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Published: October 6th 2009
Our last day with mom & dad in Georgetown.
Toronto to Vancouver
So after many months of waiting, finally Penny’s permanent residency visa showed up. That meant that we could now head to Vancouver. We said goodbye to my parents, and jumped in Beast for the highway to catch up with some college friends of mine in Northern Ontario on the way out of Ontario. We stopped in to visit Julie, and her husband Dave and kids. It was great to catch up, and to make things even better Julie supplied us with a big bag of home made cookies…they were awesome! Then we went to Christine and Steve’s friends of mine in North Bay, where I went to college (about 5 hours north of Toronto) where we spent the night catching up. The next morning we met Joanne another college friend and her new baby Zach, then went for a tour of Steve’s work which is a canoe/kayak factory….how cool! Then we went back to Steve and Christines for some pizza hut and a few beer before hitting the sack.
The next morning we met up with one last friend of mine from college, Jason. I hadn’t seen him since college, so that’s around 14 years ago!
The 3 Amigos
These are Julies children. Julie is a college friend of Scotts and is the maker of the best cookies on the east coast. Yum Yum!!
It was great to catch up, and he really hadn’t changed too much. After that Pen and I hit the road, we drove out to Western Ontario and after around 10 hours of driving through hundreds of miles of lakes, rivers, and forests we found a place called Lake Nipigon, which we just managed to get to before the sun set. It was a campsite that was shut for the season, so we just pulled up by the lake, snapped some pics of the sunset over the lake, and set up for the night. Great night, although we lost our lighter and had to have a dinner of cereal bars, a tomato each, and crisps/chips.
The next morning we made it into Manitoba where there was more of the same landscape, trees stretching as far as you could see, and long winding roads. Well, for the first few hours. Eventually the forests gave way to farmland, with big open fields of hay, and other crops stretching for miles and miles. After that there wasn’t a whole lot to see until we got up to Jasper. I had bought Stephen Kings “The Green Mile” from a wee bookshop in Quebec
After a few beers at Julies, Scott was bursting so we pulled into the next side road and this magic tardis toilet just showed up. Beats peeing in a bush
when I was there with my cousin Andre and his wife Elvira, as it happens Stephen King had actually been in that book store which was pretty cool. Anyways, Penny and I had been reading it aloud to each other while driving (obviously the passenger was reading) and we think that the book kept us sane through the hours of farmland we drove through. We camped in a truck layby with a toilet block, just outside Brandon Manitoba. As we were setting up the truck Penny heard some twigs snapping in the woods behind her, as it was dark she couldn’t see anything and came around to my side of the truck rather sharpish. As a result I ended up setting up on the forest side of the truck….just as well it wasn’t anything looking for a meal…thanks Pen.
We woke up and tackled a Marathon drive. We left Brandon Manitoba and were in Edmonton by 8ish that night. That means we drove through 3 provinces, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Sasketchewan and Alberta were pretty much the same as the latter half of Manitoba. Lots of fields. Once in Edmonton, which is in Alberta we met up with a
We had lunch at Joannes and we had guests. Deer in the backyard.
couple of gals we had spent some time with in Scotland, Charlotte and Katie, we had a catch up over some cheesecake and nacho’s then Pen and I drove on towards Jasper National Park. Pen and I slept in a carpark of a campsite (we pretty much camped for free most of the way out, cheap buggers that we are) halfway between Jasper and Edmonton. The next morning we were up very early, so that a) we didn’t get busted and b) so that we might see some wildlife. When we were around 30 mins from Jasper we saw a few deer in different spots along the road, and then we saw a coyote running across the road…that was awesome, I don’t think I’ve seen a wild coyote. We got into Jasper and about 20 mins in we saw a bunch of cars at the side of the road. There was a herd of Elk in full rut! The males were running and butting into each other, locking horns as it were and the females were doing their best to stay out of the way! Penny was so excited she couldn’t get her lens on her camera…because she had it
Steve's Canoes Best
Steve's canoe and kayak factory, it was awesome, and Mr Bozman we were indeed thinking of you.
backwards and was trying to put the wrong end into the camera! We stayed and watched for about 20 mins before moving along to try and get to the Icefields for a hike. Along the way we got held up as they were using dynamite to blow up one of the passes through the mountains, to get rid of loose rock. As a result we had a chance to take a few photos of a glacier that just happened to be across from us. Fantastic view while stuck in a traffic jam! Then we got to our hike, and sadly it was shut down! So instead we drove straight through to Banff, and then Calgary to meet up with Patrick and Andrea. The drive from Jasper to Banff is definitely one of the highlights of the trip. We were in awe as we drove up, over, through and around snow capped mountains, glaciers, and glacial green rivers and streams. The mountains as Penny said, really made you feel small. After a few hours of breathtaking scenery we made it to Patrick and Andrea’s, Andrea and I worked together while we both lived in Scotland for a few years. They just
Sloth & the Beast
Scotts college friend Jason aka Sloth, arriving in his hippie mobile ( VW Mini-Bus ).
had a little girl named Gibson, so it was nice to catch up and meet Gibson, as well as treat ourselves to the local ice cream shop….where I managed three satisfying scoops of sorbet while the others enjoyed some top notch ice cream. Then as Penny and I were fighting the urge to just pass out on the couch we slunk off to pass out.
The next morning we said our goodbyes to Andrea, Patrick and Gibson then drove to Banff and went for a hike to see the Inkpots which was fantastic, it was very much what you’d expect to see in Jasper/Banff. We hiked along a glacial river which was crystal clear, up through a few miles of forest, past a number of waterfalls which emptied into emerald green pools of water, and up into an open meadow surrounded by mountains. There we saw the inkpots, which were pools of water of various shades of green due to the continual streams of water trickling into the pools from underwater springs, and bringing sediment with them. The sediment determined what colour green the ink springs were depending on what type of sediment, and how much there was in
We made it just in time to see the sunset over Lake Nipigon. Gorgeous!
the pools. We stopped to have a small bite to eat admiring the views before hiking back down to the truck. Then we drove on hoping to get to Lake Louise to snap a few pics at sunset, sadly we took the slow road and missed sunset.
We did get to see Lake Louise but it was dark, and so we changed our minds and instead of camping in yoho national park, we slept in Banff that night in an actual campsite for a change, and since no one came to take any money off us we legged it early in the morning and went to lake Louise for some daylight photo’s. For the record, it was Penny’s idea to skedaddle without paying. Anywho, after lake Louise we went to Yoho national park where we stopped at Emerald lake, which was definitely worthy of it’s title, and also saw a waterfall that had carved a natural land bridge. Then we settled in to drive on to Kamloops where we were planning to spend the night before heading to Vancouver. We stopped in Revelstoke where I looked at a Trek Remedy ( a mountain bike) and came close to buying
Schools out, for summer
No kids on this playground, hopefully they're all tucked in at home cuz it was cold that night.
a Giant Reign X (mountain bike) for $2300 which was a fantastic deal…but in the end I didn’t want a Giant Full suss, I wanted a Cove Stifee hardtail…so off we went for Kamloops where we made good time and opted to drive straight through to Vancouver, again surrounded by mountains and forests, and reading the Green Mile. A pretty happy place.
And so we arrived in Vancouver around 8pm, and were greeted by my brother at his place (which was also going to be our place for 6 months) and surprised by Ally! Who was a bridesmaid at our wedding! So we spend a week catching up with a few friends, organising our trip to Africa, and organising delivery of our goods we’d shipped from Scotland. Somewhere in there I managed to buy a Cove Stiffee mountain bike, and squeeze in two rides before Pen and I jumped on a plane for Lima Peru. So that’s what we were up to, and where we are in our little journey. Stay tuned for an update from South America!
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