Thursday, 8 September 2011

WT - Rocky Mountaineer (Kamloops)

Our Rocky Mountaineer ("RM") Train trip began in earnest yesterday morning. We were treated to coffee in the RM's private Railway Station before heading off. Everyone who knows us knows we always travel economy but it was suggested that we spoil ourselves just once and this is that one thing we decided to do 1st class or to be more precise "Goldleaf". Our baggage when checked in was taken out of our care and we were advised "no more check-in's or baggage check-in, your baggage will be in your hotel room when you enter and your keys will be brought to you while in transit between hotels and tours". I could get used to this:)

Well! so this is how the other half live - 360 degree views in a 2 level Railway carriage with a glass roof, restaurant below and viewing decks between carriages.Champagne breakfast, caviar, shrimp and eggs Benedict to start. If you are going to spoil yourself just once do it here or on the Alaskan cruise I can guarantee you will not be dissapointed.

We met some wonderful people (mostly Australians) while being enlightened by a fantastic team of tour guides. I must admit I had no idea that Canada had a desert - the Osoyoos Desert, considered to be a pocket desert with towering dry mountains sparsely peppered with trees and sage bush framing the deep arid valley.

Kamloops  has a population 2/3 that of Toowoomba mainly farming and Cattle ranching. Interestingly the town (no it's not called a city for some strange reason) is spread-out enough to actually cover a greater area than New York. Temperature here frequently gets to 40+deg. in summer and rarely falls below 0 deg. in winter.

Watch the surrounds change in the photos as we move from rainforest to semi arid desert. The poles with the wires that look like electric fences are in fact rock and snow slide warning fences. (I'm not sure if I mentioned the 500 ton rock that fell on some campers on the Snowy Pass up at Scagway in Alaska - they did not attempt to dig the campers out but erected a monument on the rock instead).

This is an absolutely fascinating journey, I'm really learning so much and I'm fairly well read so I have a reasonable knowledge of what is where but until you are actually experiencing these things, they just don't have the same impact and are therefore easily forgotten.

The Salvos across the road from our hotel feeding the homeless - God Bless them.

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