Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 6 - Kelowna to the Rockies Banff

This morning I had my first experience with Pancakes with maple syrup at Dennys which was attached to our hotel.  I enjoyed it …  I think too much and it would be sickly sweet and drive me a bit nutty …  but overall good experience…  and everyone obviously loved the photo…  20 odd comments!!! Rose!!!!

Dennys pancakes 

Today I will warn you that this is where I started taking notes because frank was talking so much I couldn’t keep track of it all.  So it could get very detailed from here..  I really learnt the value of my travel book and later my bright pink travel book that I had purchased ages ago. 
Leaving Kelowna
We ventured out past the Okanagan lake which then flows into 3 lakes with our first stop was at Kamalakas lake…  which was pretty in the freezing cold and the colours that the clouds were giving the lake.  Overall the area is made up of 3 main lakes and one smaller Lake which was Mara lake which flows into Swan, little Brown lake and Kamalakas lake which is known as the lake of many colours.  This truly does have many colours especially around the edges.  We also saw Sicamous (pron: Sick a Moose) lake today which was really pretty.  I felt like I was giving myself whiplash that morning from the constant swinging head side to side to check out the scenery.
The lake of many colours

Kamlakas Lake

So pretty oh yeah and so cold 
Kamlakas Lake

The weather was not looking good with the cloud cover coming in thick and fast … by the time we got to the lunch stop it was just ugly.  We were heading into a area of the Okanagan that is primarily agriculture and logging so there was evidence of the industries was all along the way. 

We learnt along the way about the snowbirds which are the Australian Grey Nomads. With a lot the retirees once the cold hits they go.  So from November to March they go south for the winter so to speak because the Canadians can be in the states for 6 months straight. So the Okanagan valley has had a large amount of manufacturers of RV’s. They were everywhere and MASSIVE.   
Getting ready for Halloween at the swann lake fruit shop 

We started to follow the Columbus mountain range as we got closer to the Rockies and because we were still in a farming valley it was so quaint with the lush green valleys and the red barns everywhere, the old ranch home, stone bridges and log homes.  We found out that building with stone or brick to produce in Canada and because logging is the primary industry the majority of the homes are built with timber instead.

Yellow almost white peppers aka capsicum

We were heading to Banff which is 4500ft above sea level in the township so we were starting to feel the weather changes and the bad naughty rain filled clouds were following and fast! 
Pumpkins for Fall and Halloween

Our morning stop was at Swan Lake which was just a fruit stop with a working toilet and also some unique fruit and vegetables I hadn’t seen before.  Some of the English hadn’t seen them in the same colours…  We are the only ones that call capsicum by its true name … everywhere else calls it Peppers…  Green or Red or Yellow Peppers but today we discovered Purple and white..
Purple and White ones 

Also they don’t do red delicious apples but they do a variety similar which is really unique to the valley.  Also while we were there the girls and I had a chat about changing rooms and while we wanted the night off we were happy with our sharing digs so we had a chat with Frank and got a vague answer which annoyed me.  I don’t like that … and yes or no…  none of this …  it will be all sorted by time we get to Banff… I am sorry but that is not a answer … A no at this stage would have sufficed I would have much prefer that as I hate ambiguity in answers. 
finally colours i know 

As we progressed closer to the mountains the landscape started to really change.  The mountains started to grow and more rivers which were beautiful with glacier waterfalls falling down the shear rock faces.  The rivers had become to turn into lakes which were so dark but up close they were so clear and like mirrors on the surface. 
A red barn house..  they are everywhere 
The pretty lakes

We had a quick stop at the Last spike at Craigellachie which is where the last spike was driven into the Canadian Pacific railway. It was a cute little spot and still need to apologise to Carmel for losing her badge from there but still hoping that someone will go back for me J unless you want to ring Carmel it was run by the local historical society. We actually saw a train go and it was loud and blew its horn as it went through which is about the tradition of recognising the completion of the railway.

The river behind the old spike.. so peaceful and you could hear the river running 
Train going past very noisy 

We went through towns like Molacqua pron mole a lack qua which means mosquito..

Our lunch stop today was 3 valley gap can anyone say wow… cold but wow.  The sheer rock faces and the cloud hanging down over the rock faces and the 3 lakes that form the namesake of 3 valley gap.  The coldness combined with the quaintness of the hotel and restaurant complex complete with their own ghost town.  This is also where I remembered that I have a white balance option and changed it to overcast..  Finally the colours in the trees were coming out more real because they had been looking very washout until this…; see if you can spot the difference

Without the white balance adjusted 
with the white balance adjusted on the big Christmas tree!!!!  
The steam train
The 3 Valley Gap

Everyone sort of just wandered I just grabbed my lunch and put it in my pocket and wandered and explored and took lots of photos.  I loved the peacefulness of it even though it was right on the highway it was pretty.  While it was a bit touristy with the ghost town the huge rock faces that surrounded it. 

We continued on to the Rockies to revelstoke which was cute just no stop there.   Our next stop at a very chilly 2 degrees was Rogers Pass through kicking horse pass which was beautiful with the snow-capped peaks and we had officially crossed the border into Alberta.

  It was beautiful scenery and amazing snow capped peaks and you could really start to feel the difference in the altitudes but I have to admit the boredom was starting to sink in.  After being on the bus for 8 hours it was getting a bit tedious especially when we got delayed outside of golden for 30mins with traffic. 

Best Chocolate EVER!!!!!  Rogers Chocolate

The construction on the roads is everywhere as explained in the day 5 blog they only have a short amount of time to fix and repair roads as well as make the roads because of the snow so they try to work as fast as possible which means long hold ups. 

After our afternoon tea and toilet stop outside of Golden I went to take a photo…  and there was a message saying that there was a error – press the shutter button to release and it kept on making the most horrible noise. I was in a panic and tried everything…  changing the lens, removing the battery, no camera card and with a camera card.  I was about to cry but didn’t want to do it on the bus so I grabbed out my canon which just wasn’t fast enough to deal with the overcast and horrible weather and to deal with a fast moving bus.  But I did manage a couple but the beauty of the place just didn’t shine through. 

We finally made it into Banff around 5ish and it was freezing to say the least… it was wet and cold and my camera was broken so didn’t make for a very happy Eileen.

We saw some wildlife finally as we drove through town and I also managed to find a camera store so I knew where I was going as soon as were checked in.  We got checked in but it was sooo cold so I had to grab out my warm pink vest from my luggage and cursing myself for putting my scarf in the other luggage which I was just too stressed to ask Salena to grab off and also the room was too small for my extra bag. 

I explained the situation to Pete and we both headed off together downtown and I was not stopping for food or anything that night.  Went up to Banff photographic and the guy hadn’t seen that issue before.  So he jumped online and found that it was a general fault with the camera which meant that the drop yesterday didn’t affect it.  I was so panicked in thinking that I caused it.  I did question that one and he said no.  But it is a general fault with the d5000 which seems to happen within the first 6 months of its life.  So we tried to call the insurance company but had no luck but we think that was because international was blocked from their number.  So I went back out to the freezing cold and found a public phone and couldn’t get through.  That is when I finally cried…  I was so devastated.  I just wanted to stand there and cry but it was way too cold.  So I went to Starbucks and ran into Dean and Angela and I think from the look on my face they saw something was really wrong.  But they did suggest getting a phone card which might mean I can ring from the room.  But I headed to Starbucks first and brought a hot chocolate and sat down and tried to contact the insurance company via email then mum and dad.  Sent a text to my sister ….  Felt very alone that night … because I knew I couldn’t afford to replace it because Vancouver had cost me so much and with the 12% HST introduction my budget was shot.  I really hated Banff right then …
I went to find a phone card after that and then ran into Salena and she saw my face and was just amazing and offered me her camera and I said no initially because I was worried that I would hurt it or damage it and I would feel very responsible.  Got my phone card and got back to the hotel about 9ish so skipped dinner but felt sick to my stomach.  Mum and Dad rang and I explained the situation to them and they rang the insurance company for me.  I think me sobbing on the phone to them convinced them to help.  But the insurance company is only really used to dealing with claims after people get back and didn’t get that I was not going back to this location and didn’t have the ability to get it repaired.  I felt bad also because I didn’t want to keep Tania awake and it had been such a long day already because who knew that sitting on a bus for almost 9 hours would be so tiring.  So I went to bed and took me ages to go to sleep and hopefully have a better plan of attack for the next day.  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A interruption to our normal viewing...

Happy Central Park Day - Last full day in NYC 

As we were chugging along today on our very long drive to Pennsylvania I had a few ponderings that I might like to share...  and some photos...  which may seem a bit vain but I will explain ... especially considering how much I hate being in front of the camera...  
Birthday Day

My counsellor suggested when I started to start to take self-portraits of myself and look back on them in a year and see how they change and how my expressions change...  Even some of my wonderful friends on Facebook have remarked on how happy I have seemed in my photos... since my non Facebook friends don't get to see I am going to share now ....  ok i need to have a few voddies first ...  and will then post
Me at the end of August
It appears I have lost my old drive while travelling... somehow deleted the file from my portable drive so I will just do the holiday ones :)

A break in our normal programming…
Capilano Suspension Bridge Day 3
As I have now officially passed the halfway point in my trip of a lifetime adventure… I wanted to share a few things…  about me and what I have discovered about myself. 
Me at Stanley Park on Day 5

I travel relatively well by myself… I am comfortable walking around cities at night and during the days.  Which I have been surprised how safe I feel I feel.  There were a few dodgy spots walking back to the hotel in Toronto.  I actually enjoy my own company more than I thought. Happy to wander around the cities and do things at my pace my speed etc...  
Day 6 - 3 Valley Gap - on the
way to the rockies sooo cold
I am intrinsically a happy go lucky person while that person has definitely been lost in the past 18 months and especially the past 12 months in the haze that is the blackness of depression.
Me in Banff on Sulphur Mountain 
Day 7 the day the camera broke
A few people have commented on this trip how happy I am and how I always make the point to say a very cheery Good morning to every one every day.  Also the wonderful crazy older ladies that are sitting near me have remarked they can tell when I am tired…so they have gotten to know me pretty well. While I loved getting to know all the people on the eastern cities tour as well because they have been so wonderful to me - it was our tour guide Christina that really made that trip for me. We just clicked and she has been a constant support and bad influence :)
Day 8 - Columbia Icefields
While I am happy and accepting of people more so than ever on this trip, Apparently annoying according to my roomie;  I don’t hide these facts … I have made no secret that I am like that I did tell her on our first night together.  
Day 9 - Mt Edith cavell

I don’t travel light and tend to fluff around in the mornings but quite often it is the only time I get to talk to my sister as she is the only one that makes a point of doing of it.  So when I can I make the effort for her because to me she is so worth it.
Day 9 - Mt Edith Cavell - 
Being snowed on dressed in 7 odd layers 
But it is good to see that the old happy go lucky Eileen has been able to shine through and brighten some peoples day and I remarked this to someone recently if they only knew the real reason why I am here and where I have been the past year that most people would be quite shocked.
Me getting snowed on for the
first Time at the Malinge Canyon
By the way everyone on the bus knows my name…  I have made more of a point in getting to know everyone’s name on the bus… better than last one….  But I am great with faces but bad with names…
Day 12 - Me in front of the 
Victoria Parliament Building
My support has come from interesting sources and my constant reminder my life isn’t that bad.  Firstly Family my sister…  we have developed our love of photography together and 4wd driving together.  My wonderful parents who have time given me the courage to carry on when sometimes it seems very black.
Day 14 - Me at Butchard Gardens
Also to a couple people on Facebook who are friends in real life as well.. Fi and Ness…  you have made me laugh and cry at times….  Especially Fi..  I don’t know how you do it every day be a mum to 6 kids and give them all equal time and love and now expecting another one on the way….  To Daisy love you to bits you crazy woman… you make me laugh all the time. To my old school friends it is always funny to see how many of you comment on a regular basis and these are the people who I was GENUINELY friends with in school both high and primary.  So thank you guys … your support has been invaluable.
me in NYC at Times Square Day 19
The Explore girls especially Sheye, Fran, Jodi, Marsha and Blythe the constant support and encouragement has helped me through.  There were some weeks especially towards the end when I really struggled with myself to produce the work I thought was as good as everyone else but the constant love and support came at a time that was perfect for me when I was struggling with real life.
Me in Quebec - Day 23
My friends that I have made online Shari, Alison (no longer just online) and many others but you know who you are. The reminder to keep going and the prompting if I haven’t posted for a couple days reminds me to keep going and that I am actually missed and appreciated somewhere in this world. Those who knew the days when i had only put up how many sleeps to go knew that I was having a bad bad day and it was a reminder to myself that I was going to escape the unhappiness that had been plaguing me and hopefully find some happiness again while I was away.  
Day 25 - me in Ottawa ...
having a bad hair day but this is a fun one that our fantastic tour director took
My real life friends…  Kelly, Jules, Carol, Maree, the boxing girls, Belinda and Michael…plus the many others that I catch up with from time to time.  I am grateful that my life is filled with you all and the days when I am feeling lazy and needed some love you are there for me.  That is what about being a true friend is all about…
Day 26 - Lunchtime stop (aka photo stop for Eileen)
at Kingston Ontario
To the person that has been checking in with me nearly every day …  yes you know who are…  I am so very grateful while it is not your job you still have done it and made me laugh and other days want to strangle you for the flip attitude towards some of the challenges that have happened along the way.  You do rate a special mention because you do know me so well at times and other times you only see the Eileen you want to see…  which is very you.  But you have always been there for me despite your not so hidden agenda… but all I am going to say is Karma and I am worth more than that.
Day 27 - Enjoying the Toronto sunshine...
I think i almost look rock chick cool...  LMAO
To my wonderful rockies friends…  I don’t know what happened to me on that trip…  but I think I fell in love with the mountains and therefore the real Eileen started to show and because of that I have made some really great friends especially in Pete and hopefully Tania …  she is probably glad to see the back of me after living together for almost 2 weeks.
Day 28 - At Niagara Falls...  I am so uber cool ...  LMAO 
Pete and I well we just clicked… laughed and poked fun at each other…  called me a hydrant whore and skank which I would never allow normally but it worked for us.  Also I reminded him of his niece and he loved it when I wore pigtails and stirred Pete up. Even when we caught up last weekend we were exactly the same...  even though he was tired we have a amazing fun day together despite lancie the laser letting me down.  
Day 28 with the Horseshoe Canadian Side of the falls

The rockies....The majesty, the colours, the amazing glaciers and the snow-capped peaks, the ever changing faces as we progressed through.  I didn't let the bad weather get me down despite letting me down when it came to Lake Louise but it gives me a reason to go back.
Day 31 - ohhh shining hair again ... White House
I just loved the mountains and how amazing it really was. It is not really easy to put it into words how amazing that particular part of the world is.  But while I had a rough couple of days there I really loved it.
Day 30 - First Day in Washington just before our dinner
Still right now I can’t thank Salena enough for coming to my aid when it came to the camera…  It saved me otherwise I think I would have moped and missed the whole thing.  I was so devastated when it broke. The sole reason behind me buying the camera was the amazing pictures of the rockies….
Day 31 - Me at the Washington Monument
 But my experiences in the rockies…  I feel like I really found me again up on the beautiful snow-capped peaks which was predicted funnily enough.
Day 31 - the Group photo

Didn't really believe about the predication until I realised on my last day in Jasper that I really didn’t want to leave.  I had some amazing experiences in the rockies…  the snow on sulphur mountains, the ever changing scenery  up there, being snowed upon the majesty of walking to a glacier.  Rafting down a river so peaceful and clear was beautiful with the mountains surrounding us. 
Day 35 - Inside the Crown of Statue of Liberty
On the eastern cities tour it was so much fun to get to know everyone especially the Aussies, Vicki, Kim, Welsh crew, Christina S, Heather, Sandra, Dorothea, Hilda and our Tour Director along with the bus driver who was a quiet soul but I got to know really well.
Day 35 - Ellis Island
I had some amazing experiences such as seeing the Falls, Riding in a Helicopter, Fall Colours, seeing the white house and many many more.  It was a great tour and especially loved the fact that i was rooming by myself along with the lasting friendships that i have made.  
Day 36 Birthday in Central Park
While I didn't have the same personal experience as I did in the Rockies I think it just enhanced it. I am willing to look people more in the eye than I had previously, and more readily willing to talk to me and smile as walking down the street.
Day 39 - Wicked
I have become the ultimate dag … hair not done … no makeup some days…  but willing for people to actually see that side of me.  But it is all about the comfort especially when you are on the bus for hours and hours at a time…
Day 42 - Central Park - The Mall
I am not scared of heights … I thought I was but nope if I can climb mountains and go up on gondolas, driving on the other side of the road, driving in New York City being able to haul by luggage across NYC, also deal with rude Americans, French Canadians to riding in a helicopters I can do most things.
Day 46 - Me on the Gaveston Bridge
It was funny in a city like NYC that I was so incredibly comfortable at being me.  Willing to meet people easily and make friends in random places. Actually ride the subway with Confidence, walking around the city with ease so much with myself. I was so happy like I was in the Rockies which i hadn't really expected. I love the atmosphere and the city of contrasts with the different neighbourhoods. The diversity of the cultures and how easily they are embraced into the day to day life. I really didn't want to leave...  I was so sad about leaving. I feel like even 2 weeks after being at home that I don't want to be here and I left a part of my heart and soul back in NYC.
Day 47 Awaiting to Leave .. bye bye USA
So I  can only hope that I hold onto to this feeling when I get home. This is my way to remind myself not to let myself down.