Viv and John Cussell

Pensiongapper

Viv and John Cussell

We are off travelling again! We are not backpacking this time, like we did last year in Borneo. Instead, we are venturing forth on a Grand Road Trip across Canada! We are flying to Lisbon on 4th May and after spending a few nights there we fly on to Toronto on 6th May. A rental car from Toronto will (hopefully) transport us across this vast country to Vancouver from where we fly home to Spain via Frankfurt on 29th June; eight weeks travelling across five Canadian territories, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, a journey of about 5,700 kilometres. We plan to make a few side detours along the way so the final kilometre total will be over 6,000. That is a lot of driving, which we will share. Mostly we shall follow the Trans Canadian Highway but as usual, we have nothing booked apart from a guest house in Toronto for the first three nights before collecting the rental car, so we shall go where the road takes us! When we get to British Columbia, we are also going to visit cousin Kaye and her husband Randy, who live on Vancouver Island. We might also get to meet up with Jake and Julie who live in Vancouver (Jake is cousin Eric and Sue´s son) if our itinerary enables us to. How nice it will be to get to the comfort of Kaye and Randy´s house after a lengthy journey and campsites and motel rooms!
We have bought a little two-person tent to take with us. Weather permitting, we shall enjoy pitching up at some of the many Canadian campsites in the National Parks across the country as well as using motels and other lodgings along the route. Several of the campgrounds have “Bear Fences” apparently!!! Our original plan was to hire a little campervan like we did some years back in New Zealand, however in Canada they are mostly huge beasts and also very expensive.
As usual, Viv will be the blog author and John will be the main photographer. We hope that many of our friends and family will follow our blog as in the past and feel free to add comments if they wish. So, lakes, forests, some experience of First Nation culture, maybe some kayak trips, bear spotting if we are lucky, Rocky Mountains and endless prairies of wheat await us! Plus, pancakes and maple syrup!



Europe » Spain » Valencian Community » Alicante June 30th 2019

Sunday 30th June 2019 Our journey home on Lufthansa went smoothly, and both flights were on time. The timing of the first flight, however, was not conducive to slumber, so we didn’t try to sleep, just watched movies. We got up at 8 a.m. on Friday, which was 5 p.m. here in Spain. We landed at Alicante airport twenty-four hours later at 5 p.m. yesterday. Needless to say, by the time we did eventuality get to bed here at home last night, we had been up for too many hours, so we didn’t do a lot today! Although travel is great, it was lovely to get home to our dogs, Mutley and Megan. Nick and Mam have a new little rescue dog called Flor. Actually, we thought that we were going to adopt her, but we ... read more
OUR CANADIAN BIG FIVE; Black Bear
OUR CANADIAN BIG FIVE; Bison
OUR CANADIAN BIG FIVE; Grizzly Bear

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Vancouver June 27th 2019

Wednesday 26th June 2019 After the diversity of our two-month journey through Canada, to end our trip in a beautiful city like Vancouver really is a Grand Finale! If one wanted to stay in a prime downtown location, with communal swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and gym, as well as private underground parking, one would need to dish out the dollars, unless that is, one has a second-cousin called Jake Veasey, who just happens to live in such a great place! How lucky are we! Jake and Julie have made our trip finale very special and it has been thrilling to stay in such a great place. Location! Location! Location! We have been able to park up and forget the car all together and walk to all of the interesting tourist sites around Downtown. Fabulous! We ... read more
False Creek
Granville Bridge over False Creek
False Creek


Sunday 23rd June 2019 Eleven intrepid travellers and one sea captain, set forth for three and a half hours this morning to navigate eighty-eight kilometres of ocean, in search of Killer Whales. The captain was Jimmy, a marine biologist from Victoria and the passengers comprised of five German tourists, four Canadians and John and myself (two brave Brits paying cheaper “Senior” rates). Our craft was a fast twelve-seater Zodiac, the only one on the west coast that has six double seats and a walk around edge, so everyone can stand up (if they really must) and everyone has a “window” seat (well they would if there were windows but the Zodiac is an open inflatable-rib boat); a great craft for close-up views of marine life. One doesn’t just don life jackets to get on board, we ... read more
Female Orca just 2 metres from our Zodiac...
...and her calf


Saturday 22nd June 2019 Our drive from the West Pacific coast to the east of Vancouver Island on Thursday was yet another sensational scenic and memorable journey. On the way we went to a Salvation Army “Thrift store” in a town called Duncan, which has a fair percentage of families in need (sadly a disproportionate number of these are First Nation communities). We spoke to the manager there who was delighted when we donated our tent, inflatable mattress and sleeping bags. She was so delighted with these useful items that it made our day. We arrived at my cousin Kaye and Randy’s beautiful home in Brentwood Bay on the Saanich Peninsular in the afternoon and spent a lovely evening with them. A speciality in the region is salmon barbecued on a cedar plank of wood. The ... read more
Butchart Cove
Cruising!
River otter


Tuesday 18th June2019 Dawn came early to Ucluelet harbour and by 6 a.m. the sun was casting golden shimmers in streaks over the water. Ucluelet is a unique natural harbour, reached from the ocean by a long inlet dotted with islands, from the jagged rocky end to this mountainous and deeply- forested peninsular. The Ucluelet Peninsular is surrounded by a distinct marine ecosystem full of seabirds, seals, sea lions, eagles, whales and sea otters. The forests are home to black bears, cougars, wolves, deer, moose and raccoons. Ucluelet means “People of the Safe Harbour” in the indigenous Nuu-Chah-Nulth language spoken by First Nation peoples in the area. It is one of the most beautiful harbour settings we have ever seen. The little Dixie 4, our cruiser for this morning’s marine tour, was skippered by her owner, ... read more
Dixie 4 with Captain Brain at the helm
Ucluelet inlet
All aboard!


Monday 17th June 2019 Yesterday, we left Squamish early at 8 a.m. to drive down the “Sea to Sky Highway” to Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver. To quote my friend Barbara in her last comment on my previous blog, Canada just keeps “giving and giving”; great way to describe it! As one drives down the Pacific coast, the sea of the Howe Sound shimmers on the left and the snow-capped mountains soar to the right. It is sensational, stunning and takes away breath! We stopped just once at Porteau Cove, it was rather misty and mysterious, the mountains looking pale grey above a silvery sea. By 9 a.m. we were at the ferry terminal in Horseshoe Bay. We were delighted to be told that there was room for us on the 11 a.m. ferry. We parked up ... read more
Porteau Cove
Horseshoe Bay
Horseshoe Bay, ferry dock on right hand side

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Squamish June 15th 2019

Saturday 15th June 2019 Yesterday we left Kamloops and headed for the hills once more: actually, they are of course mountains! From Kamloops to Vancouver, the fastest and most direct route is on either the Trans-Canadian Highway, or Highway 5. We actually haven’t been on the Trans-Canadian for quite a while, not since we left Lake Louise and ventured forth up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. The most scenic route however, is Highway 97 to Cache Creek and then Highway 99 to Lillooet, then over the mountain passes to Pemberton, Whistler and on to Squamish (where we are now) and finally following the coast down to Vancouver. What a drive! Fabulous! Yesterday’s drive took us to Turikwa Lake, following the Thompson River valley to Duffy Lake then down to the confluence of the Thompson and the ... read more
Log jam on Lake Duffey
Marble Canyon near Lillooet
Bridge across the Fraser River to get to Lillooet

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Kamloops June 13th 2019

Thursday 13th June 2019 Valemount is a sleepy little mountain town and we enjoyed two nights there doing very little! Either side of this restful sojourn, we had two days of driving, the first from Jasper to Valemount and then today from Valemount down to Kamloops (with a few cloud bursts and rolls of thunder to help us on our way)! We pottered around Valemount, sat in a quaint little tearoom, which was like Granny’s parlour and visited the Railway Museum. Fascinating place with artefacts carefully and proudly displayed. The museum is housed in the old Station Master’s house/railway station. It was once the focal point of the town and indeed the reason the town (which spreads either side of the track) is here. One part of the Station Master’s House also doubled at one time ... read more
Signal box
Caboose (Box Car)
Inside the Caboose

North America June 11th 2019

Tuesday 11th June 2019 We set off early on Sunday morning for a day trip to Lake Louise. By the time we got to the little town of Field, along the beautiful Kicking Horse Valley, we saw a large black bear grazing at the side of the highway. Unfortunately, we were unable to stop to take his photo; but we saw him and that is what counts. Made our day and it was only 9.40 a.m. Lake Louise is a tourist trap and there were so many tourists there (mostly Chinese and Japanese giggly girls waving selfie sticks everywhere)! We didn’t take the gondola or chairlift up the mountainside with them! It only went a short way anyway; not nearly as high and as panoramic as the magnificent ride in Golden. The Lake Louise lift does ... read more
The Emerald Lake
Lake Louise

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Golden June 8th 2019

Saturday 8th June 2019 In 2003 two little orphan male bears were brought to Golden in the Kicking Horse River valley. Their mother had been shot by trophy hunters. Sadly, one died shortly after arrival but Boo survived and is still here today, living in his own twenty-acre reserve on the mountain above the town of Golden. This is the largest single-bear reserve in the world. Following his mating instincts, Boo has escaped a number of times but then always voluntarily returned to his “home” on the mountain, where he is cared for by experienced rangers who give informed tours to visitors. He is a happy bear, he hunts ground squirrels and other small mammals in his reserve, where two mountain streams provide him with fresh water and coniferous forest provides him seclusion when he wants ... read more




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