Touring By way of the Canadian Rockies – Half I of II

Home » Touring By way of the Canadian Rockies – Half I of II

In a latest column, I discussed that Bonnie and I have been taking a week-long prepare journey by the Canadian Rockies. Seems we didn’t. We solely spent two days on the prepare, and solely about three hours of that was within the Rockies. I didn’t deliberately mislead you. I simply didn’t perceive the character of the journey for which we had signed up.

We arrived in Vancouver on Monday Might 23, checked into our resort, had a pleasant dinner, walked a bit by the downtown space, and went to mattress early.

By 8 a.m. the subsequent morning, the Rocky Mountaineer was pulling out of the trainyard with about 300 passengers. Every “Silverleaf” automobile (which was the extent we selected), held as much as 54 passengers. Our automobile had 52. We had largely free run of our personal automobile, and will exit onto what they known as an open-air vestibule — a small platform the place the automobiles joined collectively which had chest excessive partitions to guard you from falling out. This gave you contemporary air and an unobstructed view of no matter we have been passing, and there was a rush to get there when an upcoming photo-op was introduced. We weren’t allowed to journey between automobiles. Our automobile had home windows that prolonged about eight ft excessive on either side with two spacious seats on both facet of the middle aisle. 

Breakfast, lunch, two separate snacks, and all drinks (together with alcohol) have been included. We ate at our seats. You might refuse, in fact, however I believe everybody placed on a couple of kilos through the journey. I did, to my nice disappointment. I’ve deliberately misplaced greater than 50 kilos over the previous 14 months, however gained six of that again on our journey.

The “Goldleaf” automobiles, which I examine and noticed by the home windows, however wasn’t allowed to enter, value about $1,000 extra per particular person than we paid, and have been double-decker affairs. The underside stage of those automobiles have been sit-down eating tables, and the higher ranges had fancier seats and an unbreakable glass ceiling, providing you with a a lot clearer view than we acquired from simply the home windows on the facet of our automobile.

The primary day on the prepare took us by fertile farmland alongside the Fraser River. The terrain was much like what you’d see in Washington or Oregon. Each ten minutes or so, one of many hosts would get on the microphone to alert us to one thing attention-grabbing developing. Maybe the largest osprey nest alongside the route, maybe the positioning of a very dangerous forest fireplace, maybe it was an particularly attention-grabbing bridge. Periodically we’d get a historical past lesson of this space.

Since we have been working late (freight trains had precedence over passenger trains and we acquired pulled over a couple of instances to attend), they served us a small dinner snack as nicely. We spent 11 hours on the prepare on Tuesday. On the finish of the day, we waddled off the prepare at Kamloops, a mid-sized metropolis I’d by no means heard of. Our resort reservations had been made as a part of our tour. We might have signed up for the two-star lodges, three-star lodges, or the four-star lodges (I’m fairly positive Kamloops didn’t have any four-star lodges), and our baggage was in our rooms once we acquired there. The baggage had not traveled on the prepare, however relatively was trucked. The vehicles have been sooner than the prepare, and earlier than we acquired off the prepare, they handed every of us our room keys and informed us what bus to get on to get to our lodges. Very nicely organized.

Wednesday morning, our baggage was picked up from our rooms, and we have been bused to the identical railroad automobiles, similar seats, that we had occupied yesterday. Though they used a distinct menu for the every day truthful, far an excessive amount of meals and beverage was once more served. We acquired to the mountains pretty early, however these weren’t the Rockies. This was the Coastal Vary. About 1 p.m. within the afternoon, they introduced we have been formally within the Rockies. The timber have been very totally different. We started seeing snowbound peaks.

The tracks traveled fairly near Mt. Robson, the best peak within the Canadian Rockies. We had view of it. This was the one time the place we felt having the higher view from the glass-top prepare automobiles would have been price it. However this second was over in ten minutes or much less. 

Once we pulled into Jasper nationwide park after about eight hours on Wednesday, we noticed the tip of the Rocky Mountaineer. We had 5 extra days within the Rockies, however the remainder of our journey could be by motor coach. Precisely what our tour was after we arrived at Jasper relied on which journey company we had used to attach with the Rocky Mountaineer. We have been with Contemporary Tracks Canada and had no main complaints with the itinerary or the service. 

Different journey companies scheduled totally different excursions in Vancouver and totally different strategies of getting the passengers from Jasper to Calgary. It might have been good to see a side-by-side comparability of what the totally different organizations provided, and at what value, however we didn’t discover anyplace the place that data was out there.

Subsequent week I’m going to speak in regards to the final a number of days of our journey — two days in Jasper, one in Lake Louise, two days in Banff, and our journey to Calgary. It’s not my regular material — and for positive I’ll get complaints as a result of it’s not about video poker, however that’s what it’s going to be. I’ll be again to a “common” column in two weeks.

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