Train From Kamloops to Banff

Hi everyone.

Really have a lot of stories to tell you of my travels through the West Passage, but I’m having trouble getting my pics from my camara, iPad and notes and getting it on my wordpress account.  So I’m storing it all and will put it all together when I get home.  In the meantime, I’ll just show you some of the photos I’ve  been taking.  image image image image image image image image image image image

 

 


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Lake Louise, My Bucket List Place To Go!

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A motor coach picked me up at the Rimrock for our drive to Lake Louise.  The scenery was quite beautiful, but I wasn’t able to get a lot of high quality pictures because of the glare from the bus window.

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There is some interesting information about the Spiral Tunnels, if you want to read about it below, or maybe not.  Prime Minister John. A. McDonald asked British Columbia to join the rest of Canada (as the U.S.A wanted B.C. to themselves).  B.C. agreed to join Canada, but only if their province was connected to the rest of Canada via Rail.  MacDonald promised them this, but he had a huge problem when tackling this particular mountain grade where the spiral tunnels reside. Many trains derailed because it was so steep when they first tried to build it.  None of the locomotive engineers wanted that route because they were afraid impending disasters (it was suppose to be a 2 grade and it was a 4).  Then the railway got an idea (from I think Switzerland) to make a kind of figure 8 inside the mountain so that the grade would be gradual.  Can you spot the two places the train comes out of at different levels?  It worked.

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Later we went to a lovely lake called Emerald Lake.  It was so pretty and tranquil there.IMG_3088 IMG_3091 IMG_3094 IMG_3096 IMG_3101 IMG_3110 IMG_3116

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our next stop was Kicking Horse Pass.  From what I remember from the train ride, a few men went on a gold mining expedition.  One guy’s horse got away so he went after it from behind…which is apparently a big no no.  The horse reared and kicked him hard right in the chest.  By the way, he was the expeditions doctor.  The rest of the men, thinking he was dead, dug a hole to bury his body.  After they put him in the hold and started burying him, the guy woke up.  Probably scared the hell out of them, wouldn’t you say? And that is the story of why it’s called Kicking Horse Pass!

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Couldn’t believe my eyes when I finally got to Lake Louise…a real piece of heaven on earth.

This was our hotel…The Fairmont Lake Louise.  I swear I got the best room in the house!  What a view!

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Took a stroll near the lobby and wondered if that dentist from the States had been here (Cecil’s hunter).

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IMG_3236 IMG_3260I was finally here!  The place I oh so wanted to visit on my bucket list!  I was not disappointed.  Decided when I booked this trip that I was going to go to the best restaurant there called the Fairview for dinner…good thing I made reservations in advance because they were fully booked.

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I had lunch in the Oak Room and then went walking around the lake.  It was such a beautiful blue colour.  I think it gets that turquoise colour because it is run off water from the glaciers, whereas spring run off gives a different bluey colour.  Hope I got that right.  May be the reverse!

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I decided I was going to go outside and explore my new surroundings.

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IMG_3352There were people canoeing on the Lake.  I really wanted to go out and row to the mountains, but I knew that would put way too much strain on my back because my bones were still mushy from the radiation treatment I just had.  I was sad.  I thought about asking someone to row the boat for me, but I didn’t want to be an interloper.  So then I just went for a walk.  I saw a sign that said, “Paradise Look-Out”.  That sounds like a beautiful place to see.  I’ll do that instead.  Where’s Bobo when you need him?


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IMG_3403imageLittle did I realize how long and how steep the hill was to the look-out.  I can’t begin to tell you how difficult and how painful it was to get there.  I prayed to Claire’s mother (who told her to go to Lake Louise with her sister) to make it to the look-out because I didn’t think I was going to make it.  It took a very, very long time, but eventually I made it and believe me I needed an oxycocet when I got to the top…but I was glad I reached my destination.

That’s when I wanted to sing the song, “I’m on Top Of The World” by One Republic!


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I then walked to the other side of the Lake, to gather some rocks for Bobo (I collect them from wherever I go).  Apparently you can walk up to Six Glaciers from there, but I think it takes several hours to do so and I was not in good enough shape to attempt that and didn’t have enough time (dinner reservation at 6:45). However, I did manage to get pretty far down the other side of the lake when I decided to get back to the hotel for my evening soiree dinner!  Here are some of the scenery from the north side of Lake Louise.

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Finally time for dinner.  I couldn’t wait.  For the first time in my life I was going to buy the best thing I could find on the menu and I wasn’t going to care how much it was going to cost me because I was Finally in Lake Louise (which was on my bucket list) and I was going to make the most of it.

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I chose a 3 course meal which consisted of a cold Heirloom Tomato Soup, Lamb with Vegetables, and Raspberry and Dark Belgian Chocolate Sorbet for dessert.  And it was DIVINE.

The soup was utterly fantastic.  The waiter came and decorated my plate with different droplets of oils and pesto, and little herbs with round leaves.  Each section of my plate was filled with scrumptious tasty little morsels of fun!  Then when you picked up a spoonful of soup and put it into your mouth, you got a glorious different taste every time.  It was fabulous. Loved it.

The waiter recommended I get the lamb cooked medium.  I agreed as I figured he knew best and it too was absolutely delicious.  And I know I really shouldn’t have had the dessert as it was full of sugar, but for today, I was just going to forget about feeding the cancer sugar and I just wanted to feel like a normal human begin who could eat whatever they wanted.  And I ate it.  And it was ohhhh soooo goooood!  Went to bed very happy.  Tomorrow, Banff and a crazy helicopter tour I signed up for, then Calgary.

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Nightmare Needle Mishap, Stories from the Train (Kamloops to Banf)


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This picture was taken at sunrise in Kamloops.

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Nightmareimage Needle Mishap, and Stories from the Rocky Mountaineer Train (Kamloops To Banff)

 

 

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I’mimage afraid I didn’t do a good job stabbing myself in the stomach yesterday…wrong angle, didn’t go deep enough or something went terribly wrong. As a result, it got quite bloody and I rather convinced myself that I hit an organ and was goiimageng to die right here in Kamloops. Although it was only 9:30ish here, it was about 1:30ish at home where I proceeded to call Bobo for help. Not that he could do much about my situation anyway being thousands of miles away, but I thought I’d ring and say good bye. I figured he would calm me down. I knew he was still up, but he hides in the man cave downstairs and I’m sure he didn’t hear the phone ringing because although I phoned 4 times…no one was picking up upstairs.

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imageLucky for me I got a free messaging account called “What’s App” and wrote to Boo, my Aussie cousin, who called me immediately to calm my frazzled nerves. It’s always good to have someone on the other side of the world to talk to when you are having a crisis.  The connection was not that good. She told me to move closeimager to the window. I then Looked out my window and was aghast to see a very large electrical hydro tower.  Great! Huge Electromagnetic field on the same level as my room. Sure that’s exactly what I need at this point in my life. Boo told me to phone the concierge and move. Was not happy that I had to get out of my PJ’s, grab my luggage and move to the last room in the hotel on the second floor, but figured that was preferable to getting zapped while I slept.  Remembered in one of my psych courses that your brain waves are wired/active when you are close to these towers so I didn’t feel I exactly had a choice about moving, even if I had to change hotels.

Anyhow, my abdomen is quite blue and bruised this morning and all I could think about was how I was going to have to find a nurse/Dr on this bloody train because I was not going to try do the needleimage thing again tonight. Then I thought about asking the train crew if they could find me a medical clinic in Banff, but I think we are arriving at around 7:00 and it probably will be closed. As luck would have it, Heavens Angels are clearly watching over me because the very first person I told my sorry tale to at breakfast this morning was from New Zealand and she happens to be a nurse! Life is good once again… Especially when it’s snack time and Yu are offered Merlot with cheese and crackers.  God Bless Nurses!

 

imageIMG_2426Breakfast consisted of fresh fruit and a croissant so crispy on the outside that it tasted like the real ones made in Paris.  So yummy.  I ordered the eggs with salmon, home-made potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes and lemon creme fraise.  It was so good I ordered it again the next day.

 

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Stories on the train…..
IMG_2965For over two years, a woman named Ms. Johnson would religiously go outside her house and wave to the trains going by. One day, the engineer decided to give her a little package so he slowed down the train, and threw her a little gift on her lawn of her house. A few days later, her son emailed Rocky Mountaineer to thank them for the gift and said, “How did you know it was her birthday?

IMG_3038Near Kamloops we went by a place called Salmander Lake….A man bought a house and did realize that a train went by it very day and blew its horn. He got so agitated with all the noise the train made, he decided to get his rifle and shoot every train that went by.  He also decided to shock everyone by wearing absolutely nothing when the train went by except for his “gumboots.”   The CP Rail couldn’t have that so they decided not to blow the whistle anymore near the guys house and changed the train switches so it didn’t make so much noise.

IMG_2625We were also told a story about the first train robbery… By Billy Miner.  Rode by horse with 2 friends to a train that had gold on it, startled the engineer, told him to “Put his hands up!”…. That’s where that phrase came from. Disconnected the car with the loot and said.. “Good night boys, sorry to have troubled you.” Got away with gold and a bond worth $8000.
He became too greedy and decided to rob another train, but this time in Kamloops on a train that had been delayed for 5 hours. Kamloops….Bad idea. Arid, no trees. Told the engineer to “Put his hands up” and proceeded to disconnect a car, not realizing he had the wrong one. It was full of mail, not gold. But the mail was worth at least $3500, unbeknownst to him, which was a lot of money in those days. So he took off with his friends with nothing but $15.  The RCMP got some Indian trackers after them who discovered them hiding in a remote cabin. Billy told the police he was just there to do some gold digging and convinced him of this. Friend then shot and killed one of the cops. Billy was  captured and sent to prison for 25 years. He only remain incarcerated for one year for that crime.  Apparently he walked right out the front door and was never seen again!

Check this out…a his and her port-a-potty on the railroad!

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This was my hotel…It was called the Rimrock (Banff).IMG_2906 IMG_2907 IMG_2918

Now the view at dusk was incredible!   However, I was still bummed out that I didn’t get a room at the Fairmont Banff.  I went to the Hot Springs which was located across the street…but was somewhat disappointed.  Not really in pristine condition.  I was kind of expecting something more grand like the Caracalla Spa in Germany.  Now that was magnificent.  Oh well.  Still having a grand time.IMG_2917 IMG_2909 IMG_2922

On Board The Rocky Mountaineer (Vancouver to Kamloops)

Tuesday, September 22

imageGot up 4-5 times last night, anxious I’d miss my train. Managed to get up at 5:45. Got to the lobby before the limo driver.

imageThe Rocky Mountaineer Station was interesting.     We were serenaded by a gentleman playing a black baby grand piano.

imageThey had a Scottish man in a kilt play the bagpipes and then they stomped on a whistle thing on the floor before yelling, “All Aboard”.

 

The landscape is quite beautiful. The mountains are so tall it’s a good thing I’m in one of the domed carriages so I can see everything. First the mountains were nice and green and full of trees. Now it’s arid and drier. We even passed a section where there had been a fire.

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An interesting tale about an area where Simon Fraser said in his journal that he passed through where no man should ever have to go. He named it Hells Gate because it was very narrow and treacherous to pass.   Apparently only once in history was a steamboat able to make it upstream. The Sassy River was named after the guy. He did it by getting 150 Chinese men on ropes to haul it up the river. Wonder how many people he lost?

Another interesting place we passed which was (formerly?) called Trunk Hill Sanitarium, in Kamloops.

It used to house tuberculosis patients in the olden days until a cure was found for the disease (Kamloops area was chosen because the air was arid/drier).  The patients/caregivers had to be self sufficient because the people in the town didn’t want them anywhere near them least they caught the dreaded disease.  They had there own supply of water and grew there own crops.

Then when TB was no longer a threat, it was turned into a Sanitarium.  Had to close it down eventually because they found asbestos in the building.  Tunnels were found which were built below the ground to get from place to place when it was cold.

We passed The Most haunted place in Canada tour…ghost town near Hells Gate if you are interested in driving all the way down there to hear some interesting tales!

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Capilano Bridge, Vancouver Lookout, Gastown

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Monday, September 21
Finally we had one good day of weather so I went on the Capilano Bridge.  It was amazing.  There was a HUGE Suspension Bridge, a tree top walk and a cliff walk.  I’m okay with heights, but bouncinging on that bridge with about 100 million ther people sure wasn’t great for my back.  Time for an oxycocet after I got to the other side!  Guess my newly radiated bone didn’t have enough time to grow back yet!  Ouch!

That place was REALLY amazing.  It was so nice breathing in the fresh rainforest air.  Did you know that the smell of pine forests kills lung cancer cells?  Hopefully it worked on whatever’s growing in my lung!  I definitely could breathe better!

Having issues getting pics in here so I’m posting them all at once!

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Then I went to a 4 D film called Fly Over Canada (filmed from BC to the East Coast) and got nauseous because I didn’t really eat anything that morning and I didn’t really feel like flying and smelling weird scents.  Walked over the the Vancouver Lookout…waste of money if you have been to the CN Tower first….doesn’t compare.

Met up with Sharon and Make in Gastwon and had a lovely lunch at an Italian trattoria.  I had soup and gnocchi.  It was too much food so I told Sharon we should pack it up and give it to one of the many homeless people we see in the streets.  She thought that was a good idea.

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Didn’t take her long before a woman walked up to her and told her it was her birthday and could she spare some change.  Sharron yelled, “Well, Happy a Birthday” , and proceeded to hand over her leftover pasta.

 

Me, I started talking to an Indian carver perched on the side of the road making masks.  Bobo told me to look for a mask because he wanted one.  Well these masks are well over $1,000 in the art gallery’s.  The guy on the corner wanted $700.  Needless to say, I didn’t purchase one.  Found out the carver also had a tumour in his back,  fractured his spine, and had metal rods in his back and was going to have surgery the next day.  Gave him my gnocchi!  Hope he liked them…he said he never tried them before.  Wished him luck on his surgery and told him I would pray for him.

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Headed home early and went into the steam room to try to get my achy breaks bones to feel good.  It worked.

Vancouver City Tour

Sunday, Sept 21

It was raining so I couldn’t really go to the Capilano Suspension Bridge and risk slipping.  It was also suppose to get really windy too.  Got my injection from a doctor in nearby clinic.  Hoping OHIP is going to cover it ($135.00).

Decided to do a Vancouver City tour for 4 hours with my friends Sharon and Mike.  I really like them, they are very nice people.  We went all over the place…through Stanley Park, Granville, Gastown, a flower place which Bobo would have loved and drove around English Bay.  I almost fell asleep…the driver had me knodding  off.  Here are some pics.

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For dinner, we stayed at Sharon and Mike’s Sutton Hotel and had a two tiered seafood platter.  It was Devine.

 

Can’t even begin to tell you how delicious it was.

Took a cab back to my hotel because it was beginning to  get a bit daunting to see so many beggars on the street.  The night before I saw a young couple walking in my direction.   She was wearing pyjama bottoms with grocery bags on her feet.  Now who does that?

 

 

Walked quickly by St Paul’s hospital where I saw the naked diaper man.  All was quiet and I made my way to my hotel brandishing my umbrella.

Welcome To Vancouver

 

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Continued from this (Saturday) morning…..

You won’t believe this.  So I get off the bus and a short homeless man with really big nostrils comes right in my face and begs for money while the bus driver tells him to get lost. The bus driver then  tells me to wait for a taxi under an overcrowded awning with about 50 people in there and then starts yelling at the homeless man again.  I figured it was time to disappear and quickly grabbed my bags and started heading towards where I thought was the general direction of my hotel and lo and behold I then see a naked tattooed guy in a diaper right in front of me.

Welcome to Vancouver!

Eventually made it to my new hotel…The Residence Inn Marriot and got stuck in the elevator.  It refused to take me to my floor. Momentarily had a panic attack when the doors closed and I wasn’t going anywhere.  Eventually someone came on board and told me I had to use my hotel card to operate the elevator. Duh!

Went to the Vancouver Aquarium where I’m happy to report that I this centre does not take wild animals out of their natural habitats.  It’s the only one like that in the world.  Purely a non profit charitable agency too.  All their exhibits are cast offs from other aquariums where the animal/fish were being “let go”.  Most would not be able to survive in the wild or they were too injured.  Some of their animals get nursed back to health and then they are let free in the wild if they get well enough. One of their dolphins, Helen, was injured after she got tangled in some nets.

Anyhow, here are some pics of the Vancouver Aquarium.  I met up with a couple for dinner that I met in Whistler so I was in good company tonight!  Tomorrow it’s suppose to rain again.  We are going on the hop on hop sightseeing bus in the rain.  Weather is suppose to be better on Monday.

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Another Rainy Day

 

image image imageimage imageMy happiness bubble burst today.
I woke up and its raining again.
I got to the concierge at 8:41 am and he told me my bus already left.
I was suppose to be there at 8:40. WTF?

Well that wasn’t true and my heart stopped for a short time and when the bus finally arrived the grumpy old man (who wouldn’t pick up my luggage and put it underneath the bus) tells me he is not dropping me off to my hotel, but one nearby. Yet on my voucher it says it’s going to drop me off at my hotel. Apparently that’s not true. So now I am either going to have to kill myself and lug my luggage a couple of blocks to my hotel in the rain or take a taxi. That should be good for my back.

I need my Bobo.  I need my Fairmont slippers and bathrobe.  And I’m really going to need my eucalyptus steam room after I lug my luggage around town because I’m calabrese, I have a testa tosta (hardheaded/stubborn)and I’m not paying someone to take me a few blocks to my hotel.

And to make me positively miserable, the grumpy old driver only listens to Country Music. Two and a half hours on a bus playing country music! Kill me now!

Oh, things are looking up! My ear phones are in my purse and my iPads in my lap as I write my woes to you this gloomy, rainy day.

Good bye country music! Hello One Republic!

Oh oh.  I have to go to the washroom and there isn’t a washroom on this bus!

I’ll Write later.  My stops coming up!

Whistler Gondola By Night

imageReally loving being pampered!  Buffet breakfast.  Went shopping at Lululemon…my downfall in life.  Picked up 2 more items!  Lunch buffet salad and veggie wrap.  Spa treatment facial and ayuvedic massage where they pour hot oil and herbs all over your body.  And today, I feel like a million bucks!  Hardly sore at all.  Forgot to take my tamoxifen…wonder if that has anything to do with it?

imageLast night We went to an exclusive party.  We were shuttled to the base of Whistlers Gondola and made a 25 minute trip up the mountain to the Round House restaurant.  Half way there we briefly stopped at a way station and the doors opened and a waitress came inside the gondola and offered us crackers, with goat cheese and some delicious spread on top.  Outrageous, eh?  And hang on…it gets better.  She leaves and someone else comes in with CHAMPAGNE!  Now glorious is that?  I tell you, I’m on top of the world!

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So apparently, unbeknownst to me, it was suppose to be a 70’s disco party….and we were suppose to dress up and drink.  Bobo didn’t get that part of the program.   Wouldn’t have lasted in skimpy clothes up there in the cold mountains anyway.  It was raining and freezing.  Dinner was a buffet…salmon, roast beast, squash ravioli, corn on the cob, potatoes and salad, home made gelato ( rum/pecan, vanilla bea, and banana), chocolate brownies, nanimo bars, fresh berries.  O, and they had on of those cool ice sculptures with a tube running through it to make your liquor cold.  Unfortunately he wasn’t making chocolate Martinis , only  vodka.  That was disappointing. I’m don’t usually drink, but I’m game for one of those!

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imageimageimageimageNo one goes up the mountain at night….exclusive parties only.   Riding down the gondola in pitch darkness is quite an experience, let me tell you.  Thankfully they gave me a blanket which I kind of forgot to return when I got off.

It’s raining again today.  Wanted to go up to the mountain to get some pics. But I don’t think that’s happening unless the weather clears up.  Oh well, back to the eucalyptus steam room!

Life is so good when you don’t have to pay!  Just enjoy!

 

 

Whistler, BC.

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The plane ride here was turbulant…it was like we were on a roller coaster! Bobo loved it!  Said it reminded him of Wonderland!  My back could have used less drama.

imageOur original Air Canada plane broke and they squished us on a smaller plane. The food looked really sketchy and I chose not to have lunch. (Thank heavens Angela C. Gave me an apple to munch on on this trip or I would have really been in trouble.

My back and right lung was hurting during the flight.  I don’t think there was much oxygen in the beat up old plane we were on.  And the scratched up film screen didn’t have any of the good movies listed in the book.  And I couldnt hear the movies either.

Oddly enough, the only good thing was that Bobo got bumped from first class to sitting right next to me with the aisle between us.  What a fluke.  Couldn’t have planned that better.

It was a 2 1/2 hour bus ride to Whistler.   Nursed my back with my heating pad when we finally got to the hotel and had a late dinner. I was famished!

Lost Lake, WhistlerWent for a glorious long walk to Lost Lake this morning with my husband. Lung felt better, but my back sure didn’t!

Signed myself up for a massage which really did the trick! Now I know how to handle my situation! Party hardy and do what I want and then pay someone ridiculous sums of money to massage my back!

Now the good news is that the guy who is paying for this elaborate room in this expensive hotel, also gave us a $300 spa credit. Yahoo!

The Lord works in mysterious ways!

 

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