Yesterday we passed a large sign adjacent to Highway 1 that showed we had arrived at the longitudinal centre of Canada. This milestone also represents the halfway point of our journey to Prince Rupert.
Feeling like we were making good progress and it was all going to be downhill from here, so to speak, we had a spanner thrown in the works when we received an e-mail from the Alaska Marine Highway System.
The Alaska Marine Highway System is the ferry service that operates along the Inside Passage of Alaska (when I originally suggested to Chrissie that I would like to take her up the Inside Passage she wasn’t too keen but I think she may be warming to the idea!). The e-mail advised that the once a week ferry we were booked on (scheduled sailing date of 30th April) to take us from Prince Rupert in British Columbia to Ketchikan in Alaska had been cancelled, due to technical reasons, and we had two alternative options.
The first option was to catch the ferry a week earlier and, yes you’ve guessed it, the second option was to catch the ferry a week later. Given the milage remaining on our journey option 1 would have meant too much driving each day. Having selected the second option we now found ourselves with an extra week that we hadn’t planned for.
The last couple of days we have driven through Manitoba and some of Saskatchewan and, without wanting to offend any of the locals to these regions, it has not been the most inspiring of countryside. The area comprises prairie (grasslands) that are extremely flat and featureless, so much so that, as recently told to us “in these parts a man can watch his dog run away for three days!”
In fact it has at times become a little boring and to break the monotony Chrissie has started to count the number of wagons being pulled by the longest trains we have ever seen. Her record so far is 171 wagons but can it be beaten? Watch this space!
Without too much distraction outside the vehicle we have mulled over what to do with our spare week and, having left it to Chrissie to make the final decision, I can confirm that we are now staying in a Spa Resort near to Banff National Park. I did warn her that the last time she went to a Spa with her friend Lorraine, that Lorraine nearly left in an ambulance, but she was adamant and said she was prepared to take the risk.
For those of you who are questioning why we have so far stayed in motels, hotels and inns and have yet to make use of the many camping features that we installed to the Land Rover (and you know who you are David and Claire) there is a reasonably simple answer. We haven’t yet wanted to,
For the majority of time we have been in Canada the weather has been below freezing most nights and it is only now that we are moving towards better weather. Also to keep stocking up with food and water and cooking every day whilst driving between 250 to 300 miles wouldn’t be a lot of fun particularly as nearly all campsite are closed at this time of the year and trying to find places to camp at the end of a long driving day isn’t easy.
As the weather improves and campsites open we will begin our camping adventure!
As a number of people were interested in our previous informative section on Winnie the Pooh I thought I would throw in a couple of facts about Canadian money.
Firstly, they don’t have cents/pennies (these were withdrawn from circulation in 2013). The smallest denomination is a five cent coin. This means that when you are charged $14.98 and you give them $15 you don’t get any change. Equally when your bill comes to $15.02 you only pay $15
Secondly, the Canadian dollar has the Queen’s face on one side and a picture of a Loon (a bird commonly found throughout Canada) on the other and the coin has become known as a loonie. The nickname loonie became so widely recognized that in 2006, the Royal Canadian Mint secured the rights to it and when the Canadian two-dollar coin was introduced it was in turn nicknamed the toonie.
We have now been in several car washes where we have been advised the machine will only take a loonie or a toonie!
Finally, there are some things that we have seen in Canada that we are yet to fully understand!!