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Trans-Canada Rail Adventure

 

October 2 - 12, 2008

 

Grand Circle Travel

 

 

 

This travel adventure started with a flight from Binghamton

to Washington Dulles.  It was uneventful until I checked

on to my flight to Toronto.  I had a ticket but no assigned seat.

  The Grand Circle Travel Department had messed up

again and neglected to secure a seat assignment for me. 

I got bumped!  After an additional four hour wait,

I was off to Toronto.  I did receive a free round-trip

ticket good for a year anywhere to the USA.  I arrived in

Toronto in the middle of a heavy rain storm, not pleasant

experience for the traveler.  My suitcase decided that it

was drier and nicer in Washington.  So I started the first part

of my trip with no luggage other than my carry on. 

My suitcase arrived the next afternoon.

On Friday morning we had the usual bus city tour. 

Below is a photo of downtown Toronto from the boat

we had our harbor cruise on.  On our drive we saw the

Rogers Centre, Parliament buildings, Royal Ontario Museum

and the Canadian National Tower.  I would definitely return to Toronto

to sightsee as there were many interesting sights to visit. 

Our tour stayed at the Delta Chelsea hotel which was first class. 

 

 

 

After our morning tour we had free time to explore

downtown Toronto.  I walked the Eaton Center, 

a very active four story shopping mall.  I noted

that Levi's were $75.00 (Canadian) a pair in Sears.  Ouch!

 

 

Our harbor cruise boat.

 

 

Early the next morning our local tour bus took us to the

Toronto Via Train Station.  We had a 9:00 am train to board. 

 

 

The locomotive that will pull our train to

Sudbury north of Toronto.

 

 

Typical Ontario scenery as we ride along to our next stop. 

We saw many lakes and the fall colors were out in

prime fashion.  When we boarded the train we were

told that there would be a $100.00 refund to each of us

to compensate for having travel on a different train than one

originally scheduled.   It turned out that our trans-Canada

train was held up by the derailment of another train.  So we

boarded our cross Canada train at Sudbury. 

The service on the train  from Toronto was very good.

 

 

Boarding our Trans-Canada train.  Sitting in the dome

cars was a most pleasant way to see

Canada as were rode along.

 

 

We saw many beautiful lakes as we traveled westward

across the province of Ontario.

 

 

We had a brief stop at Sioux Lookout

to change train crews.

 

 

We are heading for provinces of Manitoba and

Saskatchewan.  We left the province Ontario after

two days of travel from Toronto. 

Our train ride took us across the vast flat lands of

the middle provinces of Canada.  This part of the

trip was mainly at night with little to see or

photograph.  We did see fields with large crops of corn.

 

 

The VIA station in Edmonton.  We  had a chance to leave

the train for an hour to walk around the station area.  T

he it was off to Jasper, Alberta and snow capped

mountains.  We are getting close to the

Canadian Rockies at last.

 

 

Our train traveling along through beautiful fall colors.

 

 

The Jasper Train Station.  We arrived on schedule at

 mid afternoon.  We left the CN Via train here and

were bussed to a hotel in the village of

Jasper for a one evening stay.

 

 

The Canadian Rockies surround Jasper. 

They were capped with early fall snow.

 

 

As soon as we left the train, the crew was boarding

passengers for the remaining trip to Vancouver. 

A local train crew was washing down the train to remove

the dirt that would prevent seeing the

scenery along the way.

 

 

A Canadian National Steam Locomotive on display

near the Jasper train station.

 

 

On Day 6, October 7th, we had an early start

to drive down the Icefields Parkway in our

tour bus heading for Banff.  The day started with

in the rain which followed us most of the morning. 

Above is a photo of one of the mountains

along the way to the Columbia Icefields.

 

 

Snow clouds moving in!

 

 

We arrived at the Columbia Icefields Visitors

Center at 9:30 am.  Our tickets were purchased for our

trip up to the Athabasca Glacier scheduled for 10:15 am. 

About 9:45 am a heavy snow storm moved in to the area. 

In this photo you can hardly see the

glacier in the distance. 

 

 

The Icefields Visitor center.

 

 

I made a new Canadian friend inside the visitor center. 

At 10:00 am our tour Program Director Tim Kruz was

informed that the tours of the Glacier were closed

due to heavy snow fall.  We reboarded our tour bus for the

trip on to Banff.  It was a very tense drive for the next

hour as we descended down the parkway.  Our trip steadily

dropped several thousand feet as we left

the Icefields Visitor Center. 

 

 

Snow capped mountains as we descend.

 

 

When we reached the valley below the Icefields

we stopped at a very pretty waterfall area. 

 

 

Mountains along the drive.

 

 

Our next stop was at Peyto Lake.  It was cold and

slippery walking to this viewpoint.  When I visited

this spot in August, I wore shorts and a tee shirt. 

I liked the visit in August better!

 

 

Our lunch break was at Lake Louise.  Unfortunately the

low cloud cover prevented a good photo of the mountain

and glacier in the background.  We had a buffet lunch

in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, it was a terrible meal

with the buffet lacking food in many places on the serving

table.  I was very disappointed in this dining  experience

since I had heard many good complements

about staying at the Chateau.

 

 

A cold spot for a photo!

 

 

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

 

 

Lake Moraine.  We are continuing on to Banff.

 

 

Fall colors as we near Banff.

 

 

Mount Rundle greets us to Banff.

 

 

After arriving in Banff we had free time and a chance to

settle into our Hotel for our two night stay.  The next

morning we had a bus tour of the area around

Banff, during the drive we happened upon a small

group of Elk on the Banff golf course.  Here are two

young Elks practicing the rutting. 

It is early in the morning and they were

playing on the golf course as we drove by.

 

 

Bow River Falls outside of Banff.  The River flows

through Banff.  Last August, I had a float trip down the

Bow River.  No trips today!

 

 

The Fairmont Château Banff.

 

 

An Elk trimming the Chateau hedge. 

It was breakfast for him.

 

 

Banff Mountain Scenery.

 

 

More Banff scenery!

 

 

A last look at Banff Mountains at sun rise. 

 

 

It is early in the morning of October 9, and

we board the Rocky Mountaineer Train

to complete our trip across Canada.  

Above is first light on a mountain

from our hotel in downtown Banff. 

 

 

Breathtaking photos as we ride along in the

Rocky Mountaineer.   I am assigned to a standard

rail coach with great views of the mountain scenery. 

We will travel on the train for the next two days. 

We will reach our final stop in Vancouver on

October 10th.  Following are several mountain

scenes taken from the train.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are passing a east bound freight train waiting

on a siding.  Many times we had to wait on a siding

for an east bound freight train to pass.  Most trains heading

east were empty on their way to be refilled

with grain in the middle plains of Canada.

 

 

 

 

Snow capped mountains, fall colors and a train,

what more could you ask for?

 

 

The Thompson River.

 

 

A large log boom tied to the lake bank.

 

 

A mountain water fall.

 

 

Powder snow resting on a mountain after

being deposited over night.

 

 

Beautiful river scenes helped the day pass.

 

 

A railroad snow plow waiting on a siding for winter snow falls.

 

 

Beautiful falls colors!

 

 

The train round a curve.  There were over 700 passengers on this train.

 

More beautiful fall colors!  We have had a great

day of touring.  Bright sun made picture taking a breeze. 

This was the most picturesque day of the trip.  There

were so many beautiful scenes it was hard to keep

up with my picture taking.   That is the reason that

digital photography is so great!

 

As the day drew to a close we arrived in Kamloops

in the late afternoon where we would spend

the night in a local hotel.  The Rocky Mountaineer had a slick

operation at the station when we arrived in town.  Busses

delivered and picked us up the next morning at our hotel

in downtown Kamloops to return our tour to

our railroad car to complete our travels to Vancouver . 

 

 

Sunrise over Kamloops.  Our day of travel to Vancouver

promises bright sun light and fair skies.

 

We continue heading westward to Vancouver. 

The scenery is changing as we travel along.

 

 

We followed rivers all the way to Vancouver.

 

 

 

 

Into another tunnel!

 

 

Our train entering a snow shed.  The snow sheds

protect the railroad tracks from being blocked

by snow slides in winter.

 

 

Tunnel ahead!

 

 

Farms now greet us as we travel along.  It was

interesting to see the changing from

forests to farm land.

 

 

An eastbound freight train waiting for us to pass.

 

 

Fraser River log boom.

 

 

A small log tug boat working near a large log boom.

 

 

End of the line!  The Rocky Mountaineer staff in

Vancouver on their station platform to greet our

train in the late afternoon.  The train ride was

fabulous in every way.  A once in a lifetime rail tour. 

 

Our Vancouver stay was a great way to wind

down from our train ride.  We stayed at the Marriot

Pinnacle Hotel in the downtown area.  My room was

on the ninth floor and had a wonderful view of the harbor. 

It was a great hotel in every way.

 

 

On Saturday morning, we set out on a bus tour of

the city of Vancouver.  Our first stop was at the Glass Studio of

Robert Held.  We saw a very attractive glass bowl made. 

The glass pieces on display were  very attractive.  Our next

stop was in Stanley Park at their large totem pole display.  The park

is very large at is on the harbor. 

 

 

Stanley Bridge in the background of the harbor

as were ride around the park.

 

 

Another view from the park.

 

 

Granville Island is located in the harbor near downtown

Vancouver.  It is a very interesting shopping area with

many difference shops selling all sorts of items. 

 There were also lots of places to dine.

 

The next day we departed for home or the post tour

trip to Vancouver Island and the city of Victoria.

I did not elect the post tour so it was off the airport

and three fights before I arrived in Owego.

What a great trip, it was truly a great travel experience.