June 17th, 2015


Gonna ring rang-a-dong for a holiday

I've almost kind of definitely maybe for sure decided to take a holiday this summer. I've never travelled by myself before other than short trips to the mainland and the Sunshine Coast, and I decided that flying to another country was just too terrifying to contemplate (anxiety for the lose). Also, I still have problems with having to sit in one place with knees bent for very long, which would be a problem on a transatlantic flight.

I've decided, I think, maybe, for sure, probably, to go on a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer. That's a train. As per the name, it goes through the Rocky Mountains. I don't have a special interest in trains but I do have a special interest in mountains. I don't know if I could ever live in the Prairies where there are no mountains. The trip takes about a week and stops in Banff for two days, during which time they give you one day to yourself to explore Banff National Park (one day for a park that covers 6,000 square kilometres, that is) and a day during which you get a helicopter ride, a gondola ride and a bus trip so that you can see the mountains and the glaciers up close. I have never seen a glacier before.

I've read that there are plenty of geocaches to find in the park, and you get a special souvenir if you find three of them. However, I've also been told that they are not exactly walking distance apart. I don't drive, so I may be out of luck when it comes to geocaching in the park. I have also read, though, that there are (or, at least, there were in 2012) plenty of geocaches in the town itself.

One thing that does annoy me, though, is that unless I choose to take the train trip without all the extras (the visit to the park, the gondola ride, the helicopter ride), it doesn't go all the way to Calgary. I have to take a bus trip the rest of the way from Banff to Calgary, or (if I had a drivers licence) drive there in a rental car (there's one tour package that includes car rental, and there's one package that is just the train trip straight from Vancouver to Calgary.) I hope the bus trip isn't too hard on my wonky knee, and I also hope that I will be able to get up and move around on the train.

The reason I say that I have kind of sort of definitely maybe decided is that my anxiety is flaring up at the thought of doing all this alone. Monster doesn't have the money to come with me, and my credit card limit isn't high enough to buy tours for both me and him. Also, somebody has to take care of the cats for the time I'm away. I worry about navigating everything -- the ferry, the buses, the hotels, showing up at the right places at the right times, etc. To make things difficult and annoying, not everybody on the train stays at the same hotel. If you buy the super-deluxe gold package, you stay at a different hotel than the people who buy the less-deluxe packages. (I am going for the medium-deluxe package; my credit card goes up only so high and I want to pay it off as quickly as possible.)

The trip package lasts a week, and then I want to visit my cousin Michelle who lives just outside Calgary. She's my (if I understand cousin-ship correctly) second cousin twice removed, but my father's family is very close to even the more distant cousins. Michelle's grandmother was first cousins with my father. Then, if possible, I want to spend some time in Calgary and visit amigone and xanateria. Then I'll probably fly home on WestJet, because I don't want to take the bus all the way back to Vancouver. Via Rail doesn't go to Calgary, or I'd just take that so I can get another look at the mountains on the way home. Now I'm wondering if there is a way of getting to Edmonton, because I want to see the Alberta Legislature, and then I could take Via Rail from Edmonton to Vancouver.

I was originally going to do this trip in July, but there's a strong possibility of employment in July. If I want to pay for the trip without taking too much out of my savings, then I should take the work when I can get it.

I am also wondering how to take good pictures from a moving train. I will have to check the settings on my digital camera to see whether it has a setting for motion. I want to get a netbook or notebook computer to take with me so that I have something to load pictures on to from the camera as well as some way to look up geocaches and transfer them to my GPS device. My laptop is much too heavy. I bought it when I still had cataracts and my vision was sucky, so I chose one that had a big screen.