Tag: Kicking Horse Mountain

655. Sunday 23rd December 2018. Life begins, a life ends, a White Christmas and a long drive to Mackay…

Monday 17th December

For the past week or two I have been reminded of different parenting styles…by birds.

We have a little park on Biggera Creek just 20 metres from my door. Last month a pair of Masked Plovers hatched 3 chicks.

A pair of Ducks hatched 11 chicks.

The Plovers would take turns sitting on the clutch and the other would swoop and dive bomb anything or anybody who got too close…in Plover terms. Plovers have spurs on their wings designed for attack. Usually the one on the nest will squawk and attract your attention while the other silently glides in on an attack trajectory, giving a high pitched squawk at the last moment. If you fail to heed that and subsequent warnings they really attack. Plovers are the worst parents. Once the chicks are hatched and can move around the little balls of fluff on long legs run in different directions. The parents spend the rest of the day squealing and squawking to get the youngsters to stay near home. Of course the youngsters go in three directions and mum and dad can only cover two. As they round up one chick another goes in a different direction. This goes on all day and really gets annoying. They are probably the Bogans and dysfunctional family of birds.

Ducks on the other hand seem to just plant their eggs somewhere out of the way and never put up a fuss unless you get real close…then they chase you.

When the 11 chicks hatch mum and dad take them for an orderly walk and even a swim. A few quiet quacks and the chicks line up and follow the parents. No noise, no confusion just orderly parenting.

Wednesday 19th December

I was awake by 5am and off to The Broadwater for a walk.

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Looking across The Lagoon on The Broadwater towards Surfers Paradise

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About halfway it began to rain so it was just head down and plough forward. I heard my mobile phone “ding” with a message but l knew it could wait until I got home and got out of my wet clothes. The message was from Donnis.

Donnis had gone to Canada back in October because she wanted to spend time with her mother, believing she did not have long to live. Despite a fall and a broken hip and surgery and a move to a new nursing home, Dorothy seemed to be doing fine. Donnis had said that she now needed to ensure her mum was settled and her care plan was in place and she would be returning to Oz around New Years Eve or a day or two later.

The message on the phone was Dorothy had passed away a couple of hours earlier. RIP Dorothy.

Although Dorothy was 92 and a birthday due on Boxing Day, she was in good spirits and not ailing at all. Her death was not expected so it came as a bit of a shock.

Friday 21st December

Woke at the silly hour of 5am and went to The Broadwater for a walk. 171218 landsend1171218 landsendOh what a wonderful morning, oh what a glorious day. Mornings like this make you want to breathe deeply and just keep walking. I recognise people who are out and about at the same time and on a nodding acquaintance with some. By 6am the delightful cool sea breeze is beginning to struggle with the biting heat of the sun. The heat is OK but it is the humidity, which at this time of year is uncomfortable. Still that’s what air conditioning is for. Now, where did I put the remote AC control?

In fact before midday I turned on the AC. It was becoming too humid and I think that is why I have had a restless sleep most nights this week.

Slowly I am packing my suitcase and car.

In the meantime Donnis has gone on a family road trip with daughter Alecia and Sister Joan to join niece Simone, her husband Lazar and his parents Ivan and Maia. 211218 mountains (1)Snow and ice all the way and the chalet has a thick coating of snow.

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All snow and ice photo credits belong to Donnis.

They will be there for Christmas and unsurprisingly they will have a White Christmas at Kicking Horse Mountain, Golden, British Columbia.211218 mountains (2)211218 mountains (3)211218 mountains (4)211218 mountains (6)

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When you are up in the mountains, it is dead of winter, there is snow and ice all around and you just have to have a barbecue. Ivan doing what he loves.

Saturday 22nd December

I left sleepy land at 5am and could not get back to sleep. I completed the packing and was away by 6.15. The plan was a 6 hour drive and I decided to leave the main highway and explore some back roads. Back roads and logic do not go well together. In some places the road was down to one lane and cars approaching each other give way by driving onto the dirt shoulder. That is not always easy. According to my logic and a few cryptic road signs if I stopped for fuel at Gayndah I should be able to connect with the Bruce Highway. Yes and No said the man at the fuel station. Yes it will connect about 200 klms further north near Rockhampton. No it will not connect anywhere near Gin Gin or Bororen. I needed to retrace my steps to Ban Ban Springs and turn there to join the Bruce.

Grrr!

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On the road from Ban Ban Springs to Gayndah I saw this little house on top of a hill
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Zoom a little bit.

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The magic of inbuilt vehicle bluetooth meets spots of no signal along isolated pockets of the highway. Via Facebook Messenger I was able to speak with Donnis, who was in a mountain lodge surrounded by snow in Canada. Trying to talk with my daughter Shelley, about 1,000 Klms to my north was less successful via the normal mobile phone signal. The signal kept breaking up to the point we had to hang up.

I made it to Bororen about 2 hours later than planned. Oh well. At least I am here. Considering the amount of traffic on the roads I encountered about 10 idiot drivers who greatly exceeded the speed limit, passed on corners and generally displayed a lack of driving courtesy and respect for other road users. All but one were P platers.

After dinner a big electrical storm with lots of rain arrived. Grrr! I just washed i30 yesterday. The rain and light show continued for another hour after which it just rained although not as heavily.

Sunday 23rd December

Another long day of driving. Once again it was interesting to note the difference in fuel prices along the highway. How can there be a difference of twenty plus cents on a litre of fuel betKicween towns which may be only 50 Klms apart and how can small towns have cheaper fuel than the cities?

The closer I got to Mackay the more I realised I was heading into one big storm. At this point I will digress and say, If I have not mentioned this before, the drive from Rockhampton to Mackay all 380 Klms of it must be the most boring drive I have encountered. I suppose because I have driven it so many times it just gets more boring every time.

The storm I could see ahead dumped a huge amount of rain in Mackay before I arrived. All the creeks and rivers and gutters and canals were raging waterways by the time I arrived.

It was still raining when I arrived but I know that as soon as the sun comes out the humidity levels will soar. Last week Mackay had a couple of days with temperatures pushing 40 degrees.

Donnis is staying with Ivan and Maia and Simone and Lazar at the chalet on Kicking Horse Mountain.  Lazar Velev sent me some photos he took while skiing in the back mountains where chair lifts and gondolas cannot take them. He and two friends use Ski Doos to take them up the mountains to the best powder snow and drop offs. They also carry back packs with gear they will need then enjoy the virgin snow. All photo credits to Lazar Velev.221218 trees221218 ski doo221218 powder2221218 powder1221218 powder

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Bohdi the Huskie likes nothing better than to join Lazar in the wilderness. Below the world is covered by a thick blanket of fog.

 

 

A HAPPY, SAFE and HEALTHY CHRISTMAS to all.

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618. Tuesday 29th, Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st May 2018. Head cold, Calgary, reflection on train trips and tips, an invitation and a long hike in the Rockies…

This is a big post and includes many photos.

Tuesday 29th May

Today I was left all alone in the house. I have a head cold waging war in my umm err head. Donnis did not want me to go to her mums nursing home and spread germs. Joan went to work and I just stayed inside trying to keep warm and sleeping often. During those coldish waking moments I thought about the train trip with which we commenced our US and Canada journey. The trip began in Seattle, we changed trains in Chicago and again in Buffalo before arriving in Niagara Falls Canada. Originally the trip was scheduled for 4 days and ended being of 5 days duration.

I always had this want or need to go on a long train journey. A train with an overnight sleeper car and a dining car. Previous train trips were on suburban trains to go to work. Once when I was transferred for work I took a trip from Sydney Central Railway to Wyong a journey of only a few hours. Some years ago I went on a train from Taree to Sydney Central Railway. Although the journey was a few hours longer the train had a café bar.  You ordered and paid for a meal from a limited menu and were given a coloured tag. When they called your colour you made your way to the café car to collect your meal which was in a foil container and you are given plastic cutlery. You take that back your seat and eat automatically. By that I mean no relish or enjoyment. You eat automatically. Imagine if you will all the people around you are eating a chicken casserole called on a blue tag. Others like me still have a green or red tag waiting on a call for our colour. It did not seem a civilised way to enjoy a meal.

The Amtrak meals were certainly civilised with table service, several choices plus sides, wine, soup and dessert. The table cloth while not being linen was white paper which was removed after each group f 4 finished eating. Sitting alone was not approved. Proper cutlery and crockery – well, the crockery was the Melamine type.  Oh and plastic glassware and the coffee was served in take-away cups but the cutlery was real. We also noticed people were leaving a gasp shock horror, TIP. We had never planned to tip although Donnis who has been brought up in a tipping culture was afraid we would not get proper service unless we tipped. That seems like blackmail to me. One couple who we had several meals with, discussed tipping. I asked how much tip do you leave? She answered, this is my last $5 so this is all I can tip. Why do you tip?  Because the staff only receive a minimum wage. Oh how much is that? We do not know. Then how do you know they are on minimum wage? Because…well …well because that is what we have been told. What if you are on a minimum wage, do you still tip somebody else on a minimum wage? Ummm don’t know. What about pensioners on a minimum fixed income, do they tip? Don’t know. They did finally comment that on their next meal they had no money left with which to leave a tip and they feel uncomfortable. On average they try to leave 15% of the value of the meal as a tip. In restaurants it is suggested the tip is 20% or 25%. On this train trip the average wait person would serve 10 tables per hour. The average meal would be $100 per table. Do the maths on an average of 10% tip per table, that’s an extra $100 per hour in tips. Tax Free! On top of the minimum wage. The service is no better or worse if you do not tip.

I did some research on minimum wages. US rates are all over the shop with 51 states having different minimum wages but averages out at $7.25 per hour. Almost slave labour with wait staff virtually begging for handouts. No wonder they beg for tips. Employers do not want to change the minimum wage as it is simpler to pay wait staff less and let them survive on tips. It’s less paperwork and less they have to work out meal prices to include a fair and living wage. Americans and Canadians for that matter think food prices are cheap. Mostly they are not. The advertised price might look cheap but once you add on GST – each province has a different rate – from as little as 5% to as much as 25%. Then a tip goes on top of that.

In Canada the average minimum wage is $11.70 and the same tipping game goes on there.

In Australia the average minimum wage is $17.20 with a rare occasional tip.

Recently we had coffee and a doughnut. We had to pay at the counter then wait for our name to be called to collect the coffee and take it back to the table ourselves. We used a debit card to pay. Instantly 25% was added to the cost for a tip. There was no service yet we were still expected to pay a tip.

Luckily the US has $1 bills so if you are the tipping type you can carry a big bag of small denomination money to pay all the little tips. On the train we never saw anybody tip with coins. They always threw notes onto the table.

Canada only has coins for small denominations – just like Australia.

Now back to the train trip. It was fun for the most part and we never got bored. For those contemplating a train journey and if you are a light sleeper or have trouble falling asleep, be aware a train journey may not rock you to sleep. It may rock you awake. If the train picks up speed to maintain a timetable the carriages will begin to sway side to side. There is also a very slight forwards backwards motion none of which seems apparent during the day. Then there is a clickety clack which you do not seem to hear during the day. As well, going through rural areas the driver is required to sound his horn when approaching crossings without warning lights. At night the horn sounds often. Again it is not something you hear during the day. If you get a chance to fall asleep during the day do so

Would we do another long train journey in the US? Probably not! For the most part normal coach seats are quite comfortable and have access to the same dining facilities. On journeys up to 12 hours I would agreeably do another train journey but not overnight. I did not fall asleep easily. I do not fall asleep on long plane flights either. I should also mention that as “room” passengers we were entitled to First Class Services where available. Chicago Union Station has a First Class Passengers Lounge which includes a baggage storage area. They also provide free food and drink which changes throughout the day. They provide lounge chairs, dining tables with chairs and benches for working on computers. Power outlets are beside almost every seat. Local TV and WiFi is included. I have no idea if there was a similar service at Seattle but we did not see such a service.

Finally try to preview the timetable. If you are expecting to travel through an area where you want to see special scenery be aware that some journeys may pass through that area at night. Our train went through the American Rockies which I wanted to see. Our train was 12 hours behind schedule when we passed through. Had we been on time we would not have seen the Rockies in daylight.

Wednesday 30th May

The day started quietly as I struggled with the head cold. Donnis and I planned to go to Costco before she visits her mum.

Then came the phone call from Ivan and Maia. “Do you want to go to Kicking Horse Mountain for a few days?”

“Yes!!!”

“Be ready in an hour.”

I was.

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Late evening as we stopped for a bathroom break at Lake Louse Alberta. This is Mt Temple with cloud peeling off the peak.

Thursday 31st May

Ivan and I left for a hike. First we stopped at a conjunction of two rivers.

Kicking Horse River begins in Alberta and is fed by the snow melt from mountains on the north side of the valley.

The Columbia River begins in British Columbia and is fed by snow melt from mountains on the south side of the valley.

The rivers run westward on either side of the valley until they join at Golden and continue the westerly journey through BC as the Columbia River and enters the ocean in Washington State USA. Further east of the valley near Lake Louise another river begins, the Kootenay. This river heads south into Ohio and Montana USA. (readers may recall I mentioned the Kootenay as we travelled by train through USA) It then heads west then north back into Canada and joins the Columbia.

On our way to the walk I spied a small herd – flock – group – family of Mountain Sheep.

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A family group of Mountain Sheep loosing their winter wool.

They had a couple of young in the group and all are losing their winter wool. I noticed one, a buck who seems to have had his horns shorn or perhaps even broken in a territorial clash.

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There must have been a male soewhere keeping an eye on his flock, making sure I got no closer than the 3 metre limit I imposed on myself.

Today we did a gruelling 9 Klm return hike to Wapta Falls which is on the Kicking Horse River.   http://hikingwithbarry.com/2013/11/28/wapta-falls-yoho-national-park-hiking-bc

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Above Wapta Falls. Look at the massive rock the water pounds against creating a constant spray of mist.

I must be very badly out of condition as the walk drained me, especially as we took no hiking poles or worse, no water.  Later I realised we are high up in the mountains and oxygen levels would be far less than I am used to. Level walking or even walking downhill was no roblem. It was walking uphills when I suddenly found I was gasping for breath.

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Bodhi the Husky stands on a knob of land overlooking Wapta Falls.
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Bodhi was quite comfortable to stand on a precipice above Kicking Horse River.

The falls drop about 15 metres and immediately pound against a large rock in the middle of the river. This creates a huge spray which billows up above the river. The walk was steep and with few places to step unless you have poles or something to lean on or fall against, such as a tree.

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Wapta Falls.

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More Wapta Falls
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Looking through a wall of mist at the mountains looming over Wapta Falls.

Mid- afternoon, after our hike, we drove to the small town of Field which has an inordinate number of guest houses…all with no vacancy signs. Towns such as Lake Louise and Banff have a high No Vacancy rates due to expensive rents for seasonal workers. This little town is only a half hour away from those centres. Field supplies guest house accommodation for those seasonal workers.

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View from Field

We had lunch at Truffle Pigs a fancy old restaurant instead of the planned diner which we found, on arrival to be closed until mid June.    http://www.trufflepigs.com/lodge/

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The Truffle Pig.
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A view from the Truffle Pig at Field. Taken through a window and fly screen.
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This water tower at Field has been looking after the thirst of big train locomotives since 1930.

On the way home I spied a black bear on a hill above the highway.

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I was so excited when I spotted this bear. Look a bear! Where? There! Oh its only a log! No its a bear! at which point Ivan slammed on the brakes and pulled to the side of the road, the big 3.5 Ltr engine Dodge Ram rumbling in protest. I thought this would be the only photo I would get.

We stopped and I jumped out to photograph the bear.

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Then suddenly he stopped and turned still chewing on a flower as he moved away.

He was a little camera shy and annoyed but I had a steep hill and 4 lanes of highway between us.

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Even moving away it was obvious this was a big male bear. Look at the bottom of his foot.

I was sure I could escape into the car before he got down the hill. He trotted behind a log and hid, looking up occasionally to see where I was.

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The bear went behind a fallen tree to hid and to watch me.

When he was browsing on all four legs he did not look so big.

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He changed position while behind the tree still keeping an eye on me and seemingly getting annoyed and wondering what his next move would be. My next move was to put the camera away and climb into the truck. He then stood up on the log and performed an aggression pose to let me know he was not pleased by the intrusion.

Later as he stood and showed his full size I realised he was quite a mature fellow and by the look of his coat and size he is well fed even this early after the thaw.

The rest of the drive back to Kicking Horse was uneventful.

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Along the highway near Golden. These huge chain mesh screens are intended to stop falling rocks from crashing over the road. They work.

616. Sunday 26th May 2018. From Nova Scotia to PEI to Calgary, Alberta. From cold and rain to sunshine and warmth…

A slow week and a chance to just relax. Very few photos but stay tuned for next week.

Monday 21st May

Woke to brilliant sunshine with no fog or mist obscuring our view of Port Hood bay.

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Last night fog shrouded view.
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Our view this morning.

We are heading back to PEI today and we could have tolerated a wet day, instead we get a brilliant sunny day which is what we wanted yesterday.

Sigh!

We drove through three Provinces, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI.

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Throughout, New Brunswick Nova Scotia and PEI there are many wind farms.

Alecia researched somewhere for lunch and found Murphy’s Fish and Chips at Truro. It was some distance off the motorway but it is rated as the best fish and chips in Truro. It was a strangely located restaurant in what might be called a strip mall. Externally it did not look all that interesting but once inside, the décor made us feel more comfortable. The crowded tables also gave us more confidence. That said the fish is a local Canadian haddock and is quite tasty. Once more we were pleased they serve real fish and not the imported catfish, Basa, from South East Asia. Unlike many Australian fish and chipperies which serve up the yukky un- Australian Basa. Shame shame shame.

The highlight of the trip was from New Brunswick to PEI on the 12.9 Klm long Confederation Bridge.

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Joining the Confederation Bridge on te New Brunswick side.

There is a big hump in the middle to allow cruise and other tall ships to pass underneath. (I would not be surprised if an iceberg or two passed underneath too)

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Ahead is the hump where cruise ships can pass underneath.

Tuesday 22nd May

Today was a lay day for us to recover. Tyler went to work, Vianna went to school and Alecia went shopping for fresh veggies to take on her flights to Calgary when she returns to work tomorrow.

Checking our tickets which incidentally Air Canada have modified twice since we booked in December. We now have a 6 hour layover in Montreal before our connecting flight to Calgary. Grrr!

We called Air Canada and after a 23 minute wait were told there is not an earlier flight. Double Grrr!

We drove Alecia to the airport at 5pm for her several connecting flights to the Alberta oil sands site to begin work tomorrow.

Wednesday 23rd May

Up early. We drove Alecia’s car to the airport at Charlottetown and left it in short term parking for Tyler to collect later in the morning. At the ticket counter we found there is an earlier flight to Montreal. We were booked onto that earlier flight (at no extra cost but we did have to pay an extra $57 for our bags. There is no free baggage allowance) Instead of a 6 hour layover in Montreal and arriving at 9.30pm we now just have time for a quick lunch and arrive in Calgary at 4pm.

At Calgary Donnis neice, Simone was waiting for us but surprise, surprise so were Myah and Ivan were there too (they are Simones in-laws) Unbeknownst to all of us they were on the same flight as us. There were sitting just forward in First Class. They have just returned from a trekking holiday to the mountains of Peru.

We dropped Myah and Ian at their home. They have been travelling for more than 24 hours and are severely jet lagged. From there we went to Simone and Lazars house for dinner. Lazar used the last of his wild caught red salmon. He goes on an annual fishing excursion in the wilds of Princess Charlotte Islands which is north of British Columbia in the permanent ice fields and 365 days snow- capped mountains. He cooked the fish in his smoker/barbecue and we had a delicious smoked salmon dinner sitting outside. It is amazing really. We left the cold east coast of Canada and a few hours later at Calgary the temp is 27° and people are in shorts and Tshirts and can eat outside. We were somewhat overdressed in warm clothes and jackets.

Finally we arrive at Joan’s house, a hot shower and we were ready for bed.
Tomorrow is not planned although we expect family here in Calgary will make some plans for us.

There is talk about going to “the mountains” next week and perhaps joining Myah and Ivan for a few days travelling to Banff and on to Golden and to their resort ski lodge at Kicking Horse Mountain. Lazar commented there was still skiable snow there last week.

On the news tonight was a report that Nova Scotia had snowfall today. That would have been fun if it had occurred while we were there on the weekend.

Thursday 24th May

Another lay day. While Donnis went to visit her mother I stayed around home getting up to date with my notes and photo editing.

In the evening we drove to Ivan and Myah’s house for a barbecue.  Joan, Simone and Lazar rounded out the numbers. They put on quite a huge meal, Bulgarian style, including toasts with grappa. First up there was a cold yoghurt based Tzatziki  soup followed by various salads including a wonderful roasted capsicum in a simple marinade of vinegar and olive oil. The green salad had these wonderful Pickled Peruvian Peppers about the size of a little finger fingernail. Only then did we start eating the steaks which had been resting. Dessert was a tiramisu with fresh berries.

Lots of good food, good conversation and good fun.

Simone gave us the use of her Audi for a few days.

Friday 25th May

Today I tried to get a simple Pre-Paid SIM card from local telcos.

I will never (and I ask others to do the same) never complain about Telstra again. Telstra is easy to deal with, has Australia Wide coverage and phone and data costs are reasonable.

I tried talking with Freedom Mobile. Nope. Do not have a simple plan. Nope your phone is not compatible in our system. Try going to Telus. If your phone is not compatible on their system it will not be compatible anywhere in Canada. I mentioned I was on foot so he directed me to an obscure Telus office where I only had to cross two major roads. Funny thing about footpaths here in Calgary. They simply end in the middle of nowhere then start again 200 metres later.

The Telus office was obscure and the only officer there was curious how I even found the store which is located in a lcomplex mainly used by panel beaters and accident assessors. Geoff, who served me, said he has never had a walk in client in two years. Go figure.

Geoff, the only person in the store listened and retained what I told him. He used his SIM card in my phone and it worked. Next I needed a plan and this where we ran into the first of several hurdles. The plan for $45 included half a Gb of data and unlimited local calls. Hmmm! I will want to use it in British Columbia. It is no longer a local call and it will cost 61 cents per minute extra but data is Canada wide whereas phone is limited to the Province for which it is set up. I could pay an extra $5 per month to modify the extra fee down to 25 cents per minute. Sheesh! No problem said Geoff when you want to make calls from BC, call me and I will change your location. Hmmm!  I am getting a little antsy about now but agree to proceed. Now comes payment. Geoff could not get his computer to accept my Master Card Pre -Paid Traveller Card which I have used everywhere we have gone in Canada including buying meals, groceries, WalMart purchases, airline baggage payments and ATM withdrawals. He rang a colleague who, maybe, should be able to process the card. Nope! Nor could they process my regular Visa credit card. Telus will only accept Canadian or US based Credit Cards. WTF. Hmmm! Geoff found a solution. A 48 hour free call was attached to the phone so I can go to a convenience store and buy credit and then activate my account. But first they need an address. I do not have an address I am travelling and have no idea of my address because it has things like SE and SW and North and 98 street W in the name and I only walked the 2 Klms to get here and memorised the way so I can walk back. Hmmm! So Geoff uses his address. OK so far but wait. I have to pay $20 for the SIM card. OK $65 for the convenience is acceptable. But we are not finished. There is a $1 tax on the card.

Sigh!

I walk the 2.5 Klm to the convenience store only to find the minimum card is not $45 but $50. But wait there is still the tax to be added. The simple $45 pre- paid SIM card has now cost $73.50 and I can only use the phone and text part of the deal while I am in Alberta. If I want to go to BC to use the phone I have to get Geoff to change my location. The service by Geoff was fantastic. He went way beyond my expectations even when I was ready to call it quits early in our conversation. His dogged determination to get me what I wanted or at least most of what I wanted was worth a round of applause. The trouble is with the inflexibilty of the Telus and Canadian mobile phone system.

At least now we have access to Google maps so we can find our way around and people can call us and vice versa…provided it is in Alberta. It seems if somebody from BC or elsewhere calls it will be a long distance call. I am unsure after discussion with Geoff who pays that long distance call. The caller or the called?

Later… I looked it up on the internet. Hmmm! The Canadian system is complicated. It seems both called and caller pay a fee. Seems wrong to me but that’s the way it works in Canada.

Saturday 26th May.

It rained overnight but has since turned sunny. Maybe I can wear shorts again today.

As it turns out …no shorts.

In the morning we took Joan’s “truck” a Toyota Tacoma Ute, to the tyre depot to change to summer tyres. This is interesting. There is a set of tyres for winter conditions, big chunky knobbly tyres to cope with the snow and ice conditions. In the summer those tyres are not needed as they are uncomfortable, noisy and increases fuel consumption. It’s probably what helps to make a mess of local suburban streets. Today the tyres were changed to summer. The winter tyres are wrapped in plastic then stored in the basement near the furnace. Imagine if you will. Every house has a basement with a furnace and stacked nearby are a set of tyres with or without rims. I wonder what people do where there are several cars in the family!

I now understand why the suburban streets are in such a poor state and why there is a build up of fine grit or gravel on the edges of the road. During winter and the heavy snow a salted grit or gravel is laid down by road workers. The cars and trucks with their chunky tyres grind the git and slowly little holes are formed followed by bigger holes. The gritty substance gets pushed by the traffic to the edge of the road. Sometime in the spring…now… the grit is scooped up by front end loaders to be used next year. This further damages the roads.

Donnis and I used our new Telus pre-paid card with data to find our way to Simones house so we can water her garden. On the way back the data disappeared and so did the phone network. Using Joans WiFi I finally got through to an operator who explained my account was set up as a Pay By Use and not the $45 plan Talk Text and Data Plan I asked and paid for. Eventually after being on-line for nearly an hour they called me on the mobile, apologised and gave me an extra 500 Gb of data. I now have a $60 talk text and data plan. Tomorrow will be a test when we go to Andrea’s house for dinner.

Sunday 6th May

A whole day can go by leaving you wondering why it took so long to get things done. It’s the driving back and forwards to relatives living in different parts of the city.

Today was a good workout with our Telus data plan and it passed with flying colours.

After leaving Simones house – where we went to water her veggie patch – we were passed by an ambulance and shortly we were stuck in a gridlock of traffic. We turned around and had coffee nearby. After coffee we discovered the gridlock was even worse. Somewhere along our route had been a major accident. Luckily we were able to plan an alternate route  back to Joan’s house.

Apart from watering Simones plants again we drove to visit Donnis mom in a nursing home then took her to visit niece Andrea and husband Brett and their two boys. After a barbecued dinner we took mom back to the nursing home where Donnis decided to do a load of washing and drying. We finally left there at 8pm.

So ends the fourth week of our journey. It has been a pretty quiet week but things will get busy again in a few days and the camera will get a big workout again. I am looking forward to going into the mountains. There is still some snow and the black bears are moving around looking for food and lady black bears.