Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Travels to Canada: Bridges and Boxers

Last Friday night my best friend Charissa and her wonder-dog Roxi picked me up and we headed north.

To Canada.

Its what we do, we two.

We get in a car and drive. Usually no printed out directions, no GPS...we just figure it out!  We had originally planned to stay in Vancouver but 3 seconds after I saw a picture of Whistler I made the decision that was a much better place to spend the weekend.

We headed down the road toward the freeway, Roxi excitedly prancing around my lap as we headed off on our adventure.

On the way there I called 1-800-Whistler to book our reservation at a lodge in (duh) Whistler. I talked to the travel agent who had originally helped us, and to give them quick props they were awesome! The rate they got Charissa was $30 less per night than if I booked online! While I was in the midst of giving her Charissa's info, Roxi's name, yada yada, Roxi let out a silent-yet-deadly fart.

I tried to continue to read the credit card numbers, but had to pause to whisper what happened to Charissa. As she plugged her nose and her face turned red trying to hold in laughter, I continued to try to talk to the agent in a totally normal voice.

Which was totally impossible.

Do I sound like a valley girl? Like, totally.

After far too many pauses where I attempted to suppress my giggles I finally blurted out (rather uncouthly):


And we were gone.  Ironically I had just bragged to the agent what a great dog Roxi was, so thankfully she joined in our laughter which was good because it took a minute to compose myself enough to finish reading off the credit card.

It was a good start to the trip.

As we pulled up to the border agent at around 10:00 that night she made no attempt to hide a massive yawn.  Taking our passports she glanced at them and asked the obligatory questions, completely and utterly annoyed with us for some reason. And the worst part was they don't stamp your passport anymore!

Leaving Sour Sally behind we headed towards Vancouver.

Charissa had assumed her iPhone's GPS would work in Canada...but when we pulled it out to plug in our hotel address we got nothin'.  Hmmm...well I had looked (glanced) at a map before we left and knew if we stayed on the 99 it would go right by our hotel, so we'd call when we got close (we were staying in Vancouver that first night since 1) it was late and 2) the drive to Whistler was supposed to be pretty).

As we drove around we both got a kick out of not knowing entirely where we were going or how we were going to get there, but we were just enjoying the scenery. Cute little homes, bikers, late night walkers...we were taking Canada all in while making stupid jokes like, "Oh, I didn't know they had stoplights in Canadia, eh?" and "Oooh let's put some maple syrup on that now, eh?"

You know, mature stuff like that.

Fast forward 30 minutes and we were driving circles in the dark at some University campus. We had thought we followed signs for the 99 but all of the sudden our street dead ended so we took the northernly route (good guess, right?).

Hmmm...devoid of anyone to ask directions from, maps or GPS, or even the sun to get our general bearings we found an information center on the side of the road and were able to deduce the way out of that scholarly-like maze and get back to the main part of Vancouver.

Which we discovered is a big town.

Lights.  That's how we found downtown.  We followed the big buildings and the lights! And you know what? It WORKED! We found the 99 and too the route that said "99N to Whistler: Lion's Gate Bridge."

It being dark and all we thought we had crossed the bridge and pulled over in a park to call the hotel.  A very jolly Indian man answered the phone and Charissa asked for directions from the 99. I whispered "mention the Lion's Gate Bridge" to her and she did.

"OOOOOHHH!!!" he exclaimed, "the BREEDGE the BREEDGE !!! You are ON the BREEDGE ?"

"Uh," Charissa said trying not to laugh, "Yes."

"Are you in the MIDDLE of the BREEDGE ?"

"Did you go OVER the BREEDGE ?"

"Have you CROSSED the BREEDGE ?"

The man was entirely too enthusiastic about this bridge, yelling so loudly Charissa didn't need a speaker phone, and she managed something the affirmative while I clapped a hand over my mouth to stifle giggles.

"O-KAY. You are on the BREEDGE ! YES? O-KAY. You go OVER the BREEDGE , yes? O-KAY.  You stay on the right inside, then the left inside at the end of the BREEDGE . O-KAY. Then AFTER the BREEDGE you get to CAPILANO and stay right. And a LEFT at CAPILANO. This is AFTER the BREEDGE ? O-KAY?"

This made no sense but we both could see that was the best we were going to get so we thanked him and told him we'd see him soon.

Hanging up we began to chuckle as we related how many times the man had said THE BRIDGE!!! What bridge? We wondered! Did we go over it? There was a section where we could kinda see water on both sides but it was nothin' to write home about! Heaven's sake!

We were still wondering why the man had been so excited about that particular landmark???

Then we rounded a corner.

OOOOOHHH we said in Unison.

THIS Bridge!

Photo by Clarke Photo...couldn't find any copyright so hope its okay!
This bridge was HUGE! I mean Golden-Gate proportions! No WONDER he was so excited about the dang blasted bridge! We somehow managed to figure out his directions and find ourselves at the North Vancouver Hotel.

By now it was getting closer to midnight and we were ready to crash. We met our jovial friend who was glad we had made it OVER the BRRRIDGE, Charissa paid an extra $25 for having Roxi with us and we walked into our room.

Which smelled like motel.  And not in a freshly-cleaned-good sort of way.  Oh well, we thought as we tossed our stuff on the beds, its only one night.

I headed to the bathroom and had just noticed the toilet was a bit rusty and dirty when I closed the door and saw...a pair of boxers hanging on the back of the door.

Uhhhh...Charissa? Are these your boxers?

I picked them up using as minimal finger area as possible and brought them out.

They weren't hers. They were the previous' travelers.


After all that a drink sounded so good, so Charissa brought up some Coronas she had in our trunk. When we realized we didn't have a bottle opener.

Hmmm. I whipped out my trusty Buck knife and started prying away while the everlasting horror of all mothers....went to town with her teeth.

Maybe I'm a more difficult travel mate than I thought if she needed it that much...

Juuust kidding.  We eventually got our beers open, broke open some tortilla chips and settled in for the night, snuggling Roxi and all that good stuff.

Next up: Whistler!

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