2009 Ford Flex: An Olympic Journey Day 3
February 24, 2010
On Monday morning, the Flex boldly went where no long termer had gone before: Canada. And since we've never had a hankering to visit Mexico or catch a raft to Cuba, it was also the first one of our cars to leave the country.
Despite repeated warnings of gigantic line-ups at the Canadian side of the border (as we saw on the way back), by leaving early we had no wait getting through. But a word of (what should have been obvious) wisdom: Do not stop to take pictures of your Edmunds long-term car at the border. This is a bad idea. It will most likely get you sent into secondary for what I can only assume is suspicious behavior. Even if you have a Canadian passport and even if you have in-depth answers to all their questions (what events are you seeing at the Olympics, where precisely are you staying), they are likely to give you a hard time. As the son of a Canadian customs officer, I was greatly shamed by this. But hey, at least we got a picture of the Flex at the border. Also, the Flex is officially the first long-term car to get searched by customs. So there you go.
Day 3: Lynnwood, Washington, to Vancouver, British Columbia
Total Distance: 127 miles
The Flex's trusty navigation system didn't blink an eye when we crossed into Canada and very quickly we were looking at spectacular downtown Vancouver. It's an absolute zoo right now for the Olympics, but normally, it's incredibly chill and has easily the most breathtaking natural backdrop for a major city on this continent (more pictures tomorrow).
I parked the Flex in our rented apartment's parking garage and said goodbye for the next four days. There is no parking at Olympic venues, so we'd be relying on walking, a private couch bus to Whistler (for luge), and the new Skytrain Canada Line to Queen Elizabeth Park (for curling) and Richmond (for speed skating).
In case you care, I've included some pictures from the venues.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 49,278 miles
Left to right: The view from the luge grandstand, Whistler is hidden by the fog -- This is the end of the track, you can see the wall they added after the Georgian luger was killed. -- This is the view from turn 9. You can walk almost the length of the track and watch from anywhere.
Left to right: Yep, here's this guy. -- The view from the gondola that goes from Whistler village, stopping at the Sliding Centre and on up to the top of the mountain.
Left to right: The Canada Line features a big window in front so you can see where you're going and they light the tunnel. Super cool. -- Here are the pipers ushering in the curlers at the Vancouver Olympic Centre. -- Here is Shawn White getting his gold medal at Thursday victory ceremony.
Left to right: After getting off at Aberdeen station, there is a 1.3-km walk to the Richmond Oval along the Fraser River. Thank goodness it was so nice outside. -- Here is the Richmond Oval. -- Here is Canadian Christine Nesbitt doing her victory lap after winning the gold medal.
The Torch, behind the unexplainably ugly temporary fencing. What are they thinking? If they needed to protect it, why not come up with something more elegant than this?