Sunday, October 15, 2006

Homeward Bound...Our Cross Canada Trip...West to East

Heading Home

Here is Richard planning our route home to New Brunswick.

When we got back on the main land we traveled through the Okanagan Valley,Revelstoke Glacier National Park, Rogers Pass and Kicking Horse Pass. The scenery was awesome...360 degrees of WOW!!

Our destination was Banff National Park. It was here where the glorious Canadian Rockies shone! We parked our RV in Tunnel Mountain Campground for two nights. Every half hour a bus passed right by the gate of the park to take up to the Town of Banff.

A town like no other, people everywhere and nobody in a hurry, it was a shoppers paradise. We made our way to the VIC in the middle of town to plan our days. We were directed to 'Discover Banff Tours'.

Lake Louise, at last I've seen it for myself, the real thing, not on a calendar. We just sat there on the many benches supplied and marveled at it's beauty. Lake Louise is surrounded by the peaks of Mt. Victoria. There were kayakers paddling leisurely and hikers heading for the many trails around the lake. Not us, we just looked and looked and looked.

Later that day we made our way up to the world famous Banff Springs Hotel. I just stood in the center of their receiving area and turned around and around shooting pictures. The Hotel went on and on and on.

The next day we got up early and joined many others as we boarded a tour bus that took us over the Icefield Parkway. This roadway is one of the most scenic roadways in Canada, one of the most spectacular mountain highways in the world. The terrain that this highway took us through showed us one of the few places in the world where features of the ice age still exists. The Icefield Parkway joins Jasper and Banff National Park and parallels the Continental Divide.

Once we arrive at our destination we board 'The Ice Explorer,' an all-terrain 6-wheeled vehicle. Richard and I stood beside one of the wheels to get our picture taken, the wheel was far higher than we are.

This trip onto the Columbia Icefield lasted 90 minutes. We traveled over ice that was 365 meters (1,200 feet) thick. The icefield covers an area five times bigger than Manhattan, more than twice the size of Vancouver. The icefield reaches into two Canadian National Parks and two provinces. It surrounds eight separate rivers of ice called glaciers, including the easily accessible Athabasca Glacier. The meltwater from the icefield feeds three oceans: the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic. We brought home a bottle of this meltwater.

We have charted out a different route to get us back to where we came from. When we got to Ottawa we stop in for a visit with Richard's sister Eva and her family. Her two grandsons, Michael and Curtis took us on a night tour of Ottawa, how nice that was.

On the road again seeing different places and different scenes all just as memorable as on the way out, but with one difference, we were homeward bound and our stops became fewer and fewer.

It was good to see the 'Welcome to New Brunswick' signs. The grandchildren were waiting and our kids were anxious to hear about our trip. As we near the turn to take us into Salisbury we contemplate what the trip has meant to us.

We feel we have a better connection with our fellow Canadians, and a great respect for each Province. We have done a fair amount of traveling in the past, but none has yet to compare to our own wonderful country we call home...Canada!

Day 26...Our Cross Canada Tour...East To West

Day 26

What would a trip to Vancouver Island be without a visit Victoria and the all the splendor of The Butchart Gardens. As we passed through the gates all I could think about was that I wished my daughter Lois, who has a budding greenhouse business, were here with us.

This National Historical site was celebrating it's 100 birthday, and what a treat it was all 100 acres of it. My camera was never turned off all the while we walked through. We had our lunch in one of it's many dining areas, and of course we were encompassed about by flowers and greenery.

It was a real treat for both of us and it was great to be able to recognize and name most of the flowers within the garden. The fountains and waterfalls enhanced everything and everyone around them. The place was teaming with young and old alike, and all in the same picture taking mode that I was.

For your own delight go to their site at

Monday, October 02, 2006

Day 21,22,23,24,and 25...Our Cross Canada Trip..East to West

Day 21,22,23,24,25.

The first night on Vancouver Island we stayed at a great campground called Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV Park. The next morning Ivan and Mary arrived bright and early, we followed them home, parked our RV in their driveway and stayed the rest of our visit in their home, where we were treated royally.

On our first full day on Vancouver Island, Ivan and Mary took up to the magnificent Cathedral Grove. Cathedral Grove, in MacMillan Park, in the centre of the island, is one of the last accessible forests of giant trees remaining in B.C.

It was a marvelous walk through, not only to see these great trees, but to listen to Ivan's stories. Ivan is a retired West Coast Logger (Faller), and the very trees we were seeing were just like the ones Ivan cut down during his working years.

Ivan left his home in Weldon, Albert County, New Brunswick in 1949 at the tender age of 15. His mother packed him a lunch, waved goodbye as he boarded the train heading west. The trip was eventful to say the least. Before arriving at his destination he had to find a job along the way in order to finish it. When he arrived in Nanaimo he had two cents in his pocket and a bag of pears. There along the waterfront he spent his first night under a bridge by a big tree. At that time the population was 3,500 and today the population of Nanaimo is 80,000.

Later in 1953, Ivan's brother Ralph made his way west to join Ivan, and in 1960 the youngest brother, Leon arrived. So the Parker brothers, from the little community in Weldon, N.B., helped to get the logs to the mill that were used in the expansion and growth of Vancouver Island.

In the Cathedral Grove there are 800 year old Douglas firs that survived the great forest fire that swept through the area 300 years ago. The greatest Douglas Fir tree in the park measures 3 meters in diameter, and stands 75 meters high. Six adults holding hands could encircle this tree. Other trees in the Cathedral Grove are Western Red Cedar, Western Hemlock, Grand Fir or Balsam Fir and the beautiful Broadleaf Maple. To learn more about this Grove go to

The next day Ralph and Joan took Richard and I to the town of Chemainus, world famous for it's murals. In the early years Chemainus was a thriving logging town, but when the industry died so also seemed the fate of the town. In 1982 the people of Chemainus invited internationally known artists to use the town as a canvas. Today, more than 37 murals and 12 sculptures depict the town's history. Soon the tourists came, gift shops sprang up, restaurants, tour operators began businesses, art galleries, theatre festivals, antique malls and hotels. The future of the little town that wouldn't give up is now a destination for all who arrive on Vancouver Island.

Our last night on the island my three cousins and our spouses enjoyed dinner out and a leisurely walk on the waterfront enjoying our reaqainting time together. Ivan drew my attention to a big tree and the nearby bridge and said,
"Hay Sharon, see that bridge, that's the bridge I slept under back in 1949 when I landed on Vancouver Island."

I'm going to go back to visit Ivan and Mary, Ralph and Joan, Leon and Mary, only sooner then I got there this time, but the next time I'll fly.

Day 19 and 20...Our Cross Canada Tour ..East to West

Day 19

It was time to come down off our mountain, as much as we hated to. As we made our decent early in the morning, the fog was still tangled among the tree tops in the valley below us.

We took highway 24, a beautiful drive. The road climbed to 1311 meters above sea level. I thought about the color of the water. Below the lakes and rivers were a milky green from glacier run offs and above they were emerald green.

Richard and I made mention of the deer fences and soon after seen four deer. We came upon a mother and her fawn. We had to come to a complete stop as the mother tried to make up her mind which way to go. It was cute to watch the fawn follow it's mothers indecisive path.

At 11:30a.m. we came upon a giant flea market. We stopped and bought some home cooking and a couple of Alberta Beef hamburgers. We had a great chat with the vendors, who too planned a trip like ours for next year. The lady was originally from Sherwater, outside of Halifax, N.S. As I browsed around I stopped at one particular table of interest and felt a little soul brush up against my leg. I looked down and there was a dear little child about the same age as my granddaughter Sophia. I had the greatest urge to kneel down and hug her, of course I didn't, but that was my first pang of lonesomeness for my grandchildren, then it spread to missing my kids. Boy wait till we get our cell phone bill.

It wasn't long before we entered Clinton County along highway 97. How unique! It was like entering a different world. You were in desert like hills and oasis like valleys. The valley floors were the most lush green color I have ever seen. My first thought was that they were golf courses. There were cattle, horses and sheep. The valley floors were irrigated from one side to the other.

Just a half a day farther another world! The area was called Frazer Cove. It was as thought a giant had come along and scrapped the tops off the mountains leaving deep valleys below. The tops were so flat and so green and again irrigated from one side to the other. Later as we set up camp in Lillooet, along the Frazer River, I learned that on those mountain tops are grown the worlds best ginseng.

Day 20

The little town of Lillooet, one of the oldest communities in British Columbia, is carved right out of the side of the mountain. Many people have compared Lillooet to that of Switzerland.

We fill up with gas and head west on highway 99 toward Whistler. What and where we traveled next is almost undisribable, and no photo could ever do it justice...The Frazer River Valley Drive.

The height and depth and magnitude of this area literally makes you dizzy. We found a spot along the windy road to stop so I could take a few pictures. Before looking up I had to make sure I stepped well back from where I was just looking down.

The road is winding, narrow, no guard rails nor cement imbotments and Richard is on the outer edge. I keep an eye on him just to make sure he's not gocking around. Next I'm on the outer edge. This is no route for the faint of heart.

I can't help but smile at these signs, 'Slow Down' well, who wouldn't. One says 'Fasten Your Seat Belt' I think to myself, 'what for.' If you ever went over the edge a seat belt wouldn't be of any account. There were signs that gave directions to 'Run Away Trails', just encase your breaks give out, now what does that tell ya?

The road is still winding upward, now we're heading down hill. At last we're on the valley floor again. It feels good.
"Ohhh shit, we're climbing again. Oh good not so high this time." The valley floor is so deep, lush and green and there are parts I'm sure the sun never shines.

We breeze through Whistler, we're both anxious to get to Vancouver Island. At about 4:00p.m. we board the ferry at Horseshoe Bay. Just lay back and chill out after our days adventure.

We found a campground, made a call to my cousin, Ivan Parker and his wife Mary. Ivan comes on the line and the first thing he asks me is,
"When are you coming out for a visit?" and I answer him,
"How about tomorrow." Well now let me tell you was he surprised or not. We made plans for them to come and get us in the morning.