I’ve had a love of the Pacific Northwest ever since my 13 year old heartstrings were pulled by that lovable killer whale Willy, with his sad little wonky fin, jumping to freedom. Unfortunately, in the past, sometimes I have been guilty of snobbery, only traveling off to Europe, and not experiencing very much of the USA and Canada. So, now I am making amends, fueled mostly by my 29 year old heartstrings being pulled by the ball of cheese that was the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, I am heading to the Northwest. My orginal premise for going was because I signed up for the TBEX ’11 event in June in Vancouver. This provides the perfect opportunity to make a little extended trip out of it, and see a little bit of both Seattle and British Columbia.
Since I live outside of Boston, a flight to Vancouver is pricey with taxes and all that bs, but turns out if you fly into Seattle, the airline price is less than half the cost, AND that gives me a few cool options to get up to Vancouver. I was doing a little research and found out that there is a train line that goes along the coast from Portland into BC called the Amtrak Cascades. Personally I really enjoy traveling via train. I used to commute a lot between Boston and NYC and thought it was far more relaxing than driving, you can get up and walk around, eat, bring your laptop and enjoy the views, and in most cases, the train actually takes just about the same amount of time. Another option is to take a series of Ferries, unfortunately, there isn’t anything that is a direct shot, so you have to stop and switch boats in Victoria and then continue on, but planning correctly, a couple of hours of a break in Victoria could be a cool option. I still have plenty of time to decide, but I’m thinking of maybe taking the train up and the ferries back, its June, so why not relax and try to maximize all the spectacular scenery?
What I’m really excited for, beyond TBEX itself, is being able to explore the area, since it really is a nature lovers paradise. I’m spending the extra few days I’ll be in town doing some hiking and kayaking, hopefully doing a whale watch, I’ll keep my eye out for Willy. So, stay tuned for my trip report when I get back, and if any one out there in cyberspace has any good tips, post in the comments or send me any email!,