747, 767 and 777. Parts are ferried around on an overhead rail-crane system. This system can take quite a load. It's only near the end of the assembly process when the wings are attached to the fuselage and the planes get so heavy that the cranes can't carry them any more. We were told that fitouts within each plane are at the discretion of the customer ordering, so it's not Boeing's fault that the seats are sometimes too close together or too small in width. The last thing to occur in the assembly process is the painting. After the plane is taken for a test flight by Boeing test pilots from the neighbouring airfield, the customer does their own testing to ensure the plane meets their specifications. The tour took about an hour. We visited the gift shop before leaving and picked up a few items.
  Where's the headache tablets?The sun came out occasionally as we drove north, however the clouds were predominant near the mountains, so this reduced our view of them. Vanessa had a sinus headache developing during this time. As we were getting closer to Canada, we noticed more trees were starting to turn yellow and red for the Fall. Blackberry bushes (and other berries) lined the roadside and were covered in fruit.
  Lunch was at a Burger King in Bellingham. The Whopper and chips taste exactly as they do at home. The menu was slightly different however - the breakfast included a "biscuit" (scone) burger and a "croissant" (bagel-like) burger. There was no Aussie burger, of course. As we drove around Bellingham we saw plenty of "hiring now" signs.
  We stopped for fuel at Blaine, a town on the US side of the border. I tuned the radio to 1610am to get the latest border information report. There wasn't any news of importance to us.
  The border crossing area between the US and Canada near Blaine contains the Peace Arch Park. This park had been set up to commemorate the many years of peace between the two countries. It contains many beautiful garden beds of which two were laid out to represent the flags of the countries. We walked around the park area looking at the flowers and the huge arch that's been built right on the border. Technically, we walked in and out of Canada several times during our stroll around the park. As we were doing this, we saw a huge queue of cars trying to get into the US. There was no real queue for getting into Canada, which suited us just fine.
  Welcome to Canada! After a brief stop at immigration to get our passports stamped, we crossed properly into Canada at about 2:15pm. Now in a land that understands and uses metric, we drove 100m to the Visitor Information centre and got some maps. The highways in Canada are much the same as the US. There was a sign indicating speed cameras are used, something we're not sure about for the US.
  We arrived at our motel near 4pm. The motel was located in a suburb south of Vancouver's downtown area. The room itself was okay, but it had a great view of the city skyline and the mountains to the north. After a short nap, we drove to the downtown area to do some sightseeing. This area was much like other cities with skyscrapers, one-way streets, etc. Our route continued on to Stanley Park, which is adjacent to the downtown area. We drove around the edge of the park, right next to the harbour. On the way out of the park, we had to stop for some geese that were crossing the road.
  Fees, fees and more fees...At this point we had no Canadian currency other than a quarter that we had got in some change somewhere in the US. The ATM at the Visitor Information centre near the border had been broken, so we hadn't been able to get any money while we were there. We spent some time driving around the streets trying to find a free place to park that was near an ATM. Eventually we used our one quarter to feed a meter while I ran off to get some cash.
  The search for free or cheap parking continued when we drove to the Gastown district to look for somewhere to have dinner. Although it was about 7pm by this time, the meters in the area were still operational until 8pm. We found a place and took our chance and parked. As we had used our quarter elsewhere, I quickly ran to a nearby convenience store and got ripped off spending a dollar on a packet of lifesavers. At least we got some change for the meter.
  The Gastown district is a very old part of Vancouver. It's still got cobbled streets and it features a famous steam-powered clock. Most of the area, though, is now a tourist trap, with numerous stores selling very expensive Native Indian artifacts, jade items, the usual tourist shirts, and almost anything else you may think of.
  We ate at restaurant on the second floor of a building which overlooked the part of the street that includes the steam clock. The restaurant is called Troll's seafood. On a whim, I had fish and chips - just for the Halibut. ;-) The food was better than the pun, but nothing special. Vanessa had a shrimp pasta in tomato sauce which she thought was a bit too oily.
  After dinner and back at the motel, we watched some TV (Voyager), before retiring for the night.