Monday, March 19, 2012

Finally the highlight....our Rockies!!!

Hello dedicated followers. We have finally reached that pivotal moment of our trek across western Canada; the Rocky Mountains. 

I didn't really want to start this post off with a video, but you will understand why I am. As we travelled westward along the rails, every once in a while one of our hosts would man the microphone to let the passengers know about approaching important landmarks or wildlife sightings. At this particular juncture we were informed that we had arrived at the "official" entrance to the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I wondered what could possibility identify this location given that we were basically in the middle of nowhere. It turned out to be simpler then one would think, the mile marker was simply named "Entrance." Please click the link below.

Anyway, moving along (no pun intended), we quickly found ourselves surrounded by mountains. I tried to divide my time equally between the observation level and main level of our favourite car, called the Park car. This was the best car for taking pictures because it was the very last car. Even the layout was designed for mingling and it just happened to be the bar car too. 

East side exposure
 River Bed
 Sharp Bend
Both the above and below photos are entering and leaving various tunnels. One photo taken from the rear of the train and one from the observation deck. 
The above photo is Moon Lake. We were told by the crew that this particular lake is fed by a glacier, resulting in Moon Lake being the head waters of the Fraser River.

Our train stopped for about one and a half hours in Jasper, Alberta. The next two photos depict just how train travel has advanced since the mid 1800's. 



Funny enough, when I snapped the photo I think this very well could have been a shift change for engineers. Locomotives need to be refuelled every 8 hours, and so do the engineers.

White tailed deer having a snack on grain that escapes occasionally from passing freight trains. Sadly, though this seems to be the only wild life that we were able to see, but that doesn't mean everyone else didn't see more. 

 I thought it was a good idea to post the above photo, which is the Park Car. I took the majority of my photos from this location. I must say that I am not completely happy with the results because I had to shoot through tinted glass windows everywhere on the train that are only cleaned half way through the journey.

We arrived in Vancouver at approx. 8:45 a.m. After bidding our many new acquaintances goodbye we headed off to continue our journey in beautiful Vancouver. 

We have left the the fairer weather behind pretty much at the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border, and arrived to much cooler temps and even a snow shower. Hopefully we will have brighter skies tomorrow and can snap some good pics here in this beautiful coastal city. I hope you have enjoyed my photos as we travelled on board the "The Canadian" Train #1. Hopefully I will have some sunnier weather tomorrow so I can snap some good photos while we are here. 
Thanks for checkin' in with RAD.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Manitoba to Saskatchewan

Hey there virtual train travellers. We have left Ontario and it’s abundance of trees, and Train # 1 is now making its way across the Canadian Prairies.  I must say that it is extremely flat around here, and any tree to be found most certainly stands out. The common expression I am hearing from my fellow passengers is, “where are all the trees? “and “boy is it ever flat around here.”
We awoke this morning in Winnipeg as I mentioned in my previous post. Lucky for us it was still spring like weather, which by the way is totally unheard of for this particular latitude and longitude. I heard last year at this time there was 5 feet of snow and was a chilly -20 degrees Celsius, burrrrrrrrrrr.

After our little walk about in the downtown core we re-boarded our train to continue our journey. As we zipped along the rails closer to our destination I found it somewhat challenging to provide you with a worthy photo or two. Now in all fairness, that could be for a combination of reasons. It could simply be the time of year we are taking this trek and/or geography.  But I was able to snap a few reasonable photos that reflect the changes in our geography as the Canadian miles roll by. 
As we approached the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border we travelled through the Assiniboine Valley pictured below.

We will soon be changing time zones from Central to Mountain Time, as well as the topography to go along with it. If you notice in this photo we have acquired two additional passenger cars and one less locomotive. The two extra passenger cars are being repositioned to Kamloops after being painted by VIA rail for the Rocky Mountaineer train that runs out of Calgary to Vancouver.
Below is another photo that seems to depict a constant image that you see as we travel through Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Like most communities along this route they pretty much all started out solely as railway towns, and have since developed into the heart of Canada’s grain industry.

I think this would be a good time to sign off on this particular post because I really don’t want them to be lengthy. I am having an extremely difficult time with access to the internet along the trek. We stop too briefly in some areas to even get off the train in order to seek it out in the station. I also don’t have access without a password when I do or just simply can’t connect with a strong enough signals.  
However, I will leave you will one more picture with a little story attached to it. Our train will stop for anyone living in the most remote of communities if you provide 48 hours’ notice. Below is the little station of Melville, Saskatchewan. We had a passenger on board that wanted to disembark here, but somehow we lost him somewhere along the way. All of his personal property was still on board, but no passenger. I am hoping that he just missed the train when we re-boarded it in Winnipeg. Perhaps he went to the nearby casino and won large!!! I will continue to try and learn more from the staff as to what actually happened.

 Thanks for checkin’ in with RAD.    

Saturday, March 17, 2012

All Aboard....Train 1


Hey cyberspace, welcome to my first official blog post.  At this very moment I am on VIA Rail’s transcontinental passenger train known as The Canadian. Along for the ride with me is my trusty travel companion and lovely wife Sandra.

I am doing a little experiment that you can all benefit from if you follow my blog for the next 4 nights and 3 days.  Well actually anyone can benefit from it after that too, because it will always be archived somewhere on here, at least that’s what my experienced blogger companion tells me. I hope that by combining my love for travel along with my love for photography you will be able to live the journey along with us. As we travel the many miles from Toronto to Vancouver I will attempt to capture the beauty of Canada through script and images. Our route takes us through 4 time zones, and many geographical landscapes such as the Canadian Shield, the Prairies, and the beautiful Rocky Mountains ultimately ending at the gorgeous Pacific coast in Vancouver.

We arrived at Union Station around 6:30 p.m. where we were able to check our baggage so we didn’t have to lug it around, and were able to go out for dinner nearby. When you travel by train you have two options; leave your baggage with the main check in station until just one hour prior to boarding or for a nominal fee/tip basis you can have a purser take care of everything. We chose that route and for $10 our baggage was in our room upon arrival.

We boarded our train last night (March 15th) at 10 pm. Prior to boarding we had the opportunity to hang out in the Panorama Lounge at Union Station. This lounge is provided for VIA Rail passengers travelling on the Canadian. They provide complimentary refreshments, take preferential dining reservations and some humour to boot.

Once on board we were escorted to our tiny refuge for the next 4 days by our service attendant Jason.  Our beds were already made up for us so we really couldn’t grasp the whole concept of how we were going to adapt to the layout before us.

We were quickly encouraged to attend the Champagne welcome aboard party that’s held in each observation car, and we had no problems obliging.  Not only do you have the opportunity to indulge in free booze, but you get to meet fellow passengers and acquaint yourself with the staff. Allow me to introduce you to our new Czech friend Jara.

After the party we certainly didn't have any problems sleeping through the night. 

Here are a few pictures from our first full day of travelling across the Province of Ontario....surprisingly, it took us 26 hours to cross this vast landscape into Manitoba. I don't have WiFi access to post daily as we have to disembark to major cities to access it. So I will post more photos with minimal script as originally anticipated. 

These pictures are taken from the very end of the train on the observation deck in the Park car. 

We are in Winnipeg at the moment, and have a few hours to walk about in the city. The weather is beautiful and mild and we will re-board the train around 11a.m. to continue our journey. I will have more pics and script for you when we reach Saskatoon, in the meantime I will leave you with a little live action. Thanks for checkin' in with RAD. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

                                              A Little Piece Of The Black Forest Germany
                                                                    June 2011
                                                               A Little Piece Of Switzerland
                                                                         June 2011
                                                       A Little Piece Of Monte Carlo
                                                                   June 2011

                                                           A Little Piece Of Venice
                                                                    June 2011