The alarm went off at 5.30am and thankfully I was feeling much better. After a quick coffee in bed I was able to get up and shower and finish the last bit of packing. We were ready to exit our stateroom for the last time just before 8.00 and we headed for Animator's Palette which is where we were to have our breakfast at 8.15. The two Steves had left early but we had a nice chat with Lance and Diane over breakfast. Our servers very kindly got me a plain omelette with toast and a bit of fruit as I couldn't manage anything fancy. Our luggage tags were called while we were eating so once we were done, we said our goodbyes and left the ship for the last time. We really have had a fantastic time. I'm sad that I missed the last two days, but the rest was a wonderful experience.
Finding our luggage was simple enough. We'd been given luggage tags to put on our cases last night. Ours were Red Mickey and we'd been told that we had to wait until those tags were called before we could leave the ship. Then all we had to do to find our luggage was to find the Red Mickey zone and there were our cases. Easy peasy.
We quickly collected our hire car and got on the road. We knew which way we needed to go as I'd looked at the map but our sat nav was getting very confused and sent us round in circles for a while. In the end we just ignored it and went the way we remembered from our earlier stay in Vancouver. Once we were on the right road the sat nav caught up. This kept happening all day to be honest. We'd have managed much better without it.
The road we were travelling on was highway one – the Trans Canada Highway, and we were heading for Kamloops where we were staying for one night. It's a long way to Jasper so it was just to break the trip up. I'd worked out that if we went that way, not only would it be a lovely scenic route, but at the halfway point there was a very nice place to stop for lunch. We had a plan.
As we left Vancouver behind the scenery got more and more beautiful. I'd have loved to have taken more photos but there were very few places to pull over and what places there were had very little warning before you got to them. I did take a couple of photos through the windows but it's tricky when bushes leap out at you just as you click the shutter. A few came out ok though. After about three hours of this lovely scenic drive we got to our midway point.
Hell's Gate Tramway at Fraser Canyon. You know me and tramways. I love 'em. And this one had a cafe on the other end of it with all fresh salmon products. This is salmon country we're in here. First off we went down in that tramcar. It was great. The views up and down the river were amazing.
Once we landed at the bottom we walked over the suspension bridge to get some more photos. And yes, I know I said I'd had enough of suspension bridges but this one was wider and made of metal. Plus it wasn't too high and didn't wobble too much. I was careful not to look at my feet though as you could look straight through it at the raging waters below. The views were marvellous though.
Then we went into the cafe to see what we could have for our lunch. I got one sniff of the freshly made salmon chowder and I was sold. And it tasted as good as it smelt. Yum. Stephen had the salmon burger. That was actually a huge fillet of salmon on a bun with salad, rather than a burger shaped piece of minced salmon. It was very nice indeed, according to Stephen. They had a shop selling ice-cream and fudge but we were very full of salmon so we didn't investigate that. We did lounge around in the sun for a while. We'd eaten our lunch outside to take advantage of the lovely weather. Did I mention that it was 30 degrees? Oh yes indeed. We're not in Alaska any more *grin*
We stayed on the Trans Canada up to Spences Bridge and then took Highway 8 to Merritt. This was a smaller and quieter road, not that we'd seen much traffic before. We were getting much higher now and seeing some glorious scenery. We were really enjoying the drive as we were following various rivers for most of the way, going high above them and then down to their level.
At one point we came to some construction work and as we were being waved through we saw a small wildfire right by the side of the road. Then we saw a helicopter coming towards us with what looked like a huge ball hanging from it. The ball opened to drop water onto the fire. Wow, that was exciting. We'd seen that on TV but never in real life, and certainly never quite so close. The helicopter was refilling the ball just round the next bend in the river we were following so we pulled over and I got out to take a couple of photos. I mean, when do you get a chance to see something like that? I should add that we were well away from the fire so we were in no danger.
We then carried on with our drive and once at Merritt took the Yellowhead highway to Kamloops and easily found our hotel. We're at the Hampton Inn and it's very nice indeed. The room is a lovely size, especially after being used to the stateroom on the ship. The bed is big and comfy and they provide soft pillows and firm pillows and a note to tell you that so you can pick which you prefer. There's a desk with wired internet provided but there's also wi-fi. There are comfy chairs as well as the desk chairs. The bathroom is huge and has lots of toiletries provided. Yeah, I like it here.
We popped out to the local Tim Hortons for a sandwich, doughnut and coffee as we didn't really want much more than that after our lovely lunch and we've been relaxing in our room ever since. That is, Stephen's been watching TV and I've been enjoying having internet access again after a week without.
Tomorrow we take the Yellowhead highway to Jasper, which should be another lovely scenic drive.