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Travels with Grama

North to Alaska

Cruise - July 15-22, 2017

Our trip to Alaska was booked so long ago, we didn't pay much attention to it. Then the week before we were leaving, we realized that we needed to do more than pack our bags, hop in the car and go. This is definitely not our style. There was a itinerary to deal with, tours to book, hotels to reserve, and parking in Vancouver to figure out.

When we actually looked at the map and marked the ports we would be stopping in, we realized that our trip to Alaska was no further away that northwest British Columbia. We will be sailing the Panhandle or Inside Passage - the region dominated by the Alexander Archipelago. So? Why didn't we just pack our bags, hop in the the car and go? Maybe this trip isn't the "final frontier".

To add another glitch, British Columbia is on fire. We need to plan our route to Vancouver to avoid the fires and book hotels in advance. We booked hotels in Osoyoos and Langley so hopefully we will miss the worst part of the fires.

I'm not sure how good our internet will be on the cruise, so I did a bit of Wikipedia research for the areas on our itinerary ahead of time. I'm sure we will be able to add more in each section once we are there.

2017 - North to Alaska Photo Album
2017 The Best of Alaska
2017 Adventure Karts Expedition
2017 Glacier Gardens & Tongass Raid Forest Tour
2017 White Pass and Yukon Rail Route

Thursday, July 13 - Calgary to Osoyoos, B.C.

Highways today were Glenmore Trail/hwy 560 east to Strathmore, south on hwy 817, west on Glenmore/hwy 560, south on hwy 24 and hwy 23 to Vulcan, west on hwy 534, south on hwy 804, west on hwy 533 to Nanton, south on hwy 2 to Fort Mcleod and finally west on hwy 3 Alberta/BC to Osoyoos. Google Map

I picked up Karen at 9:30 and we were off. Our concerns about possible traffic problems because of the fires and road closures around Kamloops were unfounded. With the exception of a few trailers and trucks, we had smooth sailing all the way. We stopped at the Omega Restaurant in Grand Forks for supper. I, of course, had borscht.

Osoyoos, BC

We estimated it would take us 12 hours and we arrived in Osoyoos about 9:30. Perfect timing. We are staying at the Holiday Inn - an old hotel with broken down box springs but hey - the view is great from our room.

Friday, July 14 - Osoyoos to Langley, B.C.
We were through Timmies in Osoyoos and on the road by 10:00. Highways today were hwy 3 from Osoyoos to Hope, Trans Canada No. 1 west, hwy 13 south, and Fraser Hwy/1A to Langley. Google Map

Osoyoos, British Columbia

Osoyoos is situated on the Crowsnest Highway with a significant ascent out of the Okanagan Valley in either direction. The Crowsnest headed east begins with an 11 mile switchback up the flank of the Okanagan Highland. We drove up to the top heading east before leaving town. The view is spectacular.

The first Europeans to Osoyoos were fur traders working for the Pacific Fur Company, an American enterprise. Thousands of miners heading to the goldfields and drovers with large herds of livestock crossed the 49th parallel after 1858. A custom house was built in Osoyoos in 1861.

Osoyoos was incorporated as a village in 1946 when the railway arrived and became a town in the 1980s.

Hope Slide

We stopped at the Hope Slide for a few minutes. We have been here before but it was still interesting to see it again and read the interpretive information.

Early Saturday morning, January 9, 1965, an enormous landslide descended into this valley destroying about three kilometres of the Hope-Princeton Highway. Believed to have been triggered by an earthquake, the slide consisting of earth, rock and snow crashed down in seconds. It filled the valley bottom with debris 70 metres thick and completely buried Outram Lake at the foot of the slide.

Four people in three vehicles stopped by a small snow slide earlier, were caught in the wave of mud which swept back into the valley. All four people died. Two victims were never found.

The highway has since been rerouted around and over the base of the slide's debris field 55 metres above the original ground level on the other side of valley. Most of the massive scar on the mountain face remains bare rock, without significant growth of trees or other large vegetation.

Trans Canada - Sudden Stop

Everything went smoothly until approximately exit 85 then everything ground to a halt. We were stopped at 3:20 pm and it took us over three hours to crawl the 10 kilometres to hwy 13. There were no other exits off hwy 1 until then. Thank goodness there was a rest stop in between.

Karen commented that we could have walked the distance faster - and she was right. What do you do when faced with a three hour crawl - turn on 50s rock and roll and start singing - what else.

The crash began with the collision of two passenger vehicles. Behind them, four trucks tried to avoid the crash, and struck each other. The six-vehicle pileup took place just after 9:30 a.m.

Tow trucks spent much of the day clearing debris from the road and the stretch of highway didn’t fully reopen until 6:30 p.m.

Trial Run

Once we got ourselves settled in the Best Western in Langley, we decided to take a run into Vancouver to get our bearings and figure out where we needed to be tomorrow. The directions we got from the parking garage were great and we found everything without a hitch.

Saturday, July 15 - Langley to Vancouver, B.C.
Highways today were hwy 10 north from Langley, Trans Canada west, Granview Highway/12th Avenue to Burrard Street and finally Canada Place to the dock. Google Map

Getting from Langley to Vancouver was easy and we were glad we did the run last night. We even knew exactly where the McDonalds was so we could get our coffee fix and be back on the road in nothing flat.

Dropping off our bags and parking the car went well. We missed the down parking ramp and had to do a U-turn - much to the horror of the traffic controller who was quite excited and yelling at us. We just ignored him and turned into the parking lot lane we needed to be in.

We felt a bit lost wondering what to do next but the staff kept steering us in the right direction. It was amazing how they managed to get 2000 people efficiently through boarding and customs and onto the ship.

Willie's New Best Friend

Willie got the last seat in this section where he made friends with two ladies from Australia. Karen and I had to start the new section. When I told them his name was Willie, the lady in red introduced herself to him.

There was a bit of delay getting through Customs because their computers kept crashing but there were no other glitches and were in our room settling in before 2:00 pm.
We found out that we will not have internet unless we pay for it "by the minute". We will have to post in the blog daily but will only be able to put it to the internet once and a while. Our room is quite comfy - lots of convenient cubby holes and three full closets complete with shelves. Karen took up two closets and left me with half of the hangers and one shelf for my clothes. Good think I travel light.
The ship had a muster point emergency drill at 4:15. Then it was sail away. Karen and I went to the back deck until we had left the bay. There were several sea planes taking off and landing while we waited. We sailed past Stanley Park and under the Lions Gate Bridge. From the water the bridge looks quite small.

Our dinner is at 5:30 every night at the same table. We met our waiters for this week. After dinner we walked around the Promenade Deck. We were all by ourselves on the deck and questioned where the "other 2000 people had gone". By 7:30, we were exhausted and totally relaxed. We happily headed back to our room.

Karen came up with a new rule. My bed, my towel, my hook behind the door are all on the right. Therefore for this trip - I'm starboard and she is port. Works for us.

Sunday, July 16 - Inside Passage Heading North

Scenic Cruising the Inside Passage

It is generally accepted that the Inside Passage starts in Puget Sound in Washington and then extends north, first along the British Columbia Coast and then the Alaska Panhandle. In use during the Klondike Gold Rush the passage was one of the sea routes from Seattle and California carrying prospectors north. Wikipedia

Our "Scenic Cruising" day didn't get going until after 1:00 pm (BC time). We slept until noon! We planned on going to bingo but missed that. Karen woke at 8:30 and said she could use another hour's sleep. I agreed. I guess we were like babies being rocked by the boat.
First things first - up one floor for coffee. The food court is great. It is open most of the day and coffee is always hot. They even have real half and half!
We wandered around the ship checking out the various floors and the shops, bars and restaurants available. Two hours later we were back in our room - bored. We decided that ship living isn't for us. Too much pomp and not enough circumstance. Karen said we need to be able to stop, look over the edge, take a picture and move on. I guess we will be able to do that when we hit the ports. Well now, this is a dilemma we didn't anticipate!

Willie's Sunday Friend

After dinner we went to the Marquee Show by the ships singers and dancers. While we were at the show housekeeping prepared our room for the night. We were surprised to be greeted by a cute seal on the bed - complete with googly eyes. We were a little later getting to bed tonight - 10:00 pm.

Monday, July 17th - Juneau


The City and Borough of Juneau is the capital city of Alaska. It is a unified municipality located on the Gastineau Channel in the Alaskan panhandle, and it is the second largest city in the United States by area. Juneau has been the capital of Alaska since 1906, when the government of what was then the District of Alaska was moved from Sitka as dictated by the U.S. Congress in 1900. City of Juneau

The municipality unified on July 1, 1970, when the city of Juneau merged with the city of Douglas and the surrounding Greater Juneau Borough to form the current municipality.

Juneau is rather unusual among U.S. capitals in that there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of Alaska or to the rest of North America (although ferry service is available for cars). The absence of a road network is due to the extremely rugged terrain surrounding the city.


We moved our clocks back one hour last night so we were up and rolling by 9:00 am. We decided to go to Bingo at 11:30. The prize was a Holland America Cruise. Since we've already decided that cruising isn't our bag, as we were heading to the bingo hall, I said "our luck we will win the Cruise". Well Karen yelled "Bingo". She won a Cruise to the Caribbean or Mexico.

Juneau Dock

We docked in Juneau just after noon. We left the boat about 12:45 pm and headed to historic downtown Juneau. We were booked on the tour starting at 2:30. It was cold and raining but in the morning we both bought rain jackets with fleece lining so we were not cold. In fact the jackets were so warm I ended up carrying mine most the time.

Historic Downtown Juneau

Historic Downtown Juneau is one of the few towns in southeast Alaska that didn't burn down at some point in it's history. As a result, many original buildings still stand, from 100 year old hotels, saloons, colorful Victorian houses, and historic churches like St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, completed in 1894. Apparently, the quilt shop is in an old brothel building.

Surprisingly, tourism is not Juneau's first industry. It is Government followed by tourism and then fishing. In 1880 gold was discovered at the mouth of Gold Creek. While fishing, transportation and milling all played economic roles, for the next 60 years, Juneau was a Gold Town. Government gradually replaced mining as the primary industry.

Changing Tides Quilt Shop

The first shop we visited was the quilt shop "Changing Tides". I bought both the 2016 and 2017 Row by Row kits. I also bought enough fabric to use as the back of a quilt. It is "The Last Frontier" from Windham Fabrics - State Cottons by Whistler Studios. The Row by Row patterns each have a saying on them. Changing Tides Quilt Shop

2016 Raven's Call
"I always ask why birds who can fly anywhere choose to stay in the same place....but then again I ask myself the same question....HOME."

2017 Take-A-Hike
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep." Robert Frost

Macaulay Salmon Hatchery

Our first stop on the Grand Tour was the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery. Ssalmon have to beat the odds to leave the stream as juveniles to start their life at sea. Only about 5-10% of eggs survive from fertilization to out-migration into the ocean. At the hatchery there is an 80-90% success rate from egg to juvenile stage. There are two facilities in Juneau that rear and release salmon into the wild. Macaulay Salmon Hatchery

The Bald Eagle

Juneau is eagle paradise - a smorgasbord of spawning salmon with an endless choice of lush, green perches. We saw many of these eagles around the hatchery. It was also low tide at the beginning our tour so they were in the wet lands hunting fish. There was also a live video feed of a nest at the Gardens.

The Glacier Gardens and Tongass Rain Forest

Next stop on the Grand Tour was the Glacier Gardens and Rain Forest in the Tongass Rain Forest. After a short walk through the "upside down" trees and the very beautiful and lush gardens, we hopped on a shuttle to head 600 feet up the mountain. The scenic overlook at the top gave us a spectacular view of the bay and Juneau.

The Upside Down Tree

The trees in this rain forest have very shallow roots so when a tree falls over the roots make a wide flat shelf. The tree trunks are then put in the ground and the shelf is used as a table to hold the hanging flowers and vines. Quite ingenious - not to mention very beautiful.

The Mendenhall Glacier

The final stop on the Grand Tour was the Mendenhall Glacier. About half a mile wide at its face and rising 100 feet from the water, the Glacier ends at iceberg-strewn Mendenhall Lake. The visitor center offers exhibits emphasizing glacial phenomena and ecosystems. We watched a short video on the history of the Glacier. Mendenhall Glacier - Wikipedia

Willie's Monday Friend

We arrived back at the ship about 7:00 pm - totally exhausted. Our room was already turned down and there was a new friend on the bed - an elephant. We can hardly wait to see what will arrive tomorrow night.

It didn't take us very long to get to bed. We are sailing overnight docking in Skagway in the morning.

Tuesday, July 18 - Skagway

The Municipality and Borough of Skagway is a first-class borough on the Alaska Panhandle. As of the 2010 census, the population was 920. Estimates put the 2015 population at 1,057 people. The population doubles in the summer tourist season in order to deal with more than 900,000 visitors. It was incorporated as a Borough on June 25, 2007.

Port of Skagway

The port of Skagway is a popular stop for cruise ships, and the tourist trade is a big part of the business of Skagway. The White Pass and Yukon Route narrow gauge railroad, part of the area's mining past, is now in operation purely for the tourist trade and runs throughout the summer months. Municipality of Skagway

We docked at Skagway at 7:00 - long before we opened our eyes. When we finally headed out our door, we were too late for breakfast and too early for lunch. I managed to grab a couple of sandwiches to take with us on our tour.

Historic Downtown Skagway

We caught the Smart Shuttle with the intention to heading to the quilt shop first but we decided we didn't have enough time so simply did a circle back to the tour stop.

Skagway, located at the tip of the Inside Passage, was an unique gold rush town made famous by the Klondike Gold Rush. It provided a port and resting point for the stampeders before they embarked on the ascent up to the Chilkoot and White passes. Skagway's population mushroomed from 2,000 to 10,000 people. It had all the amenities including 80 saloons, several bordellos and plenty of sly thieves.

Today, the lawlessness of Skagway is a distant memory, but the city itself remains largely unchanged. Most of the downtown district forms part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, dedicated to commemorating and interpreting the frenzied stampede.

Soapy Smith

Soapy Smith ruled a gang of over 100 men and had his hands in every crooked operation in town. In Skagway, Soapy ensured there were countless ways to capitalize on the influx of naive prospectors, and he made many enemies swindling people out of their hard earned money. The result was a shootout at the docks between Soapy Smith and Frank Reid that left both men dead and the City of Skagway forever changed. Soapy Smith - Wikipedia

White Pass & Yukon Route Tour

Our tour today took us up the White Pass Scenic Railway to the summit, crossing into Canada and stopping a Fraser, British Columbia. We then left the train and boarded an bus for the return trip down the Klondike Highway. White Pass & Yukon Route

The headline "Gold, Gold, Gold" of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on July 17, 1897, broadcast the news of discovery of gold in the Canadian Klondike. Tens of thousands of gold crazed men and women (to become known as the stampeders) steamed up the Inside Passage waterway and arrived in Dyea and Skagway to begin the overland trek to the Klondike. Six hundred miles of treacherous and dangerous trails and waterways lay before them. A railroad would offer an easier mode of transportation into the north.

In April 1898 over a night of intense brainstorming by two men, Sir Thomas Tancrede, representing investors, and Michael J. Heney, an experienced railroad contractor The White Pass & Yukon Railroad Company was organized. "Big" Mike Heney was quoted as saying "Give me enough dynamite, and snoose, and I'll build you a railroad to hell." On May 28, 1898, construction began on the narrow gauge railroad.

The Spirit of Accomplishment in the Face of Adversity

The ceremonial golden spike was driven by Samuel H. Graves, in Carcross on July 29, 1900. World metal prices plummeted in 1982, mines closed and the White Pass & Yukon Railroad suspended operations. In 1988, White Pass & Yukon Railroad reinvented itself as a tourist attraction.


Building the 110 miles of track was a challenge in every way. In addition to 60° below zero weather, construction required cliff hanging turns, building through two tunnels and numerous bridges and trestles.

As Karen hung precariously outside the back rail of the train, I hid my eyes behind anything that would block the "straight down" view.


Constructed in 1901, this was the tallest cantilever bridge in the world. It was used until 1969.

The train no longer goes over this broken down trestle. There is another steel trestle about five hundred yards down the track.

Civil Engineering Landmark

The White Pass & Yukon Route was designated an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1994. This is an honor shared with 36 other world civil engineering marvels such as the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty and the Panama Canal.

White Pass Summit

Here, at the U.S./Canadian border, RCMP waved on stampeders with a ton or supplies - needed for one year in the north. If there were short on supplies, they had to head back to Skagway to pick up more. They were not allowed to enter unless they had the required tons of necessities.


The area at the summit is Glacial Tundra. After miles and miles or dense forest, deeps ravines and high mountain peaks, the flat barren land that was left behind from the glaciers seems totally out of place. The contributing factors for the lack of trees are short growing seasons, strong winds, permafrost preventing deep roots, and cold soils. Alaska Tundra

Passenger Coaches

There are 83 restored and replica passenger coaches. The White Pass & Yukon Railroad coaches are named after lakes and rivers in Alaska, Yukon and British Columbia and are on-average 43 years old. The oldest car, Lake Emerald, was built in 1883 and is on the line each day. The Lake Lebarge car carried Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip on a royal tour out of Whitehorse in 1959.

We stopped at the Klondike Gold Dredge for some gold panning - but there we went AWOL. Our tour was running about a half hour behind and we realized we would not get back to town in time to go to the quilt shop. A very nice lady from Skagway tourism drove us right to the shop. Only a couple of quilters would pass up striking it rich in Skagway and head to a quilt shop instead.

Rushin' Tailor's Quilt Alaska

We managed to get to the shop in time to browse around. I bought the 2016 (Heading Home Sweet Home) and 2017 (The Bear Went Over the Mountain) row by row along with license plates. Karen bought "A Blaze of Glory" kit and "Blueberry Cabin Fever Tablerunner" kit along with some half yard cuts. This store was right off Broadway just a couple blocks from our ship. Rushin' Tailor's Quilt Alaska

Willie's Tuesday Friend

We finally met the creators of Willie's friends tonight and told them how much fun we were having with them. His Tuesday friend is a rabbit. We can't wait to see who will visit tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 19 - Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is in the Alaska panhandle west of Juneau. President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the area around Glacier Bay a national monument under the Antiquities Act on February 25, 1925.

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act enlarged the national monument on December 2, 1980 and in the process created Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in order to protect a portion of the Alsek River and related fish and wildlife habitats.

Glacier Bay became part of a binational UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, was inscribed as a Biosphere Reserve in 1986 and in 1994 undertook an obligation to work with Hoonah and Yakutat Tlingit Native American organizations in the management of the protected area. In total the park and preserve cover 5,130 square miles. Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Margerie Glacier

Most of the morning was spent sailing past mini chunks of ice as we headed to the top of Glacier Bay. Glacier Bay is the product of the Little Ice Age, a recent glacial advance. The Little Ice Age reached it's maximum extent about 1750. Today the glaciers have receded 65 miles up the bay. Just after 11:00 we arrived at Margerie Glacier. Margerie Glacier - Wikipedia

Today we didn't get off the ship. At 1:30 we attended The Wonders of Glacier Bay, a presentation by Glacier Bay National Park Rangers followed by a narrative about Alaskan Native Culture. Karen elbowed me when I started to snore.

We started to say "you know you're bored when". To help pass time, we sat down to a jigsaw puzzle, stopped for dinner, went back to it and finally ended up putting it back in the box. We were only a quarter of the way done.

Willie's Wednesday Friend

How can I say so much about nothing? At last we have seen some animals. A seal at the glacier, hundred if sea gulls, and three whales at a distance from our dinner table.

Tonight there was a flop eared doggy on the bed visiting with Willie.

Thursday, July 20 - Ketchikan


Ketchikan, located on Revillagigedo Island, is the southeastern most city in Alaska. With a population at the 2010 census of 8,050, it is the fifth-most populous city in the state.

Estimates put the 2014 population at 13,787 people with the surrounding borough, encompassing suburbs both north and south of the city along the Tongass Highway, plus small rural settlements accessible mostly by water. Ketchikan was incorporated on August 25, 1900. City of Ketchikan

Port of Ketchikan

We arrived in Ketchikan at 9:30. Our tour was scheduled to leave at 11:00 so we were up early and on the Lido Deck for breakfast right after docking. We left the ship just after 10:00. Before we went anywhere we found out where the quilt shops were so we could head to them as soon as we got back from the tour.

Adventure Kart Expedition

We were booked on the Adventure Kart Expedition at a remote rainforest logging trail. Karen had a 1 hour whoop-de-do time ripping around the back trails on the kart. I, on the other hand, had a cold, wet, bone jerking experience as I bounced up and down the mountain in drizzling rain. We were harnessed tight in a two person custom-designed "Tomcar" kart complete with helmets that made us look like aliens from another planet. That's me in the picture smiling because Karen said I had to.

Whale's Tail Quilt Shop

Back in Ketchikan, we first went to the Whale's Tail Quilt Shop on the south end of town. I bought the 2017 Row by Row Kit (On the Go, Alaskan Style) and their license plate - Spool On. Karen bought a Susybee lamb panel and matching black and white lamb flannel for the back. They gave us directions to another quilt shop. Whale's Tail Quilt Shop

Totem Heritage Center

Once back out on the street, we caught the free Loop Shuttle to go to the next quilt shop. We had to do a bit of a tour before reaching the north side and that in itself was quite interesting. One of the stops was the Totem Heritage Center. It looked interesting and we probably would have enjoyed it. Apparently the Center preserves ancient poles retrieved from abandoned villages. The center also instructs in traditional Northwest Coast arts. Totem Heritage Center - Wikipedia

Soft Goods and Green Things Quilt Shop

We found the Soft Goods but I'm not sure what the Green Things are. I bought the 2016 and 2017 Row by Row kits and two Licence Plates - Fish 'N' Stitch and Just Trollin'. Soft Goods and Green Things

2016 - Float Camps

A big part of what makes a Home a Sweet Home is the community to which one belongs. In a region of very few roads and before many of the currents roads were built, float camps made working in remote locations feasible. Besides homes, these floating towns had schools, churches, store, playgrounds, and other components that made the individual into a community. While Float Camps are no longer as common as they once were, these floating towns helped to make the region into what it is today.

2017 - Trollin'

In Southeast Alaska, you never know when you will be on the go!

Historic Downtown Ketchikan

Ketchikan was established in 1887 when a salmon cannery was built. Creek Street district was Alaska's most notorious red-light district from 1902 to 1954. The zigzagging boardwalk supported at least 30 "sporting houses" in its heyday. Today, the old houses have been converted into small shops and businesses. Dolly's House, where Madam Dolly Copeland Arthur lived from 1919 to 1970 is now a museum.

The Manhattan Dining Room

We were back on the ship about an hour before leaving port. We spent some time taking pictures from the Promenade Deck before heading for dinner. Tonight we took a picture with our favourite steward - Gopar (pronounced go-far). He is from the Philippines and is only home two months every year. He has a wife and two kids at home.

Willie's Thursday Friend

We were in our room early. Karen was having a sleep when the stateroom attendants arrived but that didn't stop me from asking them if they could still make a friend for Willie. I watched in amazement as Sri created his masterpiece - a monkey!

Friday, July 21 - Inside Passage Heading South

Alaska Portion

The Alaskan portion of the Inside Passage extends 500 miles from north to south and 100 miles from east to west. The area encompasses 1,000 islands, 15,000 miles of shoreline and thousands of coves and bays. While the Alexander Archipelago in Alaska provides some protection from the Pacific Ocean weather, much of the area experiences strong semi-diurnal tides which can create extreme 30-foot differences between high and low tide, so careful piloting is necessary in many places in order to not collide with underwater obstructions.

British Columbia Portion

British Columbia's portion of the route has up to 25,000 miles coastline. It includes the narrow, protected Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland, the Johnstone Strait between Vancouver Island and the mainland, as well as a short stretch along the wider and more exposed Hecate Strait near the Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands). From Fitz Hugh Sound northwards, the route is sheltered from Pacific winds and waves by the various large islands in the area such as Princess Royal Island (Princess Royal Channel and Tolmie Channel) and Pitt Island (Grenville Channel).

Still Bored

Another day at sea - and bored again. It's hard to believe that at noon we were only 200 miles north of Vancouver and still had the whole day and night before we would be docking. At this point we are simply getting impatient.

We've been on the ship seven days and only three of them were we able to explore towns. I really don't know how people occupy themselves - except maybe eating! We have firmly decided that we are not cruisers. It's hard to find something to explore on a ship we've been on for a week. The good part is that tonight we will have a final meal with our steward Gopar and hopefully another animal will visit Willie. In the meantime - boring.
Karen is not feeling well, so she spent the morning and most the afternoon in bed. I went to the Lido Deck, drank coffee, read a book and visited with two couples that joined my table - the pitfalls of sitting alone. I did find out that there is a church group on board (900 strong) and I was handed a pamphlet just in case I was interested in joining their church.
There were a couple a whale watching boats out today. I did manage to see a whale poking it's head up but no big breach or tail waving for the show.
We need to pack our bags tonight in preparation for leaving the ship tomorrow morning and since we are now heading back into Canada we will have to add up our purchases for Customs. Well, at least that gives us something to do.

Willie's Friday Friend

Tonight we said goodbye to Sri and Miko. They've taken such good care of us all week. Tonight Sri made a dinosaur for Willie to ride. I think they had as much fun with Willie as we did.

We've packed our bags and will be leaving them out in the hall. Karen brought up a good question that I couldn't answer. Do we remember where we parked the car? No.

Saturday, July 22 - Vancouver to Kelowna, B.C.

Vancouver, B.C.

We docked in Vancouver at 7:00 am. We were scheduled to disembark at 9:20. Customs went smoothly. They didn't even look at our Passports. With some difficulty we found the car and hit the road. Roads and Highways today were Burrard Street to 12th Avenue/Grandview Highway, east on Trans Canada to Hope, hwy 5 north to Merrit and hwy 97C south to Kelowna. Google Map

Kelowna, B.C.

We went to Montana's for dinner. Karen still isn't feeling good so I dropped her off at the hotel and went to the cemetery. I drove by the house and was totally shocked with it's state of disrepair. The trees have not been pruned and are dying. The grass is dead. The outside is so bad, I can't even imagine what the inside must look like. There is a sold sign on the lawn so maybe the new owners will bring it back to life.

Sunday, July 23 - Kelowna to Calgary, Alberta

No touring today. We arrived home about 6:30 in the afternoon. Traffic was very heavy all the way. We took the direct route home. Hwy 97 north to Sicamous, Trans Canada to Strathmore to drop off Karen and home via Glenmore Trail. Google Map