Mike's Blog: Follow my Rockies train tour - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mike's Blog: Follow my Rockies train tour

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By Mike Reader – bio | email

Thursday, July 1, 2010

CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA (WLOX) - Tonight we are in Calgary. This is the last night of our great Canadian adventure. A note of interest, today (July 1) is Canada Day. It's the same here as our 4th of July.

After our train trip through the Rockies we ended up in Banff. The views around Banff are spectacular. Every where you look you see majestic mountains. 

The majority of the crew went on a tour of a glacier on Wednesday. Delores and I didn't go because we had been before, and we were tried out. 

The folks that went came back and said they had rain, snow and wind on the glacier. They claimed I jinxed them by not going. 

Thursday went took a tour of the Banff Springs hotel. It was originally built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad company. It was once known as the greatest hotel in Canada. After seeing the property, I know why. 

The rest of the day was spent traveling to Calgary. Leaving the Canadian Rockies and heading east is much like leaving Denver and heading east. It seems like the mountains disappear almost instantly.

I have plenty of pictures to share.  I will post some when I get back.  I may even show some on Sunday night.

Signing off for now from Canada.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2010

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA (WLOX) - We spent two days in Vancouver. It is an interesting city. Due to lack of land, not too many people own single detached houses. They have a lot of duplexes, four-plexes and high rise condos and apartment. 

It is a very ethnically diverse city. It has the second largest China town in North America with 500,000 Chinese residents. Evidently, a lot of residents of Hong Kong moved to or invested in Vancouver when that city was returned to the Chinese Government.

We left Vancouver on Monday and headed inland on the Rocky Mountaineer. It is a sightseeing train that, for us, stops in Banff.

The first leg of the trip was interesting. We left the coastal mountains of Canada and entered into a semi-desert. It was amazing to see the difference in plants and animals.

Of course, we have all been looking for wildlife along the way.  We have seen bald eagles, ospreys and a few mountain goats.  The truth is we probably saw more wildlife in Victoria and Vancouver, so far. 

We saw deer and raccoons in those cities. As we were pulling into Kamloops we spotted a Ground Hog and Ferret running around in a junk yard. Hopefully we will see more wildlife as we head into the Rocky Mountains today.

The train we are taking runs on the same line as freight trains. Some of those trains are two miles long...think of waiting at a crossing for one of those to pass.

I'll write again from Banff.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA (WLOX) - We left Victoria Saturday en route to Vancouver. Victoria is a beautiful city; there are no bugs. Because of the cool climate (afternoon temperatures in the mid to upper 60s) the hotel we stayed in didn't have air conditioning. We opened the windows for cool air.

I learned a new term in Victoria: "Recycled Teenagers."  I thought  it meant run away teenagers that made Victoria home. However, a "recycled teenager" is anyone over sixty.  Evidently, the pleasant weather and laid back attitude gives us seniors a new lease on life in Victoria.

We took another ferry from Victoria to the mainland. I was hoping we might see a whale or orca, but there were none to be seen.  I asked a local if it was the right season. It is, but we didn't run across any.

If you ever get the chance Victoria is definitely a place to visit!

We will be in Vancouver for two days. We take a tour of the city on Sunday. Vancouver is a nice city, but it is a bustling, big city...lots of traffic and people.

An interesting thing about Vancouver is the number of people who live in the city. Land is scarce, so here there are thousands of people living in high rise condo and apartments. The result is a vibrant down town. I haven't seen so many people out shopping in a downtown area since I was a little kid.

The best things about the trip so far has been the weather and food. All I'm eating is seafood (Halibut and Salmon). I'm not a big of salmon down south because it always tastes strong and fishy. Up here, it is wild and fresh.  It's wonderful!

Next stretch of the trip involves a two day train trip through the Rockies. I'm taking plenty of pictures, but I will have to wait until I get back to share them.

I'm very glad to see Tropical Storm Alex is staying south. 

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Friday, June 25, 2010

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA (WLOX) - Left Seattle on Thursday headed for Victoria.  We had to wear jackets because the temperatures were in the low 60s. We took a ferry across the Straits of San Juan DeFuca. It kind of reminded me of my days in the Navy. The ferry was round bottomed, and it rolled a lot.

Victoria is beautiful. Again the high temperatures are in the mid 60s, a heat wave for these folks. I was talking to a waitress in a coffee shop. She complained about how hot it was. She said she was sweating while getting ready for work, and it was only 65 degrees!

Am enjoying the weather more than anything else.  It's like a cool spring day.

I am also watching the tropics closely even in Canada.  I hope I don't have to leave early to cover a storm.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Seattle, WA (WLOX) - Mike left for his Holiday Vacation Canadian Rocky Mountain tour on Wednesday. They will be going to Whistler, home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Calgary, Banff and many more scenic and gorgeous places through the Canadian Rockies.

First night, he took in a MLB game at Safeco Field in Seattle. The Seattle Mariners were playing the Chicago Cubs. Cubs started out on top one to nothing, then the Mariners came back, big time and ended up winning 8-1. Our News director, Brad Kessie, is a huge Cubs fan, so Mike really rubbed that one in!

On Thursday, Mike and the crew took a ferry over to Vancouver, British Columbia. I, Carrie Duncan, spoke with him and he in turn rubbed in the fact that he had to wear a jacket because it was so cool. I asked him to send many pictures along his tour, so click back here, and I'll be posting what I get from him.

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