Our blog has now been set up, with this the first post. The blog is intended to serve simply as a diary of our trip. However, as we plan to update it regularly, daily if we can, it also means that anyone who's interested can keep up-to-date with what we're doing more or less as we're doing it.
We'll be posting links to photographs we've taken as we go along, but for convenience all photographs will also be pulled together here.
We'll be flying to Calgary on 31st August, and picking up a 25ft RV the next day - ours for the whole of September! The general plan is to do the Icefields Parkway in both directions, then pretty much Highways 93 and 3 to Vancouver, thence Victoria, Ucluelet, ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert (the Inside Passage) and back to Calgary.
Photos. As we haven't started the trip yet, these are just photos (not our own) of a few the places we hope to visit.
It's the day before we fly. Four days ago Fonerent informed us that they couldn't supply the Canadian USB data stick we ordered from them a month ago. In the meantime Colin has been on the phone to a couple of firms in Calgary, and it looks like we'll get sorted ok. The timeliness of the next blog will depend on whether or not we do!
Addendum - FoneRent were subsequently most apologetic about their mistake and have offered us free rental and a generous discount against calls on our next order.
Just in passing, calls to Canada (and USA) via 18185 cost 0.5p per minute. Bargain!
Half an hour into the flight to Calgary Colin discovered that the Nevil Shute he'd thrown at random into the rucksack, out of four he'd picked up from the Amnesty shop in Newcastle, turned out to be "No Highway". The plot centres around the mysterious crash of an airliner in Canada. He watched 3 1/2 films during the flight instead.
We spent much of this morning wandering around Calgary. We were puzzled by the lack of high-street shops, until we discovered that most of them are in malls, at first- and second-floor level, connecting via covered walkways over the streets at first-floor level and pretty much invisble from the streets outside. The purpose of this arrangement is to make shopping a lot easier in the winter.
Passing a Bell shop, we took the opportunity to buy a USB modem and arrange a month's internet connection. In the afternoon we picked up our RV, shopped for a few essentials and made our way to a campground on the western edge of the city, ready for the trip to Banff in the morning.
Up early and off to Banff. We had been told that one of the advantages of starting the holiday in Calgary would be to see the Rocky Mountains rising out of the plains in the distance, looming larger and larger as we approached. Our informant was right. Better still, it was a lovely day, and the mountains were looking their best. And we were very impressed.
In fact, the Rockies comfortably exceeded our expectations. We reckon they're the equal of the Dolomites in terms of their sheer scale, and the way they tower over the valleys, and in addition they vary hugely in their shape and character. You never know what to expect next.
All too soon we were in Banff, and made straight for the campsite above the town. This was in a beautiful setting, with nice plots amongst the trees. The only downside was a slight feeling of inferiority on our part, as we had one of the smallest RVs on the site. There are some very big RVs, particularly up from the USA.
After hooking up the RV to electricity and water we caught the bus into town, and spent the rest of the day wandering about. Banff is nice. It's somewhat touristy, as you might expect, but the setting is gorgeous and there are plenty of restaurants from a number of different national cuisines. We chose Italian for lunch, and I had pappardelle with bison meatballs. When in Rome ...
Photos - Alberta 1. A few photos from our first few days in Alberta.