Thursday Sept 5, 2019

There are train rides … and then there are rail journeys. There’s your weekend chug-a-lug to visit your favourite Aunt Gladys … and then there’s the Rocky Mountaineer: “the most spectacular rail journey in the world!”

No exaggeration: the past two days have been a blast! Following an early-Wednesday transfer to the Banff rail station, we settled into our luxury Silver-Leaf Service railcar aboard the famous Rocky Mountaineer train for a scenic rail adventure that took us almost 1000kms … up-up-up into the spectacular Canadian Rockies, then all the way to the west coast of Canada and Alaska.

In between being fed and entertained and waited on hand-&-foot, we enjoyed panoramic views out our big picture-windows of high mountain passes, rocky lakeshores, interior ranch-lands, and hold-your-breath tunnels. The food was delicious, and the highlights were numerous: the Continental Divide, the Spiral Tunnels, the Kicking Horse Canyon, Rogers Pass and Craigellachie – where the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven home.

Ours was a very long train – 26 classy railcars (some double-deckers), linked end-to-end, plus two generator cars, pulled by three giant diesels, and carrying 750 excited passengers. But, en route, we encountered several much, much longer goods trains – one of which was towing 180 fully-loaded carriages. (Ask Warwick, if you don’t believe me: he counted ‘em!)

A cosy hotel bed awaited us at the midway town of Kamloops in the heart of British Columbia. Then, this morning, our Rocky Mountaineer excursion continued its westerly direction – towards the Pacific Ocean and the coastal city of Vancouver. The views through our big picture-windows and overhead glass-domes kept changing – from the desert-like environment of the interior, through winding river canyons and pristine forests, to the coast and Cascade Mountains and the lush green fields of the Fraser River Valley.

Our rail romp ended several hours ago in lovely Vancouver … but those memories will stay with us forever. (Well, at least until we get home and can bore you with all our photos!)

COMING UP: We’re in cosmopolitan Vancouver, the envy of the Pacific Northwest, with rain forests and mountains back-dropping clusters of mirror-glass skyscrapers everywhere you look – and out on Victoria Island, the fabulous Butchart Gardens. So stay tuned …

PEOPLE-NEWS: We’ve got pink pigs to give away this trip – oink, oink – and the first little piggy has found a new home …

  • Tricia has won our ‘Breaking & Entering Award’ – for causing great consternation amongst hotel staff by locking her padlock-keys inside her padlocked suitcase. She called the front desk, and a willing young attendant came running – but he misunderstood the problem and brought with him only a pair of scissors. He, in turn, called security, and another young attendant showed up eventually with giant bolt-cutters. Tricia finally got to bed before dawn.

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to receive future Mad Midlife Travel Blogs in your INBOX, just sign-up (top-right) for your free Email Subscription! And if you’d like to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on the little speech bubble at the top of this entry, and add your comments! (Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief.)

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About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!

2 thoughts on “ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH

  1. Thanks John. It’s so exciting receiving your updates and being able to share my sister Denises experiences and to see pics of her on the trip. Just wish I was there too. Happy cruising all -bet it’s blowing your minds.

  2. Hi Coons
    What a treat aye. What memory making moments. It’s what life is all about aye. Just remember to breath when your senses are being bombarded with all this beauty and adventure.
    Missing ya. Love n hugz the Kerks

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