In a current column, I discussed that Bonnie and I had been taking a week-long practice journey via the Canadian Rockies. Seems we didn’t. We solely spent two days on the practice, 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 Could 23, checked into our lodge, had a pleasant dinner, walked a bit via the downtown space, and went to mattress early.
By 8 a.m. the following morning, the Rocky Mountaineer was pulling out of the trainyard with about 300 passengers. Every “Silverleaf” automotive (which was the extent we selected), held as much as 54 passengers. Our automotive had 52. We had largely free run of our personal automotive, and will exit onto what they known as an open-air vestibule — a small platform the place the vehicles 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 had been passing, and there was a rush to get there when an upcoming photo-op was introduced. We weren’t allowed to journey between vehicles. Our automotive had home windows that prolonged about eight toes excessive on each side with two spacious seats on both aspect of the middle aisle.
Breakfast, lunch, two separate snacks, and all drinks (together with alcohol) had been included. We ate at our seats. You may refuse, in fact, however I think everybody placed on just a few kilos in the course of 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” vehicles, which I examine and noticed via the home windows, however wasn’t allowed to enter, value about $1,000 extra per individual than we paid, and had been double-decker affairs. The underside stage of those vehicles had 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 aspect of our automotive.
The primary day on the practice took us via fertile farmland alongside the Fraser River. The terrain was just 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 fascinating arising. Maybe the most important osprey nest alongside the route, maybe the positioning of a very unhealthy forest hearth, maybe it was an particularly fascinating bridge. Periodically we’d get a historical past lesson of this space.
Since we had been operating late (freight trains had precedence over passenger trains and we acquired pulled over just a few occasions to attend), they served us a small dinner snack as properly. We spent 11 hours on the practice on Tuesday. On the finish of the day, we waddled off the practice at Kamloops, a mid-sized metropolis I’d by no means heard of. Our lodge reservations had been made as a part of our tour. We might have signed up for the two-star motels, three-star motels, or the four-star motels (I’m fairly positive Kamloops didn’t have any four-star motels), and our baggage was in our rooms after we acquired there. The baggage had not traveled on the practice, however fairly was trucked. The vehicles had been sooner than the practice, and earlier than we acquired off the practice, they handed every of us our room keys and instructed us what bus to get on to get to our motels. Very properly organized.
Wednesday morning, our baggage was picked up from our rooms, and we had been bused to the identical railroad vehicles, similar seats, that we had occupied the day before today. Though they used a distinct menu for the each 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 had been formally within the Rockies. The bushes had been very completely 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 practice vehicles would have been value it. However this second was over in ten minutes or much less.
After 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 can be by motor coach. Precisely what our tour was after we arrived at Jasper trusted which journey company we had used to attach with the Rocky Mountaineer. We had been with Contemporary Tracks Canada and had no main complaints with the itinerary or the service.
Different journey businesses scheduled completely different excursions in Vancouver and completely 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 completely different organizations supplied, and at what worth, however we didn’t discover anyplace the place that info was accessible.
Subsequent week I’m going to speak concerning 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 traditional subject 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.