Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Canadian Adventure Begins

Bless me dad, it has been four years since my last vacation in Canada. Things were looking good with only a couple of brain fades in Redmond where I discovered I didn't have Mark Thomas's phone number. The visit to Sammamish Cycles was fun, they have just about everything you can imagine except for Brooks saddle adjustment wrenches. It was a beautiful trip to Canada, the mountains are spectacular.

At the border, the Canadian Customs Officer gave me a funny look when I answered his money question and said I had eleven dollars. "How are you going to get by for two weeks with 11 dollars?" he asked. "Easy," I said, "I'll use my ATM and credit cards." Luck was good to me when I stopped for the day 16 miles into Canada.

Traffic on Canada 1 was stopped because of a terrible an accident on the freeway east of Chilliwack. I checked into a motel with my Visa and went to Safeway for food and promptly discovered my ATM/Visa card was not authorized for transactions outside the United States. Discovery number two: the ATM machines in Safeway will not accept Visa cards. Evidently, Safeway stores in Canada now accept MasterCard not Visa. Ruh Row!

I never met an ATM in the US that didn't like Visa. So bright and early today, I backtracked 25 miles to the US for cash from a Visa friendly ATM in Linden, USA. The US Customs Agent snorted like he heard my story several thousand times already when I told about my eleven dollars and the Safeway/ATM/Visa story.

I was happy to find a Radio Shack in Linden and purchased some 1/4-inch, 18-22 gauge connectors to fit the E3 headlight that I got at Sammamish Cycles to my Schmidt hub dynamo. Then it was back to Canada to find a place to convert US dollars to Canadian. Good thing the banks are open Saturdays in Canada. I found a bank in the busy city of Abbotsford. Whew, that was a lot of work. Traffic was jammin in Abbotsford.

The Community Center in Hope is awesome with a library, exercise rooms and aquatic center. The Frasier River enters a narrow valley framed by huge, steep mountains. They are emerald green, covered with northwest conifers, Douglas fir and western hemlock. The valley floor is bright green, covered with farms, fields and trees. I rode through Hope with TourBC in 2000. It is windy and warm tody, Oh oh.