Fall Foliage Through Domes
Fall Foliage Through Domes
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Newark to Vancouver

An Early Relatively Empty Uneventful Flight and First Day in Vancouver Including the Vancouver Lookout and a Bike Ride Through Stanley Park
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Our departure to Vancouver was an early 7:00am trip. This required leaving the house at 4:30am for a ride from my mother out to Newark Airport. This trip, that I sort of wish I could title from AirTrain to SkyTrain, but with grandma and the early departure, was not feasible. At Newark, check-in and security were empty and quick. Soon we found ourselves in the small gate area with tons of time to spare. Unfortunately since Canada is considered an international flight, check-in closes an hour before departure. Post security at Newark's Terminal A is just a small little round concourse with a walkway to it, not designed for modern security needs. There are basically three different security areas in the long passageway that leads from the main terminal out to the satellite (there are 3 satellites in total, not connected beyond security).
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The flight itself was uneventful, empty (we had 3 seats for the 2 of us) and fun, cloudy most of the way except over the Northern Plains of Montana. There we were flying just south of the route I will take back east on the Empire Builder in a few weeks, it was fun to see the Badlands and then the foothills of the Rockies from 30,000 feet. I spent the rest of the flight dozing and watching a series of Canadian shorts on their amazing in-flight entertainment system that had the most variety of any I have used. Never listened to my iPhone or used my computer even though I could, since the seat also had a power outlet.
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The winds were blowing lighter than normal so we arrived a half-hour early at 9:30am PDT. At the cavernous modern YVR Airport it was an uneventful trip through the raised walkways to immigration before we found ourselves at International arrivals. There I asked customer service where we could buy SkyTrain tickets in the airport without the $5 surcharge that is charged at Airport TVMs. She said the 7/11 in the domestic terminal, which turned out to be a decently long walk to the other side of the airport. We finally got our tickets and sat in the front window seats for only a half-hour automated ride to Downtown, much more fun than the $150 transfer Rocky Mountaineer tried to sell us.

It was too early to check in, so we dropped our bags off and went and had a simple lunch at a downtown local sandwich shop before using our vouchers (from Rocky Mountaineer) to go up the Vancouver lookout. There, in addition to amazing views of Vancouver, I also enjoyed photographing the BiLevel West Coast Express Commuter Rail fleet inside and just beyond Waterfront Station waiting for each train to complete its one daily round trip back to Mission. West Coast Express is a peak-direction only commuter rail line.
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Then it was time to check into the Hampton Inn. I was planning to spend the afternoon in the mostly sunny weather starting on my station to station of SkyTrain, while my grandmother went on a narrated bus tour. In the room though, I noticed that the hotel offers free 3-hour bike rentals, so I had to rent one and enjoyed a long loop following the Sea Wall through Stanley Park around the edges of Vancouver. SkyTrain will wait until after this portion of the trip.
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After returning the bike, I made a trip out to Pacific Central Station to pick up a VIA Rail timetable and my Amtrak ticket for two weeks from now (the stop does not have QuickTrack machines). Unfortunately the line at the ticket window was long for both the Cascades and triweekly Canadian departures and I realized I did not have my reservation number handy (in retrospect I did right on my e-mail, the Amtrak app did not function without internet access, and roaming is way too expensive). I instead went for a wonderful walk getting some half-decent photos along the rail yards (all from local streets) of both VIA and the Rocky Mountaineer Station where we will be arriving in 8 days from now, back from its adventures.

The day concluded meeting up with my grandmother and going to a new-age but absolutely delicious Chinese Influenced restaurant the concierge recommended for dinner when we asked about where was good to go in Chinatown. The finale was a quick second trip up the Vancouver Lookout (our tickets allowed us unlimited access for the day) to see the city at night before returning to the hotel and I passed out early a little after 9 the diamond vision visible through the sides of the Dome of BC Place 3 days away from its reopening, exhausted from the time change.

The Rail Journey Begins on the Whistler Sea to Ski Climb Tomorrow

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Fall Foilage Through Domes

Last Updated: 8 November, 2011
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