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Published: September 7th 2019
The train leaves from Jasper at 9:30am and we plan on being at the station by 8:00am to get the bikes on the train and get our seat allocation. Things get a little tense when Jeff can't find his passport, but eventually it's found - in his pannier. I'm feeling a little better now because I "lost" my Garmin yesterday and it took Graeme to find it where I'd already looked four times!
At the station we book the bikes in and we help the porters insert our bikes into plastic bags and tape them up, and then lift them on to carts for them to be loaded as baggage.
At 8:45am the four of us get called for pre-allocation. Effectively they put us on a golf cart and drive us up to the carriage we'll be on and we get to pick our seats (apart from those already taken). We're feeling very special at this stage.
Things then get even better as Jill, the conductor, tells us we're free to wander up to the "Dome Car" any time we want. The Dome Car has windows that stretch up and overhead allowing an uninterrupted view as you are
travelling - who needs the Rocky Mountaineer - and all for $155 ! Needless to say we spend the majority of the day in the "Dome".
One of the highlights of the trip has been the people we have met along the way. On the train there was an eclectic mix of people from around the world travelling on the VIA. We all shared stories of what we were doing, getting to know a little about each other. Jim, a semi retired Engineer, was a local who could answer most of the questions we had about Canada. Cynthia and Charlot were friends from the US who had done a package holiday together. There was a guy from the UK taking a 6 month sabbatical and travellinig the world, and we were 4 guys from Australia cycling our way through Canada.
We were amazed at the relaxed nature of on the train. At various times the driver got on the intercom to advise us to get our cameras ready for a photo opportunity, and then would slow the train down to give us all time to get our pics. Another highlight was the live music performance. Ginger Saint-John was
a two person Country and Western team that pumped out about 8 songs which wasn't bad on a "rocking" train.
We ate from the meal service on the train for dinner which was quite good and we watched the darkness fall. Sleeping was not too comfortable. Although the seats reclined and had plenty of leg room, they weren't great to sleep on.
We rolled in to Vancouver just after 4:30am, which was 5 hours early but had to stay in the train until 6am as that was the earliest anyone would be there to unload our luggage.
So we're back in Vancouver with Chapter 2 of our adventure about to begin.
Tot: 1.016s; Tpl: 0.038s; cc: 12; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0099s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb