Sunday, February 28, 2010

Beautiful British Columbia

Oscar loves sunlight. He'd love to go to Fairbanks, Alaska in the summer just to see the point where the sun only sets for 4 hours during the summer. He wanted to drive all the way up there, but I refused to take a road trip that was THAT long. I eventually agreed to Prince George, British Columbia's northernmost large city, just so Oscar could see what it was like to be in an area where the sun didn't set until after 10:30pm.

When we first got into Canada, we saw a turn off for Bridal Falls. Fortunately we were able to get one nice picture before I accidentally dropped and broke the camera. We have no pictures of our drive up since it was a long time before we found a place that could sell us a nice digital camera.

I wasn't blown away by the city, though the views from Fort George park were quite pretty. Little did we know we were actually there on Canada day. There was a festival in the park to celebrate the day. There were also supposed to be fireworks, but no one was sure if they would happen or not. We drove to the spot they were supposed to come from, and figured they must be coming or there wouldn't be so many other people there. But they never came. ???

We did, however, still have a very enjoyable, beautiful trip. We went to the Prince George tourist information center and learned about some beautiful stuff a couple of hours east of Prince George. First we visited the Ancient Forest. It was supposed to be logged by the local logging companies, but some graduate students did some research there and found lots of ancient trees. It's now a protected area. It was awesome to hike, but it was swarming with mosquitoes. This first picture shows the trail that was originally paved by loggers on the way to cut down all the trees.

There were HUGE trees

This is Treebeard, named after the walking, talking trees from Lord of the Rings. If a tree's main trunk gets damaged, some of the branches will start growing up instead of out. They look like arms. There's one very prominent one in this picture.

And there was even a little waterfall in the area.

We did do one really fun thing in Prince George. We played Frisbee golf. Oscar's really into it, and I'd never done it before. He destroyed me, but it was definitely worth playing. We forgot to print of a scorecard, so he had me record his scores by taking pictures.

We also ate at Boston Pizza, a Canadian chain we really liked. We laughed the other day when we both said we should go to "Canada" so we can get "Boston" pizza.

And we even randomly saw a moose as we were driving into a woodsy area in Prince George

But the part that made the long trip worth it was definitely the drive back. Thanks to the guy at the tourist information center, we learned about a route that would take us to see beautiful Mount Robson, Wells Grey park and it's beautiful waterfalls, and gorgeous lake scenery as we traveled home. This is Mount Robson. Oscar and I collect playing cards with different images on each card, and while we were visiting here we picked up 8 different packs of playing cards in the Mount Robson visitor's center.

This is the first of many gorgeous waterfalls in Well's Grey park. We only had time to drive to 3 (most of them require a hike, some of which are up to 13 miles), but all 3 we saw were absolutely incredible.

This one was called mini-Niagara because of the way it flows.

This last one, Helmken, is the most famous of all the falls in Wells Grey park.

They also had an observatory point within the park where you could see incredible views all around.

This was some of the beautiful scenery we saw along our drive back.

These were some beautiful lakes we passed by as we traveled back west.

And as a final treat, we headed even more west so we could see Mt. Currie. Fortunately we got there with just enough time to see it before sunset.

Las Vegas!

During late December of 2008, Oscar and I joined my parents in Vegas. They had a few timeshare points left to use by the end of the year, so we joined them at their hotel. Neither of us was intrigued by Vegas since we don't gamble or drink, but we still had a lot of fun. We got the Las Vegas Power Pass, a card that gives you access to all kinds of attractions for a certain amount of time. It was totally worth the cost and we would have spent more than double the money we paid if we'd bought everything individually. The biggest value by far was the Popovich Comedy Theater show, which would have been $40 a ticket. That was a really great show! Not only are there crazy pet tricks, but there's also juggling and stilts and all kinds of impressive stuff.

We got to go on the New York New York roller coaster.

We visited the Atomic Testing Museum.
The pass included a day pass at the Circus Circus Adventuredome

We went up the Eiffel Tower elevator at the Paris hotel. To our pleasant surprise upon arrival, we also got to watch the Bellagio Fountains play water ballet to Christmas Carols. A girl we were standing next to said she'd been waiting an hour. We barely had to wait at all.

We played 18 holes at King Put's black light mini-golf.

And we went to Nevada's Natural History Museum where we learned about flooding. It's a bigger issue in desert climates because the ground is so hard it can't absorb such a large amount of rain water, and the floods can be devastating.

Although we had a car, we still walked the strip a lot since parking in Vegas is difficult and not always free. It was also very cold while we were there. Vegas had had snow recently and the temperature was extremely low compared to usual.

Because they had difficulty activating our passes until halfway through the first day, they gave us an extra day pass. Oscar had to return home, so my mom and I went to Madame Tusaund's Wax Museum. The wax sculptures were very impressive, and they even had a mini haunted house. I must say it was strange to go to a haunted house just after Christmas.

Mom and I also went to the Secret Garden and Dolphin habitat at the Mirage.

And last but not least, the pass included a ride up the Stratosphere. We got there just before sundown so we got to see the city in the sun and at dark.

One of the bullet points they give you to look for is the LDS Las Vegas temple.

Word of warning - do not sit through a time share spiel! We did it thinking it'd be worth 2 hours to get the free gifts they give you, but they were EXTREMELY pushy, it took 4 hours, and they lied about the gifts. They said we'd have $100 worth of gambling at this one place. They didn't tell us that the only prizes you could win were jackpots, so, of course, we got nothing out of that but 10 minutes of pulling slot machine handlebars. They also said we'd have $75 worth of gambling at Treasure Island, but that that could be redeemed for cash. That was a complete lie. We made about $20 off of that bit. And they gave us 2 free dinners to a buffet they claimed was $40 a person. It was actually $18. The disappointing gifts were definitely not worth the time we spent there.