The drive - Vancouver to Calgary

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Friday, September 7, 2007

Vancouver is supposed to be one of the best places in the world to live - do the Calgarians know? Here, between the ocean the mountains with its mild climate, sits another city that reaches for the sky.
 
When we saw it for the first time back in April it was wet, grey and uninviting. We got caught in the rush hour and found it all a little depressing, rather like the UK on a bad day! But returning now on a bright, warm sunny day how the picture has changed. Bustling and bursting with energy, Vancouver gave us its best. From the steam clock in Gastown



and the intriguing architecture of downtown to the tranquility of Stanley Park;
Hazel and I enjoyed a tour while Malc went to wake a sleepy Bree. It was like coming home; she had waited patiently for our return and now stood unassuming yet proud. Everything in order, smelling sweet and with an updated Mary (Street Atlas 2008) we set off east to those majestic mountains that were now more than a little daunting! Bearing in mind Malc had been away from such a large left hand drive vehicle for several months and that these were the Rockies we were facing; we were a little apprehensive to say the least. Navigation was not going to be a problem, which meant at least we would begin the journey as good friends!! The Trans Canadian Highway runs from Vancouver right the way across Canada to the East coast. It's just that there are a few hills in the way!
Although we were eager to make the crossing we wanted to enjoy zagging
  our way along, taking almost as many photos as we had done on the train it too. Our guest traveled in total comfort!








We spent 5 days zigzagging our way to Calgary, each bend in the road revealing yet another breath taking view. The clear thin air, perfect for those once in a lifetime shots.


At Revelstoke we camped in the shadow of the mountains, we found some stowaways under the awning We ate steak cooked on the fire pit.










We camped at Lake Louise and were enchanted by its turquoise waters and those of nearby Lake Moraine, where it was less crowded and oh so more peaceful. We have seen far more rental RV's up here in Canada, most of them it seems heading for Lake Louise...this was the car park early in the morning!


Rivaled only by the bus tours. The world's a beautiful place and it seems churlish to moan about crowds who want to see the same things as us, but sometimes it's nice when there is no one else around and you can just hear the silence, or the wind whispering through the trees.






We all rode the ski lift up to the top of Mt. Whitehorn (one of those open chair lifts I'll have you know - yes Hazel and I and we didn't need bribing and we actually enjoyed it) we were rewarded with the most amazing views of the continental divide and lake Louise like a priceless jewel nestled gently in the fold of the velvety pine clad mountains.



En route we even saw an elusive black bear plodding its way solemnly along the railway line that paralleled the road.










it caused a bit of a "bear jam" this occurs when we humans slow down, to get out of our cars to take photos of the lovely cuddly, honey loving creature. Something which the park wardens try to educate people about. It breeds familiarity and the bears loose their fear of humans and wander closer and closer to people's homes, at which point they become a danger. Really we are the danger in not behaving responsibly in the first place; I hasten to add we did not leave the bus, but took the picture from an open window! Later a more familiar traffic jam, that we had assumed was road works turned out to be a rock fall, just another little hazard along the way!


Fortunately we didn't need to "chain up" - one reason we wanted to cross the mountains before the weather breaks.


With each day Malc became more relaxed and comfortable. Bree behaved impeccably even when the going was tough. Toad didn't put a wheel out of line either! Perfect weather, quiet roads and oh those unforgettable dramatic views.
 
So here we are back in Calgary, to be honest the thought of driving over the Rockies in Bree was scarier than the act. We took it easy, we even overtook some of the slower trucks on the inclines :) obviously the weather helped, it would have been a very different story in the rain or snow. Actually the day after we got back snow fell on the mountains and the weather programme showed a very different snow covered scene of Lake Louise compared to our memories of that sunny spot.
 
Mum flew home and is now back safe and sound, however from our experience on the way out and the story from her of the journey back - DON'T FLY WITH THOMAS COOK AIRLINES  - But that's another story - if Canadian Affair continue to use this airline they will loose a lot of customers :(
 
Hey, on a good note we get to stay and you get the next few months of our stories and pictures :)
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