I’ve partnered with Honda Canada to take their vehicles out for a spin and explore our beautiful region. Most recently John and I took an Odyssey out to Squamish, one of our favourite day trip destinations.
Overnight in Squamish
We love Vancouver but one of its best qualities is that it’s so easy to escape the city. Last weekend we made our way up the Sea to Sky to spend some time in Squamish, where the very tip of Howe Sound meets the Squamish Chief, Shannon Falls, and dozens of options for trail walks and outdoor adventures.
For us the answer to “where to stay” and “where to eat” in Squamish will always be the same: Howe Sound Inn and Brewery. We met owner Leslie Fenn about four years ago and it’s been our home in Squamish ever since. It combines a restaurant, pub, brewery, live music venue, and inn all with a panoramic mountain view. Their $89 winter rate is affordable for seasonal getaway, just 60 minutes from our home in Vancouver, but miles away from the hustle and busy of downtown life.
Squamish Spit and Estuary
A few years ago our friend Cinci introduced us to the wonder of the Squamish Spit, where kiteboarding is kind. This tiny arm of land jets out into Howe Sound after winding through the Squamish River Estuary, providing the perfect location to walk your dog, take photos, and spot wildlife.
Nature’s beauty abounds as the ocean meet the sky and quintessential West Coast animals come out to play. Bald eagles, herring runs, seals, and — a special treat for us last weekend — hundreds of dolphins chased by a pod of orcas.
We arrived at the spit to find two women looking through binoculars. They invited us over to take a look through their lenses as they spotted hundreds of dolphins far off in the distance, which were barely noticeable to the naked eye. After our quick look we walked down to the very tip of the land and took a few photos before returning to the Odyssey, fingers frozen from snapping iPhone photos and jackets soaked.
As soon as we all piled into our ride and I went to turn the vehicle around, we noticed something out in the water. A white streak, several hundreds of meters long, was getting closer. It was the dolphins and they were trying to outrun something.
Within just a few seconds they approached the tip of the spit where we stood just minutes before. I stopped the car and we all ran out, clamouring to get our soaking coats zipped up again. Running through pea gravel the length of the spit we finally returned to our original lookout positions, even more drenched than before, and spent another hour in that exact spot.
The dolphins were chasing the herring and the orcas were chasing the dolphins. There was so much activity in the water as blowholes blew in the distance, dorsal fins circled, and groups of frantic mammals tried to outrun each other. It was impossible to look away.
2014 Honda Odyssey Touring
Our getaway adventure was made possible by Honda Canada, whose vehicles I will be enjoying and putting to the test throughout the year. This was our very first time driving a minivan and surprisingly it seemed much more manoeuvrable to us than some larger sedans. The Honda Odyssey Touring was fully loaded with luxurious white leather interior — and the handy in-car vacuum that John spotted on a recent television commercial.
I enjoyed how spacious it was, even though it didn’t feel like you were driving a larger vehicle, and we were very productive with the Odyssey during our loan period. We packed up about eight bags and boxes to donate to our local thrift store, we took away some electronic recycling, and we did a Sunday afternoon trip to Home Depot. We felt like we were keeping up with the Jonses, in style.
On our quick trip out to the Squamish Spit my sister and my brother-in-law sat in the first-row rear seats. Their only comment was that the fold flat seat in the middle wouldn’t be comfortable for a long haul. The two of them have five kids that they take on road trips so having lots of room and comfy seats is key. If you didn’t need to pack in six people in the back of the van, four could ride very comfortably.
Other than that, the ride up the Sea to Sky was smooth with the Odyssey’s one-touch turn signals, auto wipers (which were much needed), LaneWatch Blind Spot Display, Forward Crash Warning system, automatic tailgate, heated seats, and the touch-screen Honda Link entertainment system where we switched from XM radio to our iPhone audio with a quick tap. We had all the USB and electric hookups required to keep our devices powered and I even read that you can hook up your XBox to the Honda DVD Ultrawide Rear Entertainment System. The rear windows that roll down with the touch of a button came in especially handy when my rear-seat passengers were whale watching from the warm, dry interior of the vehicle.