ALASKA BLOG 04

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The past two days have been a blast – although they began with an unexpected hold-up. A goods-train had derailed overnight on the Canadian-Pacific track, and instead of boarding the Rocky Mountaineer in Banff, we had to be bussed an hour-and-a-half to the other side of the pile-up.

It made little difference, however. Before you could say “Toot-toot!” our famous luxury train was rumbling down the tracks … beginning its long scenic journey into and over the spectacular Canadian Rockies, all the way to the far-west side of Canada.

Yesterday and today have, frankly, been a lovely blur. And the views from our big picture windows kept changing constantly: vast expansive ranchlands, dry-as-dust deserts, lush green forests, rocky lakeshores, high mountain passes, winding green-blue rivers, hold-your-breath cliffs, and pounding, swirling rapids.

We missed the Spiral Tunnels and the Kicking Horse Canyon (thanks to the derailment) – but there were still highlights-a-plenty: the Continental Divide, Rogers Pass, Craigellachie (where the last spike of this seemingly-endless railway was hammered home), the Cascade Mountains, the Fraser River Valley, and the rushing waters of Hell’s Gate.

We were fed and watered and waited on hand-&-foot. A running commentary kept us entertained and informed. As usual, on these Mad Midlife outings, we had more fun than we were legally entitled to. And our train was even chased, at one point, by a grumpy grizzly bear – see photo. (If you believe that, you’ll believe anything!)

We made only two stops – the first, last night, in Kamloops (a sunset-bathed city in the heart of British Columbia), where all 750 passengers were ‘detrained’ and put to bed in hotels. And the second, late this afternoon, in the stunning coastal city of Vancouver, where (just two hours ago) we tucked into a lip-smacking meal of salmon and prawns.

It’s nearly midnight now, and I’m pooped. (How come being pampered on a luxury train and pointing our cameras out the window is so tiring?) Although we’re in a posh hotel and no longer on the Rocky Mountaineer, we’re still rocking’n’rolling (the weirdest feeling). My Mad Midlife colleagues (including my beloved) have all hit the sack – and, if you don’t mind, I’m gonna do the same.

So it’s goodnight from me … and it’s goodnight from her.

PEOPLE NEWS: Nominations continue to flood in for our famous Rubber Duckies – and a third was claimed this evening:

  • The ‘Senior Moment Award’ was given to Bev – who, during our restaurant dinner tonight, happened to pause, mid-bite, to see what folk on the table next door were eating, and discovered to her surprise that those people were OUR people (the other half of our group). Bev was heard to utter in a puzzled voice, “Oh, I wondered why they seemed so familiar …” (You had to be there!)
  • That Barbara, by the way, who claimed the ‘Armed & Dangerous Award’ a few days ago, was Barbara B (not Barbara N).

TOMORROW: We’ll be ferry-riding in Victoria, and romping in the Butchart Gardens. So don’t go away – you might miss something!

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

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