As you know I arrived in Edmonton over two hours late, but not being sure if the time would be made up when I went to bed, I still got up shortly after 5 so I would be ready to hop off and post my blog at the station. Because of the planned 6:30 AM arrival in Edmonton and then the 1 PM arrival in Jasper instead of breakfast and lunch, a brunch was served from 7:30 until Noon with the evening meal starting with the first seating at 5:30. Coffee and rolls were available starting at 6:30, and that is what I had and then went to watch the scenery in the dome car until arrival in Edmonton. The train station is no longer downtown since that land was sold for development, and it is now on the outskirts adjacent to the rail yards. We backed in off the main line, I hoped off, and shortly the train disconnected to add the Panorama Car.
When I re-boarded shortly after 10 I headed down to breakfast, afterwards I walked down to the Panorama Car and enjoyed the views while reading for awhile. Finishing a light mystery there I then studied a camera manual in my room before heading back to the Dome Observation with another book to watch the views entering the Canadian Rockies as we approached Jasper. We arrived in Jasper, only 3 hours later than scheduled, after side-tracking for even more freight trains.
We had 45 minutes in Jasper, which was enough for me to see the typical winter resort shops.Inside the station on a board was the consist (list and order of cars on a train) and a few car diagrams. I took images (which I often do at museums etc. to reread later) but thought I would show you the layout of my Chateau style car.
My roomette is Number 6, and you can see there are a few cabins, and on the left are berths (shown in yellow) which are beds at night, and folded up to be seats during the day, but only if the both occupants agree to that I understand.
When I re-boarded I again retreated to the Dome Observation with book in hand to read prior to dinner, but ended up talking with a woman who boarded in Jasper following a Road Scholar hiking trip in the mountains there. From Cambridge, Mass, it was interesting listening to her travels and sharing mine. After dinner I returned to the Dome Observation hoping for mountain views but the area was wooded and not rocky. Having set my clock back another hour it is now 10PM Mountain Time, so I may turn in now and plan to get up about 4 AM to see what views there are. I had a stranger leave a comment on my blog the other day saying he took this train last month, and the best views are Friday Night/Saturday Morning between 2-3AM, so if we are two hours late 4 AM may work.
It is now 8PM Saturday in Vancouver, I am on my third floor porch overlooking downtown Vancouver and have had a full and wonderful day, so let me tell you about it.
I have been up since 3:45 AM this morning. As I mentioned, a stranger left a comment on my “blog” saying that he had been on The Canadian in July, and the best views were between 2 and 3 AM Friday/Saturday night coming down along the river. Since we were about two hours behind schedule when I turned in at 10:30 PM after writing the above, I figured it would be safe to be up by 4AM which I did. As I awoke I thought I saw snow on the ground out my window but it could have been a trick by the moon and stars. I headed up to the Panorama Car and in the darkness could see cliffs on my right, and a steep drop to the river on my left. The sound of the train’s wheels indicated that we were on some tight turns, and at many points I could look forward and see the engines, and look back and see the rear cars – not quite a half circle, but a pronounced comma for sure. About 4:30 AM I thought I would catch about 1 ½ hours rest, but as I laid in my bed looking out the window I said, “Ray, how many times are you going to be doing this?” So, I shaved, cleaned up and dressed again and headed to the Dome Observation car, where except for breakfast (wait, I was looking out the window the whole time),
It ends up that we had lost more time having to change an engine while stopped in Kamloops. The good news was that the views we experienced coming out of the mountains along the river passengers seldom see because it is still too dark. I spent the next 7 hours watching in awe. And, the views were worth it! Once we turned around and backed into the station and were allowed to debark it was almost 12:30. Now my Vancouver research paid off!!!
I LOVE VANCOUVER !!! — I headed out the beautiful station, crossed the park and walked up the stairs to the Sky Train. I bought my ticket (learned how on-line, knew the best ticket to get – single trip, “Concession Rate” good for 90 minutes is all I will need). I got on the train (they run every few minutes and are all automatic throughout the system) and asked a gentleman if I was headed the right way (was pretty sure I was) to transfer to the Canada Line. He said yes, and then started talking away asking about my visit. He got off at his stop, told me again what to do, and he no sooner exited than a young fellow came up to me and said, “I will show you how to transfer.” “No,” I replied, “just tell me, you don’t have to show me.” He walked with me (not the way he was going) to make sure I knew how to change from one line to the other. I got on my train which has two branches, I have my roll-on carry on, and Cathy’s Lotus bag with my computer, and sit down. “This train does not go to the airport,” the fellow next to me seeing my bags said. “I know,” I replied, “I am getting off at Broadway-City Hall.” (both branches stop there) He then picked up a conversation asking about my visit, but suddenly as the doors were closing he jumped up exclaiming, “this is my stop.” As the doors were closing he was peering in the window with two fingers up yelling, “two more stops.” First three people I saw, all went out of their way to be friendly — think they all must go to Rowell’s Inn.
I got off my stop, was pretty sure where my B&B was, walked 3 ½ blocks and there it was. Dropped my bags, and headed back to the Sky Train (underground at this point – this line completed in 2009 in time for the Olympics). What luck, still had plenty of time left on my 90 minute ticket, so no additional cost to get back downtown to the Waterfront Station. I walked right over to Canada Center (the iconic convention center with the sail like roofs which was also built for Expo 86 – between Expo 86 and the Olympics, Vancouver has been totally transformed since my last quick visit in the late 80s) and walked right onto the Vancouver Trolley Tour Red Line (I had already purchased my two-day pass on-line). I had decided to first ride both lines (they are hop-on, hop-off venues) to get a “lay of the land.”
I rode the “Red Line” and when I arrived back at the Canada Center I headed to a restaurant for a bite to eat since it was almost 3PM, long time since breakfast somewhere in the Canadian Rockies. And then walked back to the “trolley stop” and got right onto the “Blue Line” trolley which travelled downtown, though Stanley Park, along the beaches, and back through downtown. Downtown is one new skyscraper (small) after another, and I have a “new” photo hobby. The reflections in the buildings’ windows are unbelievable, and I will share a few with you. When I returned I went up the VANCOUVER LOOKOUT atop the Harbour Centre Building and was it ever worth it. From my research I knew what I was looking at, but the plaques describing the views really helped me with the history and development of the city.
I finished up there about 6:30 PM, and was getting tired, it was time to head back to my B&B. Too tired to have a sit-down dinner (and I have to save energy to write and format images), so I got a bottle of wine and a veggie sandwich and “headed home.” On the third floor there are two rooms, a shared bath, and the back porch. When I booked my room the other was vacant, so I assumed the floor and porch would be mine, and it is. Cathy would be pleased, this older home (for Vancouver) is clean and well appointed. I took a shower, changed, poured a glass of wine, and started writing.
In typical “Ray Fashion” I picked up a great deal of travel information which I will study tomorrow (really getting heavy eyelids, and I need to finish this post for you). But, since I need a boat trip on this adventure to fill in all modes of transportation, I will take the ferry to North Vancouver and back first thing tomorrow, and then head to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park which is very unique. From there, I have ideas, but need to solidify with some more research.
9:36 PM – just cannot stay awake effectively – will finish in the morning.
Good morning, 6:45 AM, let me get to work to finish this up. Alright, finished working with images, time to upload all, do some more planning for the day, have breakfast, and head out for 10-12 hours. Catch you tonight, probably past your bedtime. Bye, RAY