When looking for adventure with little back pocket pain, I thought to myself the answer is the train. With good price, good tempo and opportunity for grand vista, a cross-country epic is perfect for this mister. So with consulting Google and web pages quickly came a booking. On travels and pub talks this is the trip even Canadians are looking. With little regard for actual specifics, I embarked on a quest starting from the Pacific.
The first hurdle arose at the Canadian frontier, when Customs and Immigration gave an initial jeer. From scoffing aplenty at my seasonal choice, to disbelief at costing’s coming from my voice. Upon production of receipts and explanations of route courses, the border became open although they were remorseless. I was free to explore and built up excitement, the pre-cursors to the train offered much enticement.
In Toronto after Quebec came news much to my dismay, there was an accident resulting in possible delay. A Freighter had derailed in Ontario taking out a bridge causing much panic and fright, would train #1 from Toronto leave on the 17th, they could not shed much light. Later that week before Philadelphia came some mail of E, The first leg of the journey cancelled said no one with Glee. “Contact head office to make other arrangements” it went on to detail; Doubts on my epic would soon prevail.
On Bell’s invention I rang the toll free digits, on news of my options I began to fidget. Either cancel the epic and your way comes a refund without beg, or harness the power of flight and catch the train from Winnipeg. On consideration of the options as previously described, I weighed them carefully to deduce the prescribed. I’ll cancel my sojourn from Cleveland to Toronto, and hop on a jet and get to Winnipeg pronto.
A furious search on the Internets at the hostel while laundry I performed, produced the desired results but leaving my Credit Card scorned. Instead of two trains and a heap of delay, three birds I secured leaving two cities to holiday. Nights in Cleveland and Winnipeg I thought a treat, would become another I’d wish I had option to retreat. Cleveland was fine, leaving a taste so sweet but leg two of the flight at La Guardia tasted like feet.
New York beckons arrivals from around the Earth, but a departing flight seems impossible to berth. With WestJet planes landing, the wind will discount, leaving weary travels facing a board flashing cancelled and nowhere to mount. When secured comes a second flight surely from heaven, due to mechanical problems remains as grounded as a dropped piece of Devon. On board we were and taxiing away, only to re-port, an engine won’t play. No mechanics or parts to allay our worst fears, WestJet is forced to hotel us without any complimentary beers.
Luckily for me came Company in the wolf pack of two Traveller fellows, Courtney and Daniel had had there plans thrown by the bellows. We sat in the bar reviewing the saga and did so with the aid of a couple of lagers. When the second flight was cancelled sigh we three did, and headed to the ticket counter where staff had not hid. The night in New York was my only plan, Courtney agreed but Daniel had ran. To the Marriott we were shuttled with vouchers for dinner, at least I had company and she was a winner. At the bar we sat, with two Georgians near us, “I’ll tell you what” was the catch cry whilst beers we did bus. The Rangers game on TV for us to lorne, had we known earlier to Madison Square we could have gone.
In the morning to La Guardia from the Marriott at 5am, leg 2 shall start 24 hours delayed with $15 café voucher in hand. I received encouraging news from Via Rail, the Winnipeg departure, 10 hours delayed I did hail. For I would make it with ample time to spare, instead of having to plead with the gods for an option and pulling out my hair. Leg 2 to Toronto and leg 3 from there, went off without incident although a 5-hour layover is much to despair. No hassle from Border Patrol despite which I feared, seems this time I’m legal, perhaps it’s the beard?
On arrival in Winnipeg, I wanted a steed that’s not too pricey, the public bus at $2.60 would do just nicely. It dropped me downtown right by the station, a small walk past a museum would factor into the equation. To the staff I would need an urgent discourse, on reimbursement of fees and a place for a main course. “To the Forks” they exclaimed with directions I was getting, It led to place a place, the Olde Factory of Spaghetti.
Spaghetti and meat sauce was awesome and the view a pleasure, at the end of dinner I took a walk of leisure. It’s called the forks as two rivers do meet, for 6000 years it has been a place for friends to greet. Other interesting sights are in Winnipeg to view, shame the time was not right as the sky was changing its hue. At the Station I did wait until embarkation, whereby the train would need a new location. A Y turn it was called so Eastward we head, only to return minutes later correctly orientated the conductor had read.
Westward on the 19th we head, time had a 10-hour head start, the engineers did exclaim, “We’ll make this up in part”. From the outset it seemed this was unlikely, with Freight train after Freight train would be our blighting. That night I had hoped for Aurora Borealis, Only to find overcast conditions and Snow falling from Zeus’ great challis. Hopefully conditions would improve after my slumber, even though in hours, small they would number.
The next day saw Saskatoon on the Horizon, for me this was an opportunity for photography to rival my prized one. The GoPro I set up for a shot every minute, At Edmonton I’d cease to see if any shots where a winner. 8 hours later, still 10 hours behind; my experiment concluded a success in my mind. Similar deeds will need to be concluded as I drive through the states, some more SD cards are a small issue on my plates.
Edmonton saw the arrival of new friends in dozens; Dinner service began like a community of cousins. A pair of older ladies to which I was seated, provided great opportunity to see what Vancouver featured. A pleasant meal after which I’d retire, the aurora again was hidden in cloud mire. Much the same for sleep, in space a third of what I’m used to, stopping and getting out at Jasper at 1am takes a constitution robusto.
At waking the news was great for all passengers, in Vancouver we’d arrive 5pm so send all your messengers. After Kamloops it seemed all would be well, until an electrical fault did cause an unwanted hell. This delayed did cost us 2 hours for nothing, we could not recover but Rocky Mountains scene would provide us with something. As we trekked onward over the Fraser and Thompson we did cross, one muddy, the other clear they merged and coursed onward like a boss. “This sight is not seen by usual day trekkers, most are asleep or staring at the dark from observation decker’s.” Across a bridge 100 feet above the surface, gave an opportunity rarely in good grace.
On the 21st to Vancouver, with a couple of stops, delayed we’ll still be but with fresh photo crops. I know why the Rockies, these mountains are called. With Igneous, sedimentary and volcanic, supply is not stalled. They reach for the sky, touching clouds they eased, leaving all and sundry most assuredly pleased. The trip was delayed causing inconvenience, but would I do it again, in a heartbeat I would hence. The universe seemingly trying to keep me from Vancouver, but my resolve Karma could not up hoover.
Despite all the set backs and issues and blunders, with delight and fondness my heart, it thunders. They say it’s the journey that matters not just the destination, if that be the case my journey means most without supplication. For nothing easy is meant to be great, this trip for me must be like the building Empire State. It would have been easy to give it all up, but for stubbornness I thanks for this scenery glut.