Its Friday, we leave Tomorrow morning for Vancouver, Alaska, London, Paris, Spain.
This is the last you will hear from us in a while, thanks for listening, and REPLYING! With NEWS! So we have EMAILS TO READ. (Aside) Hehe, I think they get the point Geri.
Beer, Boston and Computer Games
Banff and the Bull Elk
To be Continued?
O.K., Ever since buddy had that altercation with a deck chair and a leash, he has been pretty timid. Skippy, on the other hand, is always up to mischief.
Skippy is a smart cat. He has figured out our daily routine. So in order to sleep with us during the night, he sneaks in before we go to bed, and hides underneath our bed. After shutting the door so Skippy can’t get in, we turn off the lights and go to bed. Soon after, Skippy sneaks out from under the bed, and cuddles up at our feet. He then cuddles up between us, pushing us apart. Finally he starts licking our hair, at which point we wake up and kick him out. Goddamit!
Skippy has also learnt how to take the top off Francine’s hair tie box. As Skippy has a weird fascination with hair ties, we see him running all over the house chasing and biting the things. Once he has lost a tie underneath a couch or something, he just goes and steals another one.
Skippy loves to explore, however he now jumps over the fence to explore outside whenever we do stuff in the garden. Therefore Geri and I have to chase after him, so he runs away, chase, run, chase, run, pounce, meooOOOW, GERRBACKINSIDEYOUPESKYCAT!
I Don’t even want to know what happens when Skippy figures out how to open the patio door.
Oh yea, Skippy also knows how to undo the clip of his cat collar.
Francine brought a DYI paper clock. She never started it. So Geri decided to work on it while I was busy doing my electronics projects. I gave up/finished my projects, Geri didn’t.
She is making a Pendulum and weight driven clock. Completely out of paper and glue (and the odd metal shaft or two, and some string, and some coins for weight, and some lead sinkers too). However it has not all gone to plan.
Making the clock is &$^#&ing hard! The glue likes to warp the cogs, and now and then you are a millimeter out here and there, these mistakes add up causing sticky operation and lots of headaches for Geraldine. That and the fact that it takes AGES to make, 48 hours my arse!
However, Geraldine isn’t giving up. The clock looks great, and she is going to work on it until she goes to bed tonight, she is around 80% done.
Whenever we test the clock Skippy and Buddy become REALLY ANNOYING. Why? Because the clock has dangling bit and swinging bits, which are great play toys for cats. ARGH! GERRAWAYFROMTHECLOCKLEAVETHATALONEGETORFF! That and the fact that Geraldine has all the pieces of the clock over the dining table, which Skippy likes to play on. Skippy jumps onto the table, messes things up, I pick him up and throw him off, repeat 12 times before Skippy gets the drift. And I thought Skippy was smart.
Ok, we live on a diet of Friends, Frasier, Who wants to be a Millionaire? And the Drew Carry show.
Drew Carry is funny.
Now and then I get a treat of catching Due South (BEST TV SERIES EVER!) Farscape, or DS9 (1:30am)
Francine, Peter, Geraldine and I went for a walk in Elf Island park again on the 8th of July. We decided to walk for more than 3km, so we chose the 13.8km Shirley Lakes track. Not a long distance in itself, except when your right hiking boot decides to make it a walk of UTTER LIVING MISERY! Ouch, 5 minutes into the walk it started rubbing, and I couldn’t do a damn thing about it. Bah.
As you know, there are quite a few bison around Elk Island park, and today was no exception. Three quarters through the walk, we come across this open camping field (not populated), as well as a herd of 5 buffalo. After both groups watched each other for a few moments, we walked along the edge of the field, while shitting our pants
“pleasepleaseplease don’t charge”
After the park we walked along the track in the bush again. We turn a corner and …. BUFFALO. There he was, a big fat large scary buffalo only TEN METERS INFRONT OF US AAAAAAAARG! After waiting about a million years of time, we decided to walk off the track and walk around him. Peter started to walk in the shrub, and this must have startled the buffalo. He started to run away from us towards another open field off track. Good god, the ground trembled! I swear!
Pumped on adrenaline we finished the last 5 km of the walk in 12 seconds. At the end of the trip we noticed two *^$#%ing large Ravens playing on the roof of the toilets. Hey, make that three. They were huge! Like, a 1m wing tip to wing tip sort of big. That deserved a photo.
There they had the replica of the Edmonton fort, which was here the Legislator building was. It was made of wood. Mmmmmm wood. First off, we get to go on a real steam engine train. WOO WOO! We then trekked through the fort, caught a period play/skit took a photo, and kept going. There was an Indian village there (yay for Helen!), with an “Indian Girl” doing the laundry.
We then walked through early 20th century stuff before returning back to the entrance and going home.
OKOK, So I wrote jack all about the trip in my Diary. Sue me.
Saw and old printers shop, a Jewelry shop, General store and all sorts. You could by stuff from the bakery and General store there. Neat.
Oh yea, there were trams there as well. And a Jail, and a Tannery.
Did I mention that Fur Trading was one of Canada’s big money earners, and that Fort Edmonton was a trading station for the furs that got moved down the river to Hudson bay. That’s how Edmonton came to be. Then they found Oil, and got rich instead of becoming a ghost town when the fur trade died.
I like bagpipes, I always have. Might try and learn the silly instrument. We went to a Klondike Festivals thing at Winston Churchill square in downtown, and all of a sudden I hear bagpipes. Not the boring droning ones your hear at parades, but a peppy, Irish dancing sort of bagpipe.
Curious I went to the big stage and there were a bunch of young musicians making bagpipe and fiddle music. At the center was a guy making an orgasm face while playing the bagpipes, while funny to look at the music was awesome. Slainte mhath (slawn-cha-va, http://www.slaintemhath.com) was the name of the band, they came from Nova Scotia, which has a strong Scottish heritage. We brought the CD for $20 CAN.
Beer, Boston and Computer Games
Geri and I were sleeping in as we always do, until the phone rang.
“you geterit zzzzzz”
So I get up at the ungodly hour of 9:30am and answer the phone.
“Hi, its Francine, is Geri there?”
“zzzp, eur….Err, she’s sleeping *YAWN*”
“Tell her to get up cos we are going to Boston in 3 hours”
“Hey Geri, get up, your going to Boston in three hours”
“zzzzp * eh? Oh, that’s nice. Zzzzzzzz”
After jumping up and down on Geri, I wake her up. She automatically drops from idle to overdrive panic stress mode and starts packing. Francine comes over an hour later from work, and they wait for the Taxi.
Hugs and Kisses later I have finally rid myself of the Geraldine for an entire week. MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH *breath* HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
So what if Geri went to Cheers, where everyone knows your name. Went to Salem and the Boston tube. Got drunk on the first class flights, got hit on by a cute steward, and played in the cockpit. I had fun playing on a computer … all ……. Day. Hmmmm.
Ok, Geri got back and my plans for taking over the world were foiled again (damn those pesky kids, if it wasn’t for them I would have gotten away with it!)
A few weeks passed and then the Family decided it was time to go to Banff! Cool! It was long weekend time.
Geri Packed that Friday, I played on computer, Geri got pissed off.
I packed that Morning, I did little to help pack the car, Geri got pissed off.
We left at 1pm, and we drove, and drove and drove.
We Arrive at Jasper around 7pm, and started to drive to Banff, looking for a campground to stay at.
We drove, and drove. Camp FULL, camp FULL. Drive, drive, next petrol station 100km, hmm, quarter of a tank left.
We drove, and drove. Camp FULL, camp FULL. Drive, drive, hmm, tank at empty, drive, coast, drive, coast.
Columbian Icefield center, they have accommodation…NOT!
Drive, coast, coast. Needle BELOW empty. Petrol 23km. Drive, coast, drive, coast. YAY WE MADE IT!
Haha, as the only petrol station for yonks, he gets away with changing 20c/litre MORE than anywhere else, Geri paid to fill the tank, and it cost her $60 NZ. It was 88c/litre Canadian, that’s around $1.32 NZ.
Ok, after a bit of driving we find another campground, FUL…err, goto overflow. We goto the overflow and finally find a camp spot. 1am in the morning we get to sleep.
Oh yea, we also saw some Mountain Goats. They were white. Mmm goats.
We went on the Athabasca Glacier Tour ($25.95 CAN/adult. Half for a 12 year or younger kid). We Bussed on a coach halfway, and then got a “SnoCoach” and actually drove onto the Glacier itself.
There are 23 SnoCoaches in the world, 22 at the glacier, and 1 in Antarctica. The Wheels themselves cost $5k each (CAN) and are as tall as Geri and as wide as Jacob Its a big air-conditioned MONSTA TRUCK, err, COACH. YEA! Top speed 30kph.
We drove down the steepest unpaved commercially used dirt road in the world (32 or 16 degrees, grade, can’t remember which) and onto the Glacier, which is blue/white/dirt coloured.
When we got to the turn around and get out and tour part of the trip, we were nicely confronted with a THUNDER AND LIGHTNING STORM, with rain as well. Oh yay. After the tour guide said that he can’t let us out and play in the lightning we stayed on the bus. He then said that if you *ahem* can’t see any lightning and thunder, then you can go out if you wish.
We took photos in the rain, got some pure 300 year old glacier water (it was �^%ing FREEZING!, my hand actually SNAPPED OFF! After I put it underwater to fill my water bladder bag thingie). This water is the shit, its seriously good stuff.
After the Photos were taken we got back onto the bus. Then the rain stopped �^$%#!
We drove back, took some more photos. Got back, went through the interpretive center at the Columbian Icefields center, and then met up with Francine and Peter. To go and find another campground for the night.
On looking for the campground we came across “Geraldine Lakes”, Since it was a 15km hike, we only got to see the sign, but that made Geri’s Day. We also went and saw the Athabascan Falls. Neato.
We drove to Lake Louise to see the pretty lake. Peter, Geraldine and I went for a walk through this busy tourist hell to get to the lake, no sooner had we stepped out of the truck, does that &^##^ing thunder storm catch up with us and piss all over us. We get to the lake, thoroughly drenched (eww, you can see my underwear through my white pants). Nice, I walk back, wet and grumpy. Five meters from the car and the rain stops. �^&ing *$^$ �$! If only we waited another 15 minutes we would have done this without getting wet. As Geri had the camera, she got a nice photo of Lake Louise and the Chateau.
We drove on looking for another camp spot, with me in my underwear being grumpy.
We set up the tents and started to cook dinner, when THAT �#^ing THUNDER STORM COMES ALONG! HATEHATEHATE!
We improvised a fake roof by tying plastic sheets Peter had in the RAV4 4wd, to trees using a bag of bungie cords. We Finally put up a cover for Mine and Geri’s Tent, as well as one over the picnic table. When the thunder storm from heck decides to STOP RAINING. HATEHATEHATE!
Anyway, we have dinner, I put on dry clothing, we have ROASTED MARSHMALLOWS and all is fine once more. Mmmmm, roasted marshmallows.
Oh yea, the silk sleeping bag liners are all static, so when we rub them against the sleeping bags at night, you can see little bolts of lightning going between the two – cool eh?
Geri likes the Camping life. Me? I don’t mind, as long as I DON’T GET WET! Haha, Geri thinks I’m a wimp.
Banff and the Bull Elk
The Next day we Decided to go for hike. While Francine stayed at camp to do some homework and work. After much deliberation, we decided to goto Johnston’s Falls.
On the way there were all these people parked on the side of the road, looking at something. Naturally we followed suit. There were three HUGH bull-elk eating in the forest next to the road. Peter, Geri and I got about 5-7 meters close (stupid people that we are) and took photos. Man these things are big. After a few photos we left the hubbub in the middle of nowhere.
The Falls are in two sets, the first is only 800m away from the touristy car park, while the second is 2.5km away from the first set of falls. The Walk is uphill (puff) and sometimes goes along a boardwalk. Where the boardwalk sticks out of the sides of the creek’s canyon walls. Cool.
The first set of falls were around 8-10 meters high, and you could go through a hole in the rocks near the fall to get a close-up and wet view of the falls. Took some Photos.
The Squirrels here must have been fed a lot by the people here (even though there are signs forbidding it), because they run up to you, squeak, and look cute. One guy had them climbing over him to get at the food in his hand. While cool, it also sucks. Damn tame (and FAT) squirrels.
We then did the hour walk up to the second falls. These falls were around 15-20 meters high. The walking platform extends over the stream so that you can see the falls around the corner. Unfortunately it was too wet for us to take a photo, but that didn’t stop Peter from taking one.
Well rested, we thought, what the hell, and decided to walk the 2.7k to the Ink Pots. These are pools of water where a spring flows into, leaving deposits of blue and yellow and green stuff. Dragging my ski-jacket for 5km in hot weather along the walk paid off, cos it started to rain. I didn’t get wet, and so I didn’t get grumpy. YAY! We made it to the Pots, took some photos. The colours and patterns in the pools were way cool (I need some more describing words of wonder and awe). Had some lunch, and walked back.
On the walk back we were passed by some people on horses carrying supplies for the campground that was another 15km from the Ink Pots. 20 minutes into the walk we were getting tired.
“Are we there yet Papa Smurf?”
Finally we made it back to the upper falls, then the lower falls, then the car. Whew. That 12km up and down hill made us really tired. We were knackered.
Got back to camp, had some dinner, had some ROASTED MARSHMALLOWS AND HOT CHOCOLATE! Went to sleep.
Oh yea, we had a fire pit thingie in a metal box on a pole, we barbecued all our food.
Oh yea, we had a bear sighting warning, so we had to leave all our food in the car (chilly bins are NOT bear proof) and all our rubbish in the campgrounds bear-proof bin.
If bears start eating human food and rubbish, they become a pest and are dangerous, and so have to be killed. Therefore its in every ones best interest to keep the camp looking and smelling clean.
Got up the next morning, packed up and left, all before 11am, WOW!
Vicky Drum was in Canada, on her way to UnGlund (just say it), and had arranged for us to pick her up that Tuesday morning. However we had to ring her first. By the time we got into cell phone range, no one was answering the phone. We decided to drive into Calgary anyway to pick her up(only 30-60 min out of Banff).
An Hour later we drove into Calgary. Yawn. Tried to ring Vicky again, but no luck. We arrived at her house, but no-one was home. Apparently she had left to go shopping half an hour before we first rang. DOH!
Anyway, we drove back home, unpacked and blobbed.
The next day, We continued to plan our trip to Alaska and the Inside Passage. Vicky caught the bus over from Calgary ($50 can? Red Arrow) and came home with peter. We all had a catch up, and after I got all talked out, Geri and Vicky kept on nattering for another few hours, while I played on the computer/watched TV.
Over the span of the week we showed Vicky all the cool free stuff you can go to. The state Legislator and its Magic Spot, The Town Hall, and Whitemud park.
GRRR. We went to show Vicky the Beaver, but for the second time it was a no-show. Angry and Frustrated we started to leave the beaver spot, when all of a sudden Eagle Eye Geri goes
“(whisper, but a loud one) Ricky! Quick! The Camera!”
Geri had managed to see a great horned owl, in the MIDDLE OF THE GODDAM DAY! Comon! is Geri Gifted or what?
Vicky And I went to where Geri was, and sure enough there was a big fat white horned owl sitting on some branches on the other side of the stream. We all took photos before it flew away. It looked quite impressive flying away, if I was a house cat, I would be scared.
Anyway, we decided to take Vicky to our famous Squirrel and Chipmunk spot. We sat there, put some seeds out, and had lunch, waiting for the squirrels to come out and play.
Oh, COMON! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!
Oh, I Give up. After waiting 2 hours, there was nary a squirrel or Chipmunk to be seen. That has gotta suck. They must of figured we were going to show them to Vicky or something.
Sad, but still happy we left Whitemud and walked back home.
Took Vicky to Francine’s house and had a look around, had some fish and chips (oh how I miss takeaways).
Come Saturday, and Vicky has to leave. In the morning we took her via the bus ($1.65 for 2 hours, to anywhere) to West Edmonton Mall (biggest mall in the world, still). It was quite funny, for after she made the comment that its just like a big mall we showed her the dolphin pools
and then showed her the theme park
then the INDOOR ROLLERCOASTER, with a loop and a double loop.
then the indoor WATER PARK
then the golf driving range
Hehe, I think our job is done, as I think Vicky was suitably impressed.
We then saw her off on the bus back to Calgary in the Afternoon. Waving like crazy people. Geeze, goddam NZers.
Ok, by now we have planned our Alaska, Inside Passage journey for over three weeks. Booking accommodation and travel. Whew.
So here it is, in all its glory, our travel itinerary.
Saturday 19th of August
Leave Edmonton 9:30am
Drop off Excess Luggage
Stay at backpackers Hostel [Canada-(250) 386 4471]
Sunday 20th of August
Do Touristy Stuff, stay at backpackers
Monday 21st of August
Leave Victoria Via Train
Leave Courtnay via Bus
Visit Cambell River
Arrive Port Hardy
Stay at Wild woods camp ground [Canada-(250) 949 6753]
Tuesday 22nd of August
Catch Inside Passage Ferry to Prince Rupert
Stay at Park Avenue Campground [Canada-(250) 624 5861]
Wednesday 23rd of August
Catch the Ferry to Ketchikan
Stay at YHA [USA-(907) 225 3319]
Thursday 24th of August
Catch Ferry to Juneau (overnighter)
Friday 25th of August
Do Touristy Stuff
Stay at YHA [USA-(907) 586 9559]
Saturday 26th of August
Sunday 27th of August
Catch Ferry to Skagway
Stay at Mountain View RV Park [1-800-791-2673, call Telecom on how to ring an American 1-800 number]
Monday 28th of August
Catch a bus to Whitehorse
Only have 15 minutes to catch our connecting bus to Vancouver
Tuesday + Wednesday 29th and 30th of August
That’s all Bus Babeh!
Visit the Yukon, Dawson Creek and Prince George
Arrive at Vancouver on Wednesday at 9pm
Stay at YHA Downtown Vancouver [Canada-(604) 684 4565]
Thursday 31st of August
Stay at YHA
Friday 1st of September
Leave Vancouver for London
Saturday 2nd of September
Arrive Heathrow at 2:30pm, get grilled by customs, hopefully don’t get sent home for no apparent reason.
Staying at Lenio’s
Sunday 3rd of September
Be a London Tourist
Catch up with anyone I know in London, see the sites, play on the tube.
Stay at Lenio’s
Monday 4th of September
Get up bloody early to be at Waterloo by 7:30am
Catch the Eurostar to PARIS!
Meet with Pj, do tourist stuff
Meet up with Uncle Howard and the troop at the YHA [France-(01) 48 43 24 11]
Tuesday 5th of September
Drive down to the Pyranees and start walking!
To be Continued?
Well, that’s it. No more Epics, no more emails from us. We will only have good old telephone and postcard contact for quite some while. That doesn’t mean stop sending us emails about yourselves, just don’t expect an immediate reply.
And please, DON’T SEND JOKE MAIL, and don’t send email with attachments. As we only have 1MB of mail space left, and once it gets over that, stuff gets deleted against our will. So only email us collections of your beautiful words.
If you wish to write us, you can send the mail to:
Geri + Richard
60 Tudor Court
London, N1 4NU
Thanks all folks. Gotta Love you and Leave you. I hope to see you soonish.
Btw, you should also be able to get this epic on my web page, along with NEW PHOTOS!
We have to give our utmost thanks to both Francine and Peter, who have generously housed our dirty hinds for the past three months. They have Spoilt us and fed us and stuff. Sink one down for Francine and Peter! Hurrah!
-Richard ‘Jodi/Max’ Maxwell
P.s. 4145 words in 230 minutes ~= 1 word every 4 seconds.