There are two things I wish to add to the Thursday happenings – our bus driver was named Alex and he drove an all Electric bus. That’s right, the bus had 11 batteries and ran like a champ. It had plenty of power whether on city streets or 4 lane highway. Alex told us that electricity in British Columbia is one of the cheapest utility in the world due to all the hydroelectric plants. Also, 60% of the public service buses are electrified. .
Friday, August 26th had the Mountaineers doing the Hop on/Hop off bus tour. Basically the Hop on/Hop Off bus allows you to drive around the city and stop at any attraction you wish to see. Our first stop was in Gastown, the old town originally settled in the 1880’s. There is clock on the corner of Water and Crown Streets. The clock operates by steam controlled pump that on a fifteen minute schedule will release steam to a known melody. We hopped back on the bus and went to Lord Stanley Park known for its rose garden, sea wall, and many totem poles. We ate lunch at the park’s restaurant. Some of the poles are over 100 years old. Returning to the hotel to check in with Rocky Mountaineer to be assigned a seat number and schedule of pick up times and hotel names. Angie and I crashed after checking in as it has been a whirlwind 2 days in Vancouver and a 6:30 AM departure from the hotel to catch the train leaving at 7:30 AM.
Saturday, August 27th has the Rocky Mountaineer train departing Vancouver for Whistler, the home city of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. On the way to Whistler, the train followed the Fraser River Gorge which is known for salmon and being the longest river in British Columbia. We passed through Squawmich Hill (a hill designated by the “First Nation people as the birth place of the Winds).The train rode on tracks alongside the river and we saw many small water falls and unique rock formations. After three hours of sitting on the train we arrived in Whistler and transferred to the Fairmont Whistler hotel. The hotel had many ski trails; a mountain bike down steep hills; a golf course; and a kids area. I guess this is just another hotel. The group even had a chance to attend Mass at Our Lady of the Mountains church. Early to bed as the train had a departure timr of 7:30 AM or earlier.
Sunday, August 28th has our train waiting for us in Pemberton, the potato capital of British Columbia. The reason the conductor gave as to why we had to go Pemberton was the track set up between Rocky Mountain (RM) and CRN, Oh well RM knows what they are doing and it is a great job. Roomy, double deck cars, a private dining room for each car on the train, and alcohol and beverage service while riding in that car is what I call this a great trip. Continuing north along the Fraser River to Quesnel, we had a wild animal watch (bears, deer, and big horn sheep) in constant action. The steep gorges, rock erosion, and ragging rivers made the trip a wonderful sight. The RM people are great, helpful, and courteous. Food on the train is extraordinary. Our hostess is a future stand-up comic and entertained us with her puns.