West Coast Spring 2018 – Vancouver, Part One

July 26 – 29

The ferry for Anacortes was due to leave around 11am, which gave us time to break camp and get to the terminal a little early to make sure we were in line to board, thinking there’d be a place nearby where we could grab some coffee and food while killing time as we’d done before.  This was not to be the case as the terminal sits on the extreme north end of the island and the only amenities offered were a couple of vending machines.

Lopez Ferry Terminal

Lopez Island Ferry Terminal

We’ve become quite adept at killing time though and before we knew it the call to board came and we soon drove on the boat.  Sailing time was a little under an hour and hungry for some fast food after landing, we located a Taco Bell in Anacortes for Joanna’s favorite fix, the infamous Crunchwrap®.  Indeed, her fondness of this decidedly decadent food product from the labs of Yum Brands inspired a song I crafted while pedaling on the Camino de Santiago last year (we had a lot of time on our hands hiking and biking).  It goes like this:

Crunch Wrap (Sung to the Tune of White Christmas)

I’m dreaming of the Bell’s Crunch Wrap

Just like the ones I used to eat

Yes, they’re kind of greasy

But mucho cheesy

And stuffed with juicy mystery meat

Yes, I’m dreaming of the Bell’s Crunch Wrap

Cause they don’t have them over here

They’ve got Bocadillas

Tater tortillas

That taste just fine with Spanish beer


A Crunchwrap

Faithful readers of this blog will recall we stop periodically at the Bell and have frequently found that our dining experience is enhanced by some offbeat (some would characterize it as awful or horrendous) customer service lapses, usually along the lines of missing items, often compensated for by the addition of an extra burrito or taco.  This time it was short staffing leading to a long wait for food and unusual commentary by one of the employees who wasn’t bashful about reciting the disgraceful situation that existed back of the counter.  All while a guy, who we speculated was the manager, sat a table away from us working on his laptop.

Lopez Island to Vancouver

Lopez Island to Vancouver

We got our food, it was as good as one gets at the Bell and took off for Vancouver, anticipating a smooth transit up the highway.  What we didn’t account for was a long line at the border to clear Canadian customs and an even longer traffic jam just outside of Vancouver, the product of four lanes of traffic funneling into one lane to go through a tunnel.  So, two hours turned into nearly four and we were quite glad to finally pull up in front of our Vancouver Airbnb, the Chic Private Bedroom & Bathroom Suite not far from downtown and with plenty of restaurants and shops nearby.

Front Room

The Front Room

We checked in with the host’s mother (our only contact with the family) who spoke little English but was able to communicate well enough the basic nature of how to be comfortable in the space.  There was a spacious living room and kitchen area, bedroom and bathroom for our use.  It wasn’t until later that we realized we’d not looked closely enough at the listing; whose only rental option is the one we took (double bed and private bath) that is a two bedroom and we’d be sharing the space.  Here’s part of the listing, somewhat clear now that I look closely at it but still easily overlooked:

A chic private bedroom &bathroom Basement Suite with SHARED common space (living room and kitchen). 


The Kitchen

Our roommate turned out to be a young adult Russian woman in town for a week or two on holiday.  We had some interesting conversations with her just after her arrival, enough to get a sense of who she was and after that, well honestly, we saw very little of her as she would leave early in the morning and not return until after we were in bed.  In the end, we had the place to ourselves most of the time and our few interactions with her enriched our experience.  And for the price, four nights at a total of $246 dollars a day, it was an excellent choice.

The Bedroom

The Bedroom

After checking Trip Advisor, we walked a mile or so up to West Broadway and the Storm Crow Alehouse, the first of a number of trips we’d make to this street.  We were seated just inside the front door at a high-top table for two, providing us a good view of the interior of the bar.  For added entertainment a young adult couple sat next two us, not sure if they were out on a date, and we got to overhear the colorful history of his love life.

Being in Canada and just as I had done during my trip to Montreal in the Spring, we ordered this country’s national dish, a shared serving of the house Poutine with Cajun Pulled Chicken along with a 20-ounce beer apiece, for Joanna the Driftwood Fat Tug IPA and me the Bomber Brewing Pale Ale.

It was a satisfying meal and one that would free us to explore a number of other international cuisines during our stay, a real bonus after twelve nights of camping and island food.  And that would end up being the theme of our stay, to not focus on museums or other tourist attractions but to just enjoy being in the city with all that it offered, in comfortable digs, particularly as we had seven nights of camping in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks on the horizon.  So, for now, sit back and enjoy your stay.

That Poutine

That Poutine


Crunchwrap: https://www.tacobell.com/food/specialties/crunchwrap-supreme

Yum Brands: http://www.yum.com/

Chic Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/21154462

Storm Crow Alehouse: https://www.stormcrowalehouse.com/

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