Tag Archives: Canadian Garden Council

WiFi… wherefore art thou?

I’m on a train! It is, however, a train without WiFi… what is a girl to do? Well, perhaps be a little less connected and just enjoy the journey.

As I wrote about in a previous post, I won a trip, thanks to Canada’s Garden Route, the Canadian Garden Council and ViaRail. The trip was booked back in January, and it’s finally happening!

Vancouver Train Station

Vancouver Train Station – picture taken before I realized there was a smudge on the lens)



It’s been a good journey so far… a very quirky PCL bus driver who seemed to enjoy his job (that’s not what made him quirky though), me breaking the bus (it got better… darn armrest was confusing!), really amazing Via Rail staff, and the cutest little cabin ever (emphasis on little!).

The cabin with the bunks down - no room to photograph it more clearly!

The cabin with the bunks down – no room to photograph it more clearly!

Wednesday, June 3rd – Right now I’m in my berth looking out over the rainy rail yard of Kamloops at 6:00am. Although I can usually sleep anywhere, that wasn’t happening last night… I read and watched the shadowy scenery go by and tried to figure out whether the view was water or textured ground. It was usually water… the little whitecaps helped clarify that… no flies on me!

We were lucky enough to have live music at the station – apparently ViaRail has a program where musicians (and others?) can journey across the country playing in exchange for their fare… Sophia Perlman was great – we’ve been to see her play in various train cars, and still have a few more days to go – yay! Bonnie contemplated offering to teach knitting on the train, as it seems others have done that, but she quickly realized that being trapped on a train with her students 24 hours a day might be a little, well, wearying!


Sophia Perlman

This afternoon we’ll be getting into a station with WiFi (yes, I’m/we’re a little fixated) so we’re both madly typing away to make the most of our uploading time in Jasper. My posts will probably end up being a rambling mess of words, typed in spare moments – in between music, talks about trains and other subjects, wine tastings, etc., so please don’t be looking for too much continuity! (Update – couldn’t connect to WiFi in time to upload post… sigh… Apparently this portion of the trip will be summed up in one incredibly long and babbly post… Fingers crossed we find a connection soon so this doesn’t have to happen too often).

I saw a bear! Cutest little thing ever… it was running down a hill near Pyramid Falls – those were also spectacular, but not cute or furry.

Pyramid Falls - not fluffy

Pyramid Falls – not cute or furry

I got to go to a rock, gem and mineral (and fudge and kitchen supply) store in Jasper – very pleasing! Picked up a few pretties, which I haven’t photographed yet.

Jasper Rock and Jade

Jasper Rock & Jade

An entertaining afternoon was spent in the activity/bar car – chatted with some very unique men… Laughed lots, then grew weary by the time dinner was over. Now we’re relaxing in the panorama car waiting for our room to be made up. It was a good day!

Thursday, June 4th – We’re now on the prairies on a train that is still… There have been a lot of delays – freight trains take precedence – so we are five hours behind schedule… Happily, I have no schedule, so all is good.

We have become social butterflies… strange but true! We’re talking to people and tables are shared at all meals. It’s kind of fun! Met an entertaining couple from St. Louis who travel yearly with a group of friends – anywhere from three to fourteen people. Apparently Bo sounds more Canadian than I do… must be a from-the-prairies thing.

We also went to a talk on birds – I learned lots! Did you know there is no such thing as a seagull? It’s true… it’s a word that was made up as a catch-all for the gull family.

TV saves lives. How does it do that, you ask? I have no first aid training, but when someone choked in the nearly empty train car today, excessive TV watching taught me what to do. Yay TV!

Top of the train - photo by Bo. No, she was not walking on the top of it!

Top of the train – photo by Bo. No, she was not walking up there!

Friday, June 5th – Boy, when the track is clear, the train can fly! Somehow they have made up three hours… Very impressive!

It’s been a quiet day so far – getting used to a new crew (complete switchover in Winnipeg) and lazing about. Just finished packing up so that I don’t have to deal with it in the morning, and now reading and looking out over the lovely lakes of Ontario.

Speaking of lakes, I saw a swimming moose this morning – it was very pleasing! The couple we sat with at lunch said that it was quite a young moose, as its antlers weren’t terribly developed. I wish that would have been one of the moments the train had been stopped – I would have loved to get a better look.

We had a brief stop at Hornepayne to let people off/on the train, so we got to go for a walk. It was a brief walk however, cause the black flies were thick in the air. In my own special way I got bitten by a mosquito instead… beastly things! I can hear Winnipeg mosquitos cheering and celebrating my arrival in a couple of weeks… they’re fasting so they’ll be ready for me.

Saturday, June 6 – We skipped breakfast again – train food has been so delicious and plentiful that the odd skipped meal is necessary. While it is odd for me to be skipping a meal with bacon, the other meals are SO tasty and beyond what I would (or could) make, that they stay in the meal queue.

Today we’re arriving (in theory!) in Toronto… I’m not sure how far beyond schedule we are – no announcements have been made yet. We’ll be having dinner with Carol, the woman who first informed me about the prize – she has been so helpful with everything.

And now the first leg of our journey is over.  We’re happily ensconced in a hotel with WiFi – woohoo!

More to follow in later days… Not quite so many words all in one post next time!

Boulevard of Broken Dreams-style photo of our last night on the train... Happily our dreams aren't broken!

Boulevard of Broken Dreams-style photo of our last night on the train… Happily our dreams aren’t broken!

Park Car

Park Car


Filed under Jewellery, Random

I’m a little peeved…

People who knit and crochet are lucky.  Wherever they go (except maybe a pool, although I’m pretty sure it can and has been done) they can take their art form/hobby/passion with them.  I didn’t take to knitting or crochet… I have a heck of a time following patterns, and I definitely don’t have the patience to finish anything.  My peevishness stems from the fact that none of the crafts/art forms I do are easily transportable.  While I have no problems needle felting in public, there are so many supplies to bring – especially if you’re someone who has a hard time focussing on one project at a time.  I have done some beading in a pub, but snipping wire during a poetry reading and trying not to drop beads just didn’t go well.  The propane torch probably wouldn’t be an option at the pub either… go figure…

I wish I sketched, but I can’t draw… even my doodles are more like scribbles than anything else.  My dear sister showed me a few Zentangle patterns, which have made my doodles a little more interesting (sometimes), but for the most part there are scrawled flowers, crowns and scribbles over every scrap of paper on my desk at work.

Zentangle inspired doodle

Zentangle inspired doodle

I won a trip through the Canadian Garden Council and Via Rail – Canada’s Garden Route – yay!  It’s a truly fabulous round trip to Halifax via train.  I can’t wait!  But what to bring?  I know I’ll be looking out the window a lot, reading a lot, dreaming a lot, but creatively I don’t know what to do.  It’s a little frustrating!  I will be writing about the journey, and definitely photographing everything I can, so perhaps those will help to fill my spare time.

Anyone have any thoughts on something portable I can take?

It's really going to happen... Tickets have arrived!

It’s really going to happen… Tickets have arrived!


Filed under Artsy-Craftsy, Fibre Arts, Jewellery, Random